DURHAM, N.C. (8/9/11)--Robberies in Durham, N.C., decreased by roughly 14% between 1999--before Latino Community CU opened in 2000--and 2002, according to a University of Virginia study. The $103 million asset credit union was founded 11 years ago when there was growing concern about crime against Latinos. The credit union’s presence has helped reduce crime, said the study, “Perdido En al Traduccion: The Opportunity in Financial Services for Latinos” (heraldsun.com Aug. 5). The Latino population was targeted for robberies because of the perception they carry large amounts of cash or stash money at home, making them “walking banks,” Erika Bell, the credit union’s vice president of strategy and services, told the newspaper. The study, conducted at the Tayloe Murphy Center at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, further suggests that if more Latinos deposited their funds in financial institutions, instead of taking the money home, they would be less attractive targets for robberies, the paper said. Latino Community CU’s deposits grew to $74 million in 2009 from $3 million in 2000, and the credit union has grown to 10 branches with 62 employees in 2010 from one branch with five employees in 2000. As of 2010, the credit union served 55,000 members--75% of which were not previously served by a financial institution, the study found. To read the article, use the link.