Members Credit Union in Connecticut is already seeing the rewards of its intentional, focused effort to attract members of the local Latino community to the $31.4 million credit union, according to CEO Kathy Chartier (pictured right) .

Until 2020, the credit union’s growth among Latinos had been organic and through word of mouth, but the CU has since hired Your Marketing Co. to help spread its message of inclusion and financial coaching even further.

Now the majority of the credit union’s growth is tied into the Latino market through Members CU’s extensive marketing and innovative outreach programs. For example, Members CU is even hosting Zoom House Parties throughout July and August, celebrating the independence days of the various Latino countries. 

“Our growth takes a lot of effort, and previously, all the marketing responsibilities for our little credit union fell to me,” Chartier explained. “Now, we are able to leverage Your Marketing Co.’s extensive experience in marketing, and it’s new program built specifically to reach the Latino market.”

YMC CEO Bo McDonald (left)   added, “Statistics show almost 30% of Latino households are underbanked, which leaves them vulnerable to predatory financial institutions like check cashers and payday lenders. This represents a clear and urgent need, one that we want to help our clients address in their communities.”  Your Marketing Co.,  is a full-service strategic planning, branding and marketing agency.

McDonald explained that an increasing number of YMC credit union clients are identifying local Hispanic communities as new growth markets that have historically been underserved by traditional financial institutions, so the firm hired Christian Cuzme, who successfully drove the Hispanic marketing efforts at Lafayette Federal Credit Union in Maryland.
“Serving the Hispanic population is far more than simply translating existing collateral into bilingual campaigns,” Cuzme said. His role is to help participating credit unions understand the nuances of Hispanic-American culture, learn authentic ways to build trust, and identify unique needs to determine the right combination of products and services to market.

Chartier emphasized that adding the marketing piece has been critical to growth, but also ensuring Members CU was offering the appropriate programs that are particularly useful in the Latino market is what helped the credit union build trust from the start. First and foremost, about 60% of Members CU’s staff, she added, are Latino, and they are Credit Union Development Educators, dedicated to the credit union philosophies. Most – and soon to be all – staff are Credit Union Certified Financial Counselors. The credit union joined Juntos Avanzamos, an Inclusiv organization of credit unions dedicated to serving the market. It also worked with the Filene Research Group to develop an ITIN identification program for members without Social Security numbers. 

Significant community benefits follow improved financial security for  individual families. For example, just one year after a credit union focused on serving North Carolina’s growing Hispanic population opened, Charlotte police reported that armed robberies against Hispanics dropped 22.6% locally. Similarly, two years after the credit union opened a branch in Durham, 163 fewer total robberies per year were reported. 

Sarah Snell Cooke, Principal, Cooke Consulting Solutions. Cooke Consulting Solutions provides communications strategy & execution for financial services businesses and their partners. We’ve helped entities ranging from well-established companies to startups share their expertise, bolster trust and grow their bottom line. How can we help you today?

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