Filene: 40% of highly educated Hispanics financially fragile

June 11, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (6/11/15)--A new report from the Filene Research Institute explores the financial condition of highly educated Hispanics and opportunities for credit unions to serve them.

Similar to other American subgroups such as Gen Y and baby boomers, Hispanics struggle with personal finance knowledge, with only 12% showing high financial literacy, according to the paper, “Financial Capability among Highly Educated Hispanics.” Nearly 40% can be classified as “financially fragile,” the paper said.

With expanding purchasing power and a growing population, Hispanics are of particular importance to the U.S. economy, the paper said. A deeper analysis reveals a subgroup of promising, highly educated Hispanics struggling with short- and long-term financial management.

Because highly educated Hispanics show low levels of financial literacy, programs to appeal to and educate this population will do much to help improve their financial condition.

Expensive credit card behavior and use of alternative financial services are common among highly educated Hispanics. By reaching out to Hispanics, credit unions can help address the use of alternative financial services and other high-cost borrowing behaviors.

The paper advises credit unions to consider the following tactics:

  • Increase engagement efforts with Hispanics through marketing and personal outreach;
  • Offer low-cost products and services to eliminate the need for Hispanics to engage in expensive financial behaviors;
  • Use Spanish-speaking financial advisers to help foster a culture of comfort and trust for potential Hispanic members; and
  • Encourage incentive-based savings programs to help build rainy day or emergency funds.

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