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Chapel Hill, N.C. — The UNC Center for Community Capital won recognition for an outstanding paper in the National Urban Policy Initiative Competition (NUPIC), a forum for creative but usable proposals to enact new financial education legislation. NUPIC awarded the paper a second-place prize in the Financial Services category, recognizing the center’s achievement in analyzing and advocating for innovative financial education programs designed to reach Latinos.

The center partnered with the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina to present “Rethinking Financial Education Delivery Systems: The Power of Social Marketing,” which discusses the success the “Nuestro Barrio” television series has had in communicating financial literacy content to a primarily Latino audience. The program follows a typical “telenovela” (soap opera) structure with recurring characters in financially oriented storylines. As the show’s characters confront issues from opening a bank account to credit-card overspending to purchasing a home, viewers gain access to practical information that they can apply to their everyday lives.

The paper not only cites the benefits of the “Nuestra Barrio” program specifically but also makes the case for general shifts in financial education strategies. In addition to funding traditional models that rely heavily on workbooks, classroom instruction and individual counseling to convey financial content, policymakers should also lend federal support for social marketing activities.

“The major point of our policy recommendations is that the educational theory undergirding this approach needs to be incorporated into the policy and evaluation of financial education,” said center associate director Janneke Ratcliffe, co-author of the study.

NUPIC’s sponsors selected the Center’s paper from among proposals they received from around the world. NUPIC recognized those papers that best integrated social policy theory with practical application, specifying that proposals should be “feasible to enact into legislation.”

The competition was co-sponsored by a number of institutions: Clark University; the Community Development Training Institute; Freddie Mac; National Community Development Association; and University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

The center will present its paper at the National Urban Policy Initiative Conference at Clark University on September 19.

Financial services for underserved consumers is a key area of research and analysis for the UNC Center for Community Capital, the leading center for research and policy analysis on the transformative power of capital on households and communities in the United States. The Center’s in-depth analyses help policymakers, advocates and the private sector find sustainable ways to expand economic opportunity to more people, more effectively. For more information, visit www.ccc.unc.edu.


Topics(s): Financial Capability, Financial Inclusion, Savings & Asset-Building
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