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|WaMu and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions Kick Off National Financial Education Summit in Seattle|
National Summit Aims to Develop Solutions for More Effective Financial Education Programs in the United States
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 30, 2007--In 2005, the United States personal savings rate became negative for the first time since the Great Depression, and it continues to be negative today. This means that for every dollar people in this country make, they spend more than that dollar, while our Chinese counterparts are saving 30 percent of disposable income and Japanese consumers are saving 25 percent. To address this trend, Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE:WM), and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) are hosting the National Financial Education Summit, which begins today in Seattle.
This two-day event, conducted Oct. 30 and 31 at the Cedarbrook Leadership Center in SeaTac, Wash., brings together some of the members of the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Literacy and Education Commission -- 150 of the best and brightest financial minds -- to tackle challenges and develop solutions to bolster our financial education programs in the United States. This is the first time that WaMu and DFI have hosted the group, and marks the summit's debut on the West Coast.
"Here at Treasury we know that as Americans become more financially literate they are better able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by our economy and to avoid potential pitfalls," said U.S. Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary Dan Iannicola, Jr. "I'm gratified that our national effort to advance financial education is being joined by Washington Mutual and the Washington Department of Financial Institutions. This conference will generate the ideas, partnerships and excitement that can help take financial education in America to the next level."
"Our national savings rate is in negative numbers, and the American Dream is slipping away for too many people," said Kerry Killinger, chairman and CEO of WaMu. "We're committed to changing lives -- whether it's getting kids started on the right track or helping an adult in trouble get things straightened out."
All across the country, the call for more effective financial education is growing louder. Without it, millions of Americans face the very real risk of failing to meet immediate financial obligations or achieving life goals such as paying for higher education, home ownership and the possibility for retirement.
"DFI is committed to promoting financial literacy, not just in Washington State, but throughout the country, with partners like WaMu and the Department of Treasury," said Scott Jarvis, Washington Department of Financial Institutions Director. "We are delighted to have been able to play a part in bringing together such a high-powered group of individuals to begin addressing the many issues financial literacy advocates face as they work to educate consumers of all ages. It is our hope that this summit will result in strong strategic planning and networking that gives financial literacy proponents the tools they need to reach, educate and empower more Americans than ever before."
The United States currently holds a national debt of $9 trillion -- an all-time high -- and with half of American households having savings of less than $1,200, the importance of financial education is clear. This week's National Financial Education Summit aims to identify key problems, work to develop solutions and help create positive change.
The program begins today with addresses from Kerry Killinger and Washington State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D 37th). Working group sessions throughout the day will focus on developing recommendations that can be shared nationally. A dinner presentation will include remarks from Susan Beacham, noted author of "Money Savvy Generation."
A summary report on the recommendations will be distributed later this year, and a DVD including the speaker presentations, working group outtakes and the final recommendations report will be available at no cost from the Washington Department of Financial Services. To order, contact Jeremy Lushene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-902-0506, or visit: http://www.dfi.wa.gov/fined_summit/dvd.htm.
WaMu, through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation's leading consumer and small business banks. At September 30, 2007, WaMu and its subsidiaries had assets of $330.1 billion. The company has a history dating back to 1889, and its subsidiary banks currently operate approximately 2,700 consumer and small business banking stores throughout the nation. WaMu's press releases are available at http://newsroom.wamu.com.
About DFI (www.dfi.wa.gov) -- 360-902-8700 -- 877-746-4334
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders, and securities brokers and dealers. The department has won numerous awards for its financial literacy and outreach programs developed to protect consumers from financial fraud. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, the DFI's Web site features consumer tips on a variety of financial fraud-related topics.CONTACT: DDB Public Relations
April Matson, 206-223-6335
Washington Department of Financial Institutions
Lyn Iverson, 360-902-8731