Building roots, having a place to call your own, and sharing a home with your family are common goals for all Americans.
But for many Hispanic families, buying a home or a vehicle has been out of reach, as a simple lack of financial literacy has held back many from achieving these important financial milestones.
The good news is that this trend is changing as U.S. Hispanic buying power continues to grow and more Hispanics have begun to learn better ways to manage that buying power and the cash that fuels it.
Some notes of progress: In 2011, Hispanics made up 24 percent of the growth in new-vehicle sales. Clearly, Hispanics are a driving force behind the resurgence of the automobile industry.
And when it comes to buying, Hispanics are clear on what they want to do. In a report from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), 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 homeownership over the past 10 years.
“Latinos do not believe in renting. They believe in owning,” said Reyes. “If our community was given half the opportunity it deserves, this volume would grow by leaps and bounds.”
But while their buying power is growing, the Hispanic community still needs more high-quality financial information from trusted sources. According to research from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, lack of financial knowledge and a mistrust of banks has led to $53 billion in “unbanked” Latino households.
This population has special needs and expectations that the American banking system hasn’t fully addressed. Many Hispanics want to conduct their business in Spanish. They also need educational tools necessary understand their finances and make the best decisions.
To serve this growing segment of the U.S. population, Equifax is introducing a new initiative to address financial literacy. Julie Stav, a leading voice in the Hispanic and financial counseling community, has joined forces with Equifax 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-language website, 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.
Trey Loughran, president of Equifax Personal Solutions, notes the importance of credit education as the Hispanic community is expected to contribute significantly to the growth of the U.S. consumer credit market.
“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.”
The Equifax Spanish site features a wide library of credit-related topics and videos. The products, including one credit-monitoring product and two credit report products are presented primarily in Spanish.
As Equifax continues to expand its offerings to the Spanish-speaking community, we want to address those needs on the blog as well. If you’re a Spanish-speaking reader, what areas in the financial world would you like to see us cover? What topics most concern you and the Hispanic community? Please leave your feedback and comments here.
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