WOCCU’s First Hispanic Marketing Immersion Program in Mexico Transfers Tried Ideas into US Credit Union Market
Participants visit a bakery owner in Leon whose business was financed
by CPM. Pictured with the member are (l-r): Ben Hill, Blue Flame Credit
Union/North Carolina Credit Union Network, Winona Nava, Guadalupe
Credit Union, Sergio Leon Valdes, CPM, Carrie Zetty, Ohio Credit Union
League, Brian Bauske, Bauske Consulting, Inc, Kathy Chartier, Members
Credit Union/Connecticut Credit Union Association and Mike Athens,
Credit Union Association of New Mexico.
Madison, WI—Credit union leaders from nine
US states learned firsthand new ways to market to the
underserved Hispanic population when they traveled
to Mexico as part of World Council of Credit
Unions’ (WOCCU) first Hispanic Marketing
Immersion Program, September 16-29.
Eighteen participants from 14 different credit
unions and leagues selected a one- or two-week
immersion experience in the cities of Guanajuato
and Queretaro in central Mexico. During their
stay, they completely immersed themselves in
Mexican culture and language through family home
stays, intensive Spanish language classes and
hands-on internships in Mexican credit unions,
known as cajas.
The main intent of the internship was to expose
participants to Hispanic marketing tactics they
could bring home to their own credit unions to
expand outreach to the growing Hispanic
market in the United States. Groups met with
marketing teams and executive staff at the
cajas to get an inside look at marketing
strategies used in Mexico. They explored tactics
such as the use of volunteer marketing committees,
branding, mascots, financial education materials
and cultural holiday celebrations.
The CPM group stands in front of the
Academia Falcon Spanish Language School in Guanajuato before heading to
their credit union internship. Pictured (back, l-r): Steph Sherrodd,
Texas Dow Employees Credit Union, Victor Hugo Magallanes, CPM, Leticia
Ruiz, Winkler County Credit Union (Texas), a CPM-Guanajuato employee,
Josh Fetting, WOCCU; (front, l-r): Jorge Aguero, Utah Community Credit
Union, Linda Webb-Mañon, Texas Credit Union League, Rohan Kothare,
University Federal Credit Union (Texas) and Caite Blount, Texas Dow
Employees Credit Union.
“I have learned a great deal that I will be able
to take back to serve my Hispanic members,” Kathy
Chartier, Members Credit Union President and CEO
and Connecticut Credit Union Association Board
said about her internship experience. “I now have
a better understanding of the challenges that
these members face in the United States.”
Each day began with four to five hours of
intensive Spanish classes at a Spanish language
school. Participants chose from a variety of
classes based on their language ability.
After language classes, participants experienced
an authentic Mexican lunch in the homes of their
host families and spent the afternoons meeting
with one of the four Mexican cajas: Caja
Popular Mexicana, Caja Libertad, Caja Alianza and
Caja Morelia Valladolid. Each caja offered
a different experience about credit union
operations, marketing tactics, microfinance
opportunities and financial products that meet the
needs of working families.
“This program uniquely combines learning the
language, culture and business practices of
Mexico,” said Steph Sherrodd, Texas Dow Employees
Credit Union Vice President of Retail Delivery.
“I’ll be able to take these various aspects back
to my position at the credit union.”
The Texas and California leagues have a
partnership with Caja Popular Mexicana through
WOCCU’s International Partnership Program; the
Arizona Credit Union System is partnered with Caja
Libertad; and the Credit Union Association of New
Mexico has a partnership with Caja Alianza. The
Hispanic Marketing Immersion Program was a direct
result of the partnership deliverables for
In addition to the immersion program,
participants attended a workshop in Guanajuato,
22-23, which included presentations by all four
cajas and visits to local businesses
financed by microentreprise loans.
Brian Bauske, Bauske Consulting, Inc., praised the
ingenuity of the first Hispanic Marketing
Immersion Program: “The opportunity for a
combination of sharpening my proficiency in
Spanish and becoming energized and inspired by the
financial cooperative movement in Mexico quite
simply made this the experience of a lifetime.”
In light of the program’s great success, the
next Hispanic Marketing Immersion Program will
take place in Mexico’s heartland, September
21-October 4, 2008. Stay tuned to WOCCU’s website
for more details: www.woccu.org.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: (608) 395-2000