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  • How to connect with Hispanic consumers in 2021

    Posted by on February 8, 2021

    Headshot of Kenia Calderon Ceron

    Client Relations Director Kenia Calderon Ceron

    As first seen on CUInsight.com.

    Credit unions used to depend on social events to connect with their Hispanic community – events such as Hispanic Heritage Month festivals, financial education seminars, etc. In the era of social distancing, credit unions have been challenged to find new ways to connect with their members through digital platforms. Here are three recommendations for ways to engage with the Hispanic market in 2021:

    Get comfortable in front of the camera. 

    Today, one of the most engaging ways to promote a product or service is through short videos like TikToks and Reels. According to Clarita’s 2020 Hispanic Market Report, 23.4% of the U.S. millennial population is Hispanic. By 2025, 27% of the U.S. Gen Z population will be Hispanic. These two segments are in their prime borrowing years. Therefore, credit unions must go to where potential new members are consuming the most information, so consider joining TikTok or Instagram.

    While the millennial and Gen Z populations may not be your target market at this moment, it would be beneficial to include them in your marketing strategy. These are two populations that need financial services. Gen Z for example, might not be attending your financial seminars on Zoom, but you could catch their attention with a minute-long video on one of their favorite social platforms.

    Make online banking enrollment accessible. 

    One of the most common questions Coopera received from credit unions embarking on a Hispanic growth strategy is, “How tech savvy is this community?”. There is a misconception that Hispanics don’t use technology at similar rates as compared to other demographics. Contrary to belief, most technology reports suggest otherwise. Claritas found that Hispanic consumers are more likely to carry out day-to-day banking transactions online. This is not surprising to me, as I have witness members of my own family utilizing their smartphones to stay connected with our family in El Salvador and to make everyday purchases.

    When Hispanic members have low online banking and mobile app penetrations, I attribute the lack of engagement to communication issues in regard to the availability of those digital options. Spanish-speaking members may not be aware that they can enroll in online banking, or that their credit union has a mobile app for members. Consider these questions:

    • Do you have an online banking enrollment guide?
    • Is this guide available in Spanish?
    • Do you have a Spanish microsite available to members?
    • How have you promoted your Spanish content online?
    • Do you post in Spanish on social media?
    • What would be the investment to translate your online and mobile to Spanish?

    Check out Valley Strong Credit Union, who took it a step further by creating a Spanish Facebook page to ensure their information was accessible to a Spanish speaking audience.

    Prepare for potential members’ due diligence. 

    It is important that your online messages align with how you want to be known among the Hispanic community. Whiles Hispanics are loyal to brands, it takes some time to earn their trust. For a long time, Hispanics have relied on word of mouth to learn about resources in their community. Without social gatherings, it is important that you spread positive messages about the credit union online. Encourage members to leave a review online about their experience with the credit union, especially reviews in Spanish. This would present the diversity of your membership and their satisfaction with the credit union.

    Don’t let COVID-19 hold your credit union back from engaging with Hispanic consumers. Use this time as an opportunity to enhance your digital channels to welcome new users. Online outreach and engagement can drive membership growth and product penetration if done from an inclusion mindset.

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    2020 Hispanic Outreach Recap

    Posted by on December 10, 2020

    Credit union partners developed new strategies and resources to reach Hispanic membership during the pandemic in 2020. Watch the vlog to hear Kenia’s forecast for the upcoming year and her tip to being prepared.

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    Steps Your Credit Union Can Take to Support DREAMers

    Posted by on August 10, 2020

    As first seen on cuinsight.com.

    Credit unions have an opportunity to position themselves as trusted financial partners of the immigrant community. Last month, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This immigration program was created through an executive order from President Obama in June 2012. For the last eight years, the DACA program has helped many immigrants fulfill dreams and achieve success in this country, by providing deportation relief and work authorization. Credit unions were at the forefront of providing financial services to the first DACA beneficiaries. We witnessed credit unions create “Dreamer Loans” to help individuals pay for their legal and immigrant fees. Now that DACA has been given new life, will credit unions rise to the challenge once again to help with the obstacles young immigrants face?

    DACA recipients are aware of the vulnerability of the program because it is not a law. The September 2017 decision by the Trump Administration to rescind the DACA program left many young immigrants in a challenging position. After a three-year legal battle between federal courts and the administration, the case was ultimately heard by the Supreme Court. The administration has decided to continue accepting DACA renewals while limiting the term from two years to one. It was also decided that they will not be accepting first-time applications and most advance parole applications. This contradicts the Supreme Court’s ruling and immigrant advocates are planning to challenge their decision.

    Terminating the program would negatively impact immigrant families, our healthcare system, essential workers, and the economy as a whole. The Center for American Progress estimated that more than 1.1. million undocumented immigrants met the basic DACA requirements. Roughly 825,000 immigrants have been granted DACA at some point during these eight years, leaving approximately 300,000 young immigrants who would qualify to apply for the first time.

    Credit unions play a very important role in the lives of immigrants. From opening accounts and providing services to those who have Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) and alternative forms of identification.

