Apr 21 2010

Save to Win: 2009 Final Project Results & 2010 Implications for Credit Unions

Report  
Number  
215

Save to Win’s success in helping Michigan residents save is a positive sign in a troubled economy. In a world where financial innovation is a dirty word, financial institutions’ reputations are tarnished, and cooperation among credit unions is more theoretical than realized, a remarkable partnership has produced a new and exciting way to save.

Peter Tufano, PhD
Professor of Financial Management
Harvard Business School
Report Number 215

Executive Summary

For many years, Peter Tufano has been researching ways to solve the problem of encouraging American’s to save—that makes Peter the idea champion for Prize-linked Savings (PLS). From his research and that seed of an idea, PLS has now emerged as a Save to Win product.

However, seeds only grow under the right conditions. And it was The Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund, the Filene Research Institute, the Michigan Credit Union League, eight credit unions, and the Center for Financial Services Innovation’s Non-Profit Opportunities Fund (supported by the Walmart Foundation) that turned the soil, removed the rocks, and enabled this idea to germinate from a concept into a successful product in the marketplace.

What is the research about?

This report featuring the Save to Win pilot was prepared by the Doorways to Dreams Fund with contributions from the project team members. The report documents the project, product results, key lessons learned, and outlines the issues and opportunities to bring this product to scale throughout the United States.

Important Findings:

  • Strong demand for PLS accounts exists among credit union members.
  • PLS products can attract financially vulnerable consumers and positively impact their saving levels.
  • Certain PLS product features may help attract first-time savers and motivate individuals to save consistently.

What are the credit union implications?

The implications for consumers are clear—this product provides a gateway to saving. The implications for credit unions are many. Some of the reports findings include:

  • Strong demand for PLS accounts exists among credit union members.
  • PLS products can attract financially vulnerable consumers and positively impact their saving levels.
  • The offer of prizes can attract lottery players and has the potential to help redirect lottery consumption into savings. 
  • Certain prize-structure designs hold the potential to motivate individuals to save consistently.

This report is sponsored by the Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D), the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), and the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL).