Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman on Wednesday signed a raffle savings bill allowing credit unions for the first time to offer prizes for opening savings accounts in the Cornhusker State.
The “Save to Win” program, a product of the Michigan Credit Union League, Filene Research Institute and a Boston area non-profit, becomes effective in September though Nebraska CUs are not expected to start offering the accounts until next January.
“We’re most pleased that the governor went ahead and approved it since he could have let it become law without his signature. That shows the support this concept is receiving,” said Joanna Smith-Ramani, director of strategy for the Doorway to Dreams Fund, the Roxbury, Mass.,agency spearheading “Save to Win” among CUs.
Smith-Ramani said the next hurdle for enabling legislation is in Washington state, where a bill similar to Nebraska’s is due for enactment within days following the signature of Gov. Christine Gregoire,
All indications are that she will sign the bill, said Smith-Ramani, noting the process may take slightly longer in that state. A raffle bill also is moving through the North Carolina legislature.
The “Save to Win” 2011 legislative campaign across the U.S. is about to end, she said, “as the time for bill introduction has now passed” in most areas and so leagues, CUs and groups supporting the raffles product will have to wait until next year.
“But except for Iowa we feel pretty good about what we’ve achieved,” said Smith-Ramani referring to a banker-led defeat there.
The Nebraska Credit Union League hailed Heineman’s signing, saying in a statement that “approval of LB 524 means that Nebraska's 425,000 credit union members will have a fun and innovative way in which they can save money for their future.”
Scott Sullivan, president/CEO of the league, called “Save to Win” a means of helping CU members accumulate personal savings for the future.
"Credit unions focus their efforts on improving the financial lives of their member owners and LB 524 will serve as another tool to help in that effort," Sullivan said. "We believe that LB 524 will incentivize folks to save who have never saved before.”