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  • Coopera Welcomes Gustavo Grüber to the Team

    Posted by on October 9, 2012

    Coopera is pleased to announce the newest member of its executive management team — Gustavo Grüber! A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Gustavo brings more than 20 years of multicultural experience in marketing, business development and operations to Coopera, making him the perfect fit for his new role as Coopera’s vice president.

    We’re excited to welcome Gustavo to the Coopera team. In his past roles at RR Donnelley/Banta, PSA Directo, Russ Reid, Hispanic Direct and Alaniz, he pioneered innovative marketing techniques that helped his clients achieve their acquisition, retention and renewal goals. His insight and efforts will offer Coopera and our clients new opportunities for Hispanic community outreach efforts.

    In addition to his corporate experience, Gustavo has also served as the Chair of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) “Directo” Council for Hispanic Marketing and was the founder of the Multicultural Marketing Group in the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing (CADM). He has also been a featured speaker at multicultural marketing conferences and has published articles on Hispanic marketing in trade publications.

    In his new role at Coopera, Gustavo will be responsible for leading the company’s business development and sales strategies, brand awareness, product presence and revenue generation, as well as will serve as a key touch point for the company’s existing partners and prospective clients.

    Gustavo is a great fit for Coopera, both professional and personally. We look forward what he will help us accomplish as the company works to address the complex challenges associated with Hispanic marketing and develop effective solutions to reach and serve our target audience.

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    Make Strategic Planning For Hispanic Growth Simple

    Posted by on June 5, 2012

    While it’s true the Hispanic market is the largest, fastest-growing group in the United States, that’s not the only reason the country’s credit unions are working hard to learn more about this community.

    To gain that understanding of the Hispanic community, credit unions must begin by fully examining their current outreach and potential for growth. One way credit unions are pursuing this strategy is through the use of Coopera’s Hispanic Opportunity Navigator (HON).

    By asking the right questions the HON will uncover a credit union’s readiness to reach a new market or to take the efforts to the next level. The HON also sets forth a plan of action for credit union staff to follow on its path to growth through the Hispanic market.

    With this plan, credit unions will be encouraged to implement new tactics to grow its Hispanic membership, such as:
    • Developing a strategic plan with milestones and goals for serving Hispanic populations
    • Training employees on the business case for serving Hispanics and on issues related to reaching Hispanic populations
    • Providing basic introductory financial services, including international non-wire remittance services and low or no-cost check-cashing in a way relevant to Hispanics.
    • Tracking Hispanic ethnicity and analyzing data to examine Hispanic contribution to the bottom line
    • Establishing long-term relationships with community organization partners trusted by the Hispanic community

    When implemented in the proper sequence, these tactics will ultimately achieve results much faster and much more cost-effectively for a credit union than if they had gone without a charted course.

    The HON is quickly becoming a standard in the industry. In fact, Texas credit unions hoping to attain the Juntos Avanzamos designation* are strongly encouraged to perform a HON analysis.

    *The Juntos Avanzamos designation, which translates to “Together We Advance,” is an indicator to consumers that the designated financial institution is not only welcoming, but prepared to handle the financial needs of the Hispanic community

    For more information about how the HON can help your credit union’s Hispanic outreach programs, download the white paper “Asking the Right Questions.”

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    Hispanic Outreach Is an Indispensable Investment In The Future

    Posted by on May 29, 2012

    The Hispanic population is very young as compared to other U.S. ethnic groups. The best potential for lowering the average age of a credit union’s membership is by bringing Hispanic members into the fold. Because it is a largely underserved group, helping Hispanic members navigate the U.S. financial system is an important part of the overall credit union mission.

    Hispanic outreach is an indispensable investment in a credit union’s future. But, seeing the benefit of serving the Hispanic population is one thing. Truly understanding what it takes to do so is quite another.

    To gain that understanding, credit unions must begin by fully examining their current outreach and potential for growth. This places the credit union in a much better position for defining success and for developing a strategic plan for achieving that success.

    By asking these questions, credit unions can develop a customized strategy for achieving their goals:

    • Is the credit union well-positioned to target and serve the Hispanic market?

    • How many Hispanic members is the credit union currently serving?

    • What milestones has the credit union already achieved?

    • How many Hispanic members could the credit union serve and what is the income potential?

    • What are the opportunities and challenges faced by the credit union?

    • What are the best-practice strategies that will attract and retain Hispanic members?

    To learn more about how asking the right questions can help grow your credit union’s Hispanic membership, download Coopera’s white paper “Asking the Right Questions.”

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    How to Reach – And Best Serve – The Hispanic Market

    Posted by on May 22, 2012

    Hispanic outreach is an indispensable investment in the future. Yet having a Hispanic growth strategy on its own will not generate the kind of success a credit union needs. It is the integration of a Hispanic growth strategy with the credit union’s overall strategic future that will ultimately create sustainable success.

    One way for credit unions to pursue their membership growth strategy with their local Hispanic community is through the use of Coopera’s Hispanic Opportunity Navigator (HON), an industry-accepted assessment that Coopera has completed for more than 50 credit unions across the country.

    Designed to make strategic planning for a Hispanic growth strategy simple, the HON provides a measurement of a credit union’s Hispanic membership baseline.

    In addition, the program evaluates a credit union’s cultural disposition to serving a new market. As a third assessment, the HON analyzes the credit union’s tactical progress to understand what has already been accomplished toward becoming what Coopera calls a “Best Practice Credit Union.”

    The HON supplies a road map to follow utilizing three Hispanic growth stages: Discovery, Emerging and Best Practice. By asking the right questions during these phases, the HON gives credit unions a customized strategy for achieving their goals.

    One Coopera customer, Arna Reynolds, CEO of Amarillo Community Federal Credit Union, says, “The HON has been an invaluable tool for our Hispanic programs. It has given us the ability to adapt our strategic plan to include target marketing with customized messages to the appropriate age groups. Now with a defined roadmap, we understand exactly which direction to take next.”

    For more information about how the HON can help your credit union’s Hispanic outreach programs, download the white paper “Asking the Right Questions.”

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    Video: Targeting the Hispanic Consumer for Growth

    Posted by on May 8, 2012

    I recently appeared on an episode of the CU Broadcast to discuss the Hispanic market opportunity for credit unions. The host, Mike Lawson, and I talked through quite a few topics, most notably how credit unions can earn the trust of young, unbanked Hispanics.

    The video is also archived at CUBroadcast.com, along with many other insightful episodes of the show. If you get a free minutes, visit the site and watch a few…

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    Building the Foundation First

    Posted by on May 1, 2012

    By Guest Blogger Michael Adams, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Greater Iowa Credit Union

    In working with Coopera, we have found it important to get the structural components in place before launching any significant outreach to the Hispanic community. This includes things like laying a solid foundation complete with Hispanic-friendly membership policies, as well as securing employee, leadership and board support. Only after this can you begin to do the fun stuff, like product development or marketing.

    Not everyone on a credit union’s leadership team or board of directors may be fully supportive of an Hispanic outreach program, and some products, such as ITIN loans, for example, may be downright scary to them. A vocal board member who is not on board can create barriers to any proposal. We discovered early on that some credit union administrators and board members can have a knee-jerk reaction to the creation of an aggressive Hispanic initiative.

    More often than not, education regarding the needs of this community is necessary. Once you do get a good customer identification program in place and board support, you can begin the rewarding work of reaching out to the Hispanic community with products and services that are useful to them, such as remittance services, free checking, reloadable debit cards, ITIN and other culturally relevant loans.

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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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