National Credit Union Foundation Helps Launch Hispanic Savings Campaign through New Network of Latino CUs

NCUF Grant Will Help Hire Campaign Coordinator for “Hispanic America Saves”

NCUF Chairman Mary Cunningham (right) presents a check to El Paso Affordable Housing CUSO CEO Larry Garcia (center) and Chair Karl Murphy (left).
National Credit Union Foundation Chairman Mary Cunningham (right) presents a check to Larry Garcia (center) to help the newly formed Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals hire a coordinator to launch the "Hispanic America Saves" campaign. Garcia is CEO of the NCUF-funded El Paso Affordable Housing CUSO, chaired by FirstLight FCU CEO Karl Murphy (left).

The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) is granting $25,000 to the newly formed Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals (NLCUP) to launch a national savings campaign for Hispanics.

“Hispanic America Saves” will be an affiliate of the Consumer Federation of America’s “America Saves” campaign. It will be modeled after the “El Paso Saves” program that the NCUF-funded El Paso Affordable Housing Credit Union Service Organization has been facilitating for two years.

Hispanic America Saves will aim to enroll Latino/Hispanic households in savings programs as incentives to become credit union members.

NCUF will help NLCUP build its capacity to run the campaign. The grant will help hire a Hispanic America Saves coordinator to facilitate, implement, and promote the campaign nationally. The $25,000 from NCUF will leverage an additional $25,000 from Fannie Mae.

“The Latino/Hispanic community is the fastest-growing underserved sector in our nation,” explained NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. “Credit unions can meet the needs of Latinos and Hispanics by helping them take the first steps toward financial independence. Joining credit unions will move them into the financial mainstream through access to financial education, affordable credit, and insured savings.”

Each of the leading credit unions in the Hispanic America Saves campaign will be challenged to open savings accounts for at least 1,000 new Latino households.

“Credit unions are often located in Latino/Hispanic communities, but residents have historically shied away from stepping into a credit union lobby,” observes Larry Garcia, CEO of the El Paso Affordable Housing CUSO, which is acting as the fiscal agent and organizational coordinator for NLCUP. “Many Hispanic households do not know credit unions provide affordable financial services, and they are not inclined to enter a credit union to inquire.”

“This population must have access to mainstream financial services that other Americans take for granted if they are to ever become economically empowered,” Garcia emphasized. “Hispanic households must also learn that saving, even a small amount, on a regular basis will help them live beyond dependence on predatory lenders and down a path to real wealth.”

About the Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals (NLCUP):

NLCUP is a newly formed network of credit unions serving Latino populations and Latino professional leaders in the credit union movement. The network was organized to implement initiatives targeting the underserved Latino community. As credit unions and professionals dedicated to serving this target population, NLCUP is positioned to take a leadership role in helping credit unions reach out to the Latino market. NLCUP's mission is to help credit unions empower Latinos with the ability to build assets and become financially independent.

NLCUP has six objectives:
  1. Promote the credit union model and credit union membership to the Latino community.
  2. Serve as a principal advocate for the Latino community, and credit union system institutions committed to serving the Latino community, on issues related to financial education, financial services, and economic opportunity.
  3. Develop and promote innovative solutions that meet the Latino community’s financial needs.
  4. Sponsor and develop Latino leadership and representation at all levels in the credit union system.
  5. Promote financial education and asset-building in the Latino community.
  6. Develop an international network of credit union institutions committed to economic opportunity and financial growth in Latino communities.
NLCUP’s founding organizations are:
  1. El Paso Affordable Housing CUSO, which is owned by eight El Paso credit unions: El Paso Employees FCU, El Paso Area Teachers FCU, FirstLight FCU, Golden Key FCU, Government Employees CU, Mountain Star FCU, One Source FCU, and West Texas CU
  2. Arrowhead FCU, San Bernardino, Calif.
  3. Border FCU, Del Rio, Texas
  4. District Government Employees FCU, Washington, D.C.
  5. El Futuro FCU, Porterville, Calif.
  6. Government Employees CU, El Paso
  7. Latino Community CU, Durham, N.C.
  8. National Federation of Community Development CUs, New York City
  9. OAS FCU, Washington, D.C.
  10. Rockland Employees FCU, N.Y.
  11. Self Help CU, Durham, N.C.
  12. West Texas CU, El Paso
About Hispanic America Saves:

All NLCUP founders are prepared to participate in Hispanic America Saves. They have access to over 570,000 members, most of whom are Hispanic. In collaboration with the Consumer Federation of America, NLCUP designed Hispanic America Saves as a national social marketing campaign to promote savings to the Hispanic community across the country.

Based on the success of the El Paso Saves program, Hispanic America Saves will provide credit unions tools for reaching out to the Hispanic community, allowing them to tap into the largest emerging market in the nation. Hispanic America Saves will also help educate Hispanics about the importance of savings and take steps toward building their assets.

The target population will be encouraged to join a national movement of Hispanic savers. Participating credit unions will help Hispanic savers choose a savings goal and develop a realistic action plan. Their action plan will describe how, where, when, and what amount of deposits are to be made. Savers will also be encouraged to attend their credit union’s financial education workshops, teaching them how to budget, repair their credit, consolidate and pay off debts, and develop a savings habit.

The campaign will provide participating credit unions with printed materials and recommendations for delivering and marketing their Hispanic America Saves program. The Hispanic America Saves coordinator will help select and combine messages and services to best meet the credit unions’ needs. The credit unions will treat the messages and services as items on a menu, selecting and rejecting according to their needs. They will be encouraged to promote Hispanic America Saves messages in their newsletters and websites at least once each quarter. The campaign will develop public service announcements for the credit unions to distribute.

Hispanic America Saves will be nationally branded to include any savings strategy or program that will benefit Hispanic families through credit unions. As the campaign gains momentum, other products and services will be adapted and targeted to the Hispanic community. NLCUP envisions that the campaign will grow as more credit unions pick up the initiative and begin implementing programs. A Hispanic America Saves Advisory Committee, made up of NLCUP members, will provide strategic guidance.

NLCUP will also offer technical assistance to credit unions that want to participate but need help getting started. NLCUP will provide assistance via telephone and e-mail, helping each credit union design promotional materials and prepare motivational presentations. The goal is to establish national momentum to help credit unions develop aggressive savings campaigns at the local level.

About the National Credit Union Foundation:

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