North Carolina appears ready to join other states in adopting a “Save to Win” savings sweepstakes program following passage of an enabling bill by the state Senate.
The North Carolina Credit Union League said Monday it was “very excited” by the unanimous vote last week in the upper chamber allowing CUs to offer the savings account programs tied to monthly raffles and grand prize drawings.
Under the program, patterned after one under way in Michigan since 2009 and sponsored by the Michigan Credit Union League, participants can open a $25 certificate of deposit making them eligible to enter the sweepstakes program.
Under the North Carolina package, the current two-raffle drawing per year limit would be eased, allowing members to participate for the monthly drawings designed to encourage savings practices.
The bill, which might face some objection in the House following reported grumbling by the Christian Coalition over gambling concerns, defines a savings promotion raffle under general statutes requiring that money be deposited into the special savings account in order to win.
The North Carolina league said the opposition was from a group not affiliated with the Christian Coalition and that its concerns had been resolved.
"There is absolutely no opposition to the bill that we are aware of at this time,"
said league spokesman Jeff Hardin.
In other states, banker opposition to the raffles bills on competitive grounds has at times been a stumbling block in getting legislation adopted but the North Carolina Bankers Association confirmed Monday it “takes no position” on the measure.
Noting banker objections that killed a similar measure in Iowa, Paul Stock, executive vice president and general counsel of NCBA, acknowledged “there is tension between credit unions and community banks” in many parts of the U.S. but the banker trade group saw no need “for any pro forma” opposition to the league-backed Senate bill in North Carolina.
Besides, NCBA had checked with its counterpart in Michigan and found no competitive problems there, Stock said.
A spokesman for the league said the next step for the Senate bill is a hearing by the House Banking Committee with one due to be scheduled in the next few weeks. Once adopted by the full House and signed by Gov. Beverly Perdue, it would become effective Oct. 1.
“Credit unions would look to roll out Save to Win in 2012,” the spokesman said.