California: New Outreach Task Force Is Formed

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Because of the state's proximity to Mexico, as well as its sizable population of immigrants from Central and South America, much of the California league's outreach efforts aimed at immigrants are geared towards Latinos and Hispanics.

According to Kim Bannan, league VP-credit union development, the California league published a glossary of financial terms in Spanish for CUs to use as a reference guide, and has developed educational programs to teach CUs how to market to Spanish speakers.

"Some credit unions have people who speak Spanish, but not everyone who speaks Spanish is familiar with financial terms," said Bannan.

The league recently formed a "Credit Union Outreach Task Force," that was specially appointed by Pat Wagner, CEO of New World FCU and CCUL chairman. Bannan said the task force will help the league develop programs to help credit unions reach out to underserved communities-including neighborhoods heavily populated by immigrants.

Bannan said there is a noticeable difference between first-generation and second-generation immigrants in terms of overall behavior, but when it comes to financial literacy "many of them handle things the way their parents do, and many of their parents did not use financial institutions."

"Many second generation immigrants are not poor-they are middle class," she continued. "But 40% of them don't have access to a financial institution in their neighborhood."

The California league was, along with the Texas league, an early supporter of IRnet (International Remittance Network), a wire transfer service offered by the World Council (see related story, page 12).

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