New book chapter addresses structural racism in finance

Published September 7, 2023


Yunju Nam

Yunju Nam.

The Grand Challenges for Social Work is a groundbreaking initiative to champion social progress powered by science — and now Yunju Nam, PhD, associate professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, has co-authored a chapter in the book that'll serve as the centerpiece to the Grand Challenge to Eliminate Racism.

Nam's chapter, “Policy, Practice and Institutional Barriers to Financial Capability and Asset Building Related to Race (Racism) in the United States,” appears in book, Social Work and the Grand Challenge to Eliminate Racism: Concepts, Theory and Evidence Based Approaches, published by Oxford University Press.

Nam's co-authors are Jenny L. Jones, PhD, of Clark Atlanta University; Julia Birkenmaier, PhD, of Saint Louis University; Lissa Johnson, LCSW, of Washington University in St. Louis; Gena Gunn McClendon, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis; Jin Huang, PhD, of Saint Louis University; and Eyitayo Onifade, PhD, of Clark Atlanta University.


Issues of race permeate every aspect of the social fabric; thus when it comes to society’s response to people experiencing financial issues there is no difference—race is a major factor.

This chapter focuses on race as a possible unifying framework, as the intersection between race/racism and other issues make the other Grand Challenges for Social Work that much harder for African Americans and other people of color.

The chapter provides a historical overview of race and its impact on financial inclusion, including the economics of race and its effect on people of color’s ability to access financial institutions, and addresses initiatives specific to financial capability and asset building (FCAB). Information is included on the basic understanding of financial inclusion and policy, with information on asset building, and lessons learned and the potential of FCAB in overcoming structural racism and addressing racial economic inequality.

Graphic of two hands linked together.

This research contributes to one of the 13 Grand Challenges for Social Work tackling our nation's toughest social problems: Eliminate racism.