OCIF to create Financial Education Institute; embarks on weeklong orientation tour

Written by  //  March 14, 2011  //  Banking  //  No comments

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OCIF Chief Alfredo Padilla offers details on new Institute,
as education division director Velia Cardona looks on.

Financial Institutions Commissioner Alfredo Padilla announced Monday the creation of the Financial Education Institute, whose main goal is to offer financial education to island residents.

The Institute will operate two areas: a Research and Analysis Center, equipped with research and project management rooms, an interactive financial library and a data and publications center; and a Training and Educational Programs Center, offering a specialized and varied financial curriculum.

During a news conference Monday morning, Padilla, head of the agency known as the OCIF, said the need to provide financial education to the people has been recognized by various governments.

The institute — which will take over the duties currently handled by the agency’s Financial Education division — is the product of a bill filed and approved last year, which Gov. Luis Fortuño signed into law in December 2010.

The new institute will be a state-of-the-art educational center, with varied and specialized curricula for financial investigations and spaces that promote public policy determinations,” Padilla said. “With the institute, Puerto Rico is inserted into a global trend that seeks to promote financial education to ensure that future generations achieve their financial goals. It is time to expand the scope our division had to achieve a broad impact that promotes financial maturity.”

The institute will begin operating later this year, and will not represent a burden to the government’s coffers, as the OCIF will pay for its operational costs out of its own budget, Padilla noted. For that purpose, the agency will draw from a $10 million internal fund that could also cover the payroll associated with the six to 10 new jobs that may be created to run the institute to be located at the Centro Europa building in Santurce.

OCIF launches personal finance tour
Following a successful run during last year’s Finance Expo Fair held in Plaza las Américas, this week the OCIF will kick off a weeklong “Your Finances” tour, hitting five island malls to offer information on how to prepare a budget, stabilize personal finances, credit repair and family savings, among other topics.

Rotating among different malls will enable the agency to reach more people, Padilla said.

The tour begins today at Plaza las Américas in Hato Rey, and moves to the Montehiedra Town Center in San Juan on Tuesday, to the Santa Rosa Mall in Bayamón on Wednesday, to Las Catalinas Mall in Caguas on Thursday and wraps up at the Plaza Carolina mall in Carolina on Friday.

Last year’s event at Plaza las Américas helped hundreds of people identify more than $2.3 million in inactive accounts in local financial institutions. The agency also offered orientation services and helped consumers file claims.

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