Some 1 million new Americans arrive on our shores every year to join the 33 million
other immigrants who are making America their home. These men, women and children,
families, entrepreneurs, skilled workers, laborers and professionals require banking
services to help them make a home here, and banks and financial institutions are gaining
proficiency in meeting their financial needs.
What do these new bank customers need most from a financial institution? What special
tools and programs should banks put in place to serve them? How best can banks market
their lending services to America's immigrants? And how can banks overcome such
barriers to immigrant lending as less-than-complete identification records, poor or no
credit history and even religious prohibitions against the paying of interest?
In December 2003, the American Bankers Association contracted ShoreBank Advisory
Services (SAS), the consulting and research arm of ShoreBank of Chicago, Illinois, to
collect and catalogue best practices in immigrant lending across the country. The goal
was to share the information among more banks, especially those hoping to increase their
immigrant lending, and increase credit opportunities for immigrants. SAS interviewed 12
banks varying in asset size, geographic coverage and strategic focus. Community banks
were the primary focus, with some representation from large national banks.
What follows is a summary of the key approaches, strategies and programs that have
proven successful in reaching the immigrant community with useful, cost-effective and
flexible lending services.
Click here to download the complete guide in PDF format.