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CUs in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas have Tremendous Growth Opportunity in Hispanic Community
Monday, September 8, 2014 7:00 AM

Hispanics are the largest, fastest-growing, youngest and most underserved group in the U.S. They also represent a tremendous growth opportunity for credit unions, according to Miriam De Dios, CEO of Iowa-based Coopera. De Dios presented “Demographic Transformation and the Future of Your CU,” at the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Leadership Conference Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.

During her presentation, De Dios highlight statistics from the Hispanic Opportunity Reports, a comprehensive evaluation of Hispanics in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Cornerstone’s International Relationship Committee commissioned the Coopera to write the reports.

De Dios shared with the credit union audience that there are currently about 114,000 Hispanics in Arkansas, representing 6 percent of the state’s population. By 2040, however, the Hispanic population will jump to about half a million – representing the majority of the population.

“If only 10 percent of Arkansas’ Hispanic adults were credit union members, they would contribute an estimated $4 million to the credit union’s annual income and $55 million in loan balances,” she shared with the audience.

Sixty-three percent of Arkansas’ Hispanic population was born in the U.S., and their median age is 23, compared to 41 for non-Hispanics. Only 24 percent of Hispanics in Arkansas speak English exclusively, and 76 percent of Arkansas’ Hispanics speak Spanish at home or are bilingual.

“Across the U.S., Hispanics purchasing power now exceeds $1.5 trillion,” De Dios said. “In Arkansas, the Hispanic purchasing power is about $3.4 billion.”

Unfortunately, 12 percent of Arkansas’ Hispanics are unbanked and 2 percent are underbanked.

De Dios highlighted credit unions in Arkansas that have the greatest opportunity to reach this important demographic, and those credit unions include:

  • White County FCU
  • Natural State FCU
  • Mil-Way FCU
  • Lion FCU
  • River Valley Community CU
  • Miller County Teachers FCu
  • Natural State FCU
  • Usem Mena FCU

In Oklahoma, 9 percent of the population is Hispanic. Today there are 385,000 Hispanics and by 2030, there will 665,000 Hispanics in Oklahoma, which would constitute 61 percent of the state’s population. If 10 percent of Oklahoma’s Hispanic adults were members of a credit union, De Dios says they would contribute an estimated $10 million to annual income and $132 million in loan balances.

Similar to Arkansas, 67 percent of Hispanics in Oklahoma are U.S. born. The median age is 23, compared to 41 for non-Hispanics. Thirty-five percent of Hispanics in Oklahoma speak English exclusively, and 65 percent speak Spanish at home or are bilingual. Hispanic purchasing power in Oklahoma is $7.2 billion.

“Oklahoma Hispanic households are more likely to be unbanked or underbanked in comparison to other races, with 38 percent of households being unbanked and 33 percent being underbanked,” De Dios told the credit union audience.

She also highlighted the Oklahoma credit unions that have the greatest opportunity to reach the Hispanic community, and they include:

  • Communication FCU
  • Energy One FCU
  • Oklahoma Central CU
  • Oklahoma Employees CU
  • Red Crown CU
  • Tinker FCU
  • Truity CU
  • TTCU
  • Tulsa FCU
  • Western Sun FCU
  • Encentus FCU
  • Fire Fighters CU
  • First Oklahoma FCU
  • First Tulsa FCU
  • Fraternal Order of Police CU
  • Golden Eagle FCU
  • Green Country FCU
  • Group Services Employees FCU
  • Hillcrest FCU
  • Morning Star FCU
  • Muskogee FCU
  • MyChoice FCU
  • OK Members First FCU
  • Saint Francis FCU
  • Tulsa Space Age CU

Nineteen percent of that nation’s Hispanics reside in Texas. There are 9.5 million in Hispanics in Texas, and Texas’ Hispanic population is projected to grow to 18.8 million by 2040. Hispanic purchasing power in Texas is $178 billion, with an estimated 21 percent of the state’s buying power. Twelve percent of Texas’ Hispanic households are unbanked and 24 percent are underbanked.

The list of Texas credit unions with the greatest growth opportunity within the Hispanic community is extensive, and can be found on Cornerstone’s website, in the Texas Hispanic Opportunity Report.

To be successful in reaching Hispanic consumers, De Dios says it’s important to offer the appropriate products and services, have bilingual and bicultural staff, and have processes in place that remove any possible barriers. An Hispanic advisory group is also an effective way for credit unions to develop an effective Hispanic outreach program. Cornerstone’s International Relationship Committee commissioned Coopera to develop a Hispanic Advisory Group Toolkit, and that toolkit is available to Cornerstone-affiliated credit unions on its website, at www.cornerstoneleague.coop/hispanic_advisory_group_tool_kit.html.