BROOKLYN, N.Y. (3/11/11)--A $300,000 grant received earlier this week by a community development credit union (CDCU) in Brooklyn, N.Y., will help it pilot a progam to curb impulse buying and promote "impulse saving." Brooklyn Cooperative FCU, a $10.4 million asset, low-income designated CDCU, received the grant from the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) to pilot Piggymojo to new and existing account holders to try to boost participants' savings balances.
The program uses goal visualization, social commitments, and mobile and online technology to help consumers quantify and enjoy the act of not buying, according to a press release from the Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The credit union, which serves 7,000 members, is a member of the federation. While impulse buying provides momentary satisfaction, it often hinders savings efforts and contributes to personal debt, said the release. The project aims to help the credit union's low-income members increase their savings by motivating and enabling them to make "impulse saves" that retain the satisfaction element of impulse buying without the financial costs. By integrating the Piggymojo solution with Brooklyn Cooperative's core processing platform, the credit union can help members' impulse saves move from their checking account into a savings account. "Our credit union serves Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, two highly underserved, low-income neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn," said Samira Rajan, the credit union's CEO. "As a young community development credit union, the reach of our programs has often been limited to those members that physically come into the branch and take advantage of our services, including financial literacy education and counseling, free tax preparation through our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, and so on. "This grant changes that dynamic by allowing us to offer a mobile application that any of our members can take advantage of regardless of where they are," she added, noting the credit union is interested in how its members " will take to the new program and what kind of impact it will have on their financial habits." The Center for Community Capital at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will study how Piggymojo promotes the financial capability of Brooklyn Cooperative members. The credit union's non-profit affiliate, Grow Brooklyn, will collaborate in the partnership to bring the program to community members. Brooklyn Cooperative's project was one of five projects to receive a combined $1.5 million in grants from CFSI (News Now