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People's Trust FCU Takes a Step Back to Better Align Hispanic Outreach Efforts
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 6:45 AM

Houston, Texas-based People’s Trust FCU looked at the latest Hispanic population estimates for their community and came to one conclusion – making a strategic investment in expanding its Hispanic outreach efforts would be critical to its future.

An earlier report by the Pew Hispanic Research Center revealed that Harris County trails only Los Angeles County, Calif., (4.76 million) among the 60 counties in the U.S. with the largest Hispanic populations. Between July 2010 and July 2011, the Hispanic population in Harris County increased by 46,109, the second-biggest increase in the U.S. during that time. Forty-one percent of the Harris County population is Hispanic, the sixth-highest percentage in the U.S.

In 2008, the $450 million in assets credit union began advertising on Spanish television network Telemundo. However, the credit union soon learned that before it could market to this segment of the population, it needed to have a deeper understanding of the culture, behaviors, and the diversity that exists within the Hispanic community.    

“Our senior management asked us some really tough questions to get us thinking more strategically about our outreach efforts, including how we were internally supporting these members,” Patsy Jalomo, People’s Trust FCU marketing manager tells Coopera blog readers. “We realized that we were not prepared to tackle this alone, and that we needed help from people who have expertise in the Hispanic market.”

The credit union turned to the Cornerstone Credit Union League. Cornerstone recognized that the credit union was on the right track of becoming a Juntos Avanzamos credit union, but felt they could benefit from additional insight into the market. So Cornerstone recommended People’s Trust FCU complete Coopera Consulting’s Hispanic Opportunity Navigator (HON). The HON offers a comprehensive review of a credit union and their operational capacity to meet the needs of the Hispanic community. After completing the HON, a credit union basically has a three-year strategic plan.

Although not a requirement to earn the designation, a number of Cornerstone’s Juntos Avanzamos credit unions have completed the HON. Through the Richard L. Ensweiler Hispanic Outreach Fund, Cornerstone is able to provide affiliated-credit unions with grant dollars to expand their Hispanic outreach efforts, and these grant dollars can be used to complete the HON.

People’s Trust FCU received a grant from the Richard L. Ensweiler Hispanic Outreach Fund earlier this year to take advantage of the HON, and according to Jalomo, it was eye-opening.

“The HON confirmed what our senior management team suspected, specifically that we were not as prepared to serve the Hispanic market as we needed to be,” said Jalomo. “We had the bilingual staff to support our initiatives, but we were missing other basics, like bilingual marketing collateral and documents. We also realized we need to take a closer look at our product portfolio to determine if we had the right mix to meet the financial needs of our Hispanic consumers.”

With more to accomplish before the credit union could expect to successfully reach the Hispanic market, People’s Trust FCU made the decision to slow the pace of implementation and follow the direction recommended by the HON. Utilizing the results of the HON, the credit union said it was able to quickly classify its primary and secondary markets in the local Hispanic community. The credit union also identified its goals for the Hispanic outreach initiative, including membership and loan volume growth, as well as increasing the credit union’s products-per-member ratio — extensions of the credit union’s overall strategic growth goals.

From there, the credit union put together an internal task force, composed of staff from each of the credit union’s departments, to work closely with its outreach implementation team to identify tasks, set timelines, assign roles and responsibilities, as well as host strategic planning sessions and manage expectations.

“The big question from our staff and our leadership teams has been ‘How soon can we get things in process and completed,’” said Jalomo. “With our task force and implementation teams now working so closely together, we anticipate needing four to six months to get everything in place and formally launching our efforts in June 2014.”

Although slowing down the Hispanic outreach process may, at first, have seemed counter-intuitive to the credit union’s growth goals, Jalomo confirmed it’s been the right decision.

“Hispanic outreach is definitely a priority for People’s Trust,” said Jalomo. “Yet, we don’t want to make it too urgent that we miss the strategic intent. There is a lot to do, and we want to do it right.”

Helpful Resources:

Cornerstone’s Juntos Avanzamos program
Coopera Consulting’s Hispanic Opportunity Navigator