Successful Strategies

Creating a Book Discussion Group for Financial Literacy


I recently purchased the book The Unbanking of America by Lisa Serven. You can learn about her ideas and her book through her NPR interview at

She states, "About 8 percent of Americans don't have a bank account at all, and another 20 percent have a bank account but they also rely on these alternative financial services as well. And it struck me as not quite right that the assumption was that people were too ignorant to use them. I'd been doing research in low-income communities for my whole career, for 20 years, and from my experience, I knew that people who don't have a lot of money know where every penny goes. And so it struck me that there must be some better, deeper answer to that question of why so many people were not using banks."


As we explore strategies for building financial literacy among our students, I feel we may need to explore why an individual uses alternative banking. Should we educate our learners not to use these types of resources, or should we teach them how to best use these resources?


IIf we are looking for a strategy to build financial literacy, a book group, or even discussions from various highlights of this practice may help learners be more effective in their overall use of alternative financial services.

I'd love to hear your thoughts or recommendations for book discussions related to the alternative banking industry.


Kathy Tracey


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Idea No. 31