Jbdsc_0118Bryant Applauds Committee Decision to Explore the Future of Responsible Sub-Prime Lending; Committee moves immediately to assemble a group of experts and advisors for May, 2008 meeting

Washington, D.C. – May 28, 2008 – At the inaugural meeting of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, Committee on the Under-Served, now chaired by HOPE founder John Hope Bryant, a decision was made to call on experts and advisors to gather useful information which will ultimately lead to hoped for “best practices” around the future of responsible sub-prime lending. Furthermore, the Committee will explore how financial literacy could have helped to avoid the current subprime mortgage crisis in the first place. 

"With all the attention presently focused on solving the subprime mortgage crisis, there is a very real possibility, I believe, that lending to the poor, the under-served and even the middle class might effectively dry up. This would not be good for America," said Committee Chairman John Hope Bryant. He went on to say, "Responsible subprime mortgage lending has done more to lift the poor out of poverty than anything else over the past 50 years. The problem has been irresponsible, predatory and greed-based subprime lending, and massive levels of financial illiteracy amongst many borrowers that fuels it, and not subprime lending itself."

Committee member Sharon Lechter, CEO and founder of Pay Your Family First, LLC and best-selling author added, "The ‘need’ for providing affordable housing, rational financing, and the opportunity for home ownership has never been greater. We have the opportunity to work together to develop responsible subprime lending programs that will serve the population who needs them the most, while also providing essential financial education to them through the process."

The Committee will gather information (1) to better understand efforts needed to identify and to differentiate responsible and irresponsible subprime mortgage lending, and furthermore to outline what a responsible subprime loan product might look like in the future, (2) other related issues such as proper and "common sense" clear loan disclosures and the overall context in which these products, disclosures and other related mortgage factors become active positive or negative contact points with respect to financial literacy. Finally, (3) one key objective of the effort should be to identify what financial literacy initiatives are needed to address the massive levels of financial illiteracy that contributed to the current subprime crisis.

"Our goal in this country should be to raise up generations of children who have an equal chances to live healthy, happy, and productive lives. Without sound policies supporting financial literacy, this goal will be unobtainable. This is not about getting rich. It’s about the survival of both our working poor and our economy," remarked Committee member Rev. Dr. Robert Vernon Lee, III.

Committee member Ignacio Salazar said, "This committee will make every effort to provide greatly needed financial literacy information to underserved communities. By empowering our communities with sound financial habits, we can take the first step in restoring confidence in the relationship with lending institutions."

Already the FDIC, the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision, the Securities Exchange Commission, HUD and the FHA, the National Credit Union Administration, the Banking Commissioner for the District of Columbia and the Superintendent of Banking for the State of New York, along with a core of some of America’s leading financial institutions amongst others, have made commitments to serve as expert advisors to the Committee.

Members of the newly created President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, Committee on the Under-Served include Ignacio Salazar, member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and president, SER National-Jobs For Progress, Inc.; Sharon Lechter, member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and founder and CEO, Pay Your Family First, LLC — she is also the co-author of international best-selling "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" book series; Reverend Robert Lee, member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and founder and CEO, Fresh Ministries, Inc.; and John Hope Bryant, Committee chairman, and vice chairman of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. Mr. Bryant is chairman, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE.

Financial guru Charles Schwab, CEO of Charles Schwab Corporation is chairman of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, and U.S. Treasurer Anna Cabral and Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, president of the Charles Schwab Foundation, are advisors to the Committee.

About the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy

The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy (the Council) was created on January 22, 2008 by President George W. Bush. The Council’s purpose is to help keep America competitive and assist the American people in understanding and addressing financial matters. Each member of the Council represents an industry involved with the delivery of financial education to American citizens. The President and the Secretary of the Treasury have tasked the Council to work with the public and private sector to help increase financial education efforts for youth in school and for adults in the workplace, increase access to financial services, establish measures of national financial literacy, conduct research on financial knowledge and to help strengthen public and private sector financial education programs.

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