Focus Group Finds New Americans Know Little Of CUs

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Focus groups comprised of Hispanic consumers and conducted across this state by the Texas league have discovered this rapidly emerging group needs something from credit unions-an introduction.

The league said that the focus groups found that more than half of the survey's participants did not know the difference between credit unions and banks. The findings were released by TCUL Communications Director Linda Webb-Manon during the league's annual meeting. The focus groups, conducted in conjunction with Texas Appleseed and local Hispanic groups, were held in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, El Paso and Rio Grande City.

According to the league, the target audience for the focus groups was first-generation Hispanics, with 79.4% of participants having been born in Mexico. The purpose of the focus groups was to gauge awareness among Hispanics about a variety of issues.

Webb-Manon said the survey found most in the focus groups feel the instability of their economic status leaves little money to budget and save. "The most common practice among focus group participants is to spend money earned immediately on basic needs (food and housing)," the league said. "More than half of the focus group participants said they use non-traditional financial service providers, such as supermarkets and check cashers, while 38% indicated they use a bank and only 4.8% use a credit union.

The league said it found participants listed several reasons why they do not use a credit union or bank:

* Fear their immigration status would be revealed.

* Uncomfortable using credit unions/banks that don't accept Matricula.

* Concern with the lack of information provided in Spanish.

* Lack of trust: fear that their money would be lost in the event credit union/bank robbed.

CUJ Resources

For more information on the Texas focus group findings, visit www.tcul. coop. The report is available online in a PDF format. Or, contact Linda Webb-Ma?on, at (800) 442-5762, Ext. 6486 or e-mail lwebb-manon

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