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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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