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ICBA Releases New Survey on Community Bank Efforts to Serve Customers in Emerging Markets

Washington, D.C. (July 9, 2008)—A new survey by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) shows that community banks recognize the importance of serving emerging consumer demographic markets. The 2008 ICBA Community Bank Survey: Serving Emerging Markets reveals that nearly half of the community banks intentionally reach out to serve consumer groups in underserved markets or those who may bank outside of the financial mainstream of a federally insured depository institution.

"An overwhelming 85 percent of community banks participating in the survey said reaching out to consumers in emerging markets will play a role in the future business of their community bank," said Karen Tyson, ICBA senior vice president and director of communications. "Community banks are once again demonstrating that they are in tune with the needs of their communities by providing services to, and building relationships with, consumers who may not be currently served by a federally insured depository institution."

ICBA conducted its first-ever ICBA Emerging Markets Survey to learn more about the efforts of community banks to reach recent immigrants, ethnic communities and other consumer groups who may be outside of the financial mainstream. Highlights of the survey's findings include:

  • Nearly half, or 47 percent, of the community banks that participated in the survey are making efforts to serve consumers in emerging markets.
  • Among community banks actively trying to reach emerging-market consumers, more than three-quarters report success in initiating account relationships.
  • Financial literacy programs and multi-lingual staff and services are the most frequent ways community banks attempt to build relationships with consumers in emerging markets. The majority of community banks — 56 percent — that responded to the survey report offering services in a language other than English.
  • Half of community banks reaching out to emerging markets incorporate specific marketing, multi-lingual staff and services, products and incentives, and financial literacy programs in their efforts.
  • When asked what would enhance their success in reaching emerging markets, two-thirds of the community banks surveyed indicated "a better understanding of the financial needs of underserved consumers."
  • Among the community banks that do not currently have a formal program to reach out to consumers in emerging markets, two-thirds are open to launching such a program in the future.

Find the complete survey results at www.icba.org.