LANSING, MI – For Lee Preston, the call from his local credit union came as a surprise – and with a big prize attached. Preston was revealed today as the lucky Grand Prize winner of $100,000 for simply saving money through Save to Win, an innovative program designed to encourage credit union members to save their money and build their personal wealth. A member of Astera Credit Union since 1981, Lee was randomly selected in a computerized statewide drawing from among more than 16,500 credit union members who deposited money into Save to Win accounts in 2011.
Credit union members across Michigan saved $34 million in 2011 through Save to Win, an innovative program that enters members into drawings for prizes, including one $100,000 Grand Prize, according to figures released by the Michigan Credit Union League today. The numbers were released as an Astera Credit Union member in the Lansing area was to be announced on Thursday morning as the 2011 statewide Grand Prize winner.
With its one-of-a-kind prize-linked model, Save to Win was designed to encourage members to save money by offering cash prizes to randomly drawn lucky winners.
The program has been hailed in the national news media for encouraging more families to save their money. Other states from Washington to Alabama to New England are trying to emulate Michigan’s program because of its popularity and effectiveness at getting people to save. This year, Nebraska credit unions began offering Save to Win to their members, and the Michigan Credit Union League is administering the program.
“Save to Win is a great example of local credit unions offering programs that put our members’ financial futures first, by helping members from all backgrounds grow their wealth,” said David Adams, CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates. “Every day, Michigan credit unions work hard to help families and small businesses on Main Street succeed in today’s economy. Save to Win is an example of how the credit union difference is helping people become financially healthy by providing incentives to save. As consumers save more and borrow more prudently, not only they, but the whole economy become better positioned for the future.”
Statewide, the savings rate continues the upward trend for the Save to Win program: In 2011, credit union members across Michigan saved nearly $34 million, with the average account balance of more than $2,000 – both up from the $30 million saved in 2010, when the average account balance was $1,871.
Each $25 deposit into a Save to Win certificate by a credit union member entitles them to one entry into the $100,000 Grand Prize drawing. The Save to Win program also awards smaller monthly prizes ranging from $125 to $1,000 to winners. In addition, most credit unions also individually award prizes to members who sign up for Save to Win, with prizes varying from credit union to credit union. All savings deposits generate interest and build savings.
Save to Win launched in 2009 as a collaboration between the Michigan Credit Union League, the Filene Research Institute and the Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D). Designed to appeal to credit union members who have had difficulty saving money, 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 less than half saved money regularly before opening their Save to Win accounts.
Organized in 1934, the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates is a trade association representing 312 credit unions statewide. Based in Lansing, MCUL & Affiliates offers credit unions assistance in the areas of regulatory compliance, legislative advocacy, media advocacy and operational information. For more information, visit www.mcul.org and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MICreditUnions and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MICreditUnions.
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 with the MCUL in Michigan on Save to Win innovations geared toward attracting and retaining financially vulnerable consumers.