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Hispanic Outreach a Natural Fit for CUs, TCC CU Says
Thursday, October 3, 2013 6:45 AM

In considering that one of the purposes of credit unions is to serve the underserved, Robert Lawler, vice president with Dallas, Texas-based TCC CU, says it’s only logical that the credit union would focus on the Hispanic Catholic market – one of the most underserved segments of our society. But reaching this market, Lawler says, hasn’t been without its challenges.

“One hurdle we’ve had to work hard at overcoming in serving this particular market is the ingrained distrust of financial institutions,” he says. “Check cashers and payday lenders are barriers for us to overcome so that the Hispanic community can participate fully in the American banking system.”

TCC CU, which has recently earned the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Juntos Avanzamos – or Together we Advance designation has worked diligently to ensure it is offering relevant products and services to meet the financial needs of this important demographic.  Among other things, the credit union offers loans to help members pay for immigration costs associated with obtaining legal residency; credit builder lines of credit loans, and Quinceañera loans.

“We’ve also opened a second office in south Fort Worth, a location specifically located to serve the Hispanic community,” adds Lawler.

Offering appropriate products and services isn’t enough. It’s also important that Spanish-speaking members have the opportunity to conduct financial transactions in their native language. Lawler says the credit union makes certain that they have Spanish speaking staff available at all times in both their Dallas and Fort Worth branches.

“We also make a concentrated effort in our printed marketing materials and on our website to include items of interest in Spanish,” continues Lawler.

While the credit union has achieved some success in traditional advertising, Lawler says by far the most effective efforts have been by word-of-mouth, and building relationships with used car dealers that cater primarily to the Hispanic market. 

“Our acceptance of the Matricula Consular card for proof of identity has also been widely praised,” he notes.

TCC CU believes having the Juntos Avanzamos flag flying outside their branches will be a visible sign to the Hispanic community that they the experience, knowledge, and desire to serve their financial needs.

The League is working with TCC CU to schedule a Juntos Avanzamos flag raising ceremony. The League recently held Juntos Avanzamos flag raising events at Randolph-Brooks FCU and GECU. Another flag raising event will be held Oct. 24, at Southwest 66 CU.

Credit unions can learn more about the League’s Hispanic outreach program online, at www.cornerstoneleague.coop/hispanic_outreach.html.

Credit unions are encouraged to use the League’s newly created Hispanic outreach forum to share best practices with their peers. Click here to access that forum.