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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2002

Governor Ryan Announces Emphasis on Financial Literacy; Urges Education as Key to Economic Success

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced he is directing the Office of Banks and Real Estate to establish a task force that will coordinate efforts and raise the consciousness of the need for financial literacy. The Governor’s 2002 Financial Literacy Conference, which was held April 30th and May 1st, focused on exploring ways to teach, equip and empower children and adults with essential financial concepts and skills.

“Illinois already has some of the toughest anti-predatory lending rules in the nation, but the only ‘cure’ for predatory lending is a well-educated consumer,” Governor Ryan said. “This conference and the Task Force will build on efforts we already have underway educating students and the general public about money management.”

The Governor’s 2002 Financial Literacy Conference was held as the next step after the passage of Governor Ryan’s new predatory lending rules. These rules make Illinois the national leader in adopting regulations protecting consumers from predatory lending practices.

“With our tougher predatory lending rules, Governor Ryan has made Illinois one of the most proactive states in the nation to protect consumers against unscrupulous lending practices,” said William Darr, Commissioner of the Office of Banks and Real Estate. “The very best defense against fraud and the best stimulant for financial prosperity is education and financial literacy, so that consumers understand their financial options.”

The Governor’s 2002 Financial Literacy Conference brought together more than 125 leaders from private business, civic organizations and the education community to initiate the effort to improve financial understanding in Illinois.

The Task Force will be charged with the following agenda:

  • Raise the consciousness of the need for financial literacy in Illinois schools and find avenues of access for adults outside the educational chain of authority.

  • Coordinate the efforts of the member organizations, individuals and agencies in efforts to have financial literacy become a part of Illinois’ middle and high school curriculum.

  • Identify areas that may be local, district or statewide in scope. All of these efforts will be strengthened if they can be coordinated and districts can learn from each other.

“Financial Literacy is a multi-faceted issue that requires a multi-faceted response,” Governor Ryan said. “With government and community groups working closely together, we will be able to ensure the protection of Illinois citizens from predatory lenders.”

Falling victim to predatory lending is just one of the pitfalls for a public that is often ill prepared to deal with the many financial decisions that they will have to face throughout their lifetimes. The Office of Banks and Real Estate already offers several financial tools such as seminars and brochures to help educate the public. Additionally, any consumer who feels they may have been a victim of predatory lending may contact OBRE’s toll-free consumer hotline at 877-793-3470 or for more information about this initiative, please call 217-785-2903 or e-mail FINLTRCY@bre.state.il.us.



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