Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Bankers Association

April 30, 2010 11:38 ET

Teach Money Matters in School as Part of a National Strategy on Financial Literacy: Canadian Bankers Association

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 30, 2010) - The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) today submitted a report to the Task Force on Financial Literacy containing recommendations for the creation of a national strategy to increase the financial literacy of Canadians. Among suggestions included in the report, the CBA encourages federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together to make financial education a mandatory part of the secondary school curriculum taught across the country.

"Financially literate Canadians are a vital part of a strong national economy," said Nancy Hughes Anthony, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Bankers Association. "By directly educating students on financial matters within the secondary school system, we can ensure that all young Canadians have the strong foundation necessary to help them make sound financial decisions throughout their lifetime."

Beyond the education system, the CBA's submission also highlights the key role that families play as a major source of information about personal money management and how to approach it. A recent CBA study found that two-thirds of teenagers (65 per cent) and nearly three-quarters of parents (73 per cent) identified parents as the primary source of information about managing money and finances for teens. Furthermore, 92 per cent of parents and 81 per cent of teens reported discussing money and financial matters at home together. A national strategy on financial literacy should recognize the influence that families have in shaping young people's healthy attitudes toward money and provide tools to help parents educate their children.

"Both parents and teenagers recognize the importance of financial literacy and agree that parents play a substantial role in the financial education of their teenage children," said Ms. Hughes Anthony. "A national strategy on financial literacy should take advantage of this strong relationship and provide parents with support so they can present their children with the best information available."

To ensure all Canadians can easily access financial literacy information and related materials, the CBA recommends that the federal government create and promote a single, online portal where Canadians can find financial literacy information, activities, tools, links to participating organizations and other related news and data. A logical host to manage such a central hub would be the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, which already provides consumers with valuable information on financial matters.

In addition a national financial literacy strategy should tap into the broad expertise and experience of the private sector, including banks and other financial service providers.

"Millions of Canadians turn to banks every day for products, services and advice to help them save, buy homes, start businesses and plan for retirement," said Ms. Hughes Anthony. "Banks in Canada have much to offer when it comes to effectively reaching out to Canadians about financial matters."

The job before the Task Force is indeed a challenging one and would be extremely difficult without reliable data that provides insight into Canadians' financial literacy needs and identifies where gaps in knowledge currently exist. To be most effective, the development of national strategy should be heavily based on quantitative research that can tells us where we stand today, where we need to go and eventually to tell us how far we have come as a country.

The CBA and its member banks have been dedicated to boosting financial literacy levels for years. For over a decade, the CBA has brought financial literacy to Canadians through its high school seminar program, YourMoney, which has taught more than 186,000 senior high school students about budgeting, borrowing, saving, investing, and protecting themselves from fraud. The non-commercial seminar uses volunteer bankers from the local community to teach young Canadians about responsible money management. YourMoney is offered in collaboration with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

To view the CBA's full submission to the Task Force on Financial Literacy, please visit: http://www.cba.ca/contents/files/submissions/sub_20100429_taskforcefinlit_en.pdf

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 51 domestic banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 263,400 employees. The CBA advocates for effective public policies that contribute to a sound, successful banking system that benefits Canadians and Canada's economy. The Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions. www.cba.ca.

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