Tech CU: Immigrants ‘Good for Business Growth’
For nearly a decade, Technology Credit Union has been helping “new-to-country” technology workers establish and build credit through its Global Members Program.
The $1.7 billion credit union in San Jose, Calif., is hoping to continue building on that success as it has long understood the value of reaching out to high-skilled immigrants in Silicon Valley and it’s a strategy that’s paying off, said Tech CU President/CEO Barbara Kamm.
“We project our foreign-born membership will increase significantly in the next five to 10 years,” said Kamm. “This gives us an opportunity to develop important, new customer relationships that will help sustain Tech CU’s deposit and loan growth into the future.”
Tech CU said it launched its Global Members Program 10 years ago as a natural outgrowth of working with more than 850 high tech member companies in the Bay Area.
The program offers a tools and resources that include a loan program designed to assist employed individuals who are new to the U.S. with limited or no credit history, services for sending money abroad, including Send Money Powered by PayPal, travel medical insurance for those with visiting family and more.
Tech CU said it has more than 20,000 South Asian and Asian members, which is approximately 30% of its total membership of more than 70,000 members.
The credit union also hosts free financial seminars and unique events for this market. For example, the credit union has partnered with the National Immigration Forum to host free citizenship informational seminars throughout the year.
Nearly 100 Tech CU employees, members and their families participated in the last event, held in July. The next seminar will be held in late January.
Nina Daruwalla said she became a member of Tech CU when she arrived to the Bay Area in 2001.
“We opened our first checking account back then, went on to get a mortgage, and today I’ve even got my business account with Tech CU,” said Daruwalla, who is also a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Cupertino, Calif. “Over the years, our banking relationship has evolved through business referrals — the staff and service have always been exceptional.”
Immigrant workers and their families have a real impact on the area’s economy, said Joe Anzalone, executive vice president and chief banking officer at Tech CU.
“Just one example: a cottage industry has developed around helping high-skilled immigrants bridge the divide between the U.S. and their home country,” he noted.
Anzalone said whether it’s supporting their financial needs, helping people secure medical insurance for visiting relatives, or making overseas communication affordable, there are many, companies in the Bay Area whose businesses are thriving because they’re serving these immigrant communities.
“We can’t ignore the influence of immigrants on the tech ecosystem,” Kamm said. “For example, the Indian American population in California has doubled since 2010, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing. This and other burgeoning communities are re-shaping the future of this region, and there are many opportunities for businesses to support them.”