Nov 16 2007

Financial Services and Product Usage by Latinos in the United States

Report  
Number  
142

This study, conducted in U.S.–Mexico borderland communities during tax preparation sessions, provides an insightful glimpse into the financial behaviors and desires of Latinos in the United States.

Barbara J. Robles, PhD
Associate Professor
Arizona State University
Report Number 142

Executive Summary

Consider a population with the following characteristics:

  • Young.
  • Entrepreneurial.
  • Growing in numbers.
  • Financially underserved.
  • Growing in wealth and income.
  • Leveraged with high- cost installment debt.
  • Not utilizing savings and wealth- building tools.
  • Focused on education as a means to advance socially and economically.
  • Relatively uneducated about consumer finance issues, but interested in learning more.

Would this be a worthwhile group for your credit union to serve? If you answered yes, your credit union would have the opportunity to meet the financial needs of a largely underserved population: Latinos living in the United States.

What is the research about?

In this report, Bárbara Robles, continues her research on financial product and service usage among Latinos in the United States. First, she shares publicly available data on the Latino market and presents a compelling narrative of this population of 44.3 million strong. Next, Robles presents results from a three year data collection effort that yielded nearly 15,000 survey observations. The survey, conducted in U.S.–Mexico borderland communities during tax preparation sessions, provides an insightful glimpse into the financial behaviors and desires of Latinos in the United States. Specifically, Robles examines behaviors related to savings, tax refund usage, international remittances, intergenerational lending and borrowing, and other elements of their financial lives.

What are the credit union implications?

At the very core of this research study is the notion of meeting the needs of an untapped market. Through incisive data analysis and on-the-ground study, Robles presents a compelling case for financial services organizations to help bridge the knowledge gap for “Latinos [who] want to better understand and use mainstream financial products and services.” If you have scrutinized credit unions’ anemic membership growth figures and are aware of the competitive pressures impacting the financial services industry, you can’t help but conclude that Robles’s study provides beneficial fodder for your organization’s future growth strategies.