Immigrant and Refugee Financial Inclusion Initiative

These tools will help you measure how well you’re serving the immigrant and refugee population and take actions that benefit them, as well as your business.

Quick Facts*:

  • Immigration in the US is at a 70 year high.
  • Immigrants make up 12% of the U.S. population.
  • 5% of all workers in the U.S. are immigrants.
  • Children of immigrants account for 22% of the population younger than 6.
  • Children of immigrants account for 20% of the population ages 6 to 17.
  • Children often mimic the financial behavior of their parents.
  • In 2015, 7% of US households were unbanked, that’s about 9 million households.

Find ways to effectively serve a growing population of immigrants and refugees. It’s good for all of us. As a financial service provider, the good relationships you build have the potential to last for generations.

Financial access for immigrants and refugees is important

“Full economic integration of immigrants requires that they have access not only to the informal financial sector but also to the formal one, including banking, insurance, pension funds, and other institutions. Only by using such institutions will immigrants successfully expand their range as entrepreneurs, become homeowners, build credit histories, save for retirement, and insure against financial and other risks.”

– Ben S. Bernanke, Member, Board of Governors of the ” Federal Reserve System, remarks at the Financial Access for Immigrants: Learning from Diverse Perspectives Conference, April 16, 2004, Chicago Fed

Tangible, immediate benefits of access to suitable financial services:

  • Safer alternatives to cash, like checking accounts.
  • Secure and insured ways to save.
  • Lower fees for services like check-cashing and international money transfers.
  • Access to home and small business financing.
  • Competitive interest rates on loans.
  • A means to build a financial identity and plan for the future.
  • Coverage under consumer protection and fair lending laws.

The road to better serving the immigrant and refugee community

So how well are you doing? And how do you know how well you’re doing? Maybe you’re monitoring the statistics and demographics of the unbanked and the underbanked, or maybe you’re looking at the demographics of your current customers. While both are indicators of participation in a financial system, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Here are 3 steps you can take to build trust, create lasting relationships, tap into a growing market, and build loyal, happy customers.

1. Measure How Inclusive Your Organization Is through the Voice of Your Staff and Leaders
For bank, credit union, and financial service provider leaders and staff to answer.

10 minutes, 13 questions, actionable insight

2. Measure How Inclusive Your Organization is through the Voice of the Community
For community members to answer.

10 minutes, 15 questions, the voice of truth

3. Start Driving Change and Making Investments
Use this catalog as inspiration and a starting point for taking action within your organization.

Start by capturing a baseline to see how well your organization is doing and how your organization is perceived. As you implement new policies and programs, make organizational changes, and invest in community outreach, use the internal and external metrics again to see if the investments you’re making are leading to meaningful outcomes. Use these 3 steps to:

  • Learn what you’re doing well — whether it’s building trust or meeting a need that exists.
  • Identify key, unknown risk areas and find ways of responding to the community.
  • Prioritize what’s important to the communities around you that may have been historically under-served by financial institutions.
  • Reflect the community goals and sentiment in your communications and product development process.

Increasing access to suitable financial services for immigrants and refugees isn’t just good for them, it’s good for all of us. As a growing part of who we are as a country, their success helps build our country’s success. Get started today.

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