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Savings Revolution Showcasing the Credit Union Difference While Helping Members Meet Financial Goals

In 2008, a Filene i3 team envisioned a contest where families would compete to improve their finances in front of a nationwide audience. In the years since, 14 credit unions have launched their own programs based on the concept.

  • Andrew Downin CEO at O Bee Credit Union

Executive Summary 

Reality programs have dominated the American television landscape for over a decade. The desire to wit-ness the highs and lows of people “just like us” draws viewers in by the millions each week. But what if the power of the media spotlight could be used to inspire Americans to improve their financial lives? GECU of El Paso, Texas, saw this opportunity and developed Savings Challenge—a media- centric competition that featured teams being coached toward their financial goals while vying for prize money.

One Filene i3 team was intrigued by this concept and took the idea a step further by developing Savings Revolution—envisioned to be a nationwide program to help families recover from the financial crisis while positioning the credit union system as consumers’ best resource for a better financial future.

Although a nationwide Savings Revolution reality show never materialized, credit unions have launched their own programs. What have been the key success factors and what might credit unions have done differently? How can other credit unions implement similar programs?