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letters | reaching the unbanked

Teaching financial literacy is vital to lifting the unbanked

The steep price paid by America’s unbanked population to access basic financial services reminds us of the critical importance of financial education in our society (“Unbanked and under pressure”). We must do more to meet the unbanked where they are — where they go to school, where they work, where they gather in the community — and teach them the basics of personal finance. That starts with building better networks among educational service providers, schools, government agencies, community service providers, private sector employers, and more.

For example, through a partnership between the consumer literacy program SALT, which was created by our organization, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, local teens are learning banking basics and building stronger financial competencies. Teens who took SALT’s online financial modules gained a 59 percent increase in confidence in their knowledge of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance, and a 36 percent increase in confidence in how to calculate their annual savings potential.

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If we are to reignite the middle class in our nation, we must work together to produce a citizenry capable of navigating the complex world of consumer debt choices in the 21st century and attaining lifelong financial stability.

Paul Combe

President and CEO

American Student

Assistance

Boston

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