More than five years after the financial crisis, many Americans are still wary of Wall Street and unsure about where to safely invest and grow their money. Some are also uncertain about whether they can even trust the banks to properly manage their money.
In our ongoing series for Financial Literacy Month, former FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair, a champion of financial education, offers advice to consumers who may still be concerned about whether they can trust their bank and other financial institutions.
"These are still uncertain times. I feel like it's getting a little bit better, but these are still very uncertain times," Bair said.
Bair has long been willing to take on tough challenges, and she wants American taxpayers to join her in calling for stricter regulations—and more of them.
"A well-educated consumer is the best line of defense for a regulator," she said. "As taxpayers, we need to be more engaged broadly in the financial system and what's going on in Washington in terms of reforms."
Hoping to get more people engaged in the political debate is one reason she said she wrote her book "Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself."
"We all have an interest—directly or indirectly—in making the financial system stable."
Bair said there is a lot of resistance and a lot of industry lobbying against what she calls "commonsense" measures, including tougher capital requirements. She hopes taxpayers will get more involved to pressure their representatives to vote for more reform.
Disclosure: Sheila Bair is on the board of Banco Santander SA, one of Europe's largest lenders.
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