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Visa Inc. / Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Sixth Annual Financial Literacy & Education Summit
April 23, 2012

Welcome Remarks by Oliver Jenkyn
Group Executive, North America, Visa Inc.

Thank you very much Doug.

To everyone here in Chicago, and to the 2,000 people from 59 different countries watching online, welcome to the Sixth Annual Financial Literacy and Education Summit co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Visa.

Your participation today signifies that you are on the leading edge of advancing financial literacy in your communities and we are grateful to have you with us.

Alejo, Tiffany and everyone on Doug Tillett's team here at the Chicago Fed are not only model government partners, but their hard work on Money Smart Week is why the Chicago Fed continues to be at the forefront of financial literacy in the U.S.

And the progress all of you have made to advance the profile of financial education is truly impressive. Thanks to you:

  • It is a topic at G-20 meetings.
  • 35 countries have created a national strategy on financial education.
  • More schools than ever before teach personal finance in the classrooms.
  • Financial services companies such as mine increasingly understand they have a responsibility to educate their customers.
  • And perhaps most importantly, parents are increasingly having "the money talk" with their children

Thanks to your hard work and dedication, we have created more opportunity to reach those who need it the most.

At Visa, we also take financial literacy seriously. As many of you know, over the past two decades we have launched a series of initiatives, including our Financial Football and Soccer education video games; our partnership with Marvel Comics to create a one-of-a-kind financial literacy comic book; and my personal favorite, Peter Pig's Money Counter for elementary school children (and their parents).

And we at Visa, like all of you in the room, will continue to invest in initiatives for this cause. To that end, I would now like to share with you some of the initiatives that we are working on with our partners.

In Canada, we are undertaking a new partnership with the Junior Economic Club of Canada. Together we are bringing students from across Toronto, and eventually across the country, to visit Toronto's financial district for a "Day on Bay Street," to hear firsthand from personal finance experts in an effort to educate the next generation of economic leaders.

To the South, Latin America remains a major focus for our efforts, with

  • The creation of our first financial literacy iPhone apps in the region, released in Portuguese and Spanish.
  • Our enormously popular educational video game, Financial Soccer, was rolled out in Panama and a localized version is coming to Colombia this summer.
  • I am also pleased to announce that today we are launching a new financial literacy web portal in Latin America which will compliment our existing web sites in Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.

In China, its economic success has been the envy of the world, and the need for financial literacy within the country has grown right along with it. So, we are joining forces with the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the NGO Shanghai Better Education to create a Blue Book on Financial Literacy. Joining us today is Wei Wu from the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Wei, we are honored to have you with us today.

In Africa, Rwanda has made significant advancements in financial literacy. Working closely with the Government of Rwanda, we have embarked on an ambitious, multi-faceted program to instill sound money management practices in the people of this rapidly growing country. For example:

  • A traveling theatre production began touring the country last month.
  • And we have created a nationally broadcast radio drama that weaves financial literacy into a compelling storyline.

Meanwhile, in the United States, we are unveiling today a new personal finance high school curriculum called the "Practical Money Skills Course." This program covers an array of vital subjects, including budgeting, saving, loans, insurance, and more. I encourage you to download the curriculum online or at iTunes. This new textbook, as with all of the financial literacy programs we run, is completely free.

Taking an even broader view, we are releasing today the results of financial literacy surveys conducted in 28 countries, in cooperation with Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine. This Global Financial Literacy Barometer provides fascinating insight into the personal finances of nations worldwide. Janet Bodnar, the Editor of Kiplinger's, will share the details of the findings during a second panel later today. I encourage you to watch this panel at 2:00 p.m. central time.

Building on the success of this Summit, I wanted to also mention that we are expanding our focus by holding a series of regional financial literacy forums in India, Russia, Africa and the Middle East later this year, in partnership with the Financial Times.

Turning now to today. We have assembled an extraordinary array of speakers. They represent not only some of the brightest minds in their countries, but also some of the most dedicated to improving financial literacy worldwide. We are honored they can be with us. And I am certain that you will enjoy the discussion.

I now have the pleasure of introducing the moderator for our first panel, Janet Bodnar, the editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine.

Janet will be presenting later today on our second panel and I want to personally thank her for kicking-off our discussion today, on such short notice.

  • Janet has written about a wide range of topics on investing, money management and the economy. She is also a nationally recognized expert in the field of children's and family finances and the author of several books.
  • She is often quoted in national news publications, such as The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on a number of national programs, including Oprah, Today and Good Morning America.
  • For her outstanding work, Bodnar has been recognized by American University for excellence in personal finance reporting and by the National Council on Family Relations for her televised reports on children and money.

Please join me in welcoming, Janet Bodnar

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