Americans Trust Their Financial Institutions to Disclose Terms, Help Manage Finances

According to New Survey, Consumers Remain Optimistic About Finances Despite Recent Trends

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ — American consumers give their own banks and credit card companies a 76 percent approval rating when it comes to being fair when disclosing terms to customers; they also rank their own personal banks and credit card companies far higher than the federal government when it comes to helping them handle their overall finances, according to the Second Annual Financial Fitness Survey released by The Financial Services Roundtable.

In addition, the survey shows that, despite the onslaught of bad press surrounding the state of the U.S. economy, an overwhelming majority of Americans (74 percent) remain optimistic about their personal financial futures; however, the majority of all Americans (57 percent) reported they think the economy is on the wrong track.

The Second Annual Financial Fitness Survey examined how informed and equipped consumers believe they are to make personal financial decisions, and also examines consumer attitudes and practices about seeking and using financial advice, the financial shape that consumers feel they are in, whether they have considered or filed for bankruptcy recently, and their attitudes toward the current state of the economy.

“The results from the survey show that consumers are taking personal responsibility for their own finances by using budgets and seeking outside help,” said Steve Bartlett, president and CEO of The Financial Services Roundtable. “The industry is committed to ensuring that consumers have the tools and resources they need to successfully manage their finances and meet their personal monetary goals.”
Other Key Findings

— Eight-four percent of consumers ranked themselves as being in
“excellent” or “ok” financial shape.
— Financial advice is used most by those who claim they are in
“excellent” or “ok” financial shape. The most common form of financial
advice came from a financial planner.
— In 2007, fewer people sought financial help (24 percent) than in 2006
(31 percent).
— Sixty-eight percent of consumers followed a budget in 2007.
— Fifty-two percent were satisfied with their progress toward reaching
their retirement savings goals.

To help educate consumers and to give them increased access to the tools and resources they need, the industry has created Homeowner’s HOPE hotline, a partnership between The Financial Services Roundtable’s Housing Policy Council, NeighborWorks(R) America, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, and other partners, which provides homeowners in distress with access to independent, trained counselors.

The industry also launched http://www.MyMoneyManagement.net in 2006, a Web site that provides resources and tips to consumers on managing finances, balancing bank accounts, recognizing the warning signs of financial trouble, applying for home loans, protecting against natural disasters, and preparing for the future.

“With more than 12,000 visitors each month, we are reaching people with financial tools and information so they can access a credit counselor if they need to,” said Bartlett. “The site recently launched a new Spanish section as a way to reach more consumers.”

The Financial Services Roundtable represents 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance, and investment products and services to the American consumer. Member companies participate through the chief executive officer and other senior executives nominated by the CEO.

Roundtable member companies provide fuel for America’s economic engine, accounting directly for $65.8 trillion in managed assets, $1 trillion in revenue, and 2.4 million jobs.

The Housing Policy Council and 15 of its member companies have partnered with NeighborWorks(R) America and the Homeownership Preservation Foundation in a national effort to prevent foreclosures and preserve homeownership. The hotline, 888-995-HOPE, and Web site, http://www.995hope.org, are available 24×7 to any homeowner in America having trouble paying their mortgage. Homeowners in distress will receive absolutely free foreclosure prevention counseling by expert counselors at HUD approved agencies. A national Ad Council campaign promoting the hotline rolled out in June 2007. For more information, please visit http://www.ForeclosureHELPandHOPE.org.

SOURCE Financial Services Roundtable

© 2007 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.

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NeighborWorks

NeighborWorks America (NW) creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing.

Since 1991, we have assisted nearly 1.2 million low- to moderate-income families with their housing needs. Much of our success is achieved through our support of the NeighborWorks network ? more than 230 community development organizations working in more than 4,400 urban, suburban and rural communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $15 billion in reinvestment in these communities.

NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

Contact:

Tel: (202) 220-2300
Fax: (202) 376-2600

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