Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Linked Deposit Program for the Average Ohioan

Linked deposit programs are a common way for government treasuries to offer lower cost loans to businesses in their area. The treasurer's office of a city, county or state places certificates of deposit in a bank, and businesses who borrow money from that bank can obtain loans at reduced rates. For instance, the state of Ohio offers a GrowNow program in which loans to small businesses are reduced by 3% under what the bank would normally charge. The bank gets the state's CD, the borrowers get a cheaper loan, and the whole economy is happier. Lucas County, Ohio offers a similar program to businesses in that county.

Now average consumers in Ohio can take advantage of a linked deposit program to boost their savings. The SaveNow program was created to help people get a greater rate of savings on their deposits. It works the same way, but rather than cutting the rate on a loan, it boosts the savings rate by 3.25% over the bank's usual rate for one year if you put a savings deposit in a participating bank. In addition to committing the money over the course of one year, consumers must have financial literacy lessons (and who couldn't use them?). After a year, the savings revert to the bank's normal rate of return. There is no income limit on this, so it's available to everybody.

There's now an Ag-Link that does the same thing for farmers, and Eco-Link that allows you to save money when you borrow to make your home more energy-efficient.  If you're an Ohioan, there may be a linked deposit program to help you save or to borrow more cheaply.

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