MADISON, Wis. -- Executives and leaders from 14 different credit unions and credit union leagues learned some practical lessons in how to market credit union products and services to Hispanics while traveling to Mexico, according to the World Council of Credit Unions, which sponsored the trip.
The participants from 14 different credit unions and leagues selected a one- or two-week immersion experience in the cities of Guanajuato and Queretaro in central Mexico, WOCCU explained. During their stay, they completely immersed themselves in Mexican culture and language through family home stays, intensive Spanish language classes and hands-on internships in Mexican credit unions, known as cajas.
The main intent of the internship was to expose participants to Hispanic marketing tactics they could bring home to their own credit unions to expand outreach to the growing Hispanic market in the United States. Groups met with marketing teams and executive staff at the institutions to get an inside look at marketing strategies used in Mexico. They explored tactics such as the use of volunteer marketing committees, branding, mascots, financial education materials and
cultural holiday celebrations, WOCCU explained.
"I have learned a great deal that I will be able to take back to serve my Hispanic members," Kathy Chartier, president and CEO of Members Credit Union and chair of the Connecticut Credit Union Association Board, said about her internship experience. "I now have a better understanding of the challenges that these members face in the
Each day began with four to five hours of intensive Spanish classes at a Spanish language school. Participants chose from a variety of classes based on their language ability.
After language classes, participants experienced an authentic Mexican lunch in the homes of their host families and spent the afternoons meeting with one of the four Mexican institutions: Caja Popular Mexicana, Caja Libertad, Caja Alianza and Caja Morelia Valladolid. Each offered a different experience about credit union operations, marketing tactics, microfinance opportunities and financial products that meet the needs of working families.
"This program uniquely combines learning the language, culture and business practices of Mexico," said Steph Sherrodd, Texas Dow Employees Credit Union vice president of retail delivery. "I'll be able to take these various aspects back to my position at the credit union."
The Texas and California leagues have a partnership with Caja Popular Mexicana through WOCCU's International Partnership Program; the Arizona Credit Union System is partnered with Caja Libertad; and the Credit Union Association of New Mexico has a partnership with Caja Alianza. The Hispanic Marketing Immersion Program was a direct result of the partnership deliverables for 2007.
In addition to the immersion program, participants attended a workshop in Guanajuato, September 22-23, which included presentations by all four institutions and visits to local businesses financed by
Brian Bauske, Bauske Consulting, Inc., praised the ingenuity of the first Hispanic Marketing Immersion Program: "The opportunity for a combination of sharpening my proficiency in Spanish and becoming energized and inspired by the financial cooperative movement in Mexico quite simply made this the experience of a lifetime."