ROMANCE, JEALOUSY, GREED, BETRAYAL ... AND an explanation of prime versus sub-prime mortgages? These are the necessary ingredients for a killer made-for-TV drama about Hispanic life in the U.S. At least mortgage giant Freddie Mac is banking on it with the launch of Nuestro Barrio, a 13-episode Spanish-language mini-series that debuted this fall in select cable markets.
Produced by the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina with funding from Freddie Mac, the “edutainment” series interweaves subtle financial lessons—on topics such as money management, credit, predatory lending, and foreclosure prevention—with classic telenovela storylines.
“We are constantly looking for new ways to get accurate information out to consumers,” says Patti Boerger, a spokesperson for Freddie Mac. “Research has shown that a lot of Hispanics don't pursue homeownership because they assume they won't qualify for a mortgage.” Common misperceptions include a belief that buying a home requires a 20 percent down payment, that you must hold the same job for three years to qualify for a mortgage, and that lenders share personal financial information with each other and the government.
Bank of America and Bank of Texas are advertising on Nuestro Barrio. The series is now wrapping up on Hispanic cable stations in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Texas; Phoenix; and Miami/Fort Lauderdale.