FAIRFAX, Va. (3/26/09)--Fairfax County FCU is leveraging a $99,900 Innovation Grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to attract members from the Hispanic community through partnerships with Spanish media. This is the second-largest of 14 NCUF Innovation Grants helping credit unions invest in their communities in 2009. Innovation Grants are made possible by supporters of NCUF and investors in the Community Investment Fund. CBS Spanish affiliate El Zol Radio, Cox Cable en Espanol, and Entravision--including Telefutura, Univision, and WJAL--are contributing a combined $430,000 worth of in-kind media for the $223.1 million asset, Fairfax. Va.-based credit union to use throughout 2009. The in-kind media include radio and TV commercials, public service announcements, long-form interviews, news segments, banner placements and literature distribution at Hispanic community events. “The launch of our media campaign has already resulted in 17% of our new members coming from Hispanic origins and 60% opening checking accounts,” said Fairfax Chief Marketing Officer Matthew Kaudy. “I am forecasting the trend to continue upward as the frequency of our message continues to increase and we continue to expand our messages through additional channels.” More than 100,000 of Virginia’s 400,000 Hispanics reside in Fairfax County. “Other financial institutions entering the Hispanic market primarily implement only a limited, short-term strategy: simply translating their current products into Spanish,” said Fairfax CEO Joe Thomas. “We must go much further. We have a valuable long-term opportunity to serve the Hispanic community, based on the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’ as opposed to a solely profit-based opportunity.” “Education about the benefits of the credit union system is imperative to the success of all programs reaching out to the Hispanic market,” Kaudy said. “Our campaign is designed to educate Hispanics about the credit union by connecting them emotionally. For example, one television ad on Univision features our Hispanic-branded checking account ‘Cuenta Corriente American
’ while incorporating overseas footage from Salvadoran and Bolivian cooperatives drawing a connection to American credit unions.” In addition to radio and TV, Fairfax County FCU is bringing educational outreach into the community via partnerships with Hispanic organizations and bilingual member personnel at all touch points. For example, the credit union is partnering with local Hispanic groups to present financial education events themed around Central and South American countries and featuring Hispanic media personalities. Specific products and services designed to meet Hispanics’ needs include:
* A Spanish website featuring online account opening and bill payment; * Hispanic-branded checking accounts with debit rewards cards; * “Safe Accounts” for immigrants without Social Security cards; * Remittance programs that allow immigrants to send money abroad for less than standard wire transfers; and, * Opportunities to earn free international remittances and money orders.
“These products and services are designed to provide Hispanics the opportunity to accumulate assets and ultimately generate wealth for their families,” Kaudy concluded.