Financial Education Focuses on Hispanic Community

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Hispanic

Source: web

A new trend is emerging as Hispanics continue to build buying power and the purchase of choice is a home of their own. It’s all about building roots, building a life and raising families – it’s a goal everyone shares for their own lives and now, that dream isn’t as far out of reach as it once was. Financial literacy is now being offered in ways we’ve never seen before in this financial sector for those whose English is a second language.

Did you know that in 2011, Hispanics made up 24 percent of the growth in new-vehicle sales? And that trend is spilling over into new home sales, too. There’s no doubt Hispanics are encompassing a significant force behind the American economy and in two areas that have struggled in recent years – the mortgage sector and the automobile industry.

A new report in the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) reveals 34 percent of Hispanics said they are likely to buy a home in the next three years, compared to only 24 percent of all Americans. Ernie Reyes, co-founder of NAHREP, has tracked Hispanic home ownership over the past 10 years. He says,

Latinos do not believe in renting… they believe in owning. If our community was given half the opportunity it deserves, this volume would grow by leaps and bounds.

The only problem in the process isn’t the lack of buying power, but rather, accurate and easy to understand financial information from sources that are credible. The University of Virginia at Darden School of Business published a report stating a lack of financial knowledge and a general mistrust in the banking sector is the reason why $53 billion remains unbanked in the United States. Latinos simply don’t put their money in American banks. This makes it difficult for those wanting to take a traditional route to homeownership. Without some type of financial and credit history, such as credit card accounts, lenders simply aren’t lining up for their business.

Not only that, but the Hispanic population has certain needs that the U.S. financial system hasn’t acknowledged, much less sought to provide. Many Hispanics want to conduct their business in Spanish; it’s what they’re most comfortable with – especially considering it’s their money at stake. They want to know that if they have questions about a checking account or CD, there will be someone who can address those issues in a clear language they understand. And banks are listening. They also need educational tools necessary understand their finances and make the best decisions. Now, though, it looks as though a shift is beginning.

Equifax recently unveiled an initiative that will finally address financial literacy to the Hispanic population. Julie Stav, considered a long time leading voice in the Hispanic and financial counseling community, has joined forces with the credit reporting agency to educate Hispanic consumers about the importance of credit in their daily lives.

As Hispanics gain economic strength in the U.S., it’s important that they understand credit and the impact it can have on their lives,

said Stav.

In my role as a financial advisor to the Hispanic community, I have been concerned about this critical educational need for some time and am thrilled to work with Equifax to bring this program to life.

The new Spanish website, which can be found at www.equifax.com/espanol/, is where consumers can find answers to questions about credit, as well as educational resources, products and tools to help them understand credit issues and make sound decisions.

Along with these resources, there are videos in Spanish along with a “wide library” of all things financial and credit related. There’s a credit monitoring product, credit reports and other valuable information that will ideally build confidence for the Spanish community as they seek to build roots in the US. And the best part is its gaining widespread support.

Trey Loughran, president of Equifax Personal Solutions, notes the importance of credit education.

Hispanic buying power in the United States is increasing significantly every year, and these consumers must understand and have access to credit to purchase homes, cars and other significant items,

said Loughran.

It’s why we created this program and why we are teaming with Julie Stav, an expert in understanding Hispanic consumers’ personal finance and credit education needs.

It’s a first step to finally bridging the long standing gap and ideally will serve as what builds trust in the Spanish speaking community as they set out to chase the same American dream so many others often take for granted.

What are your thoughts? If you’re a reader who speaks Spanish, what can we do at CreditDad to make your visits better? Let us know in the comments or visit our Facebook page. We want to hear from you.

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About Author

David is a CPA and has spent the past decade as a financial adviser helping clients meet their fiscal objectives. With an appreciation for journalism, he has spent the past few years overseeing several financial columns as well as writing two previous finance blogs. He resides on the East Coast with his wife and two sons and has guided many through the recent recession while providing a no-nonsense approach to spending and saving.

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