News Column

Credit Unions Eye Hispanic Market

January 25, 2013

Sieroty, Chris

hispanic shoppers

New report from the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues highlights opportunities for credit unions in both states to grow their membership and revenues by serving local Hispanic populations.

The Hispanic Opportunity Report, set for release next month, estimates that if 10 percent of Hispanic adults in each state were members of a credit union, they would contribute an estimated $82 million in loan balances and $28 million to annual income for Nevada credit unions.

In Nevada, the report outlines crucial demographic and economic data, including the state's Hispanic growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 82 percent, outpacing California, 28 percent, Texas, 36 percent, and Florida, 57 percent.

By 2030, one out of three Nevada residents will be hispanic, while 8 percent of businesses in the Silver State are Hispanic- owned, about 18,000. The report found that North Las Vegas and Las Vegas had the highest ratio of Hispanic-owned businesses.

"The findings of the reports indicate that opportunities abound for California and Nevada credit unions to position themselves for serving the fast-growing and extremely influential Hispanic market," Lucy Ito, CNUL executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a preview of the report.

In California, if 10 percent of Hispanic adults were members of a credit union, it would contribute an estimated $2.1 billion in loan balances and $592 million to annual income. The state tops the list in terms of Hispanic buying power, with $265 billion in disposable income.

The report also highlighted cases of credit unions with successful Hispanic outreach efforts, including Great Basin Federal Credit Union in Reno.

Elisabeth Hadley, marketing manager with Great Basin, said most of the outreach took place before the recession. She said the credit union "set up the infrastructure," including the staff, products and services that appealed to a Hispanic market.

One of those products was a "cheaper way to wire money" to Latin and Central America. Hadley said at one point more than 50 percent of Great Basin's staff was bilingual.

"When it came to survival mode, we cut back," Hadley said. "I think they are still good business practices."

The credit union offers home buying, credit and budgeting workshops in both Spanish and English, a decision Hadley said has benefited Great Basin in terms of recent membership growth.

Great Basin Federal Credit Union has 16,500 members and $125 million in assets.

Ito said the report was developed as part of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues newly formed partnership with Coopera, a Des Moines, Iowa-based marketing firm for credit unions focused on the Hispanic market.

"In response to demographic data ... we commissioned Coopera to produce the Hispanic Opportunity Reports to better understand the current and future situation in our states," Ito said. "We look forward to working with Coopera to provide our member credit unions with proven strategies and tools for growing membership, loans and non-interest income."

Credit unions in Nevada

State-Licensed: 9

Federally Chartered: 13

Number of Credit Union Members: 362,451

Total Assets: $3.72 billion

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: (C) 2013 Las Vegas Business Press. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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