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Iowa house fails to move savings raffle bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (4/15/11)--An Iowa bill that would allow credit unions and banks to offer savings accounts linked to prize drawings or raffles was left to languish this year on the Iowa House of Representatives’ unfinished-business calendar--in part due to efforts by state bankers to kill it, according to the Iowa Credit Union League. The league ran newspaper ads last week requesting that Iowans call their state representatives to get the legislation passed. The ads also attacked Iowa banks for opposing the bill (The Des Moines Register April 13). The Iowa House did not seem to have sufficient support to pass the bill, Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R-12) told the newspaper. Despite opposition from the Iowa Bankers Association, the legislation--Senate File 490--passed the Iowa Senate in March by a 30 to 20 vote and moved to the Iowa state House for approval (The Des Moines Register March 21). “Unfortunately the bill became more politicized in the House,” Justin Hupfer, league vice president of governmental affairs, told News Now Thursday. “The majority party [Republicans] had to decide whether to keep it alive and decided not to. My expectation is that we will try again in the next session next year because there’s Democratic and Republican support in both the House and Senate. The second session of the general assembly will pick up again in January in the House Committee where it left off. So it doesn’t have to be reintroduced. “This session, it became a bank versus credit union association battle,” he added. “It took a long time to get the bill out of the Senate, and we didn’t have enough time in the House [this session]. The banks gave it all they had to kill it.” Consumers’ need to find innovative ways to save has never been more pressing, Patrick S. Jury, president of the Iowa Credit Union League, said in a statement, the paper reported in March. Credit unions need to change their traditional ways of thinking to change consumer behavior, he added. State bankers criticized the effort to increase consumer savings by saying they don’t think the possibility of winning a prize should be the basis for encouraging consumers to make decisions about how they are going to save, an Iowa Bankers Association spokesperson told the newspaper in March. Iowa credit unions want to start their program based on a similar one in Michigan in which members who open a “Save to Win” account have their name entered into a drawing for monthly cash prizes between $100 and $1,000. Then, once a year, a drawing is held for a $100,000 grand prize. Participants in the program are allowed to withdraw from the account once a year--but two withdrawals disqualifies them from being in the raffle, Hupfer said in March. Prize money generally comes from credit unions’ operating budgets, Hupfer added. The North Carolina Credit Union League has a similar bill pending in a legislative committee in that state.


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