When U.S. Bank launched a Spanish language virtual assistant last year, it expected to better assist Spanish speaking customers. What the bank didn’t expect was learning a consumer insight that would inform how it does business and marketing. The bank found that many Spanish speakers used their English-speaking children as interpreters. To highlight this generational issue, the Minneapolis-based bank recently debuted “Translators,” a documentary created with McCann Worldgroup.
How U.S. Bank is tackling language barriers in finance
“One of the things that we believe as a brand is that language is access,” said Kelly Colbert, senior VP of creative strategy and brand advertising at U.S. Bank, speaking on the latest episode of the Marketer’s Brief podcast. “And what we were hearing is that language was a barrier to access to financial services.”
The film, which was recently shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, showcases three stories of immigrant children who help their older relatives navigate American life, including helping them with financial documents and banking. U.S. Bank said that only 23% of first-generation immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries speak English proficiently.
Along with film festivals, the bank is showing the documentary in its branches and hosting discussions about the film in certain communities around the country.
“Banking is difficult even if you are comfortable with language,” said Colbert. “But just imagine if you're not.”
On the podcast, Colbert also discusses the bank’s new “Real Good” podcast, where it highlights its social responsibility efforts, and U.S. Bank’s digital marketing channels. The brand often uses Instagram to tell the stories of its branches and employees. U.S. Bank is also on Facebook and Twitter, Colbert said. On Threads, the new text messaging app Meta recently rolled out, U.S. Bank is waiting and watching.
“Our risk team really wants us to kind of understand that better [before we go live]” on the platform, Colbert said.