April 1, 2021
WASHINGTON—The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) encourages national banks and federal savings associations (collectively, banks) to support financial literacy education year-round but especially during National Financial Capability Month, which runs through April 30.
Banks promote financial literacy by supporting programs that expand financial literacy, economic empowerment, and access to capital and credit for all consumers, including those who are underserved or without access to traditional banking services.
“Financial capability and financial empowerment enable people to achieve their goals and live their best lives,” said Acting Comptroller of the Currency Blake Paulson. “National Financial Capability Month reminds everyone of the importance of taking charge of your personal finances. Banks play an important role in supporting their communities’ financial capabilities, particularly underserved and low-income communities where expanded access to credit and capital are most needed.”
As part of its mission, the OCC has long helped banks provide financial literacy education for consumers and communities. The OCC encourages banks to direct consumers to the agency’s HelpWithMyBank.gov to get answers about banking services and resolve questions or problems that consumers may with their banks.
In addition, the OCC founded Project REACh to promote greater participation in the U.S. financial system by enhancing financial capability and inclusion and by reducing barriers to access among minority and underserved populations. Project REACh seeks to (1) expand credit access for more than 45 million consumers, many of them minorities or low-income individuals who have faced challenges in obtaining credit because they don’t have a credit score; (2) support small businesses, particularly in minority communities, and help them to more effectively access capital; and (3) support minority-owned banks in providing financial literacy education, credit and homeownership counseling, and other services to their customers, many of whom are low-income individuals or minorities or live in underserved communities.
The OCC also has assigned District Community Affairs Officers across the nation to assist banks in providing financial literacy education and other services for their consumers and communities. These officers can explain how banks can support National Financial Capability Month and find other ways to expand access to financial literacy education, credit, and capital in their communities. In addition, the OCC posts on occ.gov helpful resources and publications on financial literacy education.
- OCC’s District Community Affairs Officer Contacts
- Project REACh
- OCC Bulletin, 2015-16, “Youth Savings Programs: Guidance to Encourage Financial Institutions’ Youth Savings Programs and Address Related Frequently Asked Questions”
- OCC HelpWithMyBank.gov
- OCC Financial Literacy Update
- OCC’s Financial Literacy Resource Directory
- OCC’s Community Developments Fact Sheet on Leveraging Earned Income Tax Credits to Reach New Bank Customers