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  • Greater Iowa Shares Story at Latino Conference

    Posted by on July 17, 2012

    Among the excellent presentations at the 7th Latino Credit Union Conference this June was a panel discussion of best practices for Hispanic outreach.

    Two of Coopera’s clients, Greater Iowa Community Credit Union and Travis Credit Union shared insight with the audience. Greater Iowa’s story, as told by Michael Adams, even made CUNA’s News Now online publication.

    Michael shared specifically how Greater Iowa expanded its footprint from a university credit union to a community-based institution that has rolled out the welcome mat for members of the local Hispanic community. Some of the tactics Michael talked about included: taking a multi-pronged approach to marketing, hiring bilingual and bicultural staff, forming an employee implementation team and offering a Spanish-language personal finance website.

    To read more about Greater Iowa’s experience, visit CUNA’s News Now.

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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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    Greater Iowa Names Scholarship Program for Warren Morrow

    Posted by on March 13, 2012

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

    Like everyone else who either worked with or knew Warren Morrow personally, we at Greater Iowa Credit Union were shocked and saddened to learn of his passing. The credit union industry and the Latino community lost an incredible leader, humanitarian and friend.

    As early clients of Coopera, and we worked closely with Warren and Miriam De Dios to structure and fund a Latino initiative that included policy changes, new membership procedures, educational programming, raising cultural awareness of the staff and launching products and services specifically designed to appeal to first- and second-generation Latino families and individuals. As part of that program, Greater Iowa identified funding that would be given each year to a deserving Latino high school student who was interested in going to college.

    With a vote of support from the credit union’s Corporate Giving Committee and endorsement from the board of directors, this program has been increased to three $500 scholarships that will be known in the future as the Warren Morrow Latino Educational Scholarship.

    Each year, we at Greater Iowa work with the Latino Liaison staff with the Des Moines Public Schools and the superintendent of the Crawford County Schools in Denison to identify students worthy of the honor. The winning students are invited to join us at the annual Latino Heritage Festival in Des Moines to receive a check. It’s one of the most rewarding things we do each year.

    By naming this scholarship after Warren, we wanted to honor his vision and legacy. In our modest way, we will be able to share Warren’s story with future generations of students whose stories, in many ways, will resemble his—of young people who came to this country as children with a hunger for education and a compelling need to do good work.

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