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  • Cheers to Coopera’s First Five Years … and Beyond!

    Posted by on April 24, 2012

    By Guest Blogger and Interim Coopera CEO Murray Williams

    At Coopera 2007 launch with Warren Morrow, Max Cardenas & Miriam De Dios

    Coopera celebrated its five-year anniversary last week. Not an insignificant milestone – and one we would normally toast with gusto. But the day took on a more reflective and bittersweet tone, as we remembered Coopera’s founder and our friend, Warren Morrow, who unexpectedly passed away on Feb. 15.

    Warren was not only Coopera’s CEO, he was my good friend and close colleague for more than six years. We shared a lot of special milestones together – both professionally and personally. So yesterday was emotional for me, Miriam, Anna and the rest of the team, knowing this time we’d be toasting with Warren from afar.

    We all carry a piece of Warren’s spirit with us. I am unequivocally better for knowing him and proud to have a small role in moving his vast legacy forward. There’s never been a more critical time to champion Coopera’s work of “doing well by doing good.”

    Miriam and I recently participated in CUNA’s Government Affairs Conference and came back energized about the future. From CUNA’s Hispanic Outreach Committee efforts, to the programs of the Network of Latino Credit Union Professionals (NLCUP), to the countless credit union leaders who are making Hispanic outreach a strategic priority, the thought leadership in our movement is astounding. We’ve never felt more momentum or urgency in our collective cause.

    In fact, it was Warren’s cause, as well as his vision and his collaborative spirit that has largely brought our industry to where it is today – to bring dignified financial services to the underserved Hispanic community.

    The future is incredibly bright. The need is great. Credit unions are uniquely positioned to meet that need. And Coopera will be there to help lead the charge – now and for years into the future.

    Warren would be proud.

    Happy Anniversary, mi amigo.

     

     

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    Worth Fighting For

    Posted by on April 17, 2012

    By Guest Blogger Oscar Porras, Community Liaison at Maps Credit Union

    Outreach to the Hispanic community in the U.S. will be an essential part of any credit union’s future success.

    The 2010 U.S. Census showed that the Hispanic population increased 43 percent since 2000. In our neck of the words (Oregon), we’ve seen a whopping 63.5 percent increase over the same period of time. An essential part of reaching out to our Hispanic neighbors is presenting products and services in a way that is culturally relevant.

    At Maps Credit Union, in cooperation with Coopera, we are working to add some of the services that are most important to the Hispanic community, such as credit builder loans, remittance services and prepaid reloadable cards. We have set up inter-departmental teams to discuss these products, and we look forward to rolling out our first new product in the first quarter of 2012.

    It has not been easy. There have been some challenges, including negative attitudes from a small number of staff. Then again, anything worth fighting for always brings challenges. We are working to address our internal and external issues through open and honest communication. Racism, stereotypes, and the like all come from misinformation. Educating staff about their new neighbors will help foster a credit union culture of acceptance and understanding.

    I look forward to my new role as Community Liaison at Maps Credit Union and adding another wonderful piece to our credit union culture. I would love to hear about your challenges and victories as your institutions move toward a greater focus on welcoming the members of your local Hispanic communities.

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    It’s Never Too Early To Start

    Posted by on April 10, 2012

    There’s no better time than the present to begin preparing for 2012’s month-long celebration of the Hispanic heritage and culture, Hispanic Heritage Month.

    Credit unions across the country found ways to engage with their local Hispanic community’s during last year’s Hispanic Heritage Month. Our VP Miriam De Dios recently shared a few of those efforts with Credit Union Magazine’s online readers. Below is an excerpt from that article. For more, visit creditunionmagazine.com.

    All over the country, credit unions are discovering opportunities to participate in community celebrations. Maps Credit Union in Salem, Ore., is partnering with Western Oregon University to launch the Latino Education and Access Program, which helps Hispanic students further their education with scholarships.

    Fundraising for the program will be kicked off by former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

    Maps Credit Union will also be a silver sponsor of the Hispanic Heritage Month Breakfast, Oregon’s official kick-off celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month.

    Des Moines Metro Credit Union also plans to participate in its community’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations. The ninth annual Iowa Latino Heritage Festival will take place in Des Moines in September.

    The credit union will not only have a booth at the festival to meet with current and potential members, it will also sponsor an elote (corn) eating contest.

    How can your credit union participate in 2012’s Hispanic Heritage Month? It can be as simple as:

    • Informing your members and the community about Hispanic Heritage Month events;
    • Partnering with a local organization to support a Hispanic Heritage Month activity; or
    • Educating the Hispanic community about your credit union’s unique products and services.

    To read the full article, visit creditunionmagazine.com.

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    Reloadable Cards Offer ‘Foot in the Door’ to Hispanic Market

    Posted by on April 3, 2012

    The following is an excerpt of a newly released white paper by Coopera’s Miriam De Dios covering the potential for reloadable prepaid cards in the Hispanic market. If you’d like a copy of the full paper, send me an email, and I’d be happy to send it over.

    While our consulting capacity has allowed us to observe almost all best-practice tactics out there, we believe FIs that offer a reloadable prepaid card to the Hispanic market will be among those achieving the greatest success. Perfectly tailored to the Hispanic consumer, this type of offering has the potential to ease consumer financial pain, to build trust between cardholders and an issuing FI, and to generate fee revenue and loyalty from a powerful market.

    For FIs interested in the Hispanic market, it makes sense to think in terms of products and services that would appeal to consumers who don’t have a traditional banking relationship already in place. Creating affordable alternatives to meet the needs of underserved Americans not only has the potential to get a foot in the door of the Hispanic community; it also helps your FI lead its customers down a path to financial responsibility.

    Because they don’t allow for overspending, reloadable cards help underserved consumers manage their budget-conscious lifestyle. This puts issuing FIs in a position to nurture the financial growth of prospective members, quite possibly turning underserved consumers into some of their most loyal customers.

    Before embarking on any Hispanic outreach, however, FIs must understand the importance of building trust slowly. While product offerings – such as reloadable prepaid cards – are a great start, adding a healthy Hispanic membership base truly is a longer-term effort requiring the support of FI staff and leadership.

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