Financial education symposium.

Author:Sullivan, Robert

Panels of Hispanic financial experts--some of the I heaviest hitters in the business--hammered home the need for Latinos to pull together, help each other, educate those in need of financial education, and then educate themselves even more. The symposium highlighted business opportunities and talent acquisition.

Latino Leaders magazine publisher Jorge Ferraez, who organized the event, said it was designed as an exchange of visions among people with good ideas.

In a panel on Latino Financial Experience, Mercedes Eggleton-Garcia, Vice President of Global Community Relations at MasterCard, said 28 per cent of Americans don't have access to banking, credit cards or other financial services, and of that figure, about half are Latinos.

"The underserved wind up paying stiff rates for check cashing services--and are constantly threatened with robbery because everyone knows they carry cash".

MasterCard, one of the sponsors of the event, works with Latino community organizations throughout the country to send the message: "the world is going cashless ... you need to learn how this works."

Other sponsors included Bank of America, New York Life, Paychex and TIAA.

Jerry Arzu, Managing Director of Telsey Advisory Group advocated financial literacy training among Latinos to start early as possible. A group he supports, supplies computers to youngsters who can't afford them and each one is pre-installed with Mint money managing software.

In the The Hispanic Market Potential panel Jose Mireles, Team Manager, Hispanic Market field at TIAA, said only 30 per cent of working Hispanics have access to retirement accounts - many because they didn't participate in retirement plans. "It is not for lack of interest that they don't participate," he said. "It's for lack of information and education."

Orlando Camargo, President of the New York chapter of ALPFA, and principal of the Dilenschneider Group, drilled down on community self- help. "The Poles, the Jewish, Irish went before us," he said. "It's now our turn." Asked about Latinos on corporate boards, Camargo said, "We have to get out there, we need to be outside of our comfort zone." Camargo said ALPFA is identifying and assisting Latinos at all levels, not just...

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