Washington state credit unions can begin offering prize-linked savings programs in three months, following signing of enabling legislation Tuesday by Gov. Christine Gregoire.
The so-called raffles bill, spearheaded by the Northwest Credit Union Association, “will allow financial institutions to encourage savings with innovative solutions,” said its president/CEO John Annaloro, noting that CUs “are seemingly the only group offering” such a product.
The offering is being promoted as part of “a complex societal trend," said Annaloro, and comes as household savings rates of Americans have been in a decade-long decline.
The prize-linked savings bill was “on a fast track through the legislature” said the trade group. Earlier this spring, it passed the House 91-2 preceded by a 46-0 vote in the state Senate.
“This legislation rewards thriftiness and that is a good thing," stated the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Derek Kilmer, during the Senate debate. “This program doesn’t just encourage people to save, it’s actually shown to improve their saving habits. This isn’t a new government program.”
Passage in Washington follows similar enactment in Nebraska last month and the signing of a raffles bill by that state’s governor.
Washington CUs are expected to sign on to the “Save to Win” program in use by CUs in that state and sponsored by the Michigan Credit Union League.