Alpena woman wins $10K in credit union program

ALPENA – An Alpena woman is living proof that saving money can pay big dividends after she was one of 10 people to win in a statewide program.

Norma Smith was surprised to learn she was one the $10,000 winners by saving money in her local credit union’s Save to Win program. Besser Credit Union launched its Save to Win program last year.

Smith and her husband Ron have been members at the credit union for 34 years and were very excited when they found out she had won the grand prize. While Norma was out shopping the credit union called her home, and when she called them back she heard three tellers on the other end of the line proclaiming she had won $10,000.

Member service representative Kristi Witt said Smith’s reaction was disbelief at first.

“Are you guys pullin’ my leg? What do you mean I won $10,000,” she said of her reactino at the time. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Each $25 deposit into a Save to Win certificate of deposit by a credit union member entitled them to one entry into the grand prize drawing. Save to Win also awarded dozens of $50 monthly prizes.

“When you’re on a fixed income, saving comes a little slow. It was nice to put a little extra in to save at the end of the month,” Smith said. “My $300 turned into $10,000. I guess you could say it was a very good investment.”

The Smiths are undecided on how to use the money. Their family joined her in accepting her check and joined credit union staff in having cake at the Besser Credit Union where Norma was awarded her check and a beautiful bouquet of red roses on Wednesday.

“After we found out who the winner was at the credit union, I was Norma’s teller twice before I could tell her the news that she had won the grand prize,” Witt said. “It was so hard not to tell her she had won.”

Save to Win is a prize-linked savings program administered by the Michigan Credit Union League and affiliates. Statewide, the savings rate continues on an upward trend for the program: In 2012, members in the 58 credit unions that participated in the program saved $43.6 million, with an average account balance of more than $2,872.

“It was very exciting for us as well as the winner. We want to let more people know it’s not just something you hear about, it is a possibility,” CEO Nancy Montie said.

To follow the Save to Win Prize Squad during their “Week of Winning” follow @SaveToWin on Twitter and use hashtag #savetowin or check their facebook page at Anyone who spots the Prize Squad, takes a photo, and uploads it to Facebook or Twitter could win a prize.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687.