AUGUST 19, 2010
In an effort to provide illegal immigrants with a “financial education” the U.S. government has examined the relationship between English fluency and successful money management and published its findings in Spanish.
The in-depth probe into the link between English proficiency and financial literacy in the U.S. was, of course, funded by American taxpayers. So was the 11-page Spanish report (Finanzas del Consumidor: Factores que Afectan la Educacion Financiera de las Personas con Conocimientos Limitados del Ingles) advising “more than 12 million adults in the United States” who don’t speak English about financial matters.
A credit card consumer protection law enacted last year mandated the probe, according to the congressional investigative unit that conducted it, the Government Accountability Office. The mission is to help those who don’t speak English better navigate the banking system and make informed judgments regarding money management.
Investigators found that people with limited English proficiency (read between the lines; illegal aliens) are less likely than the “U.S. population” (legal residents and citizens) to use banks and other mainstream institutions. That means they use alternative financial services—such as payday lenders and check-cashing houses—that charge much higher fees because they require “little or no documentation.”
These monolingual Spanish speakers have “no banking experience” and are therefore vulnerable to fraud and abuse at the hands of the notoriously shady “alternative financial services” industry. Another factor that hurts immigrants, according to the probe, is that the U.S. financial system and its products may differ greatly from those in their native countries.
Cultural differences, lack of trust in banks after bad experiences in their native countries and low education rates also put immigrants at a huge disadvantage when it comes to banking, investigators found. In short, the report characterizes (illegal) immigrants who don’t speak English as perpetual victims of America’s evil banking system.
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