Incentive for Savings

0216_IncentiveForSavings_770

Prize-linked savings accounts are legal in a dozen states

By Nick Maynard

Last summer Blue Ridge Bank in Luray, Va., made national headlines when it became the first community bank in the country to offer a prize-linked savings account. Blue Ridge Bank’s Jackpot Savings is a demand deposit account in which savings deposits earn accountholders entries into raffles for cash prizes. After reading about the bank’s novel account in Independent Banker last November, you may be asking: What’s happening with prize-linked savings accounts, and is this something my community bank can or should offer?

Prize-linked accounts are legal in these 12 states

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois*
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • Oregon*
  • Virginia
  • Washington

* Law permitting accounts took effect Jan. 1, 2016.


A Prized Opportunity?

If prize-linked savings account were legal in your state, would your community bank be likely to offer them?

  • 17%—Likely
    38%—Undecided
    45%—Unlikely

Source: ICBA member poll, December 2014

Americans love to win prizes. When offered together, raffles and savings create a powerful cocktail that has proven results. Prize-linked savings accounts attract customers who are more loyal to and engaged with their financial institution and its products, creating cross-selling opportunities in the short and long term. In a 2014 survey conducted by our organization, which helps banks offer prized-link accounts, consumers with prize-linked accounts overwhelmingly reported that building savings increased their satisfaction and made them more likely to use other products at their financial institution. Long term, these accounts help customers build savings and achieve greater financial stability.

Who better to turn to for other long-term financial services and products than the community bank that helped you get your savings off the ground?

On top of good business, prize-linked savings accounts can create good press that positively benefits your community bank’s brand. These accounts offer banks the opportunity to position themselves as trailblazers and generate positive “buzz.” The marketing opportunities are significant, with news traction at launch and again at grand prize events.

Finally, it’s no secret that many American families struggle to save for a secure financial future. Prize-linked savings accounts have been successful in supporting saving among all consumers, and the financially vulnerable—your customers who need savings most—in particular. Now these customers have a new opportunity, and so does your community bank.

In December 2014 Congress passed the American Savings Promotion Act, which cleared the way for financial institutions to offer prize-linked savings accounts in states that allow them. So far, state legislation allowing them has passed in 12 states. If prize-linked savings accounts are legal in your state, consider being the first bank in your community to launch a product. There are several potential advantages for doing so.


Nick Maynard (nmaynard@d2dfund.org) is senior innovation director for D2D Fund Inc. in Allston, Mass., a company that specializes in helping banks develop prized-linked accounts.