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Sometimes when I’m writing these blogs I find myself challenged with what to say. Do I blather on about the importance of working with your CPA and attorney as you are making business decisions? By the way, that is critically important so please, please, please . . . talk with your professional advisors to ensure that you are doing the right thing for your business. Do I blather on about the importance of mentors? If you haven’t read that blog I would encourage you to do so as I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having someone to mentor me throughout my career and the great opportunity you may have to do the same for someone coming up in your particular field or industry.
No, today I’m taking proverbial pen in hand (okay keyboard) to talk about the importance of community banks to the small business lending arena. I’m not going to spout all sorts of data as the Internet has given us a tool where we can pull any statistic that we want but to really understand the underlying numbers becomes almost impossible. Instead, what I’d like to do is share some anecdotal kinds of things that I’ve been hearing lately.
One small business owner told his lender that he truly appreciated all her help. He was sure that it was going to be difficult doing business with MutualBank because it is difficult doing business with any bank. However, what he found was a lender and a bank that were easy to do business with. As a point of example, he said “it was a nice experience to have somebody pick up the phone, talk to me and make it happen” when he called the bank’s help desk.
Another client recently reported back to me that he found working with his lender to be one of the main reasons that he continues to do business with MutualBank. His lender fully understands his company’s needs, accurately ascertains what is going on within the business, and asks the right questions to help his company succeed (and thus we helped him personally as well). As he said, “you don’t get that with the big banks”.
Am I biased; sure, I work for a community bank, and always have. But, I will tell you that small business owners want and need a business advisor, not just an order taker. When the business banker is asking the critical questions, it is aimed at helping the business succeed. Does the bank need to make a profit, absolutely; it is our only way of surviving. However, do we need to make a profit at the expense of the business because we didn’t do right by the company to whom we are lending money – absolutely not!
We are here to partner with every one of our business clients. We want to help them with a vast array of products and services that will help them achieve their goals and dreams. So, if you are feeling boxed in by your current bank, call MutualBank and talk with us, we want to help you grow your business the way you want, with our business bankers right there to help you all along the way.
Feeling boxed in? See how MutualBank is different below:
This blog is brought to you by Chris Caldwell, Senior Vice President and
Business Banking Manager.
One of the most important things that bank customers can do to help prevent fraud is to keep their contact information current with their financial institutions and credit card providers. Old email addresses and phone numbers can be used by fraudsters to pose as you in order to defraud you and your bank. It’s very easy to change email addresses and mobile phone numbers which are used as a primary communication means by most people these days. Your bank and credit card companies rely on this information to verify transactions to ensure that they are legitimate. Don’t let outdated contact information enable you to be a fraud victim.
Here are some tips on keeping your information current with your bank:
Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concern for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog is brought to you by John Mickle of Risk Management and Compliance
There are things we all know we should do or at least we’ve been told we should do them. But just how good are you at getting them all done? Here’s a quick test. How many of these can you answer “yes” to?
Did you do pretty well? How about this one?
If I got you on that one, then you should consider a retirement plan rollover to a MutualWealth Management IRA.
More and more of us work for multiple employers throughout our careers and we end up with multiple retirement plans left behind. Even if you only had one employer you may have several plans that were offered at different times throughout your career. You don’t have to be retired to do a rollover. If you have terminated employment any retirement plan at that employer is eligible to roll over to an IRA.
The most important reason to roll over to a MutualWealth IRA is for our professional services including helping you to establish investment goals, management of the day-to-day investment decisions, ongoing monitoring, record-keeping and keeping you informed.
There are a lot of other things to consider before doing a rollover. For instance, company stock held in a retirement plan such as an ESOP or 401(k) generally should not be rolled to an IRA because you may end up paying more tax on it than necessary.
If you’re over age 55 but under 59 ½ when you retire you can access retirement plan assets without the 10% early withdrawal penalty. This isn’t available in an IRA.
Another feature not available to IRAs is that if you work past age 70 ½ you can defer taxable required minimum distributions until you do retire (unless you own more than 5% of the company).
On the other hand, a MutualWealth IRA has advantages in addition to our services that aren’t available in company retirement plans. The possible investment choices are much greater and include individual stocks and bonds; you can withdraw money prior to age 59 ½ for education expenses for you or a dependent without the 10% penalty; and an IRA can allow you to stretch the tax deferred growth of your assets out over generations of your heirs.
Let’s face it. We just don’t do all the things we’re supposed to do. It’s too easy to put off complicated decisions like a retirement plan rollover. MutualWealth can help weigh the pros and cons so you make the right choice. That’s another way we help you live a better life.
David Riggs is Vice President and Trust Investment Officer with
MutualWealth Management Group.
It is once again that dreaded yet unavoidable time of year…tax time. While many taxpayers have already filed their 2012 tax return, many more are still gathering information and preparing to submit their returns. As the deadline approaches, we at MutualBank would like to take an opportunity to send a couple of reminders and highlight some potential tax-saving efforts for which customers may be eligible.
First of all, make sure you have received all of your important tax documents for the year. If you have a mortgage or consumer loan, an IRA or Health Savings Account, or an interest-bearing deposit account like a CD or Savings account, then you will most likely have a corresponding tax document for each of those accounts. In addition, review your tax documents for accuracy. We want to make sure that our records match your records to ensure error-free reporting. If you have any questions or concerns about the tax documents you have received, or if you think you should have received one and didn’t, our Customer Support team will be glad to help resolve these situations.
