Does your credit union take a “one size fits all” approach to small-balance savings accounts? If so, you might be overlooking an important opportunity to encourage saving and help your low-wealth members develop a savings routine. Whether for emergencies or for future purchases, it’s more important than ever for low-wealth households to build savings. In this low-interest rate environment, traditional share savings accounts won’t provide the functionality, resources, and incentives that consumers need to take the savings plunge.
Advice and Guidance
Now credit union executives who wish to implement products to help low-wealth households establish savings have a practical and objective implementation guide at their fingertips. The REAL Solutions® Savings Products for Low-Wealth Households Implementation Guide was developed by Nancy Pierce, Ph.D. – President of Tipton Research Group in Kansas City, MO – for the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). As a REAL Solutions® Field Coach, Nancy has worked through nine state leagues/associations to help hundreds of credit unions develop and implement products & services for modest means households to build wealth and financial security.
The REAL Solutions® Savings Products for Low-Wealth Households Implementation Guide (which may be downloaded free of charge) is structured by types of savings products and programs. Chapters include:
- Small savers products
- Reverse-tiered savings products
- Round-up savings products
- Attached savings products
- Prize-linked savings products
- Savings challenge programs
- Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)
- Other savings products
About the Implementation Guide
Within these chapters, there are 21 business models and four other types of savings accounts that are perfect for encouraging and assisting members to save. The guide is intended to help you develop solutions that are appropriate for your individual credit union and its members. It is not a turnkey toolkit, but some turnkey products are featured as examples. Other successful one-of-a-kind models are also featured along with product pricing, regulatory and legal considerations, promotional techniques, technological considerations, staff training and roll-out. What’s more, a number of these models can be developed just by making slight modifications to your existing savings and investment products.
You can help struggling members better prepare for emergencies, and save for specific goals. If your credit union is interested in offering special accounts and/or programs to help low-wealth members begin saving, I urge you to download and review this comprehensive, easy-to-read implementation guide. After you take a look, do let us know what you think!