A few minutes with Kurt Wilhelm, Director of the Financial Markets Group, the OCC

On Wednesday, April 25th the Roundtable will host its inaugural “Soup and Sandwich with a Regulator”, an opportunity for Roundtable members to discuss key topics with industry regulators. The first guest speaker in this monthly series will be Kurt Wilhelm, Director of the Financial Markets Group at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

We sat down quick with Kurt to ask a few questions:

1)      How did you land in your current regulatory position with the OCC? Have you ever worked in industry?

I have worked in both private industry and the government.  I began my career at the OCC in 1978, as a field examiner in Little Rock, Arkansas.  I transferred to Washington, as a field examiner in 1979.  I was commissioned a National Bank Examiner in 1983.  I left the OCC in 1985 to take a job in the Treasury Division at First American Bank, N.A., in Washington, DC.  I became the investment portfolio manager for the three-bank holding company (First American Metro Corp.).  First American had problems with commercial real estate in the early 1990s, and further had an unfortunate connection with BCCI, which had secretly acquired an ownership stake in the bank’s holding company.  I returned to the OCC in 1992, working in the Chief National Bank Examiner’s office.  

2)      On what section(s) of the Dodd-Frank Act is your department primarily working on?

My unit is actively involved in the Volcker rule (section 619), the legal lending limit (section 610), and swap margin rules (sections 731 and 764).

3)      What are some of the trends you are noticing in financial services?  

With interest rates so low, trading results are now disproportionately affected by net CVA gains/losses.  Banks are rebuilding capital coming out of the credit crisis by purchasing investment assets and riding the yield curve.  This is the traditional approach to rebuilding capital after a credit crisis and has been encouraged by the Federal Reserve, which has kept short-term rates very low.

4)      Please share an interesting piece of information about yourself.

I am the worst putter of anyone who plays golf regularly.  I am also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and also hold the FRM designation from GARP.

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Financial Literacy Spotlight: Students Appreciate Dave Ramsey Lessons Delivered by Fifth Third Bank

The best gauge of a program’s effectiveness is what the people who participate say about it. In the case of Fifth Third Bank’s sponsorship of Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum, all the news is good news.

Here’s what teachers have said to us about the program:

“Many students have a misconception that money will not be a problem once they graduate and get a job. Not only does Dave Ramsey’s curriculum educate students but it equips young people with the skills and knowledge to manage their finances as they enter the real world.”

“Our students are looking forward to a sound financial future and the funding that Fifth Third Bank has provided for their learning experience is a true investment in the youth of today and we are very grateful.”

“Dave Ramsey’s curriculum has been a critical element on my Personal Finance and Economics classes this year. His emphasis on personal discipline, avoiding debt and long-term planning is something I wish I’d been taught as a teenager. I have enjoyed adapting the lessons to my class and plan to use the online tools at www.53.com, Fifth Third’s website, for one of my major projects this year.”

“I have seen a couple of the financial programs being offered to the schools and have to say that the Dave Ramsey personal finance program is by far the best one available.”

“My students walk into the classroom everyday changing, ‘Dave, Dave, Dave’ because they want to watch Dave Ramsey and also because our Fifth Third Bank partner is also a ‘Dave.’ Our Fifth Third ‘Dave’ has been enthusiastic and our kids enjoy him, too! The kids have talked so much about the program that our enrollment for Personal Finance has grown!”

In 2010, Fifth Third Bank and The Lampo Group, the company of New York Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey, formed an alliance in which Fifth Third would sponsor his personal finance curriculum in high schools throughout the Bank’s footprint. The sponsorship will enable the Bank to reach more than 100,000 students over the next several years. These students will gain the valuable lessons from Ramsey’s course at no charge to the school or to the students themselves. More information is available at www.53.com/financial-empowerment.

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Financial Literacy Spotlight: Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services recently invested $10 million over the next five years into their Pathway to Financial Success program. The money will go towards  implementing financial education into public high schools with a goal of reaching 500,000 students nationwide.

The outreach will undoubtedly also touch thousands of classrooms  too. Discover has made their devotion to securing a financial future through the youth of our country evident.

 To learn more about the program visit: http://www.pathwaytofinancialsuccess.org

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Financial Literacy Spotlight: VISA’S Currency of Progress

Visa shows how understanding and applying financial literacy is all in the interpretation when they traveled to South Africa. Learn more about Currency of Progress program here: http://currencyofprogress.visa.com/

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Financial Literacy Spotlight: Roundtable Awarded President’s Volunteer Service Award

In March,  the Roundtable was the proud recipient of a 2010-2011 President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award, originally created in 2003, recognizes the valuable contributions volunteers make in the communities and encourages more people to serve.