    If the administration moves to accept first-time applications, about 300,000 young immigrants will need assistance to pay for their legal and immigration fees. These individuals do not have social security numbers. Here are some steps to take to assist them:

    – Ensure your policies are welcoming of individuals with ITINs. A member may be considered an unauthorized immigrant today, but may obtain a legal status later.

    – Repackage a personal loan as an immigration loan. This will help your credit union with marketing and awareness among an immigrant population.

    – Partner with non-profit and legal service providers to support their efforts to help young immigrants complete their first-time and renewal DACA applications.

    – Expand your scholarships to include both undocumented and DACA recipient students, as they cannot access federal aid to pay for higher education.

    Credit unions helped DACA recipients back in 2012. Since then, they have built long, lasting relationships and many have even financed their first mortgages with the same credit unions that lent them money for that first-time DACA application. Here is an opportunity to help young immigrants again. Is your credit union ready?

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    Communicating COVID-19 Financial Changes and Resources to Minority Members

    Posted by on April 15, 2020

    Communicating with members is important, and the current pandemic has led to a flurry of change and resources. Don’t let your minority members get lost in the shuffle! Check out the video above to learn about three things you should be communicating to minority members.

     

    Additional Resources:

     

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    Víctor Discusses Credit Union Pandemic Responses

    Posted by on March 26, 2020

    Is your credit union communicating to members who don’t speak English during the COVID-19 pandemic?

    Here are some resources that can help:

    For additional resources, contact the Coopera team at info@cooperaconsulting.com.

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    Successfully Serving Hispanics is Key to Credit Union Growth

    Posted by on February 3, 2020

    As first seen on cuinsight.com.

    No doubt about it – 2020 promises to be a vibrant, dynamic year, and one favored by a continuing robust economy. Credit unions, like all organizations in the financial space, are primed for financial growth. But credit unions have one advantage that other financial providers don’t have. As member-owned financial cooperatives that focus on service and inclusion rather than profits, credit unions are in the best position to serve the country’s rapidly growing Hispanic community.

    Many credit unions already know this through experience, and both the institutions and their Hispanic members are gaining from their relationships. But more financial cooperatives need to strategically pursue Hispanics and all the financial potential they bring, for the sake of their own institution’s relevance as well as for the growth of the credit union community nationwide. And they need to do so now, before more of the competition catches on.

    Hispanics continue to be the U.S. population’s most rapidly growing segment and their numbers are staggering.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 59.9 million Hispanics who call the U.S. home, comprising close to 20 percent of the population. By 2060, experts say, that number will grow to 119 million, or almost 29 percent of the population. Today, one in five U.S. consumers is Hispanic; by 2060, it will be close to one in three.

    Think about the implications of those data points and the impact they will have on our evolving social and cultural landscape. Individual credit unions have done very well in getting to know their Latino communities, serving them in ways that make sense to those members and encourages them to engage with the credit union. But many experts have noted that future credit union growth will likely come largely from the Hispanic community, given their rapid demographic growth. As an industry, we have yet to make a concerted effort to reach the Hispanic population on a nationwide basis in profound ways that reach beyond translated marketing materials.

    Other industries, and even other financial providers, are far ahead of credit unions when it comes to approaching and serving the Latino community.

    – As far back as 2002, Frito Lay introduced an extensive line of snack food targeted at the Hispanic market after testing showed that U.S. Hispanics favored snacks flavored with chile, citrus and cheese seasonings. Frito Lay understood that cultural differences come in different flavors.

    – In 2012, household brand manufacturer Proctor & Gamble (through Orgullosa, its subsidiary devoted to celebrating and empowering Latinas), initiated a program through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund that financially supported Hispanic youth pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). P&G knew that supporting the Hispanic community is a large part of building relationships with its members.

    – Even Bank of America has invested heavily in serving Hispanics. Through its Hispanic and Latino Organization for Leadership Advancement (HOLA), which had grown to more than 30 internal chapters by 2003, the $2.4 billion bank teaches employees and managers how to better understand and serve the Hispanic community nationwide. They know that better customer relations mean more business and increased loyalty.

    Coopera’s goal is to help credit unions prosper through better service to the Hispanic community. But we are only half the equation. Credit unions themselves must step to the plate to better capitalize on this rapidly growing market. Those who do are almost guaranteed to hit a home run.

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    Serve the Latino Community and Tell the World

    Posted by on December 17, 2019

    New Year Resolution Goal List 2020 - Business office desk with notebook written in handwriting about plan listing of new year goals and resolutions setting.

    If you’re like me, you look forward to setting New Year’s resolutions. But whether you resolve to eat healthier, read more or reconnect with family and friends, you know that by sticking to your commitments, good things will happen and your goals will be achieved.

    What about your credit union and its goals? Chances are you’re doing a good job – maybe even a great job – serving the Latino community. You’re reaching them in meaningful ways and supporting various social, educational and financial causes designed to win their trust and build long lasting relationships. But who else knows about the goodness and success of your efforts?

    I’d like to challenge you to make a special New Year’s resolution for your credit union: In 2020, continue to serve the Latino community as well or better than you are currently, and make it a point to tell the world about it.

