RSB meets needs of a changing customer base – in their language
July 20, 2015
Under the best of circumstances, handling our finances can be a little overwhelming – there are so many things to know, so many options – it can be tough to compare your choices. Now consider this: you’re new to the country. You’re learning a new culture, a new language – now imagine walking into a bank and trying to decipher your options in a language in which you’re not yet fluent. As a greater number of immigrants come to the United States, many businesses are growing aware of the numerous challenges that immigrants face.
Here in the Boston area, there is a growing Brazilian population. In fact, 23% of Brazilian immigrants to the United States settle in Massachusetts, the state with the greatest percentage of immigrants from Brazil. The team at Randolph Savings Bank recognizes the challenges these individuals face and is reaching out to the Portuguese-speaking community to offer peace of mind and ease of banking services – in their own language. Grace Frias and Gabriel Pereira of Randolph’s Cobb Corner office are driven to improve the experience for their Brazilian customers – in fluent Portuguese.
“I have a passion to help,” says Gabriel Pereira, Branch Manager. He recounts a story of a gentleman coming to the bank, struggling to navigate his questions in English. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 59.3% of Brazilians in the area lack a high school diploma or have limited English language proficiency. “Through our conversation, I uncovered that he was from Brazil –I was then able to continue our conversation in Portuguese.” The customer had quite a few questions – he was interested in financing a home, but didn’t know what his credit score was, or how to calculate his FICO score. “I explained things to him and we discussed the documentation he would need in order to purchase a home.” The two were even able to review the customer’s credit score, where they uncovered several inaccuracies. Pereira was then able to provide instruction – in Portuguese – to let the customer know how to file an electronic dispute.
Periera and Frias are just two of the many multilingual employees of Randolph Savings Bank. Miguel DeSousa, a mortgage lender, is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese and is able to seamlessly work with customers in all three languages. Additionally, Randolph Savings Bank includes employees fluent in several other languages – French, Italian, Yoruba, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole and Cape Verdean Creole.
It’s a relief for customers who’ve come in to the bank with questions or concerns to be able to work through those questions in their native language with a customer service representative who is fluent and understanding. “A customer came in once because he’d lost his debit card – he didn’t speak any English,” states Grace Frias, branch manager of Randolph’s Cobb Corner branch. “I was able to work with him in Portuguese to resolve the problem. It means a lot to me to be able to be a bridge that communication gap and provide help and care to people when they walk into one of our branches.”
Adds Periera, “Being from Brazil, I understand the struggles and have lived it myself. I know how hard it is to come to a new place and try to create a better future. I understand the discrimination they might be facing, the embarrassment of sometimes not being able to communicate effectively.” It’s that understanding that drives his desire to help make banking easier.
Being able to meet the needs of an evolving customer base has become increasingly important for businesses. Understanding their customer base is the first step businesses can take in order to determine how they can leverage their resources to meet the changing needs of an always-changing demographic. For Randolph Savings Bank, it just makes sense.
“The immigrant community is close – they’re a tight knit family that looks out for and does the best they can for one another,” says Grace. “At Randolph Savings Bank, we understand that. We live in these communities and at the heart of it all is a desire to serve our neighbors in the best way we can.”