MADISON, Wis. (8/6/09)--Roughly 20% of U.S. credit unions already have or are planning Hispanic outreach programs, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and its new Hispanic outreach partner, Coopera Consulting. In 2006, credit unions spent $37 million in marketing to Hispanics. But not all of that money may have been effectively spent, because credit unions who want to reach Hispanic consumers need to do more than just translate their slogans and marketing materials from English to Spanish, according to Warren Morrow, Coopera Consulting CEO. During a briefing of CUNA staff about its partnership with Coopera, Morrow provided examples of how Coopera helps credit unions that are ready to serve Hispanics to culturally translate their marketing messages, instead of literally translating them. Credit unions’ Hispanic outreach efforts should engage in more than just translations, he said. To help credit unions more effectively reach Hispanics--which present a significant growth opportunity for the credit union movement--CUNA is working with Coopera to develop products and services credit unions can use for Hispanic outreach, including:
* Assessments; * Training; * Consulting; * Translations and * Hispanic Consumer Products.
Credit unions in today’s economy face challenges like declining membership growth, increased regulatory scrutiny, aging memberships, growth of the fringe financial service providers and corporate challenges--which can divert their attention from the future. But it’s important for them to seek and take advantage of new opportunities--such as reaching Hispanics--to find “new vital members and employees,” Morrow said. Hispanics are important to credit unions because they are the largest, fastest-growing, youngest and most underserved population in the U.S. By 2050, the Hispanic population is expected to reach 103 million. Hispanics also represent about half of people entering the U.S. work force and have a purchasing power of nearly $1 trillion, Morrow said. Though Hispanics represent a significant part of the U.S. workforce, they are financially underserved. Only about half have traditional relationships with mainstream financial institutions--compared with about seven of eight individuals in the U.S. general population. Many Hispanics use fringe service providers such as check cashers, remittance shops and pawn shops--which charge high fees, Morrow said. Helping Hispanics not only fulfills the credit union philosophy--it also presents credit unions with revenue and growth opportunities. Financially healthy members can lead to financially healthy credit unions and leagues, Morrow added. CUNA recently created a strategic partnership with Coopera, a subsidiary of the Iowa Credit Union League, to provide products and services to help credit unions serve the Hispanic market. For more information, use the link.