Oregon Legislative Update: Prize-Linked Savings Scheduled for Senate Vote

On Tuesday, the prize-linked savings bill that originated in the Oregon House of Representatives is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor. This vote marks the Oregon legislature’s final stamp of approval on the bill, which if passed on Tuesday and signed by Governor Brown will open the path for the state’s financial institutions to offer celebrated prize-linked savings products.

Prize-linked savings (PLS) is a tested and proven method to make savings more fun, which makes people more likely to save. When members save, they are entered into raffles for cash prizes. However, even if they don’t win a raffle, they get to keep every dollar they saved, plus interest.

Jeff Kennedy, President and CEO of Twinstar Credit Union, which offers prize-linked savings in Washington, recently testified on the bill’s behalf. “We view this program as a ‘win-win’ for our members,” said Kennedy. “‘Save to Win’ is designed to appeal to a broad demographic, with specific features to make the product easily accessible to financially vulnerable members. The program successfully attracts low to moderate income families and has positively impacted their savings behavior. And in addition, they have the opportunity to receive cash rewards, which are enhanced by their own positive savings behavior.”

The Senate Business and Transportation Committee passed the bill with a unanimous 5-0 vote.

Other Bills We’re Tracking

The “Ban the Box” bill passed the House of Representatives. House Bill 3025 would prohibit employers from asking about job seekers’ criminal history on an employment application. It does not prohibit employers from asking about their criminal history in interviews or requiring background checks. The bill now heads to the Senate.

HB 2832, which increases transparency and reduces fees for college students, passed the Oregon House. The House voted 36-24 to reduce fees for college students and increase transparency around how financial firms disburse and manage student financial aid. Several Oregon colleges and universities have agreements with nonbank financial firms to administer financial aid payments and disbursements. These contracts are not subject to oversight, and the financial firms are often subject to much less federal regulation than traditional banks and credit unions. Many contracts allow fees to be charged to students for every transaction to their account, or for no transactions at all. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.