The challenge of connecting with Hispanic non-prime lenders
Credit card issuers are getting into the Hispanic market in a big way. With 80% of the non-Hispanic market already using credit cards, lenders and credit card issuers are realizing that it's time to get in on the game (see “When direct mail is the name of the game,” page 27, Portada® No. 11, September/October 2004). The primary acquisition channel for most credit card issuers is direct mail – about 5 billion pieces are sent out each year. According to Dina Weitzman, director of business development at Citi Cards Latin America and formerly vice president of Hispanic markets at Citibank, “a sizable number of Hispanics are prime lenders and some are sub-prime lenders, but the majority are still un-established (non-prime). These are recent immigrants who rely mostly on Spanish and have strong ties to their countries of origin. Many issuers have not historically serviced this un-established segment.” Weitzman's presentation at the “Marketing to US Hispanics and Latin America” conference in Miami, organized by Strategic Research Institute Miami, also emphasized the importance of using Spanish to connect with non-prime lenders. She recommended marketing through banks, community events, and direct sales at retail outlets in Hispanic neighborhoods. Weitzman put a particular emphasis on Spanish servicing, explaining that marketing collateral should not be a mere translation of the general market message. This also applies to call centers, statements and customer communication. An important question for financial institutions is whether they can afford to build Spanish-language infrastructure or whether they should outsource.
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