Why your effort and time trying to reach the Hispanic market is not working
Hispanics account for the fastest and largest growing community in the United States according to Snapshot of the U.S. Immigration in 2019 by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The Hispanic market has enormous untapped business potential and it represents one of the biggest opportunities for credit unions’ membership growth. Nevertheless, it has been overlooked by financial institutions as it is also one of the most underserved communities.
Companies that have strategies in place to connect and attract Hispanic consumers to utilize their products and/or services are seeing success. However, most credit unions are failing to reach this demographic due to lack of cultural knowledge, failing to build trust with members, and overlooking the need to hire bilingual staff in branches.
Many companies, including financial institutions, have seen potential in the Hispanic market and are looking for ways to serve this market while meeting their goals and grow. Companies that see this potential have made moves to translate marketing materials to increase their appeal to the Hispanic market. While this is a great start, your efforts could be for naught if you are simply translating material without a strategy to serve these new members. The resources you delegate to reach this market should meet the needs of the Hispanic community and be appropriate for their culture and diverse background. When not implemented correctly, Hispanics will drift away, and this could possibly generate a bad reputation for your credit union because you fail to understand their needs.
When interest increases from the Hispanic community for your credit union’s products and services, you have to ensure they receive the personalized service and exceptional member experience that credit unions are known for. In order to accomplish this, it’s imperative that you have staff that are fluent in Spanish and English in branches with a high Hispanic population as some members would feel more comfortable discussing their finances in Spanish. In implementing bilingual staff members, you will be able to knock down barriers to entry and will make huge strides in effectively serving the Hispanic market.
In addition to offering services in Spanish, it is equally imperative that your staff relate to and understand the unique challenges your Hispanic members face. The staff you put in place to service the Hispanic demographic should be able to relate to the many life stages and backgrounds of these members. For example, associates who migrated to the United States will understand and empathize with your first-generation Hispanic members better than someone that only speaks Spanish but does not fully understand the culture, struggles, and achievements of someone who migrated to the U.S. Your staff should be able to relate and provide excellent member service by helping them understand and navigate this new financial world. It’s important that you make them comfortable enough to share their struggles and begin to trust you as their primary financial institution.
Member service is one of the most powerful and valued aspects of any credit union, but it is not enough to ensure loyalty from your members. Any successful financial institution must be able to meet its clientele’s financial needs. Therefore, providing the right products and services is as crucial for the Hispanic market as it is for any other client sector. According to the 2016 U.S Census almost 23 percent of the Hispanic population in the U.S. are noncitizens and might not have a social security number. This prevents them from taking full advantage of all the benefits offered by financial institutions in the United States. Credit Unions need to understand the importance of providing products and services that will help and educate this community. For instance, offering memberships and loans to Hispanics with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) is imperative to help this community grow and reach financial stability.
Finally, financial education should be a top priority as many Hispanics are navigating finances in the United States for the first time and the way credit and other financial services work in the U.S. is very different from other countries. This creates frustration and stress as many of them arrive as adults and building credit will take some time and effort which will delay achieving their financial goals and fulfilling their “American dream”.
Like any other marketing efforts, reaching the Hispanic market can be frustrating if you are not prepared. However, with the right strategy and implementing the tips mentioned above, you can successfully reach this community and build strong relationships.