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Study Notes Language Shift In Hispanic Market
WASHINGTON and FARMERS BRANCH,Texas  (8/2/13)--Credit unions with outreach programs to Hispanics in their communities will note a study that suggests a language shift--from Spanish to English--is occurring among Hispanic adults in the U.S.
 
In 2012, roughly 82% of Hispanics surveyed said they received some of their news in English, up 78% from 2006, according to a study by Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Hispanic Center. It also found that number who get at least some news in Spanish declined--to 68% from 78% during the period.
 
Nearly one-third (32%) said they get their news exclusively in English, up from 22% in 2006, while those who received their news exclusively in Spanish decreased to 18% in 2012 from 22% six years earlier.
 
Pew says the results confirm that:
  • A growing share of Hispanics speak English well;
  • The immigration rate is slowing so the percentage of Hispanic adults who are foreign-born is declining;
  • The average number of years adult immigrants have lived in the U.S. is longer--20 years in 2011, compared with 16 years in 2000; and
  • U.S.-born Hispanic adults, who are more proficient in English, are increasing.
One of the credit unions taking note of the study is GECU, based in the border town of El Paso, Texas, where 25% of residents are foreign-born and about 80% are Hispanic, said the Cornerstone Credit Union League (Leaguer July 31).

GECU President/CEO Crystal Long said the credit union communicates to the public in both English and Spanish. The $1.7 billion asset GECU has found that older Hispanic generations tend to be Spanish-dominant, but it has more success reaching younger Hispanics by using English, she said.

In communicating with the public, the credit union uses multiple media, but finds the branch is also effective. Having a "strong and visible presence in the community is critical to earning the trust and business of the Hispanic demographic," Long told the league.

GECU will receive the league's Juntos Avanzomas designation and flag--indicating it has demonstrated its commitment to serving Hispanics--on Aug. 28, said the league.
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