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Credit Unions Grow by Adapting to Latino Market

EFE, Posted: Oct 28, 2009

U.S. credit unions could expand by adapting to the Latino immigrant market, according to a report by Spanish-language news service EFE. While the Latino community is the biggest and fastest growing minority market, it is underserved by credit unions, said Ahmee Vang, a remittance specialist at the World Council of Credit Unions. This is partly because some credit unions are waiting for the Latino market to adapt, instead of adapting to their needs, said Vang. Latino immigrants in the United States sent $67.5 billion in remittances to family members in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2008, according to the organization. To serve immigrants sending remittances, the World Council of Credit Unions created a program to encourage credit unions to offer Latinos low-cost transactions for international remittances and check cashing. Vang said institutions that adopted this program have seen immediate benefits, including those in states with lower Latino populations. She said remittances are the starting point that could later lead to the use of other services like direct deposits and business loans.

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