COLUMBUS, Ohio (5/24/10)--Ohio youth collectively saved more than $4 million through deposits at 20 Ohio credit unions during the 2010 National Youth Saving Challenge in April. The challenge is a nationwide effort to help young people understand the benefits of saving. Nearly 10,000 Ohioans age 17 or younger deposited more than $4.1 million into participating credit unions. The average deposit was $420, according to the Ohio Credit Union League. “The debt crisis in our country is one of many factors slowing economic growth,” said Paul Mercer, league president. “Helping young Ohioans see the benefits of savings allows up and coming consumers to be smart and savvy about their finances, while passing on knowledge and strong financial habits to future generations.” Statewide, credit unions opened 772 new accounts. Nationally, the number of youth savers increased nationwide by 21.6%, and new youth savings accounts rose by 4.4% from 2009, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Nearly 170,000 youth made deposits, opening 10,385 new accounts. In 2009, nearly 140,000 young members deposited $26.5 million into savings accounts during the national event, including 10,006 new accounts. The National Youth Saving Challenge is held in conjunction with the annual National Credit Union Youth Week, and is sponsored by CUNA.