RALEIGH and ASHEVILLE, NC (February 21, 2014) — Credit union members across North Carolina saved nearly $2.5 million in 2013 through the innovative Save to Win program, according to figures released by the Carolinas Credit Union League, which also helped award on Thursday the program’s grand prize of $30,000 to Cindi Campbell, member of Telco Community Credit Union.
A unique program designed to encourage members to save money by offering cash prizes to randomly drawn winners, Save to Win united seven North Carolina credit unions in encouraging members to save, opening 1,908 accounts and safeguarding $2.37 million in deposits—an average of $1,246 per account.
“Seeing these positive results in North Carolina is reward enough for those of us who want the best for members and consumers,” Carolinas Credit Union League CEO John Radebaugh noted on the program statistics. “Seeing firsthand the grand prize go to a fellow North Carolinian is added proof that Save to Win has been worth the effort for everyone involved.”
A one-of-a-kind, prize-linked model, Save to Win has merited national media attention for encouraging more families to save their money. Piloted in Michigan in 2009, the program and its effectiveness quickly drew interest and has many states looking to follow the examples of North Carolina, Nebraska, and Washington in adding the savings program.
The path for Save to Win into North Carolina was cleared in 2011 on the shoulders of several credit unions committed to working together on the program. Their testimony aided introduction, co-sponsorship, and unanimous passage of state legislation on “savings promotion raffles,” excluding them from the NC Charitable Raffle Laws and defining them within general statutes to require deposits in special accounts. The action permitted North Carolina to become the third state in the country to offer the savings program, beginning in 2013.
With each $25 deposit in a Save to Win savings account, a member is entered into monthly, quarterly, and grand prize drawings. Most importantly, each saver’s deposits remain their own. In North Carolina, 52 percent of participants had not saved regularly prior to joining the program, while 54 percent reported household income of less than $40,000—and 17 percent earn less than $20,000.
Not-for-profit credit unions encourage members to continue saving through Save to Win, building a stronger financial future for themselves and their families while getting a chance to win a 2014 grand prize and other cash prizes throughout the year.
The Save to Win program also awards a total of twenty-six cash prizes ranging from $25 to $100 each month, as well as quarterly prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500. Credit unions also have the option for awarding their own varying cash prizes to members who sign up for Save to Win. All savings deposits go into a special CD to generate interest and build savings.
The North Carolina grand-prize presentation precedes America Saves Week beginning February 24. America Saves (www.americasaves.org) is an independent campaign of the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA) dedicated to helping individuals save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
Save to Win launched in 2009 in collaboration among the Michigan Credit Union League, the Filene Research Institute and the Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D). Designed to appeal to credit union members who rarely save, Save to Win has helped many families save their money instead of spending it on games of chance. A 2009 survey found that 59 percent of participants had spent money on the lottery over the previous six months and that 55 percent had not saved money regularly before opening Save to Win accounts. Today, 62 credit unions among the four states offering Save to Win have secured more than $38 million in deposits for an average of $2,300 per member account.
The Carolinas Credit Union League was established in 2014, uniting former leagues of North Carolina and South Carolina, each begun in 1934 by leaders committed to the cooperative spirit and the common goal of credit union growth. The Carolinas Credit Union League is the primary advocate for credit unions and much more, helping promote credit union success through regulatory compliance support, product enhancement, service delivery, and employee education.
The D2D Fund works with the financial services industry, national non-profit groups, grassroots community agencies, and public policy organizations to increase financial security among low income families by generating and testing promising financial services and products and building awareness of the financial needs and potential of low-income communities. D2D is working with credit unions, credit union leagues, legislators, and the asset-building field to grow the Save to Win program nationally. In addition, D2D continues to collaborate on Save to Win innovations geared toward attracting and retaining financially vulnerable consumers.