12 days left in Credit Union Saving Contest

Saving money now could also mean winning big later for one lucky credit union member somewhere in Michigan who opens a savings account before Dec. 31.

That’s because local credit unions participating in the nationally acclaimed “Save to Win” program want to reward their members who open a savings account, by entering them in a drawing for a $100,000 grand prize to be announced in February 2012. Offered by 43 credit unions across Michigan, Save to Win has received national acclaim, including from the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal and MSNBC, as a model for encouraging more people to save.

“Save to Win rewards members of the Ishpeming Community Federal Credit Union who save for their futures and embrace good financial habits, such as saving their money,” said George Isola, general manager at Ishpeming Community Federal Credit Union. “Save to Win is a way to encourage families we serve across the Upper Peninsula to save some of their hard-earned money. Save to Win continues to grow in popularity with our members, and this program is helping the members we serve grow their wealth.”

At Ishpeming Community Federal Credit Union, 150 members have saved nearly $138,000 as of December, up from around $92,000 in 2010.

“Save to Win is one way we’re helping our members get into the habit of saving, while giving them a chance to win cash prizes for making a good financial decision,” said James Veneskey, CEO of Peninsula Federal Credit Union. “We’re proud to help families across the Upper Peninsula save their hard-earned money for the future, even in difficult economic times. Our members who haven’t signed up have until Dec. 31 to do so, and have a little fun in the process.”

At Peninsula FCU, 211 members have saved nearly $175,000 as of December.

Members at other Upper Peninsula credit unions also saved big in 2011:

Limestone Credit Union members saved $276,000, up from $78,000 around this time last year.

Members at U.P. Catholic Credit Union saved more than $187,000 as of December.

Across Michigan, more than 16,400 members at 43 participating credit unions have saved more than $30 million as of this December. That’s up from the $25 million saved by 16,256 members in 2010, according to the Michigan Credit Union League.

Last year’s Save to Win Grand Prize winner, Charmaine Hanners, had saved more than $1,500 when she won. Hanners is a member of the Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union.

When she won the prize, Hanners said: “I opened an account at AAACU for my grandson to save for his future. I am also saving for any future grandchildren that I hope to have someday. I will use a portion of my winnings to help the homeless and battered women. Anytime I have good fortune, I always make it a habit to share with others.”

Each $25 deposit into a savings account by a credit union member entitles them to one entry into the annual $100,000 grand prize drawing, as well as monthly giveaways. Each credit union will award cash prizes ranging from $15 to $400, totaling $5,000, every month.

All savings deposits go into a special CD that will generate more money for savers at the end of the year.

Designed to appeal to credit union members who rarely save, Save to Win has helped many families save their money instead of spending it on lottery tickets. A 2009 survey found that 59 percent of participants had spent money on the lottery over the previous six months and that less than half saved money regularly before opening their Save to Win accounts.

Save to Win and its prizes are underwritten and managed by the participating credit unions and CUcorp, a subsidiary of the MCUL. CUcorp is laying the foundation for future expansion of the program across the United States. Save to Win began in 2009 with eight credit unions.

The Ishpeming Community Federal Credit Union is cooperatively owned by over 14,000 local residents and was organized in 1949 to provide low cost financial services to all owner/members. Credit union membership is open to anyone living, working, worshiping or attending school in Marquette, Alger, Baraga, Dickinson and Iron counties. Deposits are federally insured by the NCUA.

Peninsula Federal Credit Union serves just over 11,000 members in Delta, Schoolcraft and Menominee counties in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We have three locations; two in Escanaba and one in Menominee. Our online presence can be found at www.peninsulafcu.com.