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N.Y. association initiates Hispanic pilot program
ALBANY, N.Y. (9/21/11)--The Credit Union Association of New York has identified four credit unions to participate in a pilot program to create or enhance offerings to the state’s Hispanic community. The pilot program was initiated on the heels of the 2010 New York Hispanic Opportunity Report commissioned by the association. As the largest, fastest growing, youngest and most underserved market in the state, the Hispanic population could potentially represent a loyal and growing member base that in turn could spur credit union growth, the association said. The association, through its work with REAL Solutions, commissioned Coopera Consulting to conduct the study.
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Numbering more than 3.2 million, Hispanics make up 17% of the state’s population. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2025, the Hispanic population will reach 4.3 million, with more than one in five New Yorkers being Hispanic. (See chart.) The association, together with Coopera Consulting, reviewed the report findings and conducted phone interviews to gauge the level of commitment from more than two dozen credit unions, based on their location and demographic opportunity. The four credit unions selected to participate in the pilot program are:
* AmeriCU CU, with $970 million in assets, Rome; * Hudson Heritage FCU, with $242 million in assets, Middletown; * Lower East Side People’s FCU, with $28 million in assets, New York; and * Teachers FCU, with $4.1 billion in assets, Farmingville.
The pilot program is funded in part by a grant from the association. Participating credit unions will also provide financial support and staffing. The program will incorporate Coopera’s Hispanic Opportunity Navigator assessment tool, on-site strategic planning sessions and staff training. The credit unions’ investment will allow them to choose two additional Coopera services they deem critical to the program’s success at their credit unions. The association said it hopes that the credit unions in the pilot program, in working through the process of identifying products and the culturally nuanced solutions necessary to serve the financial needs of the Hispanic market, will serve as models that other credit unions in the state can duplicate. Coopera Consulting is an economic development firm focused on emerging Hispanic markets that present unique growth opportunities for credit unions. Coopera was formed in 2006, is owned by the Iowa Credit Union League and is a strategic alliance partner of the Credit Union National Association. Coopera’s bicultural and bilingual staff works with credit unions nationwide. Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.


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