Oregon: Efforts To Reach Hispanics Include New CU

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The Credit Union Association of Oregon has directed its member CUs to examine their operations to ensure all potential members-including Spanish-speaking immigrants-will feel welcome.

Alison Carr, the CUAO's director of education and training, said the association offered a program last fall called "Serving the Hispanic Market," which focused on sensitivity issues. "Credit unions should look at how they operate from another perspective," she said.

Carr is the CUAO's liaison to Hacienda Community CU, which was founded in October 2002 to serve the tri-county area in Portland. The CEO and staff at Hacienda Community is Hispanic, which helps it reach out to the large Hispanic population in that part of the state.

The new CU already has more than 300 members, Carr said. "The project is going well. It has been strongly embraced by the community and by community development groups," she said.

Additional support has come from the largest CU in the state, Portland Teachers CU, which has donated staff time, helped in remodeling its office space, and supplies back office computer operations.

The CUAO is working closely with Hacienda Community "to build a strong foundation for success down the road," Carr said.

Rogue FCU, which was founded in Medford, Ore., in 1956, is another CU that serves the growing Hispanic population in its region. Rogue offers many educational seminars for all of its members, Carr said, but has recently emphasized seminars aimed at Hispanics.

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