Executive Letter: Helping Wisconsin Save

By Rose Oswald Poels

Although financial literacy and capability month has passed, the importance of this topic does not disappear. Our industry realizes how critical financial health is and, as a result, many of you are directly involved in these efforts to promote this education to all ages. To further expand on these efforts, Wisconsin Saves has created a new initiative to alleviate financial stress for Wisconsin residents.

This new initiative called Wisconsin Saves Automatic Saving Initiative is a national pilot project designed to encourage millions of Wisconsinites to establish emergency savings accounts through automated saving. The focus of the project is to encourage small-and-medium-sized employers to motivate their employees to save automatically, especially with future emergencies in mind.

As one of the co-chairs of this pilot initiative, I was honored to have worked with DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation President Wendy Baumann, and the many bankers and others who contributed their time and ideas to this effort. This opportunity to take part in a significant effort toward financial security is one of the many ways you can lead the fight against financial illiteracy, so I encourage you as employers to participate by signing up as a Wisconsin Saves employer. Since bankers work with their customers daily to help them achieve their financial goals, you are in the best position to encourage your business customers to take part by signing up as well.

Wisconsin Saves provides employers who sign up for the program with three easy-to-use tools to help educate employees about split deposit, digital items to support the employer’s communication efforts, and a Wisconsin Saves Participation Badge to demonstrate involvement in a necessary cause.

By involving employers in the Wisconsin Saves initiative, the number of Wisconsinites with emergency savings is increased and more people will be able to manage the financial hardships, whether it be a minor setback or a shock of pandemic proportions. Even by sharing this information with others, you are making a difference in the way people are able to prepare for emergencies. I was very proud of the leadership role that several bankers took by being actively involved in working groups leading up to the launch of this pilot program. I look forward to the industry continuing to step up and lead in this and other financial literacy and capability efforts!