Mercury partner chairs MasterCard Latino outreach

WASHINGTON: Mercury Public Affairs partner Fabian Nunez is chairing "Master Your Card: Oportunidad," a coalition that aims to help the Latino community understand the value of electronic payment technology.

WASHINGTON: Mercury Public Affairs partner Fabian Nunez is chairing “Master Your Card: Oportunidad,” a coalition that aims to help the Latino community understand the value of electronic payment technology.

The effort is a sub-program of MasterCard's “Master Your Card” public education program.

Mercury is providing public affairs support for the coalition, while Potomac Communications Group is conducting media relations.

Before working at Mercury, Nunez was speaker of the California State Assembly.

The coalition is comprised of current and former Latino political, business, and civic leaders from across the US. It includes Manny Diaz, former mayor of Miami and president of the US Conference of Mayors, and Fernando Ferrer, acting chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Nearly 49% of Latinos either do not have a bank or are “underbanked,” meaning they have little to no access to or interaction with banks and credit providers, according to a 2011 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation survey. This is compared with just over 28% of all Americans who fall into these categories.

“From my own experience, this is an under-served community,” Nunez said. “When it comes to banking, working class and poor Latinos tend to be the last ones to make use of these services.”

Having little or no ties to financial institutions means Latinos are likely paying high fees at check-cashing facilities. It also means many small Hispanic businesses may not accept debit or credit payment options, potentially missing revenue from customers who rely on electronic payment options, Nunez said.

To promote the coalition's efforts, its members will give talks at Latino business conferences. There are also plans to conduct forums and workshops around the country as well as grassroots outreach.

Potomac deferred a request for comment to its client.

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