Check presentation

Elizabeth Brooks (left) is presented with a $5,000 check. 

Pinching pennies and saving for a rainy day helped a Lafayette woman become the first winner of the Louisiana Credit Union League's Lucky Lagniappe Program.

Elizabeth "E.B." Brooks, director of Moncus Park, was presented the $5,000 check Wednesday morning at the University of Louisiana Lafayette Federal Credit Union on Bertrand Drive. Out of the 771 people at 13 credit unions statewide who opened Lucky Lagniappe savings accounts last year, Brooks was randomly drawn to win the grand prize.

"I'm ecstatic and I'm so happy I opened up that savings account with the credit union," Brooks said. "They explained it to me, and it seemed like a great incentive to save, so I told them to sign me up. I terrible at saving. This is a great incentive to save."

The Lucky Lagniappe program was launched last year with the incentive that for every $20 an account holder puts in their savings, they get entries toward winning the yearly $5,000. According to Angela Malle, director of member engagement for the Louisiana Credit Union League, 1 in 4 Americans have no money set aside in savings and 62 percent cannot afford sudden car repairs or medical expenses. 

"This was inspired by the need for savings in the state," Malle said. "A lot of households don't have savings for 3 months of expenses but still pay for that lottery ticket. We wanted to give people the chance to save with a chance to also get that grand prize."

According to Malle, having savings improves people's livelihoods by having a savings account in case of emergencies or job loss. The additional savings accounts and money invested also allow the credit union to invest and loan money in the community, which pays the interest in the account and helps drive the economy.

Brooks said she is going to save most of the money but noted she would donate a portion back to Moncus Park, which is currently under construction on Johnston Street at the old Horse Farm.

Acadiana Business Today: Robideaux: 2002 library ballot measure was meant to 'fool' voters; UL Lafayette to offer online business management bachelor's degree program

Follow Dan Boudreaux on Twitter, @dan_boudreaux

Business Reporter