Silvina Salazar

Silvina Salazar

It is estimated that by 2020, one in five Americans will be Hispanic and, by 2050, that gap will shorten to one in three. According to the latest survey by the FDIC, nearly half of Latino households are currently underserved. So for financial institutions, this market segment’s rapid growth presents both challenge and opportunity.

Bank of America is one of a growing number of financial institutions that have made a huge investment in meeting the needs of its changing client and employee base. It serves 8.3 million Hispanic-Latino customers, and has more primary banking relationships among Hispanic/Latino customers than its industry peers.

“Much of what we do is a reflection of our commitment to service,” said Silvina A. Salazar, Hispanic and Latino Organization for Leadership Advancement (HOLA) employee network enterprise leader. “Much of our recent training is around communication. When we communicate properly and clearly with our customers, we demonstrate our commitment to making interactions easier and our expertise more accessible.

“That commitment extends to our employees who serve Hispanic/Latino customers. Bank of America recently launched a Spanish training video for banking center and contact center employees to help them deliver a clear and consistent customer experience through the use of proper terminology and grammar. It also introduced a Spanish product-reference guide, so employees do not have to translate product information themselves while speaking with the customer.

“With this new training, we are letting our customers know that, regardless of which language they are using, we are here to help them,” said Salazar.

Bank of America offers Spanish-language options through its ATMs, online banking, text banking, alerts, banking centers, and contact centers. The bank’s ATMs with Teller Assist® also provide greater convenience and access for customers who want to speak “face-to-face” with an employee in Spanish.

Growing leaders through HOLA

George Smith

George Smith

Bank of America founded its Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advancement (HOLA) in 2003. Over the past decade, it grown to more than 30 chapters across the enterprise, and has enabled thousands of employees to connect and develop through mentoring programs and networking opportunities.

Bank of America also partners with other organizations, including the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, USHCC, National Council of La Raza, CHCI, and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, to create an environment where employees, customers, and communities around the world can connect.

“When we survey our employees, we see those in networks like HOLA over seven times more engaged and have a clearer career trajectory,” says George Smith, head of Business Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He also chairs the company’s Hispanic-Latino U.S. Leadership Council, a group of executives focused on growing both the Hispanic market and management base at Bank of America. “We want our clients to ‘get deeper’ into our company, and our employees as well, so we provide the training and opportunities that allow both to reach their goals.”