Freddie Mac Embraces Telenovelas

BOSTON Forget about story arcs based solely on the typical soap opera themes of romance, jealousy and greed.

The new Spanish “telenovela,” Nuestro Barrio (Our Neighborhood), also will address more realistic problems: Money management, building credit and home ownership will be among the central plot themes in this new Spanish-language series.

That’s why one of the nation’s largest investors in residential mortgages, Freddie Mac, saw fit to underwrite the production of the 13-episode soap opera series, which portrays Hispanic life in the United States.

The show focuses on the lives of Manuel and Marisol, co-owners of a restaurant who have lived in the U.S. for many years. “They help their family and friends navigate life in the U.S. by sharing their experiences, offering guidance and connecting them to community resources,” according to a statement.

While the idea of a soap opera teaching its viewers about banking may strike some as odd, the idea of using telenovelas to target Hispanics is a sound one. The format is hugely popular in South and Central America, and on Spanish-language TV stations in the U.S. In addition to Freddie Mac, Bank of America and Bank of Texas Mortgage will advertise during the show as well as distribute DVD releases for community outreach purposes.