MADISON, Wis. (10/16/09)--Credit unions have an opportunity to reach out to the Latino community, which has a growing demand for transaction and savings products, according to a report released by the Filene Research Institution on the financial needs of the U.S. Latino population. The report, “U.S. Latino Families, Heads of Household and the Elderly: Emerging Trends in Financial Services and Asset-Building Behaviors,” focuses on the key features of the Latino financial experience. The Latino population presents unique opportunities, such as the incidence of multiple generations living under one roof, a lower-than-average age than the overall population and a higher frequency of married couples. Latinos are seeking products to build assets though individual development accounts, educational savings accounts, investment accounts and mortgages, the report said. “Credit unions can take advantage of this opportunity by crafting campaigns of community partnership and outreach, including niche marketing strategies that convey trust and continuity in a culturally sensitive manner,” said Filene Chief Research Officer George Hofheimer. In reaching out to Latinos, credit unions can:
* Be “language-friendly” by making sure members understand the products and services. This can be achieved through a new-member orientation, opposed to text-dense financial brochures that have little impact; * Offer bold and family-friendly credit union savings products, like dollar savings bonds, penny CDs, and rural savings bonds; * Partner with the community to provide financial education through high school equivalency degree classes and English as a Second Language courses; and * Provide “green” car or home loans that help bring energy-efficiency savings into low and moderate-income communities, and educate residents on predatory lending regarding auto loans and mortgages.
“Many of today’s most loyal credit union members had less-than-stellar credit when they first came to the credit union,” Hofheimer added. “And while the Latino population is neither the wealthiest nor the best credit risk, the sheer numbers and needs of this group make this a once in a lifetime opportunity.” The report, authored by researcher Barbara J. Robles of Arizona State University, was supported in part by the National Credit Union Foundation and its signature program REAL Solutions. For more information, use the link.