Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke referenced the economy’s overall “distress” and continued financial strains yesterday in talking about the specific needs of lower-income communities and the community organizations that serve them.

Speaking to a Global Financial Literacy Summit hosted by Operation HOPE, the Fed chief said: “As Americans struggle with very difficult economic and financial circumstances, the importance of financial literacy and financial education has never been more evident.”

Focusing on community development financial institutions, Bernanke said addressing the needs of lower-income communities is key to overall economic recovery. He said CDFIs have a key role to play, but that their funding has been hurt by the financial crisis.

“The current crisis points to the importance of a strong network of healthy community-based organizations and lenders,” he said. “As many communities struggle with rising unemployment, high rates of foreclosures, and vacant homes and stores, these organizations lead efforts to stabilize their neighborhoods.”

— Market News International

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