NEW YORK — GMAC Financial Services announced it partnered with Operation HOPE and the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce to offer the seminar "Take Your Life Back and Get Out of Debt," which was held Aug. 23, during the final week of Harlem Month.

"GMAC has placed a high priority on promoting the importance of financial literacy," said Alvaro de Molina, GMAC chief executive officer.

"Our commitment is to increase public awareness and understanding of personal finance and to make strides in strengthening our communities," he added.

GMAC said it is devoted to educating consumers through its SmartEdge program, which includes seminars, online efforts and community outreach. SmartEdge provides consumers with the tools and information they need to make educated financial decisions about credit, budgeting, vehicle and home financing, banking and insurance.

In 2007, SmartEdge took part in more than 2,300 events, reaching more than 1 million consumers.

Steve Bartlett, president and CEO of The Financial Services Roundtable, spoke at the event and GMAC representatives were in attendance, as well.

The Financial Services Roundtable is a trade association representing 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies. This seminar was one of GMAC's Community Service 2008 projects as part the group.

"This partnership with GMAC helps us provide residents in Harlem and the surrounding area with guidance on financial issues that are important to them," said Stacy Sanchez, senior vice president of HOPE Partners.

"Whether buying a home, planning a budget or starting a business, it's important for every member of the community to be knowledgeable about how to make the most of their finances," she concluded.