11th ‘RFI’ from consumer agency looks at financial education (and how to eliminate, reduce ‘duplicative’ efforts)

Delivery of consumer financial education through online tools and other means makes up the 11th “request for information” (in a series of 12) issued Wednesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the acting director’s quest for “evidence” that the agency is fulfilling its role.

Specifically, the agency is looking for comments (among others) about how it can eliminate or minimize duplication of efforts performed by other entities. The RFI was issued with a 90-day comment period (and is expected to be published on April 9).

In the RFI, the bureau noted that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank) listed “conducting financial education programs” as one of six primary functions of the agency. Along those lines, the RFI notes, is that Dodd-Frank directs the agency to “develop and implement ‘initiatives intended to educate and empower consumers to make better informed financial decisions.’”

Dodd-Frank also directs, the bureau states, that CFPB “develop and implement a strategy to improve consumers’ financial literacy by, among other things, providing opportunities for consumers to access information and resources related to a range of financial topics including credit products, histories, and scores; savings, borrowing and other services found at mainstream financial institutions; preparing for major purchases such as education; debt reduction; improving the consumer’s financial situation; the development of long-term savings strategies; and wealth-building.”

The RFI seeks specific comments in three areas, related to its mission as required by the law, on how to:

  • Improve the bureau’s existing programs and delivery mechanisms;
  • Better measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the bureau’s financial education
  • work; and
  • Eliminate or minimize the duplication of the bureau’s financial education work with that performed by other entities, including federal, state, and local agencies.

The last of the RFIs – which were introduced in late January following Mulvaney’s “call for evidence to ensure the Bureau is fulfilling its proper and appropriate functions” – will be issued next week, the agency said, and will focus on consumer inquiries.

CFPB RFI No. 11: consumer financial education