MADISON, Wis. (8/13/14)--Twenty-five years ago, the credit union movement created the Filene Research Institute. Its mission? To engage in research, planning, and development activities of value and interest to the credit union movement.
In honor of its silver anniversary, Filene released "Celebrate Filene: 25 Years of Think. Do. Change." that traces its journey from working with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Business to the i3 (Ideas, Innovation and Implementation) program.
The organization's name honors Edward A. Filene, whose personal commitment to credit union movement in the early 1900s was the key factor in creating the modern credit union. Filene spent more than $1 million of his personal fortune spreading the credit union message because he saw credit unions as the future source of financial services for working Americans and their families.
That message continues today, said CEO Mark Meyer. "The credit union movement is the stitching of our social fabric, protecting and enabling consumers who've been left behind by the big banks," he said. "Filene's research and programs have been pivotal in helping millions of people build a better world for themselves, and for their communities."
One of those projects is "Save to Win," a prize-linked savings (PLS) program that started in Michigan in 2008. With many PLS accounts, in return for deposits of as little as $25, members are entered into a monthly or yearly drawing to receive larger amounts.
Nebraska, Michigan, North Carolina, Washington, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Maryland and Rhode Island allow PLS accounts at credit unions, and the American Savings Promotion Act has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to allow all financial institutions to offer PLS accounts.
Consumers have saved more than $70 million through PLS accounts that might not have been saved otherwise, the report noted.
"This is goose-bump stuff for us when we can see our efforts bearing fruit, changing behaviors, making people's lives better," Meyer said.