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N.C. lawmakers introduce prize-linked savings bill
RALEIGH, N.C. (4/11/11)--The North Carolina Credit Union League is closer to a prize-linked savings program after legislation introduced this week in the state legislature. The league has been exploring the idea of launching the Save to Win prize-linked savings program first piloted in Michigan in 2009. Legislation introduced Tuesday in the North Carolina House of Representatives and Wednesday in the state Senate will give credit unions the needed change to make the program a success in North Carolina (Weekly Update April 8).
As the North Carolina House and Senate introduced legislation last week to allow credit unions to offer a prize-linked savings program in North Carolina, some 20 grassroots advocates met Wednesday with lawmakers in Raleigh. Pictured, from left, are: John Bell, North Carolina Community FCU, Goldsboro; Beatrice Williams-Louis, Fort Bragg FCU, Fayetteville; State Rep. Efton Sager (R-11); and Alexandra Boncek, North Carolina Credit Union League. Sager sponsored the North Carolina House version of the prize-linked savings bill. (Photo provided by the North Carolina Credit Union League)
The program provides incentives to help participants save, including an opportunity to win monthly prizes or a headline-grabbing grand prize. With every $25 dollar deposited into the Save to Win account, the saver is entered for the monthly and annual grand prize drawing, with a 10-entry limit per month. Now in its third year, Michigan program has opened more than 28,500 Save to Win accounts with $37 million saved, said the North Carolina league. “Michigan found that individuals who had not saved regularly before were encouraged by the possibility of winning,” said John Radebaugh, league president/CEO. “If credit unions here could launch this safe and exciting program, we could encourage new savers and promote new savings habits for North Carolinians.” Current law in North Carolina limits credit unions to holding two raffle drawings per year. The league concluded that asking for a legislative fix would ultimately enhance the success of Save to Win there. “After the start of 2011-2012 session, we approached our state lawmakers with the innovative savings concept and asked for an exemption for credit unions so that monthly prizes could be awarded,” said Lauren Whaley, the league’s director of legislative and regulatory affairs. “The level of support we have received from legislators shows the value of Save to Win in promoting stronger financial futures for credit union members.” The bipartisan bill faces no opposition. The Senate bill, SB 513, will now move to the Commerce Committee and HB 583 will move to the Banking Committee.


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