Banks cater to Spanish speaking clientele - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Banks cater to Spanish speaking clientele

October 5, 2005

Albany - Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the population, and an important part of the economy. "We recently hired a Spanish speaking customer service representative, we currently have, in several of our branches, Spanish speaking individuals, as well as other languages," says SunTrust Group VP Mike English.

Not all banks have Spanish speaking employees, but most banks are changing their ATMs to have both Spanish and English instructions. At SunTrust, as soon as you enter your card, you're given an option. And the bank is taking its service options to Hispanics.

English says, "We've even gone so far, to taking our services to businesses that employ large numbers of minorities, such as farms that have seasonal operations." He says it's important for all groups to utilize the protection a bank can offer. "It creates extra security for them," says English. "Instead of just carrying around money that, if you lose your wallet, it's just gone, whereas, if they can utilize checks and debit cards and travelers checks, and some of the other services that we have, they are offered some protection from the bank."

And, in addition to financial protection, it offers a degree of personal protection. English says, "Anybody that keeps large sums of cash on their person, or in their homes, in this day and age, unfortunately, is putting themselves at risk and there's no need for it." 

Rather, English says they can open a basic checking or savings account and keep their money in a safe place. Because of the Patriot Act, anyone who opens a bank account, must have a United States Government issued ID. Most banks, require a second form of ID, such as a work issued ID, as well.

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