by Edward Jones, IMDiversity Featured Employer

This Edition: “Bridging the Gap Between Hispanic Consumers and the Financial Services Industry”

With currently more than 35 million people and the U.S. Census projection putting the population at 70 million by the year 2050, Hispanics have a purchasing power of more than $500 billion per year, a figure expected to exceed $600 billion in just a few years. Despite the Hispanic market’s tremendous influence on the U.S. economy, much of Corporate America, including the financial services industry, has been slow to embrace effective marketing to this community.

“Many companies believe that Hispanic marketing simply consists of translating a message from English to Spanish,” said Maria Zywiciel (née Zegara), president and co-founder of Avanza, a marketing, branding and public relations firm based in the St. Louis-area. “Expertise is needed to reflect the cultural diversity of the Hispanic market,” she said.


“…not a racial, but a cultural group”

Recognizing this cultural diversity is a linchpin for effective Hispanic marketing. While much of the population claims Mexican roots, those of Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, South American and Spanish descent also are major influences not to be ignored.

Zywiciel says U.S. businesses that want to reach this growing market should understand that, “There are 22 different nationalities and, therefore, 22 different markets [to consider].” And that, “Hispanics are not a racial group, but a cultural group.”


The Hispanic Market and the Financial Services Industry

While more culturally aware marketing is helping U.S. businesses that take the initiative to understand the Hispanic market, a sizable gap between Hispanic consumers and the financial services industry remains. According to a report by the Credit Union National Association, half of Hispanics are without financial services. Many rely on check cashing services and pay day loans, which make them more vulnerable for high fees and predatory lending. The report also revealed that the Hispanic market heavily depends on money wiring services to send an estimated $180 billion out of the U.S. to Latin America and the Caribbean.

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These are lost opportunities for banks reluctant to open accounts for recent immigrants who may not have all of the necessary documents. However, this reluctance is often mutual. Major sectors of the Hispanic market have had bad experiences with financial institutions in their countries of origin.

According to Zywiciel, “bank closures in Argentina, government seizures in Cuba and rampant inflation in Mexico” are examples of why much of the market is skittish about entrusting their hard-earned money.

To overcome this, education and building relationships are key for building trust.


Building a Relationship

Through its ongoing inclusion or diversity initiatives, Edward Jones, one of the nation’s largest financial services firms, has formed an ongoing partnership with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. Edward Jones currently participates on the Chamber’s Corporate Advisory Board, which consists of 12 companies both large and small, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic and from a variety of industries. The Board guides Chamber efforts such as being a community resource for achieving greater Hispanic economic empowerment in the St. Louis-area. Edward Jones also supports the Chamber by providing a monthly meeting space for the Corporate Advisory Board at is world headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.

“Edward Jones has been a very good partner. Sometimes it takes one company to step out of the box for others to follow,” said Zywiciel.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis is one of many inclusion-focused organizations supported by Edward Jones. With more than 130 years of experience and more than 8,800 branch offices nationwide, in Canada and the U.K., Edward Jones is a trusted resource for helping you achieve your financial goals. Visit us in your neighborhood or online at


View articles from previous editions in the complete Edward Jones Diversity Series Archives

Featured Employer Edward Jones is a Key Sponsor of is committed to presenting diverse points of view. However, the viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at IMD.