Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Governor Gregoire Proclaims April Financial Literacy Month

Public and Private Partners to Raise Awareness and Improve Personal Money Skills

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire issued a proclamation naming April “Financial Literacy Month.” The Governor is encouraging public and private organizations and the media to join together to illustrate the importance of making smart money management decisions.

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions is on example of a state agency making a major contribution to this effort. “DFI combines enforcement, licensing, and consumer education to promote safe and wise financial communities,” commented Scott Jarvis, Director of the Department of Financial Institutions. “We are committed to working with our partners to provide educational opportunities for Washington’s youth and adults.”

In Washington, a recent study conducted by AARP and the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) shows consumers lack basic financial literacy skills. Across the country, uninformed money management practices leading to excessive debt have reached epidemic proportions. Current statistics show that in 2006 the savings rate for households across the United States dropped to an all time low of negative 1.2%. This crisis emphasizes the need for education about living within our means.

State Representative, Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37th District) chairs the Financial Literacy Public Private Partnership (FLPP). The committee was created by the legislature to determine the best methods of equipping students with financial literacy, knowledge, and skills. FLPP brings together educators, nonprofit organizations, regulators and businesses to maximize opportunities for financial literacy across the state.

“Providing young adults with basic financial literacy skills will have a dramatic impact on their ability to make sound decisions about their financial futures,” said Representative Santos. “This will, in turn, help strengthen the economy and vitality of Washington.

One organization active in the partnership is Bellevue Community College. Faculty member, Leslie Lum, is working with DFI to develop a financial literacy curriculum for students and community groups.

“Teaching the basics of investing and saving in our communities is a key to supporting the growth of financially informed consumers,” said Professor Lum. “We are working to offer classes at community colleges across the state that will provide answers to common questions about developing a budget or how to invest stocks and bonds.”

Scott Kinney, Director of Communications
PH 206.245.7286 skinney@dfi.wa.gov