FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (6/13/08)--The Fifth Latino Credit Union Conference kicked off this week in Dallas with a leadership forum featuring three credit union professionals. John Herrera, vice president of Latino affairs for the Center for Community Self-Help and the chairman of Latino Community CU, Durham, facilitated the panel, which was themed “Latinos and credit unions--the crossroads where mission meets opportunity.” The Latino market is a perfect demographic target to focus on because it encompasses three fields of membership credit unions are lacking: youth, immigrants and the underserved, said Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League (LoneStar Leaguer June 12). Once Latinos are established with the credit union, a relationship is formed and growth will be encouraged. A credit union’s effort to support Latinos and earn a Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance) designation, along with cultural openess and acceptance, will make the financial world less stressful for them, Ensweiler said. It should be up to credit unions to determine their field of membership, and credit unions should generate community interest, said Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. Harriet May, president/CEO of GECU, El Paso, Texas, and treasurer of the Credit Union National Association board of directors, echoed his thoughts. “[Generating community interest and relationships with the credit union] is our culture, our business and the right thing to do,” May said. Credit unions should know their communities and engage in the activities that not only benefit the credit union, but people as well, she added. “The credit union is one big family,” concluded Herrera.