Welcome Hispanic Members

Small changes can help CUs make big inroads into the Hispanic market.

October 1, 2010

Making branches more welcoming to current and potential Hispanic members doesn’t require credit unions to make big changes, says Warren Morrow, CEO of Coopera Consulting, Des Moines, Iowa.

“There are a lot of things a credit union can do without making the branch look completely different,” he says. “They’re mostly nuances you’re capturing.”

Morrow cites four steps credit unions can take to make their branches more welcoming:

1. Walk into your branches as if it were the first time and you didn’t speak English.

“You’ll realize there are a lot of unnecessary barriers that a nonEnglish-speaking person, or someone who’s more comfortable using a different language, would notice that might facilitate their experience at the credit union,” he says.

2. Don’t overhaul your branches to make them “Hispanic friendly.”

This could be a disservice to your current members and staff by making them uncomfortable.

3. Take simple actions, such as including Hispanic-oriented events, announcements, and marketing promotions on the credit union’s marquee or bulletin board.

4. Translate credit union hours on the front of the branch.

“That’s not because Hispanic members wouldn’t understand the English version,” Morrow says, “but because it would show a nuanced sensitivity to this market.

“These are the types of things that arise when you look at your branch with a new lens. You’ll pick up on things that might deter someone from coming in that, if changed a little bit, would certainly make it a more welcoming environment.”