Maintaining their Latin culture is very important to Hispanics who move to other countries. Latinos do more than just assimilate into the American culture; they acculturate to fit in and adopt a complementary set of cultural habits in the United States. Acculturation is a process that doesn’t happen overnight, and many Latinos who come to the United States seeking out the American Dream spend years trying to absorb and connect with the American culture, depending upon their level of education, assimilation, support groups and location. That includes where they bank.
The level of acculturation is based on education, socioeconomic status and the time spent living in the US. In other words, where you come from and the time living here in the U.S. play a big role in decision making to acquire products and services from credit unions. Some cities or regions have larger Hispanic populations, which sometimes can make it easier for Latinos to navigate the first few months but more difficult to learn English and get familiar with the American culture. Then companies located in those areas must find better ways to bring Latinos in to use their products and services.
The difference is vast between acculturated and unacculturated Hispanics, and the impact it plays when it comes to decision making is crucial while choosing a primary financial institution.
Acculturated Hispanics are said to be bicultural. Even the newer generations born in the U.S. maintain a high level of Latino culture in their lives. Becoming fluent in another culture takes time and dedication, making it much easier for credit unions to reach a bicultural person than a monocultural person. Credit unions will find it easier to market to bicultural Hispanics because they tend to have a higher level of education, less of a language barrier and enough knowledge about the American culture and finances.
Credit unions marketing to bicultural Hispanics still need to understand that even though they are bicultural, it doesn’t mean that their primary culture is forgotten. Your credit union will have greater success if you accommodate your internal organization to meet Hispanics’ cultural expectations.
By contrast, monocultural Hispanics are usually Latinos who are just beginning their life here in the U.S. Latinos who moved here at an older age tend to stay monocultural as it becomes harder for them to learn a new culture with all the intricacies tied to it. They also tend to lean on their children and family members to help them navigate processes and financial culture in this country, which makes it harder for them to connect with the American culture. This is why is important for credit unions to not only drill down into the marketing of products and services provided to Hispanics, but also to work on the internal culture of the organization to provide better service and make Hispanics feel at home when they visit your branch, website, mobile application or call your member service center.
While serving Hispanics is often generalized that does not mean they all want and need the same things or respond in the same ways. Credit unions must understand the different aspects and levels acculturation to provide the right marketing, products and services to help members make the sound financial decisions and make them feel welcomed into the credit union.