Financial Education Programs Proliferating, According to Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Survey

The growing complexity of financial products and services, coupled with a vast array of service providers, have increased the need for financial education for all Americans. The Federal Reserve System considers financial education to be a critical factor in effective community development. To gain a better understanding of the financial education programs being offered in its region, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's Community Affairs Office recently surveyed local community development practitioners. Those practitioners included financial institutions, community development organizations, government agencies, and social service providers. Among the survey's findings, detailed in the Spring 2003 issue of the Bank's CR Report:

In its report, the Cleveland Reserve Bank notes that many challenges still lie ahead for all players involved in delivering successful financial education programs. The concepts of financial education are sometimes abstract and complicated. For successful outcomes, these concepts must be simplified, applied to real-life situations, and tied to a meaningful goal. To be effective, curricula may need to be tailored to each segment of the community.

As financial education programs grow in number and size, the report says that it will become more important to measure their impact and to gauge whether participants' behavior changed after training. Such measurements will help determine the effectiveness of financial education and will identify the training methods that have the greatest positive impact.

The Spring 2003 CR Report can be found at


The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., comprise the Federal Reserve System. As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve System formulates U.S. monetary policy, supervises certain banks and all bank holding companies, and provides payment services to depository institutions and the U.S. government. Payment services include check clearing, electronic payments, and the distribution and processing of currency and coin.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, including its branch offices in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves the Fourth Federal Reserve District, which includes Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.