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Council Speaker: Hispanics Represent CUs' Largest Growth Opportunity
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (9/25/13)--"Hispanics are the largest, fastest-growing, youngest, and most underserved ethnic group in the U.S.," said Miriam De Dios, CEO of Coopera, at the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council meeting in Hollywood, Calif., on Monday.

Click to view larger image At the CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council meeting Monday in Hollywood, Calif., Miriam De Dios, CEO of Coopera Consulting, said many credit unions are seizing the opportunity to serve the nation's largest, fastest-growing, youngest and most underserved ethnic group--Hispanics. (Photo provided by CUNA)
"One out of six U.S. residents is Hispanic, but by the year 2050, one out of three U.S. residents will be Hispanic," said De Dios. "About 50% of Hispanics are either unbanked or underbanked. And their average age is 27. Hispanics are clearly credit unions' largest growth opportunity."

And many credit unions are seizing that opportunity. Over an 18-month period, a group of Coopera clients experienced 25% Hispanic membership growth, 47% growth in Hispanic checking penetration and 7% growth in Hispanic lending penetration.

De Dios encouraged credit unions to focus on both first- and second-generation Hispanics. "That's important because the first generation is in the workplace and earning income and is more likely to be unbanked or underbanked," she said. "The second generation, however, learns its financial behaviors from the first generation, and the second generation still needs to connect to the culture."

She said it was important to distinguish between "acculturation" and "assimilation." Acculturation refers to the preservation of one's birth culture and the addition of another culture, becoming "bicultural." Assimilation refers to the replacement of one's birth culture with another.

"Hispanics are creating a new model in which they are more likely to create a bicultural and bilingual identity," says De Dios.

The CUNA Operations, Sales, and Service Council and CUNA Technology Council are meeting jointly in Hollywood through Wednesday. Watch News Now and Credit Union Magazine for updated coverage.
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