Today we released a report that highlights the link between naturalization and financial engagement for California Latinos.
The report’s findings were based on an NCLR survey of over 1,000 California Latinos conducted from January to April 2012 that focused on levels of financial engagement. Latinos continue to be among the most unbanked ethnic minorities in the United States. The report highlights the challenges confronted by the unemployed, differences in financial engagement by citizenship status and the use of bank technology by participants.
The report found an important link between naturalization (citizenship) and increased usage of financial systems: noncitizen Latinos are less likely to engage in mainstream banking practices. The report also found that 73 percent of participants managed to put away some savings despite the down economy and good customer service was paramount to deciding where to bank.
“As the House of Representatives debates how to overhaul our nation’s immigration system, it is important to note the link between immigration status and engagement in our financial institutions,” said Delia de la Vara, Vice President, California Region, NCLR. “Many eligible California immigrants have been unable to naturalize because of cost-prohibitive fees, while others may be struggling to find a way to fully legalize their status under current law. There is no doubt that Hispanics are an increasingly critical consumer base, particularly in times of economic recovery when their full participation will stimulate the economy through purchases and savings. The more fully engaged in financial services Hispanics are, the more they and the nation benefit.”
The survey also delved into the use of technology for banking purposes, finding that younger California Latinos were more likely to use mobile banking technology compared to older Latinos. Those who had a bank account were more likely to have access to the Internet than Latinos without a bank account and were more likely to have performed a financial transaction using this medium. Those who demonstrated reluctance to using the Internet for this purpose were primarily concerned with the security of personal information.