In remarks before the Consumer Advisory Board on Wednesday, CFPB Director Richard Cordray detailed the agency’s efforts to increase public awareness and reach out to communities to develop financial literacy programs.
“On the first of today’s initiatives, let me begin by saying as a matter of background that one of the bedrock principles at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is transparency,” Cordray said in prepared remarks. “We have a deep respect for the power that knowledge conveys. We want information to be readily accessible to help inform the public and improve our own policymaking. Accurate information and solid analytics based on that information are capable of changing the world for the better.”
The CFPB offers interactive tools that allow the public to examine mortgage lending in their communities using data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
Cordray said the original purpose of the HMDA was to keep track of how financial institutions served their communities and how to allocate public capital to attract investors, but the data has also been found to be valuable in a number of other disciplines. HMDA data helped identify patterns of lending that could reveal violations of the Fair Housing Act or the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
“By helping get this valuable information into the hands of consumers in accessible formats, they will more easily understand what is happening in their communities, because, again, these markets can be so very different from one place to another,” Cordray said.
Cordray also announced the launch of the agency’s “Your Money, Your Goals” program designed to train social services staff on how to help their clients manage themselves better financially.
“With this training in hand, they will be equipped to serve, in turn, thousands of clients who otherwise lack access to sound information and advice on how to establish and plan for future financial goals,” Cordray said.