NCUF Innovation Grant Connects Credit Union to Spanish Media

Fairfax County Federal Credit Union is leveraging a $99,900 Innovation Grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF).

The grant is helping the credit union to raise visibility in the Hispanic community through ground-breaking partnerships with Spanish media.

$430,000 in Free Media

El Zol Radio
Cox Communications
UnivisionCBS’ Spanish affiliate El Zol Radio, Cox Cable en Espanol, and Entravision (including Telefutura, Univision, and WJAL) have agreed to contribute a combined $430,000 worth of in-kind media for Fairfax County Federal Credit Union to use throughout 2009. The in-kind media includes radio and TV commercials, public service announcements, long-form interviews, news segments, banner placements, and literature distribution at Hispanic community events.

Click here to see a TV commercial promoting the credit union as a safe haven during this economic crisis.

Attracting New Members

“The launch of our media campaign in January has already resulted in 17% of our new members coming from Hispanic origins and 60% opening checking accounts,” reported Chief Marketing Officer Matthew Kaudy. “I am forecasting the trend to continue upward as the frequency of our message continues to increase and we continue to expand our messages through additional channels.”

Reaching Critical Mass

More than 100,000 of Virginia’s 400,000 Hispanics reside in Fairfax County, just half an hour from the nation’s capital.

Long-Term Strategy

“Other financial institutions entering the Hispanic market primarily implement only a limited, short-term strategy: simply translating their current products into Spanish,” observes Fairfax County Federal Credit Union CEO Joe Thomas.
“We must go much further than simply translating existing products into Spanish," Thomas envisions. "The recent changes in the geographic concentrations of Hispanics, as well as the explosive increase in their buying power, require institutions to formulate a long-term strategy that effectively meets Hispanics’ varied needs...."

"We have a valuable but limited-time opportunity to serve the Hispanic community based on the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’ as opposed to a solely profit-based opportunity.”

Education is “Imperative”

“Education about the benefits of the credit union system is imperative to the success of all programs reaching out to the Hispanic market,” Kaudy emphasizes. “Our campaign is designed to educate Hispanics about the credit union by connecting them emotionally. For example, one television ad on Univision features our Hispanic-branded checking account ‘Cuenta Corriente American’ while incorporating overseas footage from Salvadoran and Bolivian cooperatives drawing a connection to American credit unions.”

In addition to radio and TV, Fairfax County Federal Credit Union is bringing educational outreach into the community via partnerships with Hispanic organizations and bilingual member personnel at all touch points. For example, the credit union is partnering with local Hispanic groups to present financial education events themed around Central and South American countries and featuring Hispanic media personalities.

Emotional Appeals for Needed Services

Emotional appeals are opening doors to specific products and services designed to meet Hispanics’ needs:

  • Spanish website featuring on-line account opening and bill payment
  • Hispanic-branded checking accounts with debit rewards cards
  • “Safe Accounts” for immigrants without Social Security cards
  • Remittance programs that allow immigrants to send money abroad for much less than standard wire transfers
  • Opportunities to earn free international remittances and money orders

    “These products and services are designed to provide Hispanics the opportunity to accumulate assets and ultimately generate wealth for their families,” Kaudy explained.

    Click here to see a Spanish TV commercial promoting these products and services.
  • Growing Membership Projections

    With all the additional visibility and outreach made possible by this NCUF Innovation Grant, Kaudy projects that by year-end, Hispanics will account for as many as 25% of the new members in Fairfax County Federal Credit Union.

    Second-Largest NCUF Innovation Grant

    Click to see how CIF works!This is the second-largest of 14 NCUF Innovation Grants helping credit unions invest in their communities in 2009. Innovation Grants are made possible by supporters of NCUF and members of corporate credit unions who invest in the Community Investment Fund (CIF).
    Click here to see how CIF works!