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Tennessee CU works on gaining Hispanics trust
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (11/12/08)--At least one credit union in Knoxville, Tenn., must be doing something right to gain the trust of area Hispanics, who are notorious about their distrust of financial institutions. Holston Methodist FCU, a $21.8 million asset credit union, opened 191 accounts, mostly for Hispanic members, in the period from June 2007 to the end of October 2008, Stacy Johnson, Hispanic member development director with the credit union, told the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Nov. 8). The increase of Hispanic clients has not been as dramatic at the area's banks, although the banks have seen some increases, said the article. Building trust between the community and financial institutions is a main priority for those working with Hispanics. "We want them to trust financial institutions so they will feel comfortable coming to our credit union and eventually to other institutions," Johnson told the newspaper. Hispanics have historically avoided traditional financial institutions because of losses in their home countries when banks closed. But because they carry around money, they are subject to robbers, burglaries and home invasions. The newspaper interviewed Ruben Torres outside the St. Andrews Center, where he went to ask about an assistance organization, La Paz de Dios. Instead, he got information about how to open an account at Holston Methodist FCU, which is housed in the same building as the center. He told the newspaper he's not sure about the institution because it's small and may disappear and he'd lose his money. But he said he would return to the credit union and make a decision on opening an account. He said he knows "it's the safest way to keep my money."
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