Credit union savings raffles won the go-ahead from the Nebraska legislature Wednesday with Gov. Dave Heineman expected to sign enabling legislation.
Following the governor’s signature, the measure, spearheaded by the Nebraska Credit Union League, would allow CUs to start offering the prize-linked savings accounts starting in September. CUs are expected to have programs up and running by January 2012.
“By linking savings with prizes, we believe more Nebraskans will develop a habit of saving that will provide them financial security and peace of mind going forward,” said Scott Sullivan, president/CEO of the league.
The Nebraska program would be modeled after the “Save to Win” program launched in 2009 by the Michigan Credit Union League and Filene Research Institute together with a Boston area non-profit, Doorway to Dreams.
The Nebraska league noted that Michigan, Maine, and Rhode Island currently have laws on the books allowing for the specialized savings promotions.
A bill to offer “Save to Win” was defeated in Iowa last week after vigorous opposition by the banking lobby on grounds the accounts represented a form of gambling and ran counter to the CU tax exemption.
Bills meanwhile are progressing in North Carolina and Washington state.
In a statement, the Nebraska league hailed the lawmaker passage as a method of “providing Nebraska’s 425,000 credit union members an innovative and fun way of saving money for their financial future.”
Credit union members of participating CUs in Michigan receive one chance to win agrand prize of $100,000 for every $25 they deposited into their account.
“In the first nine months of the pilot, more than 11,000 Save to Win accounts were opened and more than $9 million was saved. Since that time, over 40 Michigan credit unions now offer STWaccounts to their members and in February Michigan credit unions awarded their second $100,000 grand prize since the inception of the program,” said the Nebraska group.