Taking effect in 2016, the “WINcentive” prize-linked savings law has allowed Minnesota credit union members to win money simply by starting the habit of saving on a regular basis. Over 4,000 Minnesotans saved nearly $3 million in 2016.
The Citizens League had two major pieces of work—Pathways to Prosperity and Moving Beyond Medicaid (long-term care financing)—that recommended prize-linked savings as part of a long-term policy solution. Each of these reports identified the lack of assets as a major public policy concern: for seniors as they age and often require more expensive care and services, and for low income families trying to leave poverty and become more financially secure. Not only were there policies in place that discouraged asset building, the Citizens League’s work recommended new financial products to encourage building savings.
On January 31, 2017, Citizens League Executive Director Sean Kershaw joined Rep. Jenifer Loon, co-author of the bill that allowed this program, at the Minnesota Capitol to speak about the success of this program one year in.
Kershaw highlighted that this was not a success just because it was implemented, but because it works. Mostly low-income people, who often didn’t have any banking relationship, began to build a pool of funds that could help in short term emergencies, and to achieve long-term goals.
Thanks to the Credit Union Network for their leadership in supporting and implementing this program!