Three Washington Credit Unions Share how they Encourage Young Members to Save

From targeted Instagram accounts to prize drawings and contests, credit unions find creative ways to teach young people healthy saving habits.

3/10/2020

Kids SavingCredit unions are dedicated to helping their members achieve financial freedom. They consistently provide financial education to members and understand the importance of establishing good spending and saving practices from an early age. It’s the Credit Union Difference in action.

According to data collected through the Community Impact Reporting Tool (CIRT), Washington credit unions helped young members open 151,000 savings accounts and save a collective $45.5 million. Several credit unions recorded particularly impressive totals in their children’s saving accounts.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Fibre Federal Credit Union, based in Longview, Washington, helped young members save an incredible $7.9 million through its Cash Club and Student Savings programs.

Cash Club

Fibre rebranded its Early Bird Savings to Cash Club in 2017.

The credit union takes a fun and creative approach to connecting with this age group, recently rolling out an Instagram account, @FibreFamily, featuring a video series called “It’s a Money Thing,” which tackles money management issues, as well as “Money Tips with Z” — periodic money management tips from Financial Education Coordinator, Zaheen Khan.

In 2017, Fibre rebranded its Early Bird Savings account to Cash Club, said Heather Snyder, Marketing Manager at Fibre.

“We hired a cartoonist to create Cash the Savings Dog and his trusty sidekick, Penny the Cat. Every April, we celebrate Youth Savings Month with a month-long savings challenge and a coloring contest. For every deposit of $10 or more to a Cash Club or Student Savings account, the child is entered into a drawing for prizes totaling more than $1,300.” 

Fibre Federal Check Presentation

Fibre presents a check to Cowlitz County Humane Society.

Children enrolled in Fibre’s Cash Club receive 1.15% APY on balances up to $10,000, compared to its regular savings account, which pays .15% APY. Cash Club members who deposit $10 or more into their accounts every month get to choose a fun prize from the “Bark Box,” and for every new member who signs up for Cash Club, Fibre donates $5 to a nearby animal shelter.

In addition, Fibre’s Student Savings program lets students earn money for good grades. Students get one dollar for every A on their report card and receive gift cards to a nearby business once a month when they deposit $10 or more into the account. Student Savings members also get free checking with a debit card, and can sign up for a VISA credit card when they turn 16 to learn money management and start building credit.

Fibre Family

Cash Club kids pose with their Bark Box prizes at Fibre’s Warrenton, Oregon, branch.

Sound Credit Union, based in Tacoma, saw similar success in its Minor Savings account totals. It reported $7.6 million saved, citing the credit union’s unwavering member loyalty as a significant factor.

“Our members are very loyal to Sound,” said Jennifer Reed, Sound’s Vice President of Public Relations. “Many of them are parents and grandparents who have chosen to open an account for a child or grandchild.”

Members who open a Minor Savings account get a Sound Credit Union piggy bank to encourage saving. They also receive quarterly newsletters and the opportunity to enter monthly prize drawings. Sound incentivizes young members to save by offering various giveaway items to those who make regular deposits into their accounts.

Fibre's Zaheen Khan

Fibre’s Financial Education Coordinator, Zaheen Khan, teaches a financial education class to kids in 2019.

“By opening a savings account for a child at a young age, you have a chance to begin encouraging them to save their money. This can provide kids with the opportunity to visit their credit union and make a deposit,” said Reed. “Many of our branches have a coin machine that they can use to count their money — the kids love to use the coin machine.”

Seattle Credit Union, which serves over 50,600 members, reported $5.1 million saved in its children’s savings accounts and says that it’s all about developing relationships with members, no matter the age group.

“We have actively partnered with youth-centered organizations who have helped us identify the needs for today’s youth,” Seattle’s Regional Branch Manager, Dale Morris, explained. “As a result, we tailored a Youth Checking account to complement their savings account. We have learned that the need for greater financial independence may need to start at a younger age and have worked to meet that need.”

Seattle’s Youth Checking accounts do not require a parent or guardian and provide financial freedom from youth members ages 13 to 18. In addition, the accounts have zero maintenance fees. The checking account holder has access to a debit card from the time they open their account and earns 4% interest (4.06% APY) on balances up to $500.

“Partnering with youth and their allies encourages them to create habits that can set them up for the rest of their lives,” Morris continued. “It’s an important first step toward teaching solid financial skills to young people of any age.”

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