For Immediate Release - April 06, 2016

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Division of Banks Recognize Financial Literacy Month

Boston, MA (April 6, 2016) – The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Division of Banks are proud to support National Financial Literacy Month this April. National Financial Literacy Month, also referred to as National Financial Capability Month, is a month-long campaign aimed at highlighting and promoting the need for financial education. 

A recent report by the Massachusetts Financial Literacy Task Force found that many Massachusetts residents are not financially prepared and do not receive the amount of financial education they need for financial decision-making.

 “It’s important for consumers to be educated about their finances to establish and maintain healthy financial habits,” said John Chapman, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and member of the Task Force. “Our Task Force found that in Massachusetts, almost six percent of residents are unbanked and more than 17 percent are underbanked. Nationally, 45 percent of working-age American households do not hold any retirement account assets. Clearly there is more to be done to help residents prepare their financial futures.”

 The Task Force also found that less than seven percent of high-school students nationally were financially literate and Massachusetts is one of only 12 states that does not require schools to offer financial education courses. Targeting this population, Division of Banks employees will help raise public awareness about the importance of financial literacy through participation in financial education events this month in Boston, Chicopee, Hanover, Haverhill, Hudson, Hyannis, Mashpee, Plymouth, and Whitman. Financial literacy is not just a single month initiative; the Division supports and encourages financial education throughout the year.

“Financial literacy enables consumers of all ages to make smart choices and set attainable goals. We believe the Commonwealth’s financial literacy efforts such as Credit for Life Fairs and homeowner education will help to create a financially literate future for our consumers,” said Commissioner of Banks David Cotney.

 In 2015 alone, the Division of Banks joined in over thirty consumer financial literacy events and workshops across the Commonwealth. The Division teamed up with the State Treasurer’s Office of Economic Empowerment to award more than forty Massachusetts high schools grants to create or enhance Credit for Life Fairs throughout the 2015- 2016 school year.  

Credit for Life Fairs are financial reality simulations where schools and volunteers team-up to share basic financial knowledge with high school students to prepare them for college and future budget decisions.

 In addition to participating in events across the Commonwealth throughout the month of April, the Division will be distributing financial resources and tools to consumers online at www.mass.gov/dob. More information on the 2015 Massachusetts Financial Literacy Task Force can be found online at www.Mass.gov/treasury.

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the office at its blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter @Mass Consumer.

The Division of Banks is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation which oversees state-chartered banks and credit unions, check sellers, debt collectors, foreign transmittal agencies, mortgage lenders and brokers. For more information visit the Division’s website at www.mass.gov/dob or contact the Division of Bank’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-495-BANK (2265).

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