Podcast: adapting economic education for demographics and fintech

St Louis Fed’s Mary Suiter discusses the reserve bank’s new programme for Native American economic education
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The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis is expanding its economic education outreach to help lift the financially fragile Native American population, says Mary Suiter, assistant vice-president and economic education officer.

Speaking on Central Banking’s new Fed Speak podcast, Suiter also notes that central banks must consider how best to meet the changing needs in financial education to keep up with the rapidly evolving fintech landscape.

“People need to understand the economy, how an economy operates and what their role in that economy is,” she says. “So starting small and building programmes that really help people understand how they fit into the economic system is really valuable.”

The reserve bank is in the early stages of developing suite of programmes to support the Native American population in areas of financial literacy, economic decision-making and personal finance.

“There is a lot of evidence that this is really needed in these communities and I think that the chiefs and the governors of these tribes and organisations have come to recognise this as an issue,” she says.

Suiter explains how the reserve bank is adapting its economic education programmes to better align with the linguistic and cultural sensitivities of each tribe. Small changes can “make it more palatable for people to absorb the information”, she says.

Mary Suiter
Mary Suiter, St Louis Fed
Photo: St Louis Fed

Fintech challenges

As fintech increasingly changes the way people interact with the financial system, it is “really important” central banks play a role in helping people adapt and prepare for changes, Suiter says.

“It is part of our future and we need to figure out what it is economic education can do,” she says.

The St Louis Fed currently approaches fintech topics in its quarterly Page One Economics: Focus on Finance publication, but it recognises that it is likely going to have to find new ways to approach fintech education.

“The needs are changing rapidly as the financial environment changes and I think we need to be ready to provide the kind of changes that constituents need to protect themselves and be prepared,” Suiter says. 


00:00 Introduction

01:40 Why we need economic education  

03:12 A interest coming from Native American tribes

09:00 Adapting economic education to demographics

13:09 Collaborating with Philadelphia and Atlanta Fed in economic education

16:59 Approaches to economic education

22:13 Adapting economic education for fintech

To hear the full podcast, listen in the player above, or download. Future podcasts in our CB On Air: Fed Speak series will be uploaded to centralbanking.com. CB On Air is also available via iTunes or podcast apps and from Google Podcasts (Android only).

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