Connect With Members & Prospects During Hispanic Heritage Month

Event helps CUs connect with the nation’s largest ethnic group.

September 13, 2011

Hispanic Heritage Month video  (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) is a great time for credit unions to connect with the Hispanic populations in their communities.

During this celebration, communities recognize and honor the rich heritage and unique cultural of the nation’s largest ethnic group.

All over the country, credit unions are discovering opportunities to participate in community celebrations. Maps Credit Union in Salem, Ore., is partnering with Western Oregon University to launch the Latino Education and Access Program, which helps Hispanic students further their education with scholarships.

Fundraising for the program will be kicked off by former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

“At Maps, we strive to support lifelong learning,” says Jill Nowacki, vice president of development. “This is a result of our proud history as an educators’ credit union. With a 20% Hispanic population in our service area, we take our responsibility to help all members of our community seriously.”

Maps Credit Union will also be a silver sponsor of the Hispanic Heritage Month Breakfast, Oregon’s official kick-off celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Hispanic Heritage Month is another opportunity for us to remind the community of our products and services,” says Nowacki.

She says Maps Credit Union may launch three new products in 2012 to benefit Hispanic members: an international money transfer service, a credit-builder loan program, and a reloadable prepaid debit card built specifically for Hispanics.

Des Moines Metro Credit Union also plans to participate in its community’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations. The ninth annual Iowa Latino Heritage Festival will take place in Des Moines in September.

The credit union will not only have a booth at the festival to meet with current and potential members, it will also sponsor an elote (corn) eating contest.

“We enjoy participating in the festival every year, as it’s the perfect venue for connecting with our Hispanic members,” says Traci Stiles, business development manager for the $42 million asset credit union. “We give away cash prizes and hand out coupons for a one-time free money transfer, allowing members to understand how easy it is to send money to loved ones with help from a local credit union.”

The festival is also the perfect opportunity to increase the community’s awareness of the credit union. “Our branch is located in the heart of where the Des Moines Hispanic population lives and works,” Stiles says. “We offer many programs, like a credit-builder loan program, to meet members’ financial needs. It makes a lot of sense for us to be an active member in this community.”

Both Maps and Des Moines Metro have several bilingual employees on staff to serve Hispanic members.

How can your credit union participate in Hispanic Heritage Month? It can be as simple as:

  • Informing your members and the community about Hispanic Heritage Month events;
  • Partnering with a local organization to support a Hispanic Heritage Month activity; or
  • Educating the Hispanic community about your credit union’s unique products and services.

MIRIAM DE DIOS is vice president of Coopera Consulting, Des Moines, Iowa.