Expand Housing Counseling Services

Washington, D.C. – Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League called on Congress today to provide financial literacy education before the House Financial Services Committee during the Financial Literacy and Education: The Effectiveness of Governmental and Private Sector Initiatives hearing on Capitol Hill.

The hearing examined the current status of governmental and private sector financial literacy and education initiatives, and explored recommendations for improving financial literacy efforts. During his testimony, Morial emphasized the dire need for financial literacy education, particularly for African Americans in urban areas across the country.

\”African Americans\’ economic standing is 57 percent of that of white America,\” testified Morial, using statistics from the National Urban league\’s 2008 State of Black America Report and Equality Index. \”Blacks hold nearly five times more installment debt than whites, and the median net worth for African American is $11,800, versus $118,300 for whites,\” he continued.

Morial called for ways to reduce these gaps. He cited the work of the National Urban League and its more than 100 affiliates across the country, 75 of which operate financial literacy programs. Morial recommended an expansion of housing counseling and financial literacy services in an effort to improve the financial situation for minorities with respect to securing home ownership, maintaining good credit and attaining monetary savings.

Housing counseling also plays a key role in increasing financial awareness and closing the wealth gap between minority and non-minority households. The national Urban League urges that measures be taken to reform the Federal Housing Administration as well as put an end to predatory lending, an unscrupulous practice that has become a severe impediment to home ownership for African Americans.

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