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MI Credit Unions Help Change Attitudes About Money

PHOTO: "Save to Win" program participants can watch as little as $10 a month add up to hundreds over time. Photo by Lozowick via Flikr.
PHOTO: "Save to Win" program participants can watch as little as $10 a month add up to hundreds over time. Photo by Lozowick via Flikr.
January 25, 2013

DETROIT – Saving money can be a struggle, and in Michigan, about 40 percent of households don't have enough money saved in case of an emergency.

Dozens of Michigan credit unions have teamed up to help change that, and reach some of the state's most financially vulnerable consumers.

"Save to Win" is a program that rewards savings with a chance to win prizes. With $25, anyone can open a Save to Win account. And for every $25 deposited, savers are entered into monthly drawings for cash prizes, and a yearly grand prize drawing.

Hank Hubbard, CEO of Communicating Arts Credit Union in Detroit, says the average Save to Win account is about $440.

"Four-hundred-and-40 dollars isn't much to me, but it's a huge amount for them,” Hubbard says. “You know, for people that have never saved anything before, 'Oh my gosh I have $400.' You know, that's actually quite huge."

Now in its fifth year, Save to Win has grown steadily and has helped more than one million Michigan residents save more than $43 million. In February, Save to Win will award 10 grand prizes of $10,000 each.

Hubbard says even $400 can prevent people who live paycheck to paycheck from having to go into debt to pay for unexpected expenses. And once people get used to saving, he says, it becomes easier to do.

"We had one woman who, in the first year, somebody had talked her into putting in $10 a paycheck, and she realized that she didn't miss it,” Hubbard adds. “And after a couple of months, she started putting more in and when I talked to her, she had built up $800 and she just couldn't believe it."


Rob South, Public News Service - MI