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This article appeared in the American Credit Union Mortgage Association’s (ACUMA) Pipeline magazine on December 10, 2020, and was written by Concepcion Guerrero, MGIC Marketing Program Specialist.
How credit unions can attract the fastest growing homebuying demographic in America
Developing a strategic plan to reach the Hispanic community
As we look to the ever-changing future credit unions face, it’s no surprise that lenders are shifting their attention to diversity when it comes to their products, services, employees and members. With nearly 60 million Hispanics living in the US, many credit unions are focusing on strategies that make homeownership a possibility for their growing number of Hispanic members who want to achieve the American dream.
The Urban Institute projects that by 2030, 55% of all new homeowners will be Hispanic. And according to Freddie Mac, in 2018 there were 4.9 million mortgage-ready Hispanic Millennials, also called Hispanials, in the US. So why aren’t even more credit unions establishing a plan to attract either Hispanic members or employees? MGIC recently partnered with CUNA Mutual Group and I had the opportunity to ask Multicultural Strategy Manager Edgar Hernandez that very question — as it turns out, it’s for the simple reason that many credit unions simply don’t know how to go about reaching the Hispanic demographic.
So, what is the best way to attract this new, untapped set of potential first-time homebuyers? According to Edgar, credit unions should focus on what we know Hispanics value most. This article will help you better understand the Hispanic homebuying demographic and develop a more diverse outlook on these prospective first-time homebuyers with some valuable strategies, tools, and cultural insights.
Hispanic values: Family, trust, language, community
To start with: Family is everything in the Hispanic community. Hispanics tend to focus on the collective well-being of their families rather than on individual wellness and prosperity. They’ll typically base their decisions on feedback from parents and other trusted family members. Extended family members might even attend meetings with a loan officer regarding the purchase of a home, even if they won’t be on the mortgage. Many Hispanics also have multigenerational households, meaning they live with multiple extended family members under the same roof. Hispanics are twice as likely to live in a multigenerational household than the general population. This is important for real estate and mortgage professionals to keep in mind when Hispanic members are looking for homes.
Building a trustworthy relationship with your Hispanic borrowers is also incredibly important. Mortgage professionals must take the time to listen and be open-minded when it comes to differences in cultural traditions, language and the decision-making process. Hispanic members are not shy about asking questions to better understand the homebuying process, and the loan officer or mortgage professional is viewed as a trusted advisor. That’s why maintaining an open and welcoming manner is critical to building trust with Hispanic homebuyers and their families. And the mortgage professional shouldn’t be shy about asking questions, either — it can be helpful when it comes to better understanding the culture or language.
Since communication is key, language is also important but being able to speak Spanish isn’t always a required trait to reach this group. More than 80% of Hispanials speak and understand English, and of Hispanic adults 36 years or older, over 50% are English-proficient. If translation is needed, another family member will most likely help.
Hispanic homebuyers want their lenders to be visible and be a part of the Hispanic community, so a credit union’s physical presence in the community is also critical. It helps build trust and credibility. The best way to attract and gain more leads with Hispanics is through word-of-mouth referrals. “It’s not enough to have an office in the community,” said Edgar. “Lenders and mortgage professionals should engage in their local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, trade organizations, industry events and Latin American Consulate.”
Tools to help you attract and build a diverse member base
As a leading provider of mortgage insurance and partner to credit unions who want to reach the Hispanic community, MGIC offers resources and strategies that can help you attract and build a diverse member base, including:
- A Hispanic marketing webpage, where you can obtain access to MGIC’s tools and resources such as co-brandable flyers and infographics
- Readynest.com, a consumer-facing website in Spanish with affordability calculators, checklists and other homebuying tools
- A comprehensive Spanish Homebuyer Education program with materials to guide your first-time homebuyers, as well as a Homebuyer Education test
Using tools like these can help you reach the Hispanic demographic by building understanding, trust and comfort with your Hispanic members. As a bonus, they can also help you develop your Hispanic cultural competency and be more inclusive in your marketing efforts — while moving into expanding markets — and make a huge difference in the growth of your business.
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CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Corporate headquarters are located at 5910 Mineral Point Road, Madison WI 53705.