By Walter Alarkon - 04/02/10 09:25 PM EDT
President Barack Obama named April National Financial Literacy Month.
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.