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      Financial Literacy Month: Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending

      Posted on April 19, 2012 at 1:30 PM


      Scam artists and predatory lenders take advantage of consumers from all walks of life, causing foreclosures and financial hardship in Minnesota communities. Knowledge is often the foundation of financially secure communities and a consumer’s best defense against the pitfalls of predatory lending.

      As Financial Literacy Month continues, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, Housing Finance Commissioner Mary Tingerthal, and Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey hosted a town hall forum at Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center on Wednesday to discuss the adverse financial and community impacts of predatory lending in Minnesota and the steps Minnesotans can take to protect themselves from predatory lending practices.

      The forum began with a panel discussion led by Commissioners Lindsey, Rothman, and Tingerthal regarding recent trends in predatory lending, the state’s role in protecting Minnesota consumers and communities from predatory lending, and the resources available to victims of predatory lending through Minnesota’s state agencies. Following the panel discussion, community members and advocates shared their personal stories about how predatory lending has affected their families, finances, and communities. 

      As financial products become more complex and scammers become more savvy, the need for on-going collaboration between the Commerce, Housing Finance, and Human Rights Departments resonated with both the panel and attendees.  Continued outreach efforts to educate Minnesotans, including our immigrant communities and neighborhoods that have been adversely impacted by these predatory practices, underscore the need for financial literacy.  Knowledge is the best defense against fraud and financial abuse.

      Kicking off an unprecedented statewide outreach effort, Governor Mark Dayton issued a proclamation on Monday, April 2, 2012 declaring April to be Financial Literacy Month in Minnesota. In nearly 40 outreach events across Minnesota during the month of April, the state’s Minnesota Financial Literacy Interagency Work Group will work to empower tens of thousands of Minnesota students, soldiers, families, and senior citizens to learn more about their finances and make informed decisions to secure a successful financial future.