Okay, bankers hate regulation. We get this. But the global economic crisis has  given people some very real reasons to push for regulation, and, understandably, bankers and their advocates have pushed back. Regardless of which side you're aligned with, it seems both sides are missing a very important point.

Beyond greed and a few bad actors in the financial services sector, one of the causes of the global economic crisis was the entrenched financial illiteracy of the borrower. Borrowers who should have known better asked, "What's the monthly payment?" instead of, "What's the interest rate?" That's dangerous, especially when so much of the economy depends on responsible and sustainable consumer spending.

One prominent banker—a CEO of a major financial institution, no less—caught the point right away: In private conversation, he  has suggested that the one thing the banking industry should be required to do is to sponsor mandatory financial literacy. 

He says he would like to see every bank adopt one or more local schools and not only provide financial literacy training for every child (your future customers,  we might add), but also select a banker as a role model for them, so these kids can see who they can be when they grow up. He even believes banks should fund kids' business plans, up to $500 each, so that  budding entrepreneurs can start, build and grow companies in their communities.

We at Operation HOPE agree, and we've worked with Gallup to find a way to make it possible. We call it HOPE Business in a Box, and here's how it works:

Read the complete Op-Ed in the American Banker Magazine here.

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