In Your Community

Latinos in Finance: Training the Next Generation of Bankers

Our Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations reaches eight million clients, annually, with diverse programs and services to meet the needs of Latino families. When it comes to economic empowerment, PODER is one of 22 Affiliates across the country implementing our Latinos in Finance (LIF) program, training Latino jobseekers for employment in the financial services sector and helping employers hire culturally and linguistically competent talent. To guide local program implementation, Affiliates use the UnidosUS-created and industry-recognized curriculum, Unidos in Banking.

Among Hispanic households, 12.2% were unbanked in 2019, compared to 5.4% of overall U.S. households. Bilingual Latinos can help increase access to financial services for unbanked communities. At PODER, in Chicago, the LIF training is an eight-week program for adults with a GED or high school diploma and authorization to work in the United States.

Participants of LIF learn bank compliance regulations, money handling basics, and other essential skills needed for bank teller and other entry-level careers in banking. PODER assists participants with resume building, networking, and job placement, with guaranteed interviews for graduates via the organization’s partnerships with employers.

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Nancy Rodriguez is one of those graduates. When Nancy lost her job of 11 years as a retail cashier, her brother Victor, who was taking PODER’s LIF training, inspired her to do the same. She knew with her experience as a cashier, she had an advantage to starting a career in banking. “But [as] with most students…[with]…experience in the retail industry, their ability to ‘sell’ these skills to an employer is usually underdeveloped,” explains Emmanuel Wilder, LIF Talent Acquisition & Development Specialist at PODER. “Nancy was no exception in this regard, but what was truly exceptional was her desire to be coached and pushed beyond her comfort.”

“My kids motivate me to do better,” Nancy says. “I want to be a role model…and show them that it is never too late to accomplish something in life.”  And that she did! Nancy is now a full-time employee, earning a living wage, and setting an example for her daughter. And both she and her brother are bankers, something neither of them ever dreamed was possible.

“[Latinos in Finance] has helped me in so many ways. I have a…job that I feel very proud of. So many dreams that I’ve had for my family…I can see coming sooner than planned and it is all thanks to this program.”

To learn more about Nancy and Victor’s journey visit