FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (7/16/13)--Save to Win, the prized-linked saving program, has attracted 559 new accounts at six credit unions in its first 60 days of operation in Washington state, said the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA).
Total savings surpassed $250,000, with an average account balance of nearly $500 (Anthem Recap July 12).
"This program motivates and entices our members to open an account and start saving money every month, said Jared Dance, Lacey-based TwinStar CU community development manager. "Also, with the added bonus of entries to win monthly cash prizes, it's truly a win-win situation. Save to Win program has endless potential for our state."
Save to Win was created by the Michigan Credit Union League in 2009. For every $25 deposited, account holders earn entries into monthly and annual cash prize drawings. All funds deposited into the accounts, including any interest earnings, belong to the account holders.
The program has appealed unbanked and under-banked consumers who were not previously inclined to save money. It was legalized by the Washington State Legislature in 2011. Six Washington credit unions began offering the program April 1, with organizational support and the prize pool funded by the NWCUA Strategic Link subsidiary. Credit unions in Nebraska and North Carolina also offer Save to Win.
Founding credit unions in Washington include:
TwinStar CU members opened 255 new accounts in the first eight weeks of the Save to Win program.
At Fibre FCU, more than 130 accounts were opened, with members saving $60,000.
While members of Connection CU quickly opened Save to Win accounts with large balances, the credit union proactively worked with asset-building coalitions and other community groups to ensure consumers who truly benefit from the program learn of the resource.
"We have sent Save to Win flyers to some of our community-based organizations to share with their clients," said Lesley Carrell, Fibre CU senior vice president of marketing. "It's a great program for our community, where average income per household is at 70% of the state's average."
Studies indicate the possibility of winning a prize while saving money is strong motivation for consumers to open accounts, said NWCUA. The prize pool in Washington offers 100 members the possibility of winning $50 prizes in the first year, as well as four $5,000 prize drawings.