And now, for something completely different: Freddie Mac and other lenders announced yesterday the launch of a new, Spanish-language telenovella-style series that will be aired next week in Phoenix, Texas and Miami. The series will “combine entertainment with the financial facts of life,” according to the official release.

Here’s a taste:

Hot storylines meet meaningful messages in Nuestro Barrio (Our Neighborhood), a Spanish-language TV mini-series about Hispanic life in the United States. Nuestro Barrio is at the forefront of a new trend of television programming called “edutainment,” a combination of education and entertainment to produce programming that is both informative and engaging. The 13-episode series subtly educates viewers on important financial issues including money management, credit, homeownership, predatory lending and foreclosure prevention, which are played out against the traditional novela (soap opera) themes of romance, jealousy, greed and conflict.

Here’s more, including some statements on why this, why now:

Telenovelas historically have been popular with viewers in Central and South American countries. With the growth of Hispanic households in the United States, the number of telenovelas shown here has increased in Hispanic and English language broadcast media.

“It is crucial to recognize the importance of educating minorities on becoming homeowners,” said Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, Chair of Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“Homeowners frequently become more empowered citizens and increase investment in their communities.”

Rep. Joe Baca of California added, “Millions of Latino families in communities across the United States want to pursue the American dream of owning a home. Nuestro Barrio will provide a valuable service by presenting information to help teach Latinos about the homebuying process and how they can protect themselves against predatory lending practices. It is an innovative program that combines education and entertainment to spread financial literacy, and I look forward to watching it.”


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