MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (7/22/13)--TopLine FCU, Maple Grove, Minn., put a new spin on the old idea of saving spare change to help members establish emergency savings accounts.
Instead of encouraging members to toss their spare change into an old Mason jar to build up savings, Topline FCU automatically transfers change into a savings account for members with its Sum-It-Up Savings Program.
Each time TopLine members who enroll in the transfer program make a purchase or ATM transaction with their TopLine Check Card, the total is automatically rounded up to the nearest whole dollar--and the difference is transferred into their savings account. TopLine's members add slowly and steadily to their savings, by using the debit card for everyday purchases.
"We wanted to design a program that was innovative and easy for our members to save," said Vicki Roscoe Erickson, Topline FCU assistant vice president of marketing. "We promoted it to help members save for an emergency fund, start a children's saving account, or just to start a fun money account."
About 1,000 members have enrolled in the program, Erickson told News Now. Since the program's introduction in June 2011, members have saved about $250,000. On average, members in the program combined save nearly $12,000 per month, Erickson said.
"Several of our members have saved nearly $500 on an annual basis using the program," she added.
During the program's roll out, TopLine promoted it through every channel, reaching out to members with branch merchandising, front-line staff, direct mail, on-hold messaging and direct mail.
Members notified the credit union of their wish to participate.
"It just takes a virtual a flip of the switch within our core system to make the change on a member's account," Erickson said.
Many members have commented on how easy the program makes saving. "Almost everybody uses their debit card for everyday purchases," she said. "That means every time you use that card you're generating saving. When members see that, they say, 'Wow I already have $20 or $30 bucks in here.' Over the course of a year that adds up."
This article is part of a News Now series of exclusive, special reports on credit unions' outreach efforts and innovative ideas. Fostering service excellence and raising awareness about the value credit unions provide their members and communities are two prongs in credit unions' Unite For Good campaign toward a vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial provider.