Washington Credit Unions Invited to Explore ‘Save to Win’ Program in Free Webinar

Save to Win, the savings program that helps consumers build their assets while making them eligible for sizeable cash prizes, has caught fire with more than 16,700 consumers across the country who have opened accounts at the 62 credit unions offering the program.

Collectively, those consumers – some of whom had never had a savings account before — have deposited nearly $40 million. Their average account balance now: $2,304.81, according to Jessica Demorest, Save to Win product coordinator for CU Solutions Group.

The program incentivizes savings by offering monthly and annual cash prizes. All of the money members deposit in the 12-month certificate program stays in their accounts, because the prize pool is funded by other credit union resources. As members build their assets, they’re also eligible to win — each $25 deposit earns an entry into the monthly and annual drawings, and members can earn up to 10 chances to win every month.

Oregon’s Legislature hasn’t considered allowing prize-linked savings accounts yet, but six credit unions – Fibre Federal, TwinStar, Express, Connection, O Bee and North Coast – signed up for Save to Win in April 2013 after it became available in Washington. Strategic Link, the Northwest Credit Union Association’s wholly owned subsidiary, funded the prize pool and hired CU Solutions Group to manage the program. CU Solutions Group also operates the program in Michigan (where the U.S. version of Save to Win was started), Nebraska and North Carolina.

Craig Reed, the director of strategic partnerships for Strategic Link, says other Washington credit unions could be prepared by CU Solutions Group to open Save to Win accounts in as little as 30 days. A free webinar, scheduled from 10-11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 27, will offer more details about the program. Registration is available directly through Yuri Jung, Strategic Link’s strategic partnership specialist.

At Longview-based Fibre Federal Credit Union, 177 accounts have already been opened and members have collectively saved more than $220,000.

“We are offering our community an easy and fun way to build a savings account,” says Angie Leppert, Fibre Federal’s vice president of marketing. “Saving money can be an overwhelming task for those with limited funds. This program was designed to ease that burden, with the added benefit of monthly prizes and an annual grand prize.”

Leppert calls Save to Win “a great fit” for Fibre, which has a low-income designation.

Jared Dance, the community development manager for TwinStar Credit Union, calls the program a “win-win.”

“Imagine being able to ask someone, ‘How would you like a chance to win $5,000 and save your hard-earned money at the same time?’ That’s what Save to Win is all about,” Dance says.

Reed says Strategic Link was pleased when the Washington Legislature opened the door for prize-linked savings programs. “We have funded the prize pool for three years so that members have multiple opportunities to win prizes ranging from $50 to $5,000,” he says. “That’s an attractive incentive to unbanked and under-banked members.”

More than $667,500 has been deposited in 800 Save to Win accounts in Washington since April, Reed says.

“Because we already have the infrastructure in place, we’re able to easily onboard other credit unions so they can offer the opportunity to consumers in their communities,” Reed says. “With average balances of just over $824 (in Washington), it’s unlikely deposits will tip any credit unions’ net worth ratios, but it is likely to help consumers who most need financial help to build their assets. And, today’s savers may become tomorrow’s borrowers.”

National media have shined a spotlight on Save to Win, including coverage on CNN and the PBS NewsHour and stories in The Salt Lake City Deseret News and The New York Times. You’ll also find recent coverage of the program in Anthem.

To register for CU Solutions Group’s free Save to Win webinar, which is scheduled from 10-11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 27, contact Yuri Jung at yjung@nwcua.org or 206.340.4817.

 

Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

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