    Good news doesn’t have a season, and the challenges faced by the Latino population, especially immigrants, are always present. The work credit unions do to serve Latinos is critical to helping many of them have a trusted partner to achieve their financial goals with. Your work with the Latino community aligns with the credit union member-service mission of people helping people. Publicly broadcasting your efforts and their successes helps the Latino community trust and thrive, which helps credit unions grow.

    Here are some ideas to help you meet the goals of your New Year’s resolution:

    Develop a Latino Services Communication Plan, one that identifies service highlights throughout the year and ways to leverage those highlights. Include methodologies, objectives, steps toward achieving those objectives and measurable results. Find your communication niche in the Latino community. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail, so make this the first step in defining and outlining your efforts.

    Target media outlets and other influencers who you know will help carry your message. Local publications and broadcast stations thrive on meaningful news for and about their audiences. Understand their preferences, “hot button topics” and target messaging you think will appeal to them. Every newsperson loves an exclusive, and working directly with reporters, editors and broadcasters is the best way to create a relationship that will lead to future opportunities.

    Take appropriate advantage of available news options. Know the difference between a good news story and effective op-ed topics. Invite TV news teams into the credit union for newsworthy (and visually appealing) celebrations, or volunteer experts for on-air talk shows. Establish appropriate staff as subject experts who can speak knowledgeably about Latino and immigrant issues in print interviews or as part of panel discussions. A good source is a reporter’s best friend, so strive to become one.

    Take your message to the street, literally and figuratively. Look for opportunities to address social organizations like Rotary Clubs or church congregations. Be willing to work with local or state government bodies seeking information for passing regulations or legislation. Partner with other reputable social groups that share a common purpose with your credit union in serving the Latino community.

    Finally, use your imagination. If your resolution is to serve the Latino community and tell the world, how far can you extend your reach as an influencer to achieve your goals? Remember that credit unions started as someone’s good idea and blossomed into a global cooperative financial movement in the span of a few generations. For someone with a good idea, a dedicated heart and boundless energy, anything is possible.

    Good luck with your resolutions and happy New Year!

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    Trends Emerge from 2018 Successes

    Posted by on January 3, 2019

    This past year Coopera has had the opportunity to help multiple credit unions better serve their Hispanic constituents. We learned a lot in 2018, and we’re happy to see that both the credit unions and their Hispanic members benefited from our joint efforts.

    Several critical trends emerged from among those 2018 successes. Here are three we believe have widespread application to credit unions across the nation.

    1. Staff training opportunities have enabled more credit unions to share Hispanic market service and growth insights with employees at all levels.

    Helping credit union staff – both new and experienced – understand the cultural nuances of serving all member segments has become an important growth strategy. In best-practice credit unions, cultural awareness training is no less important than financial and technological training, and it’s something we hope more credit unions embrace in the future.

    Coopera is able to measure and score a credit union’s cultural sensitivity, enabling it to better communicate with Hispanic members. From that score, the credit union can adjust its operational thinking and practices so more Hispanic members feel understood and appreciated by the institution. Increased understanding, in turn, results in more and better service to those members, eventually leading to greater product engagement by Hispanic members in those credit unions.

    2. Increased ITIN lending by credit unions both new to and experienced with such loans has resulted in larger loan portfolios and better member service.

    Loans made using Individual Tax Identifications Numbers (ITINs) rather than Social Security numbers to verify identity are still new to many credit unions. But credit unions that understand the nuances of using this form of legal ID have discovered new and often untapped sources of loan demand and revenue. From payday loan alternatives to credit-builder loans to auto loans and even mortgages, the demand and opportunities for ITIN loans are helping both borrowers and lenders thrive.

    Produced with the help of partner organizations, Coopera offers access to an ITIN lending guide that provides both recommendations and resources for such a program’s application and use. Access the guide free of charge here: https://filene.org/do-something/programs/non-citizen-lending.

    While a program like ITIN lending is an opportunity to engage Hispanic members, credit unions offering only the foundation of such financial access without building a framework for its Hispanic members’ financial growth run the risk of losing those members to the competition. Coopera offers credit unions assistance in creating holistic solutions to help Hispanic members financially grow with the institution.

    3. State credit union leagues are using Coopera’s solutions so that their member institutions increase membership to include Hispanics.

    Leagues nationwide recognize their duty in providing tools for member credit unions grow, and more of them are finding greater growth by attracting Hispanic members by clearly showing the philosophical imperative and business case for it. As one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the U.S., Hispanics present significant opportunities for credit unions nationwide.

    One of Coopera’s partner leagues, for example, has a goal of helping its credit unions reach 1 million members within the state. To assist them with this goal, Coopera provides “opportunity maps” identifying Hispanic groups for the league’s credit unions, enabling them to target, attract and serve members about whom they otherwise might not have known. We’re doing the same thing with other leagues as well, and look forward to future partnerships on projects such as this.

    The initiatives outlined above illustrate how Coopera has actively helped the credit union movement reach out and better serve Hispanics throughout this past year. Coopera will continue these initiatives and actively exploring how to integrate more solutions and insights to reach underserved in the years to come.

    We look forward to having you with us on the journey in the New Year!

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