Credit unions interested in starting a Hispanic outreach program need to start by asking the right questions, a new report says.
“Credit unions realize that the face of the American consumer is changing and that to grow membership, they must adapt to their new consumers, instead of forcing them to adapt to the credit union,” said Miriam De Dios, vice president at Coopera in Des Moines, Iowa, and author of a white paper on successful Hispanic outreach efforts.
According to De Dios the best potential for lowering the average age of a credit union’s membership is by bringing Hispanic members into the fold. As a largely underserved group, helping Hispanic members navigate the U.S. financial system is an important part of the overall credit union mission, she added.
Coopera was formed in affiliation with the Iowa Credit Union League in 2006 to help credit unions grow their Hispanic market presence and create more banked families within Latino communities across the country.
“Hispanic outreach is an indispensable investment in the future,” said De Dios. “Yet having a Hispanic growth strategy on its own will not generate the kind of success a credit union needs. It is the integration of a Hispanic growth strategy with the credit union’s overall strategic future that will ultimately create sustainable success.”
Questions that need to be asked range from is the credit union well positioned to target and serve the Hispanic market and how many Hispanic members is the credit union serving, to how many Hispanic members could the credit union serve and what is the income potential?
In addition, the Coopera executive said, credit unions need to find out what milestones if any they have reached in serving the market and what are the best practice strategies that will attract and retain Hispanic members.
De Dios said the answers for these and other questions will be unique for each credit union as there is no single magic formula that fits all.