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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Twenty-five credit union executives and officials from Washington state’s Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (OMWBE) met on July 27 to discuss how Washington credit unions can reach underserved Hispanic populations. “Reaching out to bank the unbanked and serve the underserved is a priority of the Washington Credit Union League and Foundation,” stated Washington Credit Union League President and CEO, John Annaloro, about the purpose of the workshop. Yolanda Karp, the CEO of Oregon’s Hacienda Community Credit Union, came from Oregon to keynote the event and present her credit unions’ best practices for Hispanic outreach. Several credit unions expressed renewed enthusiasm with their outreach projects. The event resulted in an acknowledgement by Heidi Cleveland, vice president of the $496 million Numerica Credit Union, of her credit union’s planned efforts in this area. “We are looking to launch our Hispanic outreach around Mexican Independence Day with a sponsorship of the Fiestas Mexicanas in Wenatchee,” said Cleveland. “Financial education and bringing credit union services to the underserved is a part of our mission, and the Hispanic population in Wenatchee presents us with a great opportunity to serve out this mission.” Cleveland acknowledged the intent to be the first credit union in the state working through the Economic Power Project (EPP) to accept the so-called matricula consular ID Card along with a roll-out of bilingual Hispanic marketing materials and bilingual staff. The Economic Power Project is a statewide outreach program designed to attract unserved and underserved Hispanic and low-income consumers to mainstream financial institutions through credit unions. The U.S. Treasury First Accounts program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the WCUF fund the EPP. Numerica has a business and marketing plan with strategies to bring financial services to the largely un-banked Hispanic market. The Spokane-based credit union stepped up its efforts after merging with North Central Credit Union in Wenatchee last year, where there is a significant Hispanic population, the credit union said. Part of Numerica’s effort is to bundle financial education with specific products and international wire service in marketing materials with bilingual text. At Numerica’s Spokane and Wenatchee branches members can currently send as much as $1,000 to Mexico, for as little as $10 using the World Council of Credit Union’s electronic funds transfer service, IRnet, which offers a significant savings and added security for the member. Numerica has also adopted policies to accept the Matricula Consular ID Card as a valid form of identification at its Wenatchee branches where several large employee groups have requested the service for their members. One, an orchard, has 900 employees with a significant percent of Hispanic employees. Numerica hopes to work with the employer to bring education and services to its employees. – [email protected]

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