Affinity Federal Credit Union Launches the Great Savings Challenge


Working Americans are still struggling when it comes to saving money. In fact, a recent survey from reports that more than one in five of those working Americans don’t save any of their annual income. The ones who are saving are not saving very much – only 16% are saving more than 15% of their income.

Beyond offering products with favorable rates, how can Credit Unions help their members save more? Affinity Federal Credit Union’s answer: start the conversation and incentivize members to save.  

Affinity Federal Credit Union in Basking Ridge, NJ launched a new initiative in 2019 called the Great Affinity Savings Challenge. The goal of Affinity’s initiative is to encourage members to save their money, save their time, and save on interest, fees etc. by using Affinity’s savings tools. This savings challenge campaign idea stemmed from the fact that Americans simply don’t save enough money for emergencies or to reach their goals, and Affinity exists to see their members financially succeed.

Once the structure of the Great Affinity Savings Challenge was in place, leadership knew that creatively communicating the initiative to members in an exciting and easy-to-understand way was going to be key to the program’s success. They enlisted the help of Michael Walters Advertising, a Chicago-based agency with 30 years of experience in working with financial institutions.

Michael Walters assisted Affinity with this goal by designing an engaging and attention-grabbing advertising and marketing campaign that invites Affinity’s members to enter a monthly sweepstakes to win $1,000. The campaign educates members about saving, takes them step-by-step through processes that make saving stress-free and simple, and incentivizes members with cash prizes for their efforts.

Affinity’s members are saving money for the important things in life – the things that make life feel worthwhile and special such as a family vacation, college tuition, a comfortable retirement or a dream car. MWA utilized language and visuals that would ease members into practicing better savings habits and showcased examples of goals within their reach. After all, the mission of this initiative is to simply get members saving, no matter how much. This initiative was brought to life in multiple mediums including desktop, mobile, tablet and in-branch, so that no matter where the consumer was, they were reached by the Great Affinity Savings Challenge message.

Activities that allow members entry (or entries) into the monthly drawing include:

  • Open a new Savings Account
  • Deposit Money via automatic transfer or direct deposit into Savings Account
  • Meet with a Mortgage Loan Officer
  • Enroll in HomeAdvantage®
  • Take an online course through Enrich®
  • Open a Home Equity Line of Credit
  • Invite a friend

Jacqui Kearns, Chief Brand Officer at Affinity FCU says “I am concerned that Americans have more debt than savings. It means that many would not be able to cover their monthly expenses, such as their car payment, mortgage, day care or rent, if an emergency occurred. The Great Savings Challenge is designed to break that trend and the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. Beyond encouraging a traditional savings account, Affinity will help our members save on costly credit card rates and fees other organizations put on their customers’ backs. My team and I find it equally important to offer free financial advice and reward healthy savings practices. It only takes a few dollars a day to get started at any income and any age. All are welcome here at Affinity!”

Months into the program, new members are becoming more deeply involved in the credit union than before, and members who needed a little extra push are starting to save more for the future. As of June 2019, Affinity members have saved over $320,500 using the Great Affinity Savings program.

“Our passion is to work with companies that make their communities a better place to live. We believe our mission is to help our clients achieve theirs”, says Jim Lake, Vice President of Michael Walters Advertising. Michael Walters Advertising is looking forward to continuing to design and execute strategies that deliver results for Affinity and its’ members.

For any questions about the Great Savings Challenge and how to participate, please contact Giuseppina Araujo at 908.860.3856.

James Lake

Jim started his career in 1986 as a director for NBC. He subsequently served as an account director with two mid-sized advertising agencies in the Chicago area and joined Michael Walters Advertising in 1992. Recently, Jim was a featured speaker at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern as well as the featured speaker for National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, the national convention on Assisted Living and the National Franchise Marketing Council. Jim also sits on the alumni board and advisory councils at Northern Illinois University. As Vice President/Managing Partner at Michael Walters, Jim has helped grow many national brands such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sears, Paul Mitchell, Comcast SportsNet and many more.

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