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Reach the Underserved

Tips for CUs from a public policy innovator.

June 13, 2013
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Jonathan Mintz
 
You’ve got products and services you want to market to unbanked, underbanked, and low-income consumers.
 
Now, how do you get these products into their hands?
 
Jonathan Mintz, city of New York commissioner for consumer affairs, worries about that question from a public policy perspective as he aims to increase these groups' involvement in government programs.
 
He offers these tips for credit unions:
 
►Latch-on to popular community programming. Increase your visibility by finding a way to include enrollment of your products and services with the programming registration of a popular community partner.
 
The quality of your offerings may be irrelevant if you don’t get it in front of the people who need them, Mintz says.
 
"I would strongly stress your ability to not only show up with the right product but the right onboarding of that product," he says.
 
Worry more about transparency than price. Step one should be creating a product or service that is easy-to-understand and use, and sensitive to the needs of the underserved—products such as second-chance checking.
 
It's important for these offerings to be transparent and simple, Mintz says. And fees are fine.
 
"It is not that people will say 'no' to spending money on their financial transaction needs," he says. "They are spending money. But too many are spending money in unproductive ways like check cashers."
 
Mintz addressed the 2013 Annual Conference of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, held in Baltimore June 5-8. He was part of a plenary session, “Innovations and New Directions in Financial Services.”

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