MADISON, Wis. (8/2/10)--Understanding the Hispanic culture is the key to successfully providing financial services to the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., according to the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). In a recent webinar, “Reaching the Hispanic Market,” three Iowa credit unions shared best practices ideas to help credit unions reach out to Hispanics. About 64 participants from credit unions across the U.S. joined the online event, which highlighted the experiences of Greater Iowa CU, Ames; Village CU, Des Moines; and The Family CU, Davenport. It chronicled their success in reaching out to their respective Hispanic communities through WOCCU’s IRnet international remittances program. The high level of member trust enjoyed by the presenting credit unions is attributable in part to the strong working relationship that had been built over the course of two years with WOCCU, Iowa Credit Union League subsidiary Coopera Consulting and members of the Hispanic communities the credit unions serve. The webinar discussed acceptable forms of identification, specifics on loan products tailored for the Hispanic community, successful marketing techniques and ways to track member outreach. The three presenting credit unions lauded the benefits gained from their outreach efforts. “This has been the best step that we had to take,” said Michael Adams, marketing vice president for Greater Iowa CU. “We are an employee implementation team, taking the foundation of what we have now and extending it beyond the marketing department so that we can emerge as a best-practices credit union. “As part of introducing these products and services, individual taxpayer identification number lending, quinceañera [coming of age ceremony] loans and other products, we’ve also introduced a financial education program. But I can’t stress enough how this all started with a remittance product and grew from there,” he added. A 32-page WOCCU report, also called “Reaching the Hispanic Market through Remittances,” details the three credit unions’ experiences and guiding principles to attract Hispanic membership through remittance programs. Areas discussed include building strong internal commitments, developing a proper business plan, tailoring marketing efforts towards Hispanic members and tracking results.