Guest Post By Lauren Lehman, U.Va. Class of 2015

The Institute for Business in Society (IBiS) and the Net Impact club at Darden are co-hosting a screening of the documentary Spent: Looking for Change at 6pm on November 9 at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, as part of the Virginia Film Festival. The event consists of viewing the 40-minute documentary and a panel to discuss problems and possible solutions articulated in the film.

The documentary addresses the need to expand financial inclusion throughout the country by finding new, alternative methods to manage money more affordably. Many Americans do not have access to the financial tools utilized by many and instead rely on institutions such as pawn shops and payday loans, which become extremely costly due to high interest rates and fees. “It is important to engage in a dialogue around this growing problem in order to inspire action and change of the current system,” commented Lisa Stewart, Director of the Institute for Business in Society. The film suggests possible solutions by highlighting the need for education and the development of new technologies to meet the needs of the financially underserved.

Following Sunday night’s screening, an expert panel will explore alternatives to better address the concerns raised in the film. The panel will be moderated by Darden faculty member Professor R. Edward Freeman, and panelists include Sohrab Kohli, special projects associate, Innovation Labs, Center for Financial Innovation, R. Jerry Nemorin, founder & CEO of Lend Street Financial, Inc., and Wesley Wright, senior vice president, Enterprise Growth, American Express. A podcast version of the panel conversation will be released following the event.

Panelists at the U.S. Department of Treasury discuss the lack of financial tools accessible to some Americans. Treasury Photo by Chris E. Taylor.

Spent: Looking for Change was also screened at the U.S. Department of Treasury on September 19, and the Department held a panel to facilitate discussion and brainstorm solutions of this issue on a broader, national level. Professor Greg Fairchild participated on that panel, which has been archived and can be viewed online here.

To follow or join the conversation on Twitter, use the hashtags #Spent and #LookingForChange. For additional infomation, read the press release here.