Oregon Financial Education Summit Crosses Industry Lines to Help Unbanked Consumers

The average unbanked household spends an average of $800 to $1,000 each year just to conduct the fundamental financial business of cashing checks and paying bills. Considering that this represents a large sum of money for almost any household, it creates an even greater burden on people of low income.

Tens of thousands of Oregonians find themselves trapped in this self-perpetuating cycle that has them depleting their already limited resources simply because they lack the most basic financial tool: a checking account.

Joining a credit union or opening a bank account helps struggling families to build savings and assets and to respond to emergencies without creating additional financial hardship.

For many unbanked consumers, there can seem to be no way to escape the pattern of payday loans, high-interest debt and day-to-day self-preservation. On Thursday, individuals and organizations from across Oregon will come together for the 2013 Financial Education Summit, a day-long event dedicated to enhancing Oregonians’ financial literacy and finding workable financial solutions for all Oregonians.

Presented by Oregon Jump$tart and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and sponsored by Maps Credit Union, JP Morgan Chase and the Oregon Bankers Association, the summit will include participants representing government, non-profits, financial institutions, financial services companies and other relevant organizations gathering to build on current efforts, identify problems and solutions, and hear from state leaders on the future of financial education.

Outcomes from Thursday’s summit, the third of its kind since being established as a biennial event in 2009, will set the agenda for financial education initiatives over the next two years. Kasey Rockwell, director of outreach programs for the Northwest Credit Union Association, has been involved with the summit since the beginning, and she said that holding the summit at the Salem Convention Center allows for even broader impact.

“In addition to the benefits of collaboration between all these different industries, the Financial Education Summit is also an important opportunity to show legislators the importance of financial education,” Rockwell said. “If our elected officials understand what addressing this issue could mean for Oregon’s economic future, credit unions’ financial education efforts will have even greater support and will be even more effective.”

Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler will appear as the featured speaker. The afternoon session will be dedicated to exploring the creation of a Bank On Oregon initiative. Bank On is one of the nation’s fastest-growing programs devoted to helping households operating on the financial fringe. Bank On programs can be local or statewide and are collaborative efforts of public, private and non-profit institutions committed to creating affordable access to financial services for the unbanked.

“Credit unions have been a part of the Financial Education Summit since it started,” Rockwell said. “Considering all that we’re doing as a movement to build financial literacy and reach the consumers with the greatest need, it is important that we continue to be involved. This is central to our mission, the Financial Education Summit is one way credit unions can continue to be visible leaders in the financial education realm.”

Registration for the 2013 Oregon Financial Education Summit is available online.

Agenda

8:00 a.m.    Registration, continental breakfast and networking
9:00 a.m.  Welcome and introductions
Oregon-specific updates
Free resources to market financial literacy programs
Money Smart Week 2013
Treasurer Ted Wheeler’s Address
11:45 a.m. Lunch and networking
12:30 p.m.  Bank On Oregon
3:00 p.m. Wrap-up
3:15 p.m.  Adjournment

Questions? Contact Director of Outreach Programs Kasey Rockwell: 503.350.2217, krockwell@nwcua.org.

Posted in Around the NW, CU4Kids, Events.