Understanding Hispanic Culture Key to Serving the Community

Remittance services offer a good first step.

August 25, 2010

Understanding the Hispanic culture is the key to successfully providing financial services to the fastest-growing minority group in the U.S.

Credit unions willing to visit Hispanic consumers and businesses, as well as tap partnerships among community organizations, will have a better chance of building trust—and the resulting membership base—within the Hispanic communities they seek to serve.

And those chances will increase even further for credit unions providing remittance services.

Three Iowa credit unions shared those and other best practice ideas during last week's World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) webinar Reaching the Hispanic Market through Remittances.

A total of 64 participants from credit unions across the U.S. joined the online event, which highlighted the experiences of Greater Iowa Credit Union in Ames, Village Credit Union in Des Moines and The Family Credit Union in Davenport, chronicling their success in reaching out to their respective Hispanic communities through WOCCU's IRnet® international remittances program.

The high level of member trust enjoyed by the presenting credit unions is attributable in part to the strong working relationship that had been built over the course of two years with WOCCU, Iowa Credit Union League subsidiary Coopera Consulting and members of the Hispanic communities the credit unions serve.

Webinar discussion topics included acceptable forms of identification, specifics on loan products tailored for the Hispanic community, successful marketing techniques and ways to track member outreach. The three presenting credit unions lauded the benefits gained from their outreach efforts.

“This has been the best step that we had to take,” said Michael Adams, marketing vice president for Greater Iowa Credit Union. “We are an employee implementation team, taking the foundation of what we have now and extending it beyond the marketing department so that we can emerge as a best-practices credit union. As part of introducing these products and services, ITIN lending, quinceañera loans and other products, we've also introduced a financial education program. But I can't stress enough how this all started with a remittance product and grew from there.”

A 32-page WOCCU report, also called Reaching the Hispanic Market through Remittances, details the three credit unions' experiences and guiding principles to attract Hispanic membership through remittance programs. Areas discussed include building strong internal commitments, developing a proper business plan, tailoring marketing efforts towards Hispanic members and tracking results.

The report, available free of charge, includes a sample business plan and tracking worksheets.

The two-hour archived webinar also is available online.