Following through on the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Financial Literacy Action Plan released last October, Commissioner Mike Rothman invited the heads of nine state agencies to the Department for a first of its kind Interagency Work Group on Financial Literacy at 3:00pm this afternoon. Agencies invited to participate in the work group have existing programs, outreach efforts, or other interests in financial literacy.
The goal of today’s meeting is twofold: 1) to increase communication and collaboration across the administration in order to improve or expand existing financial literacy programs; and 2) identify new ways an administration-wide partnership may help ensure Minnesotans from Kindergarten to retirement have the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to achieve financial security.
“This is an unprecedented coalition that demonstrates this administration’s strong commitment to financial literacy and consumer education,” said Commissioner Rothman. “With an economy in recovery, and an increasingly complex marketplace, countless Minnesota families are facing real and difficult financial challenges. It has never been more important to work together across agencies to strengthen the systems that educate and support knowledgeable, financially secure Minnesota consumers. Working together in strong partnership, this coalition can make a big difference in the lives and finances of Minnesotans.”
Joining Commissioner Rothman at this afternoon’s meeting are Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller, Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Mark Phillips, Housing Finance Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito, Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, and representatives from the Department of Human Services, Department of Revenue, and Department of Military Affairs.
“The efforts of this working group will help Minnesotans of all ages gain the skills and knowledge they need to be financially secure,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “I commend Commissioner Rothman and his working group for their leadership.”
At the meeting, commissioners and staff from each agency will have the opportunity to present their departments’ ongoing programs, policies, and interests in financial literacy. The presentations will give all work group participants a better understanding of each agency’s respective role in financial literacy and helped begin the process of identifying possible areas of interagency collaboration. Following the presentations, work group members will identify next, immediate steps for interagency collaboration. The group will meet again in early February to continue the forward momentum of collaboration.
Today’s work group meeting stemmed from a Financial Literacy Roundtable convened by Commissioner Rothman at the Commerce Department last April. At that meeting, more than 60 stakeholders from the private, non-profit, and public sectors gathered to advise Commissioner Rothman on what the Department of Commerce could do to support ongoing efforts to advance the cause of financial literacy in Minnesota. Among other recommendations, roundtable participants urged the administration to collaborate more effectively across agencies to pool resources, talent, and ideas on financial literacy efforts.
Since the April roundtable discussion, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has begun work on nine of twelve action items established in the Financial Literacy Roundtable Report, including:
Consumer Alerts – Continuing the new administration’s aggressive commitment to timely, relevant consumer alerts and improving public knowledge of the Department’s enforcement actions
Improving Web Content – Beginning the construction of an online financial literacy clearinghouse, expected to launch sometime this spring
Senior Outreach – Improving consumer outreach to senior citizens, including the launch of an Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program (EIFFE) to train medical professionals how to identify and report financial abuse in their elderly patients
Public-Private Partnerships – Engaging in discussions with financial institutions and professional associations about how to partner public and private interests to advance the cause of financial literacy in Minnesota – including a meeting jointly held by Commissioner Rothman and Rep. Morrie Lanning in early January to discuss legislative initiatives and other partnership opportunities with private sector financial institutions and professional associations
Getting Involved – More actively participating in financial literacy organizations and events
Interagency Collaboration – Convening an interagency work group on financial literacy, including ten state agencies across the administration in conversations about potential partnerships and collaboration
Communities of Color – Improving outreach to communities of color and immigrant populations through culturally competent consumer alerts and the establishment of new collaborative partnerships
State Employee Financial Education – Continuing the Department’s involvement in Slice of Spring and other education opportunities that improve the financial knowledge of state employees
Federal Partnerships – Improving state-federal partnerships on financial literacy efforts with the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Reserve Bank