People – Money Co-movement and the Ethnic Financial Sectors in Canada and the U.S

Lucia Lo, Wei Li
2008 Migracijske i Etniĉke Teme  
Financial globalization and international migration have altered the socio-economic-demographic make-up as well as the financial dynamics in immigrant receiving countries. An outcome is the emergence or strengthening of a formal ethnic financial sector consisting of financial institutions that are owned and/or operated by a variety of ethnic groups. Focusing on ethnic banks in Los Angeles, USA and ethnic credit unions in Toronto, Canada, and using secondary sources and interviews with bank
more » ... iews with bank executives, this paper demonstrates that contemporary financial dynamics pertaining to immigration is rooted/localized in different ways with different groups, and is shaped by different regulatory and institutional contexts. Specifically, it identifies that ethnic financial institutions in both cities serve co-ethnics first and foremost, and utilize ethnic assets, bonding social capital in particular, to develop their customer base while branching out to other groups by developing bridging social capital and broadening their product lines. The comparison also shows that ethnic banks in LA are larger, more numerous, and mostly Asian-owned, whereas the ethnic credit unions in Toronto are smaller, less numerous, and mostly of European background. These variations stem from differences in the national financial regulatory regimes and in the immigrant population dynamics.
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