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Visa Inc. / Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Seventh Annual Financial Literacy & Education Summit
April 17, 2013

Welcome Remarks by Jason Alderman
Senior Director of Global Financial Education, Visa Inc.

Thank you very much Doug. It is a pleasure to be back here at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

To all of the financial education leaders with us in Chicago this morning, and the 2,000 people from 52 different countries watching live online, welcome to the seventh annual Financial Literacy and Education Summit, co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Visa.

In these last 7 years, we have significantly advanced the field and the level of discourse around financial literacy. This is due to all of your hard work. We've reached the point where the question is no longer: "What is the value of financial literacy?" But instead: "How do we do more and go deeper?"

The success of this model partnership between the public and private sectors is a testament to the Federal Reserve Bank team here in Chicago: Charlie Evans, Doug Tillett, Alejo Torres, Tiffany Butler, Allison Cobert and everyone who labors year-round to make this event possible.

That this Summit grows in scope and consequence every year is also a clear indication that financial literacy remains a vital public policy issue. The remarkable speakers here today are further proof that the governments of the world realize that a key pillar in the financial health of their nations, and of the global economy, is a population that is financially included and literate.

That necessity is exemplified by our focus this year on the unique financial literacy challenges and needs of women. From an aspiring entrepreneur in Botswana, to a civil servant reaching retirement age in Brazil, to a working mother in Canada sandwiched between her aging parents and college-bound children, to a newly arrived immigrant making a better life for herself in Australia, to a recent graduate looking for work in Ukraine, to a mother in Pakistan struggling to make ends meet, many women face considerable economic challenges.

As shown in our recent study with the GSMA mWomen Program, in many countries men may be the primary income earners for the household, but women are more likely to be the day-to-day financial managers for the family.

In advance of today's Summit, we crunched the numbers from our "Global Financial Literacy Barometer" to get a clear picture of how the women of the world are faring with money management and financial education. The Barometer is a survey we conducted with 25,000 people in 27 different countries. The findings offer both areas of concern and reasons for hope.

Having enough money saved to cover emergencies is a key indicator of an individual's economic stability, regardless of their level of wealth. Given their traditional role as family caregivers, women are particularly susceptible to the vagaries of financial turbulence. A 2011 study by MetLife found that in the U.S., the amount of lost wages due to caregiving responsibilities averaged $143,000 for women. For men it was only $89,000 lost – a dramatic difference of $54,000.

Our Barometer reinforces this point and shows that in all but one of the countries surveyed, women have saved less money for emergencies than the men of their nation. And even in that one outlier, Australia, women had barely saved more than the men, the equivalent of just a few extra days of living expenses. This is a challenge.

Women, however, seem far more determined than men to ensure that their children grow up financially literate. The data found that women spend nearly three more weeks a year talking to and educating their own children about money management. Women also told us they believe that governments should require schools to teach financial literacy to children at an earlier age than male respondents. Both are promising signs that the next generation of women will have more of the skills they need to successfully manage their money.

You can see the results of this Barometer, and which countries have the most financially literate women, at our flagship educational web site:

Today's Summit is not a passive, one-way conversation. It's meant to be a true dialogue and we'd like to get your questions to our distinguished speakers.

So to everyone watching online and in this room who has a question they would like asked, please Tweet it to hashtag Fin Lit Summit, which you will see on the bottom of the screen. Our moderators will take a selection of these questions and pose them to the speakers.

We will also use Twitter today to track the thematic trends of the questions and we will share that information on the screens during the Summit.

Go ahead, grab your phone now and Tweet in a question – I won't be offended.

At Visa we try different approaches to help ensure that widely disparate communities around the world are receiving personal finance education in a way that will resonate most with them. Twitter being a prime example. The ones that work, we keep. The ones that don't are improved or abandoned, in favor of a new tactic. There should be no white elephants in the field of financial literacy. Programs and communications channels that work well today may be laughably out-of-date five years from now.

I'd like to share with you a few of our most recent activities as we strive to enhance the impact of our work:

  • Today we are announcing that our globally popular Financial Soccer educational video game – also known as Financial Football outside of the U.S. – is being completely revamped and will be launched this fall in advance of the 2014 World Cup being held in Brazil. This free, money management game has already been played more than 3 million times by people in 35 countries and 14 different languages. The 2.0 version of the game will feature enhanced graphics, intuitive game play and more than 1,000 different personal finance questions.
  • We're working with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to support MoneySmart Week in that country. Our backing for this important nationwide initiative will include the launch of our new Australian financial literacy web portal later this year.
  • In January, our CEO, Charlie Scharf, announced the creation of the Financial Literacy Development Alliance in China. This Visa-convened coalition is made up of NGOs and government regulators working together to bring financial education to three key groups: urban youth, workers who are migrating to manufacturing centers, and those living in rural areas.
  • In Canada, our Choices & Decisions classroom curriculum is in its 17th year of helping teachers create financially literate students.
  • We have reached more than 45,000 children with our financial literacy theater performances in Brazil and Mexico, mounted in partnership with government agencies, state banks, and consumer advocates.
  • In the United States, we are launching a free smartphone app next week called Plan'it Prom, which will help parents and teens take control of runaway spending for this high school dance by making a realistic budget and sticking to it. This model can work for other major celebrations around the world, such as weddings, Ramadan, New Year's and Quincenaras, among many others.
  • I'm very pleased to report that the pledge Visa made five years ago at the Clinton Global Initiative Conference to reach 20 million people worldwide with our financial literacy programs has been met – and then some. As of today, we've helped 27 million people, a fact that all of the 9,000 employees at Visa take great pride in.

Turning back to today, I have the pleasure now of introducing our keynote speaker: Richard Cordray, the Director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

It's easy to understand why President Obama chose Mr. Cordray to be the Bureau's first Director. Prior to joining the CFPB, Mr. Cordray served on the front lines of consumer protection as Ohio's Attorney General. Mr. Cordray recovered more than $2 billion for Ohio's retirees, investors, and business owners. In 2010, his office responded to a record number of consumer complaints, but Mr. Cordray went further and opened that process for the first time to small businesses and non-profit organizations.

Mr. Cordray also served as Ohio Treasurer and Franklin County Treasurer, two elected positions in which he led state and county banking, investment, debt, and financing activities.

It was as Ohio's Treasurer that I saw first-hand Mr. Cordray's deep-seated commitment to financial literacy.

We worked with him in 2007 to distribute our NFL Financial Football game to all of the public high schools in Ohio. Mr. Cordray also spoke at our very first Financial Literacy and Education Summit right here in Chicago.

Richard Cordray's commitment to financial literacy is personal, long-standing and profound. It is a true honor to have him here with us again in Chicago at this Summit.

Please join me in welcoming, Richard Cordray...

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