Judy Chapa, Vice President for Community Service, was on hand to receive the award. “Our companies are active members of the community, and through our great working relationship with Junior Achievement, we have cultivated a program where their volunteerism is recognized, rewarded and making a big impact. We are proud to stand here with all of these exceptional organizations, and we thank both Junior Achievement and the President for this honor.”

The Roundtable was nominated for the award by certifying organization, Junior Achievement, and was bestowed a Gold Award for completing over 15,000 volunteer hours.

Other member companies whose volunteer work was honored include: Capital One, General Electric, HSBC, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and State Farm.

Judy Chapa recieves the award on behalf of the Roundtable

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Deadline Closing for FinLit Scholarship!

The Financial Services Roundtable established a college scholarship in 2011 to honor students who successfully completed a certified financial education course, or a financial literacy course offered by a Roundtable member company or a Roundtable community service Partner, before entering college.

This year, we’ll award 17  scholarships, and you could be one of the winners!!

Apply here: http://www.fsround.org/fsr/financial_literacy/files/Financial-Literacy-Scholarship-Application-2012.pdf

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Financial Literacy Spotlight: Union Bank

The video below highlights some of Union Bank’s activities during 2011 with several Boys & Girls Clubs in Southern California.

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Saving Early: The Road to a Secure Retirement

The Financial Services Roundtable in partnership with the Financial Services Institute and the Retirement Security Coalition has released a report on retirement savings, “Saving Early: The Road to a Secure Retirement.”

The paper reports on the promotion of retirement savings and programs conducted by 20 different financial services companies to help consumers and clients save wisely. In the report it is made clear that saving early is the single most important thing to a financially stable retirement. 

Bank of America and BBVA Compass are two of the many companies that provide free services to assist their clients in planning for retirement. Bank of America offers Retirement Contact Centers while  BBVA Compass and Putnam Investments both supply retirement calculators.

Programs vary from company to company all providing clients with useful tactics to help them ensure a comfortable retirement.

To read paper and learn more about how to save for retirement visit: http://bit.ly/Hrcpl2

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Financial Literacy Spotlight: Ally Financial

For Financial Literacy Month Ally Financial is promoting its Wallet Wise program, hosting various consumer based activities with outreach ranging from social media to in-person sessions. Wallet Wise will drive awareness of personal financial tendencies and educate individuals on how they can improve these habits. Topics will include budgeting, credit, banking, investing and automotive finance.

To partake in Ally Financial’s Wallet Wise online quiz visit: http://www.allywalletwise.com/financial-IQ.

Live Wallet Wise sessions will be held over the course of the week starting April 21 in Detroit. Those who cannot attend the sessions can also follow @Ally on Twitter to stay updated on tips on making responsible financial decisions.

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Financial Literacy Spotlight: Allstate and The Allstate Foundation are a Leader in Both Finance and Financial Literacy

Tom Wilson, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer of The Allstate Corporation is also the 2012 Chairman of The Financial Services Roundtable. Allstate and the Allstate foundation have always been a community leader. Their social engagement profile ranges from safe teen driving programs to domestic violence programs. But, they are also a leader in financial literacy.

In the past three years, through the Allstate Foundation employee volunteers have taught over 25,000 students in JA programs. Last year alone, 350 employees volunteered.

While employees are engaging in the classrooms, 12 Allstate representatives sit on local JA Boards, and Cathy Brune who is the President of the Allstate Protection East Territory also serves as JA’s President of the Eastern Division on US National Board.

To top it all off, Allstate committed over $1,000,000 in financial support last year. The Roundtable has a memorandum of understanding with Junior Achievement to teach more than a half million students through 25,000 volunteers from Roundtable member companies by the year 2013.

The Allstate Foundation is also, champions of a 7-year, more than $30 million commitment to providing economic empowerment services for domestic violence survivors. Through that commitment, The Allstate Foundation has trained 3,000 advocates in 1,000 local programs in 33 states and reached 100,000 survivors.  They have led the country in moving the conversation on domestic violence from a focus on cuts and bruises (really important) to helping survivors (mostly women) to gain the financial skills they need to get free and stay free from abuse.  This is truly a differentiator for Allstate and has been widely recognized as such.

That’s good teamwork but their commitment doesn’t stop there.

Allstate has also recently partnered with Award winning personal financial expert Terry Savage to bring The Savage Truth on Money presented by Allstate to over 14 cities across the country this year alone. The Savage Truth on Money is free, open to the public and offers an opportunity for individuals to listen and learn some hard truths and insights on money. As Terry says, she helps people get even, get organized and get ahead. For more information you can go to http://www.myallstatefinancial.com/the-savage-truth.aspx.

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