More than 500 bankers, regulators and other financial services industry experts attended Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ annual CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium in November. The event, which was in San Antonio, provided compliance professionals with the opportunity to discuss the latest regulatory and risk management topics with prominent federal regulators.
This year’s keynote speaker for the event was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Steven Antonakes, the agency’s associate director for supervision, enforcement and fair lending. Antonakes made it clear to attendees the CFPB only plans to expand its focus on making sure bankers are treating customers fairly and acting in their best interest. He noted how the agency will be zeroing in on fair lending practices in almost every area of banking and expanding its oversight to include non-bank entities such as debt collectors and credit reporting agencies.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of the Community Impact Award, which was awarded to Cambridge (Mass.) Savings Bank. The award recognized the bank’s innovative Community Reinvestment Act activities, highlighted by its comprehensive financial education program, CSBsmart.
The bank, which recently received the highest possible CRA rating from the FDIC and the Massachusetts Division of Banks, revamped it financial education programs in late 2010 and launched CSBsmart as an integral element of its CRA program.
In 2011, the bank added a signature component to CSBsmart, partnering with Central Square Theater’s Youth Underground to create and produce a play, “Money Matters.” The production, which engages teens and young adults on critically important issues related to finances, was written with script consultation from the bank’s financial education team.
“Money Matters” covers a wide range of socially relevant financial topics with a theme of understanding that money has different meanings to different people. Specific areas that are addressed include understanding needs versus wants, how to form the habit of saving, how to deal with spending temptations, how to avoid unmanageable debt and how to protect against fraud. The play runs for about 50 minutes and is followed by an audience “talk back” session with Youth Underground actors and staff.
Since introducing CSBsmart, more than 400 financial education sessions have been conducted for nearly 6,000 participants of all ages and backgrounds, ranging from kindergarteners to homeless war veterans to senior citizens.
For those bankers interested in attending the 2013 CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium, the event is slated for Nov. 3–6 in Orlando. To learn more about the topics covered at this year’s event and to register for next year’s, visit www.CRAColloquium.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Information for this article was provided by Wolters Kluwer and Cambridge Savings Bank.