Three Oregon Credit Unions to Launch ‘Save to Win’ Accounts in April; Nearly $2 Million Awarded to Members Since 2009

Save to Win accounts incentivize consumers to save, because they offer monthly and annual chances for account holders to win cash prizes.

The pilot program began with eight Michigan credit unions in 2009, attracting more than 11,000 members to save $8.6 million. It later expanded to seven additional states, saving participating members more than $115 million, nationally.

The most recent data from neighboring Washington shows Save to Win’s success with financially vulnerable populations in that state. 68 percent of new account holders never had a CD before opening a Save to Win Account. In addition, 60 percent surveyed reported having little to no emergency savings. 88 percent of accounts opened in 2013 rolled over into 2014, suggesting strong momentum toward longer-term savings plans for many.

“As Oregonians, we all have the opportunity to improve the health of our household finances every day. Prize-linked savings programs, like credit unions’ Save to Win program, catalyze that all-important first step toward savings for many,” said Troy Stang, Northwest Credit Union Association President and CEO. “It demystifies savings in a tangible way while encouraging longer-term financial behaviors, helping families build financial strength.”

Oregon credit union advocates successfully lobbied the legislature last year to pass a bill allowing credit unions to offer prize-linked savings accounts to their members in the Beaver State. With the appropriate backdrop of April’s Financial Literacy Month, Portland-based USAgencies Credit Union, Beaverton-based Sunset Science Park Federal Credit Union, and Eugene-based Northwest Community Credit Union will launch the Save to Win program.

“We are very excited to be launching Save to Win at USAgencies Credit Union, and very proud to be one of the first in Oregon to offer this great product,” says Jim Lumpkin, CEO of USAgencies Credit Union. “Save to Win really is a win-win because, not only do members get into the habit of saving, they also get a chance to win some great monthly and quarterly cash prizes too. Our credit union is also giving away two $25 cash prizes every month to our participating members, alone.”

According to Rhonda Baggarley, President of Sunset Science Park FCU, Save to Win adds an element of “fun” to saving. “With the low savings rate environment that we’ve seen over the past several years, the incentive to save money has been minimal.  Hopefully the Save to Win CD will get members excited again about saving money,” she added.

“The ‘Save to Win’ program aligns very well with our commitment to offer high-value financial products and services to the communities we serve,” said NWCU Chief Administrative Officer Melissa Vigil. “We’ll be encouraging simple savings habits such as recurring transfers, so that members get the number of entries they want and can afford, easily. They will be rewarded with a healthy savings account and dividends, and the fun factor in participating.”

Members open a special share certificate and for each $25 deposit, gain entry into the monthly prize drawings and can earn up to 10 prize entries per month. At the end of the month, prizes totaling $3,700 will be awarded to 148 members who made deposits during the month. The members’ entries, up to 30 prize entries per quarter, will also be entered into the quarterly prize drawing, where 30 members will win cash prizes of $500, $1,000, or $5,000.

Additionally, Oregon has a state-wide prize pool specific to Oregon members only. The entries are calculated the same, however, Oregon residents have the ability to win a monthly and quarterly prize as well. At the end of each month, 8 winners will be randomly selected for a $25 prize and 4 winners will be selected at the end of each quarter for a $100 prize.

Is Save to Win a program your credit union’s members could benefit from? Reach out to NWCUA Program Manager Kaitlin Ramos by calling 800.995.9064 x208  or emailing kramos@nwcua.org.

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

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Posted in Advocacy News, NWCUA.