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Michigan Credit Union League

Prize-Linked Savings Gaining Steam Thanks to MCUL's Pioneering Efforts

An initiative launched by the Michigan Credit Union League more than half a decade ago continues to change the lives of consumers across the country.

According to a recent story from CUNA News Now, credit unions in New York, Minnesota and North Carolina have seen tremendous growth in the popularity of prize-linked savings accounts—a savings strategy that MCUL pioneered with the 2009 launch of Save to Win.

This map shows the current states participating in Save to Win and the growth of prize-linked savings across the country, as more and more states have bills drafted or indicate an interest in ammending their laws to allow for such a program.

Just three months after a prize-linked savings (PLS) program went into effect in Minnesota, credit union members there have saved $197,000.

In New York and North Carolina, a program pioneered by MCUL has helped credit union members save millions. Both states participate in Save to Win, and New York credit union members have saved $5.2 million in just five months since the program launched.

North Carolina credit union members also put away a whopping $5.4 million last year thanks to participation in Save to Win. More than $5.4 billion has been saved in North Carolina alone since Save to Win was launched in 2013, an average of $2,410 per account.

For credit unions participating in Save to Win, all it takes for members to get started is a $25 opening deposit, which is their first entry into the monthly and quarterly drawings. For every $25 they save on top of that initial deposit, members can earn additional entries into the drawings, up to 10 entries total per month. Members can win prizes each month and quarter with prizes ranging from $25 - $5,000. Regardless of the drawing outcome, members retain their savings and earn interest throughout the year. 

Save to Win was launched in Michigan through the partnership of the Michigan Credit Union League and CU Solutions Group, along with the Filene Research Institute. The program was created by Boston-based Doorways to Dreams, thanks to a 2008 grant from the Center for Financial Services Innovation of Chicago, which was studying the viability of prize-linked savings products. Michigan was selected to pilot the initiative because of the strenght of the Michigan Credit Union Act, which included a provision allowing credit unions to promote prize-linked savings products.

After launching in 2009, more than 11,000 accounts were opened during the first year, helping members save $8.5 million in just one year. In 2012, CU Solutions Group took over administrative duties for the program, and Save to Win is now a national CUSG product.

While prize-linked savings laws have passed through the legislature or are being voted on in several states, the Save to Win program remains the gold standard for incentivizing credit union members to establish better savings habits. With 100 credit unions spread across seven states and more than 20,000 accounts, Save to Win has helped consumers put away more than $46 billion—an average of $2,306 per account year to date. In addition, credit unions in Indiana, Illinois and Oregon will be launching Save to Win this year and their contributions will increase the national prize pool to more than $125,000. 

Along with helping create better saving and spending habits for credit union members, Save to Win also benefits credit unions by helping build member loyalty, expanding cross-selling opportunities and much more. The program has been so successful that it has led to coverage by notable national media outlets like the Huffington Post, CNN and Forbes, along with many local publications.

Participation levels are continually increasing, but credit unions can still get involved. To learn more about Save to Win and prize-linked savings, visit or email Save to Win Program Manager Jessica Thelen.

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2016-03-31 00:00:00