CU Movement Mourns Passing of Warren Morrow

Hispanic advocate fought disparities in access to assets, wealth, and economic stability.

February 17, 2012

The national credit union movement and Hispanic business community have lost a key voice in their outreach efforts to serve Latinos.

Warren Morrow, founder and CEO of Coopera Consulting, died unexpectedly Wednesday morning. He was 34.

The Des Moines Register reports Morrow was born in Mexico City to an American father and Mexican mother, and moved to Tucson, Ariz., in grade school. He often spoke of how assimilating into the U.S. culture helped shape his life.

While attending Grinnell (Iowa) College, Morrow helped form the Latino Leadership Project to give underprivileged young Hispanics the opportunity to attend college.

Through his work, Morrow realized the base cause he was trying to address was financial instability in the Latino home. In 2011, Morrow told the Des Moines Register, “I came to realize that the disparity in education was a symptom of a larger problem. The root issues are the disparities in access to assets, access to wealth, economic stability in the household.”

“Warren had a powerful vision that outreach to the underserved Hispanic community should not be philanthropy,” says Murray Williams, the Iowa League’s chief operating officer. “Instead, a business could do well by doing good—and everyone would benefit.”

CUNA and Coopera Consulting formed an exclusive, national partnership in 2009 to help credit unions reach out to the Hispanic community. Among other products, the groups launched a Spanish personal finance website for credit unions, El Poder es Tuyo—the Power is Yours.

Morrow also was a contributor to Credit Union Magazine and, providing solid advice on how to reach out to the Hispanic community, make branches more welcoming to Hispanic consumers, and avoid common translation mishaps.

Coopera Consulting has grown to be the pre-eminent leader of Hispanic outreach in the credit union movement. Beyond its partnership with CUNA, Coopera works with several credit union leagues, including New York and Texas.

“Warren was such a positive person, and he brought his enthusiasm and charisma to our office,” says Patrick Jury, Iowa Credit Union League president/CEO. “He was a great leader and a wonderful employee for more than six years. Warren was a good friend to many of us and throughout the credit union industry, and he will be sorely missed.”

Coopera Vice President Miriam De Dios says the legacy Morrow has created will live on through their company. “It is our mission to continue with Warren’s passion and vision of Coopera as we move forward.”

Warren is survived by his wife, Christina Fernandez-Morrow, and seven-year-old daughter, Ariana.In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made in his honor to the “Warren Morrow Memorial Fund” at Des Moines Metro Credit Union, 100 University Ave., Des Moines, IA 50314.