As credit unions continue their Gen Y outreach efforts, they may want to take a closer look at the Hispanic market.
Recent research has found that Hispanic youth currently represent some 20% of the total U.S. teen population and U.S. Census reports project that in 10 years more than 60% of all U.S. teens will belong to the Hispanic population.
“It’s a big opportunity, and I think credit unions are missing out,” said Miriam De Dios, vice president at Coopera. “The average age of Hispanics in general is 25, so serving the Hispanic audience is a way to lower that average member age.”
She added that when targeting Hispanic youth, parents are still key, but successful outreach efforts have to go beyond simply translating existing marketing materials.
“If you can win over the first generation, then you’re much more prone to earn the loyalty of the second generation,” said De Dios. “Culturally, there’s a strong sense of responsibility to family, a large number of Hispanic teens are living in tight-knit households where pride and self-reliance are core values. One thing to note is that they’re still learning financial habits from their parents and are often more inundated with messaging. I was born in Mexico and moved here when I was about four years old. Even in high school, I got more mail than my parents, mostly credit card offers. I learned a lot on my own.”
She added that in terms of language, the second generation may prefer being courted in English and like their parents they take advice from friends and family.
“If your credit union serves that Gen Y’s parent well enough that they speak highly of the experience then they’ll be more open to consider it as well,” said De Dios. “Get involved and be a part of your local Hispanic community. Look for meaningful partnership opportunities with local vendors. It can be as simple as volunteering at events or serving on a local organization’s board and finding ways your credit union can help. Financial institutions that build real relationships within the community will encourage that word-of-mouth marketing, which delivers better results.”
To further cut through the advertising clutter, having a good grasp and understanding of the local demographics is key. She added that credit unions must demonstrate rather than just tell how they add value to their members’ lives by adapting products/services to the genuine needs of the local Hispanic residents.
“There is a huge opportunity to reach out to this audience that’s thirsty for financial services as they plan for their future,” said De Dios.