Federal regulators seek to change how financial institutions conduct business with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) consumers. If successful, the outcome could force banks and credit unions to swiftly pivot on how they communicate with their customers and members—particularly online:
- The CFPB recently issued language compliance guidelines after it reviewed “complaints submitted to the Bureau reflecting LEP consumers’ experience with financial institutions”
- Legislators with the U.S. House of Representatives have proposed a bill that, if passed into law, would require lenders to provide LEP mortgage consumers with communications in their native languages
- The CFPB also recently filed an enforcement action against a financial business that allegedly exploited its LEP customers
- HUD penalized housing providers due to alleged discrimination based in part on LEP status
The CFPB hasn’t made any official mandates regarding LEP consumers, and it takes a long walk for a proposed bill to become a law. But it’s clear that, as analysis in The National Law Review puts it, financial organizations should:
- “(B)e prepared for increased requirements and scrutiny from various governmental bodies” regarding support for LEP consumers
- And be aware that “both the executive and legislative branches are focused on efforts to provide additional resources and protections” for them
The obvious—and best—way financial institutions can communicate with their growing LEP communities is to provide user experiences in their preferred languages. Put another way: Getting ahead of this industry-defining wave will require website translation.
The Core Challenges of Website Translation
Unfortunately, most regional banks and credit unions don’t have the resources to tackle a translation project of this scope—even when they hire translation vendors to handle the job.
Here’s why: Traditional vendors’ website translation approaches can devolve into a quagmire for a smaller bank or credit union. It’s not about finding good translators; skilled linguists are relatively easy to find. No, it’s all about finding a solution that gets along with a website’s numerous technologies.
The countless “under the waterline” technical complexities of most websites pose problems for vendors. They can’t easily identify or extract content for translation. This leads to unseen effort and budget-busting costs.
But great vendors offer technically robust technologies that eliminate those risks, such as:
Effortless Proxy Technology
Some industry-leading solutions require negligible IT effort at launch and no ongoing IT effort. They automatically collect translatable content from origin websites on an ongoing basis, with no customer-side effort required.
They also perfectly replicate the origin site’s UX and UI, and offer on-site optimizations that increase engagement and conversions.
Industry-Leading CMS Connectors
Great vendors provide translation connectors with streamlined, scalable and customizable website translation management. Customers always have full control over how their translations are crafted, and how their brands are presented across languages and markets.
Flexible, Affordable APIs
Versatile APIs empower customers to leverage their translated content for on-site and multichannel use. The best APIs leverage translation memory in superior ways to dramatically reduce costs and preserve a customer’s brand voice across all channels.
The Business Case for Website Translation
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is growing industry and legislative interest in providing LEP consumers user experiences in their preferred languages.
Yet these organizations and agencies haven’t yet issued language-compliance mandates or laws on this topic. So what incentive do banks and credit unions have to proactively localize their content for multilingual customers and members?
Time and again, research indicates translation is a great business investment.
Take the oft-neglected Spanish-speaking Hispanic market. Spanish-speaking‚ and many bilingual, Hispanics prefer to conduct their banking and online business in Spanish.
Increasing in Influence and Affluence
About one in five U.S. residents identify as Hispanic, and the number of Hispanic households earning $100,000+ has increased over 300% since 2001
Major Growth Opportunity
According to the Fed, nearly 25% of are “unbanked” or “underbanked,” representing an untapped market.
Become a Trusted Resource
Eight out of 10 Hispanics want to learn more about financial matters, giving savvy financial institutions opportunities to educate and convert new customers.
Emerging Business Trends
Over the course of five years, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew twice as fast as the general population’s, making Hispanic entrepreneurs ideal candidates for loans.
Our Own Findings
MotionPoint’s own research reveals that translated websites for banks and credit unions increase customer/member acquisition and retention, and deepen customer relationships.
MotionPoint’s bank and credit union website-translation customers often see:
- Website traffic increases by up to 50% when banks and credit unions provide relevant translated product information
- Multilingual users are heavily engaged while on-site—perhaps even more so than users of English-language origin sites
- Over 30% of visits hail from returning visitors (these visits are generally brief, suggesting users are confidently accessing online banking features)
- Higher user satisfaction and lower multilingual phone support requests (thanks to localized online support content)
- Improved ranking in multilingual online searches
- And more
It’s undeniable that federal agencies and legislators are interested in ensuring that LEP consumers have access to the same important educational material and user experiences as English speakers. And it’s clear that this interest will only grow in the years ahead.
Financial institutions can get ahead of this reality by translating their digital experiences for LEP customers and members. This best practice won’t just ensure compliance with federal gatekeepers; it will likely generate new revenue streams and long-term loyalty from entirely new communities.
MotionPoint has translated and operated financial services websites for 20 years. We have the technical, operational and linguistic expertise to help banks and credit unions increase their acquisition and retention, reduce support service costs and enhance discoverability in Spanish-speaking markets.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more.Last updated on July 22, 2021