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The term “emerging markets” has become popular to identify the multicultural consumers-African Americans, Hispanics and Asians-who are key to the future success of so many American businesses, including America’s credit unions. Credit union conferences and published articles are awash with the term when identifying new opportunities to grow and serve their membership in 2006. It’s all true-in fact, the emerging markets are fast becoming truly surging markets, with minorities constituting the fastest growing segment of our nation’s population. Credit unions are uniquely placed to meet the challenges of delivering high-quality, affordable financial services to these growing markets. The needs-and the opportunities for credit unions-are undeniably vast. In the next decade, our nation is expected to add 27 million new people, creating 13 million new households. Minority families will represent 80% of this population growth. By 2015, minorities will account for two-thirds of growth in the number of households and one-third of our country’s population, according to the Census Bureau and Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies.

These new families will continue to drive the growing housing market, needing access to more homes and raising our country’s demand for mortgage capital to an estimated $30 trillion over the next 10 years. While homeownership rates remain at all time highs, minority rates still lag the national rate by nearly 18 percentage points. This population surge in multicultural markets presents a unique opportunity for credit unions to expand their reach to these markets and leverage current membership relationships in a tangible way.

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