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News from DCA - Press Release

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Elizabeth Miller, DCA, (212) 487-4283,


OFE Adds Top Experts From Private, Public and Nonprofit Sectors to Guide Financial Empowerment Efforts

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) named 29 outstanding national and New York leaders to its newly created OFE Advisory Council. The Office of Financial Empowerment is the first local government initiative in the nation aimed expressly at educating, empowering, and protecting those with low incomes so they can build assets and make the most of their financial resources. OFE, the first program to be implemented under the Center for Economic Opportunity, is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s aggressive efforts to fight poverty in New York City. DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz created the Advisory Council to help shape OFE’s agenda as it continues its work to increase financial literacy and asset building opportunities for New Yorkers with low incomes.

Commissioner Mintz announced the following OFE Advisory Council members, to date:

Eileen Auld, State Director, New York Community Relations, Global Consumer Group, Citi
Diane Baillargeon, Executive Director, Seedco
Margot Brandenburg, Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation
John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Operation HOPE, Inc.
Gordon Campbell, President and CEO, United Way of New York City
David Chen, Executive Director, Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc.
Anthony Crowell, Counselor to the Mayor, Mayor's Office
Matthew Fellowes, Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Robert Friedman, Founder and Senior Counsel, Corporation for Enterprise Development
Fatima Goldman, Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor, City University of New York
Colvin Grannum, Executive Director, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
Karen Gross, President, Southern Vermont College
Abby Holsclaw Hughes, Program Director, National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
Dan Iannicola, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education, U.S. Dept. of the Treasury
Daniel Letendre, Director, Lending & Investing, Merrill Lynch CDC
Linda Levy, CEO, Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union
Sarah Ludwig, Executive Director, Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project
Lisa Mensah, Executive Director, Initiative on Financial Security, Aspen Institute
Mark Menting, Partner, Sullivan and Cromwell
Clifford Rosenthal, Executive Director, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
John Sanchez, Executive Director, East Side House Settlement
Trooper Sanders, Domestic Policy Advisor, Clinton Foundation
Ronald Soloway, Director, Government Relations, UJA Federation of New York
Herb Sturz, Trustee, Open Society Institute
Zubin Taraporevala, Director, McKinsey & Co.
John Weiler, Senior Program Officer, F.B. Heron Foundation
Veronica White, Executive Director, Center for Economic Opportunity
Mark Willis, Executive VP & Head of the Community Development Group, JP Morgan Chase

“We are honored to have so many top experts in the field, locally and around the country, collaborating with us to help steer the important  work of the Office of Financial Empowerment, “said DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “Part of the exciting experiment of embedding OFE and its unique mission into a government agency is our ability to forge and leverage strategic partnerships. With the Advisory Council’s guidance and wealth of knowledge and resources, we look forward to creating more unique opportunities to increase financial literacy and access to safe financial products for New Yorkers with low incomes.”

The OFE Advisory Council met for the first time in a reception at City Hall on Tuesday, March 4, and will continue to meet periodically. Terms for all members are two years.

DCA enforces the Consumer Protection Law and other related business laws throughout New York City. Ensuring a fair and vibrant marketplace where consumers and businesses, alike, DCA licenses more than 60,000 businesses in 55 different categories. Through targeted outreach, partnerships with community and trade organizations, and informational materials, DCA educates consumers and businesses alike about their rights and responsibilities. OFE is the first municipal office of its kind in the nation with a mission to educate, empower and protect New Yorkers with low incomes, to help them make the best use of their financial resources to move forward economically. For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at