Within this group there is an important category of residents often referred to as the “DREAMers” or Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In June 2012, President Obama signed an executive action providing children of undocumented immigrants, also born outside the U.S. who arrived before the age of 15 and are under 31 and are in school, the opportunity to obtain work visas and stay without threat of deportation. These DREAMers are often young people working and going to school at the same time, with the goal of building legacy wealth in the United States.

Dream demo

For banks and lenders, this translates to a group that went through an arduous vetting and security process in order to get ahead, provide for their families and live out the American dream. This is a group of motivated, young immigrants, socially connected and with higher than usual educational attainment. Their families often live well below their means so that they can send remittances to their nuclear and extended families in Latin America. In 2014, Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. sent over $50 billion to Latin America—about the same as the annual revenue of the Coca Cola Company.


"In just four years millennials are expected to have enormous purchasing power, to the tune of $1.4 trillion."

According to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), approximately 3 million immigrants earn enough to afford a $170,000 home. With qualifying credit, a social security number and tax documents, savings for a down payment and sufficient income, a large group of DACA residents can qualify for a mortgage loan. Quite frankly, this is a dream constituency for the mortgage industry. And the numbers continue to grow.

Open opportunity

So how does the mortgage industry tap into this market? The national DACA network and several major U.S. cities have provided a roadmap for how to reach a community that is upwardly mobile and driven. By leveraging the existing outreach infrastructure as well as the extensive vetting process that DACA individuals have experienced, banks and lenders have a clear path to engage a community that will be prime for home purchasing over the coming decade.

In addition, like many millennials, DACA recipients are also glued to their phones. The Center for Media Research indicates that 90 percent of millennials send and receive text messages on a mobile device. 66 percent of millennials use an app when searching for a home. And 87 percent are on Facebook and 53 percent are on Instagram. There are also existing apps just for DACA recipients, including legal platforms through which banks and lenders can market.

Now is an important time for banks and lenders to modify their internal processes and marketing strategies in order to reach this market, begin to build brand loyalty and ultimately increase their bottom line.