Obama names April National Financial Literacy Month

President Barack Obama named April National Financial Literacy Month.

The president said in a proclamation Friday that a better understanding of the financial system can help prevent another economic crisis. He called on Americans during April to recommit "to teaching ourselves and our children about the basics of financial education.

"Our recent economic crisis was the result of both irresponsible actions on Wall Street, and everyday choices on Main Street," Obama said. "Large banks speculated recklessly without regard for the consequences, and other firms invented and sold complex financial products to conceal risks and escape scrutiny. At the same time, many Americans took out loans they could not afford or signed contracts without fully understanding the terms. Ensuring this crisis never happens again will require new rules to protect consumers and better information to empower them."

The president used the proclamation to push his proposal for a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which he said would give Americans "clear and concise financial information." The proposed agency is one of the most contentious items in the congressional debate over new Wall Street regulations.

"We must put an end to confusing loan contracts, hidden fees attached to mortgages, and unfair penalties that appear without warning on bank statements," Obama said.