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FINANCIAL SYSTEM IN CRISIS

Just listen to the government, kids

September 16, 2008|David Colker | Times Staff Writer

See Sally. See Sally run from the bank. Run Sally run.

In the midst of one of the worst banking crises in decades, the U.S. Treasury Department today will launch a long-planned program to teach young Americans about credit and other financial matters.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, September 18, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Financial education: An article in Business on Tuesday about a U.S. Treasury Department program to teach young Americans about credit misspelled the name of the deputy assistant secretary for financial education. He is Dan Iannicola, not Don Iannicola.

The theme of the campaign: "Don't let your credit put you in a bad place."

Like in bankruptcy court?

Don Iannicola, the department's deputy assistant secretary for financial education, tried to put the best face on the timing of the announcement.

"The events unfolding in the last few months can be seen as a national teachable moment," Iannicola said.

Planning for the program, which cost about $750,000, began last year. Iannicola said Treasury officials didn't consider delaying the launch.

"There is no bad time for people to learn about their money and their credit," he said.

The Treasury folks aren't planning a similar program for the heads of financial institutions or government regulators.

Iannicola acknowledged that some might detect a contradiction in a Treasury-sponsored education program being launched at a time when slack government oversight was getting some of the blame for the mortgage market meltdown that begat the credit crunch that led to Monday's financial fallout.

"Education and regulation are not at odds with each other," he said.

The program will consist of television and radio spots, Web banners and a site ( www.controlyourcredit.gov) that has an interactive game called "The Bad Credit Hotel."

No word on whether there will be a Lehman Bros. suite or early check-out policy.

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david.colker@latimes.com

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