Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

October 07, 2010 15:18 ET

Canadians Receiving Financial Consumer Education in Growing Numbers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2010) - The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has released its annual report, in which it outlines its achievements and efforts in promoting education and compliance throughout 2009-2010.

Financial literacy among Canadians has remained a top priority for FCAC over the past year. "Consumers need to have a solid understanding not only of how to manage their own personal finances, but also of financial institutions' obligations toward them, so that they can make smart financial decisions," notes Ursula Menke, FCAC Commissioner. In fact, the Agency's two mandates of education and compliance work together to empower consumers when it comes time to deal with their financial institutions. "I am proud of our role and pleased to highlight some of the Agency's more significant achievements from the past year," she added.

FCAC achieved solid successes in 2009-2010

  • FCAC's financial literacy resource The City, and the Web portal The Money Belt, were used increasingly by young Canadians and teachers. At the end of March 2010, there were more than 4,000 teachers and just under 18,000 students registered to use The City, while over 425,000 visits were made to The Money Belt.

  • During a period of economic uncertainty, FCAC responded to Canadians' information needs with a new credit card tool that shows the impact of making only the minimum payment on the amount of interest charged and the length of time it takes to pay off the balance in full.

  • FCAC incorporated its Clear Language and Presentation Principles into its publications and tip sheets and created guidelines for the industry to improve how the Agency and federally regulated financial institutions communicate with consumers.

  • A record number of Canadians made use of its educational resources to improve their financial knowledge. With a 34 percent growth in use of FCAC's online tools, the Agency exceeded its targeted growth of 5 percent.

  • When credit card and loan regulations that improved disclosure and extended some consumer rights came into effect, FCAC shared the information broadly through press releases, its updated website, byline articles and in newsletters to its many partners.

  • Financial institutions corrected 100 percent of compliance issues identified by FCAC.

FCAC continues to work on multiple fronts to promote financial literacy. Financial aptitude has never been more vital, and last year's economic turmoil caused many Canadians to experience financial anxiety. FCAC responded by providing consumers with resources to improve their financial knowledge and continued to promote consumer–centred compliance on the part of federally regulated financial institutions.

If you would like to view a copy of the Annual Report, or to reach us, visit the Agency's website at fcac.gc.ca.

About FCAC

With educational materials and interactive tools, FCAC provides objective information about financial products and services and informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. Through its financial literacy program, FCAC helps Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions and payment card network operators comply with legislation and agreements intended to protect consumers.

You can reach us through the FCAC Consumer Contact Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our website: fcac.gc.ca.

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