WASHINGTON (2/22/11)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz came out ahead of America Saves and Military Saves Week and encouraged credit unions to participate in this week’s ongoing national savings campaign. America Saves/Military Saves Week began on Sunday and will run through Feb. 27. The motto for the 2011 program is simple: "Start Small, Think Big." Matz said that the week gives credit unions the perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of financial education, access to affordable financial services, and saving. More than 1,800 organizations in 47 states are participating in the 2011 program, which will emphasize the benefits of saving automatically through automated contributions to employer-sponsored retirement plans, signing up for regular transfers from checking to savings accounts and taking advantage of new rules that allow tax refunds to directly purchase U.S. savings bonds. The NCUA said that credit unions can partner with local America Saves campaigns to offer a number of resources, including motivational workshops, posters, and brochures. Participating credit unions can set their own goals for increasing the number of new accounts and deposits and can work to increase member participation in automatic savings, IRA share, certificate share, and other savings and investment accounts, the NCUA added. America Saves Week is coordinated by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA) in partnership with the American Savings Education Council. The CFA also coordinates Military Saves Week, which lists 33 credit unions, including a number of defense credit unions, among its participants. Military saves week aims to “persuade, motivate, and encourage military families to save money every month, and to convince leaders and organizations to be aggressive in promoting automatic savings,” the CFA said. For the NCUA release and more information on the America Saves and the Military Saves programs, use the resource links.