OR & WA CUs Seeing the Value in Save to Win

The prize-linked savings program has saved Northwest credit union members more than $2.6 million so far. Here’s what the program could mean for your members.

Sandra Powers, a recent Washington winner.

It doesn’t take too long to scan recent headlines and find another example of the roadblock many Americans see in saving for the future. One recent study put the estimate at 7-in-10 Americans having less than $1,000 in savings.

In recent years, prize-linked savings has emerged as a viable program for credit unions to reach member and potential members start and build savings.

Save to Win, the prize-linked program started with eight Michigan credit unions in 2009, attracting more than 11,000 members to save $8.6 million. It has since expanded to seven additional states, saving participating members more than $115 million, nationally.

The premise is simple: members to open special savings accounts, and every time they make a qualifying deposit they are entered into a raffle for cash prizes. But win or lose the raffle, members keep every penny they saved.

Since prize-linked savings programs debuted in both states (Idaho does not currently participate), Oregon and Washington have both seen modest upticks in participation, though the data on those participants show substantial value.

  • 68 percent of new Washington credit union account holders never had a CD before opening a Save to Win Account;
  • 60 percent surveyed reported having little to no emergency savings;
  • 88 percent of accounts opened in 2013 rolled over into 2014.

Scott Prior, President & CEO of Connection Credit Union in Silverdale, WA, is among the seven Washington credit unions participating in Save to Win, saving members an average of $1,277-per-account. Save to Win is something he calls “absolutely a credit union-centric program.”

“Not only is Save to Win exclusive to credit unions, but it draws on the cooperative principle of financial education along with asset building. It allows credit unions to reach more potential members, help current members build savings and become savvier with their finances ,” he said, adding that set-up and administration of the program has not been an issue for the credit union.

Kyle Frick, VP of Marketing for Mid Oregon Credit Union, echoed Prior’s sentiment that more credit unions would find value in Save to Win.

“Mid Oregon started with Save to Win in July, and we have 100 accounts already and that number is growing,” he said, adding that they see Save to Win as a member retention tool, as well.

“Those members who have a single relationship like a savings account they keep at the credit union because they don’t see it often,” he said, “are people we can engage with this product and help them build their savings habits.”

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 [email protected]

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222, [email protected]