March 12, 2005

BB&T Spanish Banking Audio Tapes

In an ongoing effort to reach the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, BB&T today released the seventh installment in a groundbreaking series of Spanish- language educational audiotapes. Tape No. 7 offers a look at common workplace protocol in America, tips on finding a job and general information on investing. It is sponsored by BB&T, the N.C. Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs and the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

"This latest audiotape provides valuable tips and resources for a successful employment search and highlights effective behavior in the workplace," said Axel Lluch, director of Hispanic and Latino Affairs for the N.C. governor's office. "We are proud to co-sponsor this effort to deliver information to our Latino community that will assist them in becoming a productive part of the workforce in North Carolina."

The 60-minute "BiBi" (pronounced Bee-Bee) tapes -- named for its main character -- are available at no charge throughout BB&T's 1,400-branch network across 11 states and Washington, D.C. The educational tapes are part of BB&T's ongoing "Hispanic Initiative" aimed at the 2.3 million Hispanics in its footprint, a segment with an estimated $40 billion in buying power.

The two-sided BiBi cassette tapes are designed to bridge the learning gap many Hispanics say exists when it comes to life and how to live it in America. The seventh tape explores topics such as the advantages of BB&T's bilingual ATMs and call centers; workplace issues such as sexual harassment and teamwork; and career guidance including resume preparation and what to wear to an interview.

"As the 10th largest state, North Carolina's labor market is comprised of a rich diversity of talented workers," said David Clegg, deputy chairman for communications for the N.C. Employment Security Commission.

"These tapes will assist our growing Hispanic and Latino population in accessing North Carolina workplaces with confidence to both present their skills and be prepared for advancement."

BiBi Tape No. 7 also covers opening a checking account with an ITIN letter from the Internal Revenue Service (in lieu of a Social Security card) and basic information on certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts and 529 savings plans for college.

The previous six tapes -- all available at any BB&T branch -- covered emergency preparedness, home and auto safety tips, renting and buying a home, communicating in English, health care, education, insurance and basic banking information.

More than half of all U.S. retail banking growth in financial services during the next two decades will come from America's expanding Hispanic population, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. recently said. U.S. banks are expected to spend $8.5 billion through next year marketing to and servicing the Hispanic market.

The number of Hispanic households with checking accounts is expected to increase by 57 percent and savings account holders by 76 percent. Less than 27 percent of Hispanic consumers in the BB&T footprint currently have a bank account and less than 18 percent own a credit card.

Hispanics accounted for 12.6 percent of the U.S. population in 2000. The population is expected to nearly double by 2050, the Census Bureau reports. And Hispanic buying power -- expected to be $1 trillion by 2010 -- is growing at a faster rate than the segment's booming population growth.

Unlike traditional American educational audiotapes, where narrators generally offer information in a tutorial teacher-to-student style, the BiBi tapes follow the "novella style" storytelling approach popular on Spanish TV.

The tapes trace the experiences of Juan and Maria Perez, fictional immigrants who have recently come to the United States. One of the people they meet is a Mexican woman named Beatriz Bienvenido Torres, or "BiBi," as she likes to be called. BiBi, portrayed as a respected member of the Hispanic community and longtime U.S. resident, is also a BB&T "employee" on the tape.

The lessons are taught through BiBi's interaction with Juan and Maria and other Latin American immigrants. She serves as both their trusted counsel as well as BB&T's conduit to Hispanic clients.

BB&T operates more than 1,400 financial centers in the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Indiana and Washington, D.C.

With $100.5 billion in assets, Winston-Salem-based BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT - News) is the nation's ninth largest financial holding company. More information is available at

Latinos at 03:33 PM