DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) announced today that the Commissioners of its Banking and Financial Services divisions have launched a joint Financial Engagement Unit (FEU) to collaborate with local and national agencies that are focused on financial consumer protection, equity and access.
The Division of Banking regulates state-chartered banks, trust companies and money transmitters. The Division of Financial Services regulates state-chartered credit unions and savings and loan associations. The Financial Engagement Unit will help to raise awareness about initiatives that support economic inclusion and work to strengthen the financial capabilities and resilience of Coloradans, including issues that affect underserved or highly financially vulnerable communities.
“In a year of extreme financial uncertainties due to the pandemic, the need for increased awareness about reliable, safe and sound banking and financial services as a vital mechanism for economic recovery has become a national priority, particularly for those who are underserved, vulnerable or have been highly affected financially by COVID-19,” said Patty Salazar, DORA Executive Director. “I commend our Banking and Financial Services Commissioners for their forward thinking and inclusive approach in creating the Financial Engagement Unit that is now dedicated specifically to this effort.”
The unit will also communicate major regulatory or policy developments, fintech and other financial innovations, developments that involve areas of limited financial access, such as cannabis banking, and key financial policies that help consumers to make more informed decisions that support financial resilience.
“As regulators, we have a duty to ensure our regulated institutions remain safe and sound, and establishing a joint Financial Engagement Unit is intended to build an important information sharing bridge between our divisions, the financial institutions that we regulate, and our public stakeholders on such issues that over time could potentially affect that safety and soundness,” stated State Bank Commissioner Ken Boldt and Financial Services Commissioner Mark Valente.
“COVID-19 has caused a ripple effect across the nation in which our banks, credit unions and other financial services have taken on a critical role in the nation’s economic recovery needs. Yet, millions of Americans remain either unbanked or underbanked, plus financial scams and frauds continue to skyrocket, affecting the financial stability of some of our most vulnerable Coloradans,” said Stakeholder & Innovations Strategist Rebecca Laurie, who was appointed to develop and lead the Financial Engagement Unit on behalf of the two divisions. “We can serve as a supportive partner to the community and government organizations across Colorado who are dedicated to tackling these issues and improving financial capability by helping to raise more awareness.”
Throughout the month of April, the Financial Engagement Unit will recognize and participate in National Financial Capability Month. Rebecca Laurie will join AARP to talk about the FEU and age related financial vulnerability on the podcast Money Talks 50+. Financial Engagement Coordinator Courtney Roberts will participate in Check Your Credit Report Colorado Day on April 29.
The FEU will also share information during Money Smart Week, April 10-17, as well as debut a digital content sharing series, Approach With Caution, that includes financial capability tips, information and resources posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Additionally, consumers can browse dora.colorado.gov/consumer-protection where the friendly “Ask DORA Owl” guides visitors to information and resources as part of DORA’s Take 5 to Get Wise consumer protection campaign.
For questions or more information about the Financial Engagement Unit, email firstname.lastname@example.org.