News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance
Acting Commissioner Donald Bryan

For Immediate Release: May 13, 2005

For Further Information: Jaimee Gilmartin - (609) 292-5064

Financial Education Initiative Expands Statewide
NJFLAN Teaching Consumers of All Ages About Financial Responsibility

SAYREVILLE – The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance is teaming up with the New Jersey Financial Literacy Awareness Network (NJFLAN) to get the message out about the importance of financial education. An NJFLAN representative will speak 10 a.m. tomorrow at Faith Fellowship Community Development Corporation (FFCDC) on Main Street in Sayreville , where the newest NJFLAN learning center will be open for residents. The presentation is part of an ongoing statewide expansion in personal financial education.

NJFLAN, a Department initiative, is an association of public and private organizations whose goal is to improve financial literacy awareness and responsibility among New Jersey residents. NJFLAN revolutionizes the delivery of financial education and resource materials by coordinating the distribution of these materials to consumers and all public and private organizations participating in NJFLAN.

During the past few months the network opened seven learning centers in libraries, community centers and schools throughout the state, with five additional sites scheduled to open by the end of June. NJFLAN's site at FFCDC is sponsored by Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union in Sayreville . Earlier this month, NJFLAN opened another learning site at Fairlawn Senior Center in Bergen County , sponsored by Columbia Bank.

“The Department has played a key role in boosting financial literacy statewide,” Banking and Insurance Acting Commissioner Donald Bryan said. “It has become our mission to put much-needed financial literacy materials in the hands of those who need it most. More organizations are joining the network, a sure sign that NJFLAN is fulfilling its goal.”

New Jersey is home to many organizations that offer educational materials, credit counseling and financial solutions. But many consumers do not know how to balance a checkbook and have little insight into the basic principles involved with earning, spending, saving and investing.

“Acting Governor Codey reminds us that it is never too early or too late to get an education,” said H. Robert Tillman, Director of the Department's Division of Banking. “The same is true for learning how to make sound financial decisions. Anyone at any age can begin developing the tools a person needs for safe and sound handling of their finances. NJFLAN is empowering thousands of Garden State consumers who are learning how to efficiently manage their money.”

Tomorrow, NJFLAN coordinator Donta' Bell will teach course participants about the network and its accessibility. “This statewide public and private partnership brings together state agencies, financial services associations and companies, corporate foundations and community-based organizations for the common goal of providing New Jersey residents of all ages easy access to financial education resources,” said Bell .

NJFLAN allows the state to measure improvements in financial literacy by the way financial education materials are circulated to the public. The flexibility of the network allows organizations to continue using existing financial literacy curricula of choice, but will expose more organizations to the vast financial education materials available to consumers. NJFLAN is part of the major and comprehensive financial literacy campaign the Department launched last summer.

Since then, the Department has developed training programs that will help community leaders and groups teach their members the skills necessary to improve their financial standing and responsibility. Last year, the Department also unveiled the Consumer Credit Bill of Rights , which made New Jersey the first state to provide consumers with additional protections with respect to the use of their credit information.

In continuing its financial education campaign, NJFLAN is spreading the word about the growing network. NJFLAN works with scores of groups like FFCDC, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving the quality of life of community residents and their families.

“We are delighted to partner with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance and the New Jersey Financial Literacy Awareness Network to promote financial literacy among New Jersey residents,” said the Rev. Clarence Bulluck, FFCDC executive director. “These are critical skills that everyone needs to avoid financial traps and build a secure financial future for themselves and their families.”

NJFLAN partners include Columbia Bank, Union Center National Bank, Independence Community Bank, NovaDebt, Gateway Funding Diversified Mortgage, First Choice Mortgage , PNC Bank, Capital Lending Corporation, Garden State Mortgage and Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union. The New Jersey Credit Union League, New Jersey Bankers Association, New Jersey League of Community Bankers, Mortgage Bankers Association of NJ , New Jersey Coalition of Auto Retailers, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education also support the network.

More information on the network may be found at NJFLAN's web site, or by calling ( 973) 645-0586 . For more information about FFCDC programs, call (732) 727-9500, ext. 1117 or .