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  • Remittances Continue to be Relevant to Hispanic Families

    Posted by on February 25, 2019

    Few things are more important to Hispanics than family. In fact, both the nuclear and extended families – las familias – are highly valued by the vast majority of Hispanics both in the U.S. and throughout Latin America.

    It comes as no surprise that remittances, those funds sent to support family and sometimes friends, are an important part of many Hispanic household budgets. Credit unions that provide remittance transfer services are discovering how important and vital those services can be, especially given the growing U.S. Hispanic population and rising number of immigrants.

    Some 58 million Hispanics live and work in the U.S. according to the Pew Research Center, comprising roughly 18 percent of the U.S. population. Add to that the growing number of immigrants and you have a very large number of people seeking to send remittances home to family members.

    After a slight downturn in recent years, remittance activity among Hispanics has spiked with even greater growth anticipated. This provides credit unions a chance to serve more Hispanics and realize greater economic opportunities. In many Latin American households, remittances constitute a primary source of income, making the transferred money vital to those families’ financial wellbeing.

    The remittance numbers are worth noting. According to a study led by the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies (CEMLA), 2017 remittances from the U.S. to Latin American and Caribbean countries totaled $77.02 billion, with an anticipated increase in 2018 to nearly $90 billion.

    Remittances are sent through a variety of merchants, from banks to cafes to convenience stores, often at a cost of 7 to 9 percent of the total remittance amount. Credit unions, can process remittances at a more economical rate, easing the financial burden on senders and putting more money into the hands of the Latin American families who need it the most.

    In recent years financial institutions have started partnering with fintechs to provide remittances. As many Hispanics are young digital natives, they use digital touchpoints to send money abroad.  It is important to develop a digital strategy for remittances.

    If you already serve or seek to serve Hispanics, consider ramping up your remittance program to help service the growing demand. As a source of transfer fee income and a member service opportunity, fulfilling this need can be unmatched among the services your credit union offers.

    It also is an effective way to increase the number of Hispanic members and their loyalty to your institution, as well as help them preserve their cultural traditions of helping la familia.

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    What Credit Unions Can Learn from the Travel Industry’s Hispanic Experience

    Posted by on February 5, 2019

    With snow blanketing the ground and cold winds swirling the arctic air, few things sound better than summer vacation. Can you feel the sun-warmed sand between your toes?

    Your Hispanic members feel the same way. In fact, summer is when most of them travel for leisure or home to visit family and friends. But now is the time to plan and reserve the services they need to travel comfortably. We’ve noted this before, but the trend is even more prevalent when it comes to travel, Hispanics prefer to research and book their travel primarily online or through mobile applications.

    Hispanic travelers comprise a large market for travel companies. As one of the fastest growing U.S. demographics, Hispanics spend $56 billion annually in leisure travel, according to the National Tour Association. In addition, 79 percent of Hispanics take at least one vacation per year, while 17 percent take three trips per year. Hispanics have many emotional ties to their country of origin, so they are very likely to go back even a couple of times a year when they can.

    So, what are the travel companies doing to win the business of Hispanics?

    The key to usage and growth of the travel industry’s Hispanic market has been to have a Spanish-language website that caters to Hispanic members’ cultural needs. More hotels, airlines and other travel industry members have added these sites, and their profits have grown because of it.

    Take the airline JetBlue. Six weeks after deploying a Spanish mobile website, the airline’s Hispanic traffic grew by 80 percent. Since then revenue from Hispanics visiting the site has grown 300 percent, enrollment in JetBlue’s loyalty program grew 200 percent and nearly 50 percent of all Hispanic customers visit the site via mobile devices.

    The data makes it clear that establishing Spanish-speaking and culturally friendly sites is an investment that pays off. For credit unions, that means creating online sites and mobile applications that segments within their Hispanic membership want.

    In addition, you may want to consider improving your search engine optimization so that Hispanics looking for financial institutions find your credit union first, as well as making localized on-site searches easier. And don’t forget that many legal names include a tilde and/or accent mark. Your site must accept those symbols, especially since exact spellings are important to matching travelers’ valid IDs.

    Making it easier for Hispanics to learn about your financial services in their preferred language, will make them much more loyal to you in the future. Just ask JetBlue.

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