Quarterly Zoom calls
New for 2021, we will be holding quarterly Zoom calls to discuss the state of the program, program changes, new ideas and provide an opportunity for networking and questions.
Be sure to mark your calendar for the upcoming quarterly calls this year: April 13, July 13 and October 12.
Notes from the February 2 Quarterly Call
If you missed the call, please watch the recording.
The primary focus was on the Simplified Account Agreement, including the removal of withdrawal fees and restrictions. Paul Guttormsson, SVP and General Counsel, from The League, walked through the changes.
Documents including the Saver’s Sweepstakes Account Agreement, Truth and Savings Disclosure, Product Profile, Credit Union Participation Agreement, Change in Terms Notice, training materials etc. will be updated and posted to the Saver’s Sweepstakes Resource Center on February 15, 2021. In addition, an updated ii Release will go out that week as well.
Saver’s Sweepstakes Simplified Account Agreement key changes
Language has been updated, removing legalese, reducing the number of pages as well as making it easier for consumers to understand.
Withdrawal fees and account closure restrictions have been removed to be in accordance with other Emergency Savings Accounts (ESAs)
Credit unions that use a certificate format for Saver’s Sweepstakes accounts
If the certificate format limits or restricts withdrawals, make sure that you disclose that withdrawal methods are limited.
As a reminder, although the back-end set-up is in a certificate format, Saver’s Sweepstakes is a share savings account and all agreements, disclosures and promotion of the program need to reflect as such.
Annual notifications are no longer required, but if your system automates notices, you can utilize that notification to congratulate your members for the past 12 months of saving, and remind them, as a bonus, the end of the anniversary month (month 13) will be treated as a new deposit for eligibility into prize pools for the subsequent 12-month savings period (subject to the account terms).
Simplified Saver's Sweepstakes Account Agreement
We will be updating the Saver’s Sweepstakes Account Agreement by removing the withdrawal fees and restrictions and offering a more attractive program that is in accordance with other Emergency Savings Accounts (ESAs). In addition, we will simplify the account agreement language, reducing paper and providing for easier program administration and an improved member experience.
Benefits for consumers:
- No barriers to opening account
- Liquid account provides easier access to funds
- Less confusion
- Shorter agreement
Benefits to credit unions:
- The simplified agreement removes the “roll-over/grace period” eliminating the necessity to send out annual notices to participants.
- Credit unions on a static or calendar program, can convert to a regular account, eliminating annual notices and adjustments to monthly files.
- Less restrictions and fees will make it easier to explain the program.
The focus of encouraging 12 months of saving will carry on, and participants will continue to receive “bonus” entries to reward savings over a 12-month period. Any balance that remains in a Saver’s Sweepstakes account at the end of the anniversary month (month 13) will be treated as a new deposit for eligibility into prize pools for the subsequent monthly, quarterly, and annual drawings. Entries during the 13th month (or account opening month) are calculated based on the month-end balance divided by $25 (minimum amount per entry), maxing out at 6 entries. For example, if the month-end balance is $50, two entries will be awarded –$50/$25=2. The other months, entries are based on month-over-month balance increases, calculated by subtracting the previous month-end balance by the current month balance and dividing that by $25. Removing the withdrawal restrictions and roll-over requirements should provide an easier account opening process and ease confusion around the “bonus” entries.
To allow time for adjustments based on credit union feedback after the quarterly zoom meeting, the updated agreement, disclosure, and change of notice will be available by mid-February.
Credit Union Survey
Thank you to everyone who completed the survey that was emailed earlier this month. Check out the survey results. Below are some notable take-aways to help with your 2021 planning:
- Prizes motivate participants to continue to make deposits and keep their account open (79%). Although 977 statewide cash prizes will be given away this year, consider offering a drawing for only your credit union’s members. This ensures that you will have a guaranteed winner each month. The form can be found in the resource center.
- Sales training should address the top two reasons for not opening a Saver’s account: members don’t want another account (32%) and they don’t have the money (18%). Check out the talking points found in the resource center. Accountholders don’t have to make deposits in $25 increments to earn entries. They only need to increase their monthly balance by $25, so they could do 25 deposits of $1 each if they like. This is also a great opportunity to talk about payroll deposit with your members.
- This is a great program to include in your financial wellness initiative since the primary goal of most credit unions Saver’s program is to increase the number of consumers who have available emergency funds (29%) and to help create regular savings habits (46%). The most recent Saver’s Sweepstakes statistical report revealed that there are almost 7,900 accounts with balances totaling over $5.6M with that average account balance of $713. This confirms that this program overall is helping accomplish that goal. Consider how you’re credit union is measuring your program’s goals and what you hope to accomplish for your members in 2021.
Why do some members win more than once?
We’ve found that it is to be expected that some members regularly deposit the maximum dollar amount for the maximum entries into the monthly drawings. As a result, they have a much higher likelihood of winning. Coupled with the relatively high chance of winning, especially compared to state lotteries and casino gambling, some members end up winning more than others.
Over the past several years, TruLync has done audits to evaluate the program code, architecture and drawings to ensure the integrity of the program. Included in this evaluation was an examination of individuals that have won more than once to determine if any similarities exist. During that process, they concluded that the program is working correctly with no issues.
The process of drawing entries involves two steps through TruLync. First the “drawing entry” records are generated based on the deposit data and the settings configured for the drawing. There is no connection between the “drawing entry” records back to the deposit data at the credit union. The only relationship is that number of entries given to each person is based on month-over-month balance increase during the drawing period. These records permanently remain in the “drawing entry” table in the database so you can audit how many entries each person was given.
The second step involves a crypto-random algorithm to pick winning values from that list. This is performed as many times as the number of prizes configured in the drawing. If the random “drawing entry” chosen is associated with someone who has already won that drawing, it is discarded and a new random “drawing entry” is chosen. The winning entries are stored in the “drawing winner” table where it can be audited to verify that a random “drawing entry” ID was chosen for each winner in every drawing.
Saver’s Sweepstakes was designed to help members become better savers and improve their financial well-being. We are looking for stories from your members that highlight how the program has helped them. If you have a story or a member who particularly benefited from the program, please email your story to me. You don’t have to worry about writing up a polished story – we’ll take care of that; we just need a few essential bullet points.