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  • Emerging Markets a Hot Topic at ACUC

    Posted by on August 26, 2013

    Panelists (left to right) Carole Wight (Holy Rosary CU), Maria Martinez (Border Federal CU), Bishop Taylor (ERDA), ERDA staff member

    I recently attended the America’s Credit Union Conference (ACUC) in New York City where I had the opportunity, in partnership with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation), to coordinate and participate in a pre-conference workshop on emerging markets. Coopera also had the chance to host a breakout session titled “Multidimensional Hispanic Market – A Different Model of Assimilation.”

    With more than 100 people in attendance at these two events, emerging markets proved to be a hot topic with 2013 conference attendees.

    Here’s a quick recap of what was presented…

    During the pre-conference workshop, three different panel-based events provided the audience with background and opinions on the importance of serving emerging markets (defined as the underserved, immigrant and minority populations) as an opportunity for credit union growth. Panelists included:

    In the breakout session, we shared how to view the Hispanic community through the lens of the acculturation and assimilation processes. For reference, acculturation refers to the preservation of one’s birth culture and the addition of another culture. Assimilation refers to the replacement of one’s birth culture by another. At Coopera, we see that Hispanics are creating a new model in which they are more likely to create a bicultural and bilingual identity.

    During both sessions, many attendees wanted to understand why more credit unions are not embracing the Hispanic market opportunity.

    Our belief is that a lack of clear understanding of the market — essentially, a fear of the unknown — often creates a sort of marketing paralysis. This makes it difficult for credit unions to know when or how to engage. A lack of relevant marketing intelligence also contributes to this fear. Credit unions do not have a sufficient amount of data to support their development of an emerging markets strategy.

    Our goal with these sessions was to help provide attendees with a better understanding of the Hispanic community from a multidimensional perspective. We did this by providing ideas on how to get started with outreach efforts, as well showcasing some of the available data to support the emerging-markets business case.

    Both sessions received high ratings from attendees, proving how important the topic of emerging markets is to the credit union industry right now. Some of feedback we got included:

    “Very informative marketing tools and distinction between assimilation versus acculturation.”

    ‘Very educational and informative.”

    “This was outstanding and enlightening, revealing the complexity of the Hispanic community that I was no aware of. Thanks.”

    Armed with useful data and a better understanding of the market potential, we hope conference attendees and their colleagues will begin to eliminate the barriers that stop them from developing emerging markets strategies. By doing the research and then empowering their leaders, credit unions can find tremendous success and growth from among these critical market segments.

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