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Meet the world's No. 1 dealer in Guinness art

Sunday, December 21, 2014 4:55 pm

Robert Lloyd, a New York antique dealer, holds an unusual distinction: He is the world's largest dealer of Guinness advertising art.

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  • The Mind of a Commercial Lender

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Have you ever wondered what it is that your banker is really looking for when they talk with you about a credit request?  Well, wonder no more, I invite you into the brain of a commercial lender (enter with caution as it is a scary place!) 

    1. Have you developed and maintained an ongoing business relationship with your banker?   Bankers need to have an ongoing dialogue with clients to best serve their needs.  We are here to provide money, certainly, but we are also here to establish a long term relationship whereby we can help our clients achieve their goals.  Whether it is remote deposit or online banking, ACH or wire transfers, your banker has the products and services that can help our customers grow.  But we cannot do that if we do not know what those goals are.
    2. Does your business need a loan -- or an equity infusion?  Banks are interested in making loans; they are not interested in being the owners of the business.  Equity is that device that helps a business weather a storm, loans are those tools that help a business grow and operate.  The two are mutually exclusive.  Banks are in business to make loans.  Equity funds should come from the business owners.
    3. Can you clearly explain your firm’s “value proposition?”  If you cannot explain why a business should do business with you then stop what you are doing, figure that out, and then resume whatever it was that you were doing.  Why should someone buy from you as opposed to your competition?  That question needs to be clearly (and concisely) articulated first!
    4. Do you have a plan that covers the good, the bad, and the ugly?  Things happen, and sometimes you have to figure out what that means for your business.  To always assume the “good” means that when the “bad,” or worse yet, the “ugly” happens the business isn’t prepared to handle the outcome.  So . . . what are you going to do in your company if it gets “ugly”?  If you can answer that question you will be in much better shape to help your banker help you.
    5. Have you developed at least two ways to repay the loan?  Bankers have an axiom that goes like this “only cash repays loans.”  There, that is our great big secret.  Now that you know that then you know how we view the primary source of repayment.  But how else can the loan be paid off if the cash isn’t being generated for some reason (see point #4 above).  If you can demonstrate how else the loan might be repaid you have helped the bank and they in turn can be more helpful to you. 

    So now that you have seen into the mind of a commercial lender I hope you will take away from this discussion that it isn’t too scary a thought process.  Indeed, the more certainty that the banker has that the loan will be paid “as agreed,” the more likely that you will not only receive a favorable loan decision, but also the best interest rate. 

    Your MutualBankers are here to help you accomplish your goal. Get started by contacting a MutualBanker near you!

     

    Chris Caldwell is Senior Vice President of Business Banking for MutualBank.

  • Giving is the Spirit of MutualBank

    Friday, January 4, 2013

    Winston Churchill said:

    “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” 

    Giving is the spirit of MutualBank. We have four values which guide how we do business: Character, Compassion, Class and Competition. MutualBank has had a long standing history of giving back to the communities we live and work in, but our Jeans Day program goes beyond a company gift. It’s an opportunity for MutualBank employees to ‘make a life’.

    Inevitably when you talk with someone who runs a nonprofit, they always say their greatest need is money. Our Outreach Committee found a way to meet the greatest need of the local nonprofits while giving our employees the opportunity to make a difference.  The Outreach Committee decided to incorporate a monthly "Jeans Day". Jeans days occur on the last Friday of the month and it costs an employee at least $5.00 to participate. The benefit to the employee is that they get to wear jeans to work. Bankers are typically traditional and conservative, so this is a step outside the box! The benefit to our community; however, is greater than we imagined.

    A bank of our size, $1.4 billion, typically has a plan for sponsorships and certain organizations they support year after year. The best part about the Jeans Days is that the beneficiary of the funds, for each of the counties we serve (Delaware, Randolph, Grant, Wabash, Kosciusko, Elkhart, St. Joseph counties) are local to each county. Some months, the funds go to a national effort, like the American Red Cross, but the funds stay local in each of the communities we serve. Other months, the funds are given to different nonprofits who serve a certain segment of our community footprint. Either way, the funds, with the exception of one Jeans Day in 2012, stay in the county in which they were raised.

    The one month I am referencing when funds did not stay in the counties we serve was in March 2012. In early spring, there was a horrible tornado in Southern Indiana, near Henryville, that leveled the town. It was one of the most devastating natural disasters our state has seen.  As a result, we had an “Emergency Jeans Day” to help our fellow Hoosiers in their time of need. Proceeds from this effort went to the American Red Cross to aid those Hoosiers in need.

    We believe by giving our employees the opportunity to show compassion, we are helping them ‘make a life’.  We are proud of our employees and the impact they have on the communities we serve.   It is our pleasure to share that in 2012, our employees have helped over 20 different organizations raising $14,264.03!

  • If I Knew Then What I Know Now

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    I hope I have become wiser as I have aged.  For I have surely aged!  I work in Human Resources & Training at the bank, and we had a great manager’s round table discussion the other day, and I had possibly the best question that has ever come up in one of our sessions.  A young, very new manager asked: “If you knew then, what you know now (about managing people), what would you do differently?”

    And every manager in the room had an answer.  This was a great reflective question.  We had engaging and wise comments shared, and so, I am going to turn this question inward, twist it a little, and share: “If I knew then, what I know now, about preparing for my financial future, what would I do differently?”

    Yes, I was a not-so-smart-but -thought-I-was-da-bomb-college-graduate-newlywed-burgeoning-career person, way back when, and as I am now aiming for some financial goals so I can live comfortably in a few years, here’s how I answered my own question:

    If I knew then, what I know now, I would do these things differently, to plan for a more secure financial future:

    • Spending a retirement payout instead of rolling it over.  When I changed jobs, I’d have NOT spent my retirement plan money on a one-time vacation to Florida.  I’d have rolled it over to an IRA, or something….  I took a tax hit then, and have 4 years less retirement savings.  Geesh…
    • Accepting or applying for multiple credit cards.  I would not have kept taking credit cards from stores, and big banks, and using them.  It took me a long time to dig out, and using the credit cards became a very bad habit;
    • Not officially closing those open credit cards after paying them off.  I would have closed those credit cards and notified the stores/banks, not just cut them up as I paid them off.  Those all show up  (or they did) on my credit report, and could have adversely affected my credit score;
    • Immediately rolling dividends back into stock.  I got a tiny bit of a stock inheritance from a great uncle.  I spent those first dividend checks.  If I could go back, I would have rolled those over back into the stock starting the moment I got it. 
    • Taking the time to learn, really learn, about my company benefits.  What all did I leave on the table? 
      • A company match in a 401(k) – that’s FREE money I might have walked away from;
      • Understanding and utilizing Flexible Spending Accounts to reduce my taxable income – especially when I was paying for child care;
      • Staying with a company until I was fully vested in a pension or other retirement plan – I left 6 months shy – twice in my career.  Darn it!
      • Understanding my health plan and what was covered and not covered.  Did I miss some benefits?

    Hindsight is 20/20.  So, hopefully I’ve learned.  If nothing else, maybe my ‘shoulda coulda wouldhave’s’ will help someone else make better decisions.

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