Financially Serving the Hispanic Market

by RaeAnne Marsh

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There’s more to serving the Hispanic market than simply translating messaging into Spanish. Language is a component, “but you need cultural relevance,” explains Luis Soto, a driving force in Vantage West’s recent designation of “Juntos Avanzamos” (“Together We Advance”) from Texas’s Cornerstone Credit Union League.

“Vantage West is the first credit union outside the Cornerstone CUL states that joins Juntos Avanzamos, and we salute their leadership, vision and commitment to financial inclusion that will increase asset-building opportunities for the Hispanic community,” says Pablo DeFilippi, vice president of membership and business development for the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

In order to earn the prestigious Juntos Avanzamos designation, credit unions must complete an extensive application, requiring information about products and services the credit union offers to specifically address the needs of the Hispanic market, as well as strategies they are utilizing to serve this important demographic group.

More than 90 percent of Arizona’s Hispanic market is “banked,” with an account at a bank or credit union, Soto observes, but it is different from other states, so “our efforts are based on understanding our specific market.”

Vantage West is headquartered in Tucson, where its community outreach includes working with the Mexican Consulate for Financial Literacy Week. It is also active in the Phoenix area, where it has two branch offices; it is a corporate partner with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and sponsors Datos, “the most important report on the Hispanic market in Arizona,” Soto explains.

Arizona’s population is more than 30 percent Hispanic, and, according to U.S. Census predictions, will be the majority by 2030. Noting there are 167,000 Hispanic-owned business in Arizona — a majority of the 100,000 minority-owned businesses — Assistant Vice President Jill Casey says Vantage West has seen a 7 percent growth in the Hispanic market, compared to 2.7 percent in the general market. Offering business lending and services to the Hispanic market, she says, is an important part of the company’s growth.

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