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Filene Reports On Immigrants' Needs In U.S., Canada
MADISON, Wis. (5/10/13)--Serving the immigrant population is a long-term investment that begins with basic financial products, according to a new report from the Filene Research Institute and Credit Union Central of Canada.

Starting basic services may include remittances, check cashing, bill payment, short-term loans, basic checking and saving, and credit cards, said the report, "Financial Services Needs of Immigrant Communities in Canada and the U.S.."

As immigrants' time in a new country increases, their language skills and income often follow suit. The financial products that immigrants require increase in complexity as time goes on, the report said.

The 92-page report includes immigration statistics from the U.S. and Canada and financial institution best practices for reaching immigrant groups.

The report proposed several strategies for effectively serving immigrant populations. They include:

  • Target immigrant groups through segmentation. Immigrants have diverse needs based on originating country, tenure in North America, immigration, geographic area and other factors. Credit unions must use their resources wisely by selecting specific immigrant groups to focus on and communicating in a way that resonates with them.
  • Learn from successful programs. By conducting a deeper analysis of programs for immigrants and analyzing the quantitative results--such as those offered in the report--credit unions can determine winning strategies that not only build trust within the immigrant community but also yield a positive return on investment.
  • Enable immigrants to work with the credit union. With nearly 10 million Americans lacking traditional credit scores, alternative methods for determining an individual's credit risk are needed, the report said. One of the most common alternatives is collecting and analyzing data from sources such as rental and bill-payment history, insurance payments, debit card use, and public records.
To download the report, use the link.
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