hat tip: a JJP reader

Global Financial Literacy Summit

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
7:30 am – 5:00 pm
1901 Mississippi, SE
Washington, DC

Summit Reception
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Washington, DC

Keynote Speakers
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair
Ambassador Andrew Young

Town Hall Sessions
Global Financial Literacy Models Around the World

From civil rights to silver rights; defining success for financial literacy
in an aspirationally relevant world

Plenary Topics

Financial Literacy and Banking the Unbanked; from Third World Poor to First World Under-Served
In America, more than 10% of the population (approximately 40 million) are unbanked are significantly under-banked, and in developing countries around the world the unbanked account for as much as 70-80% of a country’s population. In this environment those who make the least also spend the most on financial services (check cashers, payday loan lenders, rent to own vendors, etc), and it could be argued that a bank account, and a corresponding understanding of “the language of money,” is as important to achieving a level of freedom, justice and independence in the 21st century as was the right to vote was to democracy in the 20th century. This session will frame the issue, cover the facts, outline practical strategies for banking the unbanked and under-banked both here and abroad, and thereafter seek to chart a course forward for all. Universal financial services access is the second global silver right after financial literacy.

Against the backdrop of the global economic crisis it becomes clear crystal clear that we all are living in an economic age, and it is absolutely critical that everyone from the poor to the working class to the global middle class are financially literate and understand the basics of the “language of money.”

Financial Literacy and Making Lending Work
Over the course of the last 50 years the nature of lending and the provision of credit has changed, moving in the direction of greater complexity. Growing concurrently is the economy’s reliance on the consumer as the principal driver of the economy. Today, approximately 70% of the U.S. economy is driven by the consumer, which also means that the U.S. consumer is approximately 25% of the world economy, which in turn means that when we stop buying in America, manufacturers stop producing in China and around the world. The global economic crisis has sent the message that we are all in this together, and furthermore, that on almost every level, there is a relationship gap in knowledge, tools and confidence between lender and consumer. This gap must be eliminated in order for our economy here, and around the world to be strong and resilient again. Underneath weakening consumer confidence is massive levels of borrower financial illiteracy, and fear. Fear is the ultimate prosperity killer.

Building upon the successful May 28th, 2008 meeting of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, Committee on the Under-Served (chaired by HOPE founder John Hope Bryant), which focused on the link between responsible mortgage subprime lending and financial literacy, this summit plenary will explore innovative and potentially first-ever concepts and approaches that bridge and bring lending and financial literacy together in ways both practical and aspirationally relevant.

Financial Literacy and the Education System
In the 21st century education and financial literacy are new civil rights issues, and financial literacy is the first global silver right. In an information age and a knowledge economy any nation, or person, that seeks advancement or to lead in the 21st century will have to embrace education as the ultimate poverty eradication tool, and financial literacy as the link to aspirational relevancy and self-empowerment. With 30% of youth in the U.S. dropping out of high school, and 50% of urban youth dropping out of high school, it becomes clear that no nation is immune. Operation HOPE argues that youth are dropping out of high school because they don’t see education as relevant to their futures. One of the ways to make education relevant is to show kids how to do well, and how to succeed legally and ethically. That’s financial literacy, free enterprise and capitalism, ownership, opportunity, and for many entrepreneurship. This plenary will explore the practical connections between education and financial literacy, and strategies to create a cradle to college generation both in the U.S. and around the world. The session will also explore ways in which we migrate the discussion of financial literacy from another version of a math class, to one of aspirational relevancy, and understanding the emotional nature of money itself.

Financial Literacy Empowerment
It could be argued that almost no one really wants a financial literacy course, per se, no different than no one really wants a mortgage in the U.S., or a bond to purchase a home in South Africa and other parts of the world. What the latter wants is homeownership, and what the former should relate to is aspirations, hopes and life dreams. Financial literacy empowerment will explore the critical link between financial literacy, or what we call the language of money, and the realities of life such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, sending a child to school or college, and creating a life for oneself.

Financial Literacy and Progressive Public Policy
This session will explore in a practical fashion some of the progressive financial literacy public policy initiatives presently underway in places such as Australia, where financial literacy is mandated, to the United Kingdom, where kids are given a bank account at birth, to proposed and pending current legislation which frames and connects financial literacy in the context of the global economic crisis, and government’s myriad to it. This plenary will also review the recommendation of the U.S. President’s Council on Financial Literacy in its annual report to the President.

Financial Literacy and Nurturing a Generation of Entrepreneurship
According to the International Labour Organization, by the end of 2009, 50 million jobs would be lost globally forcing many regions to develop massive job creation engines over the next decade. In these times of economic downturn, jobs losses and low consumer confidence, entrepreneurship shines as a potential pathway for long term sustained economic growth and recovery. There is a need for creating both a culture and a generation of entrepreneurs and self-employment projects and Education and Financial Literacy play a key role in the development of skills and behaviors that will allow future entrepreneurs to start and grow business in a responsible and inclusive manner.

Financial Literacy and the Business Case
In the backdrop of the first global economic crisis, and arguably the worst economic crisis in a generation or more, it could be argued that a solid business case can be made for financial literacy. From risk management, to issues of corporate brand management, to rebuilding global consumer confidence, financial literacy is one of the key strategies for creating stabilized and sustainable economies, and wealth, in the post crisis environment. Financial literacy 3.0 speaks to the hard business case; from fusing financial literacy into a myriad of consumer facing lending products (home loans, auto loans, credit cards, etc), to incorporating financial literacy tools and services into the human resource departments of employers, to preparing the customer of the future (our youth), financial literacy 3.0. is increasing a new hard economic tool.

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