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August 31 2011

Senator Akaka and Rep. Jackson Advocate For Financial Literacy at the HOPE New York Financial Literacy Forum

New York City – August 31, 2011 – Against the backdrop of the inaugural HOPE New York Financial Literacy Forum on July 20-21, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee recognized the Financial Services Roundtable and Operation HOPE for their efforts to improve economic education in America and their support of financial initiatives.  For years, both lawmakers have championed the issue of financial literacy.

Nearly 200 delegates made up of financial industry professionals, students and local HOPE Corps volunteers and clients gathered at the New York Stock Exchange Euronext for a dialogue around the Rebirth of America, Post Economic Crisis.  Senator Akaka welcomed the participants with a video message and Congresswomen Jackson Lee participated with a live phone-message, encouraging the financial organizations to become more involved in efforts to increase financial literacy across the nation.

In June, Sen. Akaka and Rep. Jackson Lee introduced the College Literacy in Finance and Economics (LIFE) Act (S. 1260, H.R. 2535) in the Senate and House of Representatives, bills that would require colleges and universities to provide at least four hours of financial counseling to students.  Rep. Jackson Lee had introduced a similar bill last year to require borrowers of student loans to receive financial counseling.  If passed, student loan borrowers will be required to complete the sessions in order to graduate.

“The College LIFE Act begins to address the importance of early adulthood financial literacy and economic education ensuring that people have the ability to understand their financial choices and manage their individual finances,” said Sen. Akaka.  “Empowering individuals through financial literacy initiatives like the College LIFE Act is an integral part of our commitment to a strong economic recovery.”

“Financial literacy is critical to an individual’s long-term financial well-being,” said Rep. Jackson Lee. “I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, providing our youth with the proper understanding of how money matters are a critical step towards empowering them for success.”

“This historic event unites government, community, and private sector leaders to frame the issue of financial literacy, as an essential, core ingredient to mid-to-long-term economic recovery and stability,” said Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant. “We are honored to have Senator Akaka and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee takes time out of their busy schedules to emphasize its importance.”

The HOPE New York Financial Literacy Forum is the fourth conference in a series of HOPE Forum events, which have been held in Washington DC, Oakland, and Atlanta. HOPE Forums and Summits combine targeted speakers that provide a vision for the future, global leadership town hall sessions that encourage strategic thinking and plenary sessions that focus on tangible and tactical actions that can bring about positive change.