Apr 26 2013

Financial Services Needs of Immigrant Communities in Canada and the United States


This report is the result of a collaboration between the Filene Research Institute and Credit Union Central of Canada (CUCC).

It aims to introduce the context, challenges, and nuances of serving immigrant communities. The report is broken down into four chapters. The first outlines demographic trends of the immigrant populations in Canada and the United States in an attempt to provide applicable information that may be used to design products that meet their needs. Chapter 2 outlines past and present initiatives that banks have used to target the immigrant market, with a special focus on remittances. Chapter 3 outlines services and organizations that work directly with immigrants to determine what is said about credit unions as well as whether there is a need for improved financial education. Lastly, in Chapter 4 the authors review recent immigration trends to determine whether similar immigration levels will continue in the future.

This report offers a range of useful facts and statistics, but the authors take great pains to point out the credit union implications. Here are a handful:

  • Target the right group of immigrants. 
  • Learn from successful programs. 
  • Enable immigrants to work with credit. 
  • Local marketing may be highly effective due to immigrants’ high geographic concentration and their use of public transit.
  • Products for the one-fifth of immigrants who are in poverty should be similar to those aimed at low- to moderate-income individuals, and credit unions should offer products that compete with alternative financial services.

The trend lines are clear. So are the opportunities.

Report Number 292