KEARNEY, Neb. – An Eaton Corp. retiree and his wife were named winners of the Nebraska CU League’s first Save to Win savings sweepstakes, a $25,000 grand prize.

LaVerne and Deann Brickner, long-time members of KEE FCU, said they plan to tithe, or donate 10%, of their winnings to their church, then after paying taxes on the prize, put the rest toward their mortgage. Though Brickner said it might make his family jealous, some of the money might go to taking his wife on an ocean cruise.

“She’s the one who was putting all the money into the account, not me,” said Brickner, whose wife opened a Save-to-Win account at Kearney Eaton Employee FCU when they first heard about the program.

Nebraska credit unions opened 1,643 Save-to-Win accounts in 2012, the first year of the savings contest, allowing Nebraskans to save about $1.97 million.

The Nebraska contest was managed by the Michigan CU League, which pioneered the concept of a savings sweepstakes. The aim of the savings contests is to encourage members to save. The Michigan CU League said its 2012 Save to Win sweepstakes attracted $43 million in savings.

Credit unions in North Carolina and Washington state have also launched $25,000 savings contest based on the Michigan League’s ideas.

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