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Iowa league Challenges bring opportunities for CUs
DES MOINES, Iowa (12/8/08)--The Iowa Credit Union League believes that the current economic challenges and changes present credit unions “with a significant opportunity to be part of the solution,” says Patrick S. Jury, league CEO. They can do that by “serving the underserved Hispanic market--the largest, fastest-growing and most-underserved ethnic group in America,” Jury said. “Amid the current economic challenges and political changes, credit unions are working diligently to increase their membership, comply with increasing regulatory pressures, serve a growing number of underserved communities, and combat a predatory financial industry,” he said. Nearly one-third of the U.S. population will be Hispanic by 2042, he said. “This growth will not be a product of immigration, but of U.S.-born children and grandchildren of immigrants. Hispanics demonstrate a high work force participation rate, increasing household income, collective purchasing power, booming entrepreneurship, and it is one of the youngest populations that are largely unbanked and in need of financial services. “Credit unions have an opportunity to serve this market while increasing membership, portfolio and asset growth,” he added. ICUL’s subsidiary, Coopera Consulting, is helping Iowa credit unions and system partners such as Credit Union National Association, World Council of Credit Unions, U.S. Central CU and state leagues explore how they might best integrate strategic Hispanic outreach, he said in a press release. “Credit unions’ success, in part, is tied to developing the right mindset to reach unexplored areas of membership and growth.,” Jury said. “As credit unions realize that they need to serve this market, they also need to ask how they can do this effectively. As they establish this foundation, strategic planning can help align efforts and provide accountability. He advocated a “comprehensive approach” to adapt to this market rather than waiting for it to adapt to the credit unions. “This involves analyzing the credit union’s personnel, products, processes, and promotion strategies. It is not sufficient to merely translate materials, to implement a few scattered marketing campaigns, or to hire bilingual tellers. These steps are important, but should be components of a broad, pre-determined, proactive strategy in order to experience success more quickly and efficiently,” he urged. He compared the pursuit of the Hispanic market to “a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, commitment and dedication to reach the Hispanic population. A successful effort will incorporate a deliberate and comprehensive approach that will ultimately result in a true partnership with the Hispanic community.”
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