This time of year also presents opportunities to maximize your tax return for the previous year. Customers who have an IRA or a Health Savings Account may still be able to make contributions to count towards last year’s taxes. The IRS allows this as a way to take advantage of maximum contribution limits and the potential tax-deductibility of many contributions. The tax-filing deadline (April 15) is also the deadline for these prior year contributions, so eligible customers wishing to make use of this opportunity should stop by their local Financial Center at the earliest convenience.
If you are curious about your eligibility to make these types of contributions, or if you have any other tax-related questions, we strongly encourage you to seek tax advice from a CPA or other qualified tax professional. Though tax time can be hectic and frustrating, a little planning and preparation can alleviate much of the stress of filing your return.
For banking questions, please call or email Customer Support at 800-382-8031 or email@example.com.
Jared Matchette is MutualBank's Deposit Product Analyst.
I was “hanging out” with some lady friends a few weeks back. And the discussion came up about banking and using online banking. Of course, I had to weigh in on this discussion.
One lady expressed that she was upset that Social Security was about to require electronic deposits for Social Security funds. She was upset by this change, and further, she noted would never trust using the internet for banking.
Change is hard! I expect that when Henry Ford introduced a motorized vehicle, that many expected that invention would never take hold. Look at us now! At the time, I expect it took a little while for that horseless carriage idea to catch on.
In the early 1940s, women worked primarily in the home and were the primary child bearers and caretakers. With the advent of WWII, a much greater need came about for women to leave the homes and go to work in all sorts of industries supporting families and the war effort for the United States. And I would venture a guess that the multitude of ways women make a difference in & outside the home since that time have multiplied exponentially – think Melissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Yet, it was likely difficult for some of those women of the 1940s to leave the home and learn a trade, go in to an office to work, and contribute in a different way.
I grew up in a simpler time as well. In the 60s, there were no cell phones, no computers, and no computer games. I remember a time when we didn’t even have a television in our home – we couldn’t afford one. We had to actually talk to one another, go outside to play in the neighborhood, use our fingers to dial a telephone, and once we got a TV, we had to get out of our chair to change a television channel. My daughter today has no concept of this. Change is hard.
I was an Office Manager in the 90s when the fax machine was ‘born.’ Now I think of the fax as antiquated technology. Likely, many of us balked at moving from receiving our wages in cash, to receiving a hand-written paycheck. Then we moved to a typewritten paycheck, still hand-delivered. Today, it is all automated – the money gets into our accounts faster than ever before with the same or better accuracy, because of technology. Change is hard.
I expect folks in my age range (notice I’ve gone from a certain age, to a “range”) – in our 50s and more mature– are somewhat divided on technology. Some are very ”techknowlegeable,” and some are not. Making that change is, no doubt, difficult. As few as five years ago I absolutely refused to try or use LinkedIn or Facebook. I’m now regularly using both, learning Twitter, and using Klout, and even blogging in and outside my bank.
I continue to advocate, even gently encourage, my fellow 50-somethings to consider using the internet – and in particular, online banking & bill pay. It is not going away. In terms of safety and the risk management of using such things as online banking and bill pay, everyone must be diligent. I am confident the same was said of using dollar bills instead of gold pieces, checks instead of dollar bills, mail instead of hand delivered payments. Give careful consideration to learning to use the internet for your banking needs. I use a colleague’s example. His son is in his 30’s and has lived all across the country, including New York City. He has been with the same bank since college, and he has never set foot inside a brick & mortar building. (By the way, did you know you can open a checking account online and apply for a mortgage online!?) Change is hard – yet, it is all around us.
You have heard me share some of the positives of moving to online banking & bill pay – the most precious to me, is the time I have back in my life. I also just got a discount on my personal car insurance by moving to electronic statements – one less piece of mail to track. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me excited. And yet, change is, indeed hard.
You probably were not expecting to learn how the band Queen and MutualBank are similar! I raise my hand; I am guilty- guilty of being a rabid fan of Queen and of MutualBank. So I thought I would take a moment to share the top five ways these two things connect. I know you are on the edge of your seat waiting to see what I mean! Here it goes!
5. Queen was a group with a lot of variety in the type of music they presented. From a hard rocking song to an operatic overture, no two songs were ever quite the same. MutualBank’s checking accounts are the same way. We have an array of checking account products to choose from. From our most basic free checking accounts, to an interest bearing checking account, to a money market account, we have your covered.
4. Queen had a long track record of consistent quality music and even today has great fans worldwide. MutualBank has been offering quality products to our customers since 1889. Our checking account products offer some of the highest incentives offered!
3. Queen had one of the most charismatic and engaging front men in the history of rock with Freddie Mercury. MutualBank has thirty-one Financial Centers that offer the highest of quality service over Indiana and that can help you with all your checking needs! Let our “front men and women” help you!
2. Queen diversified its music by playing not only for large crowds in stadiums to even a cozy club. MutualBank’s service is about the customer first and foremost. If your needs are such that you simply need a checking account or if you are someone that needs a wide amount of services, MutualBank has you covered!
1. Listening to Queen’s music can raise your mood and a good mood offers lots of benefits! MutualBank’s checking accounts offer UChoose Loyalty Rewards! How cool is it to get paid for using your account for things you buy anyway? With UChoose Loyalty Rewards, MutualBank also gives you the benefit of points for having accounts with the bank!
Despite your choice in music, all of this applies to you! MutualBank offers a wide range of products, services and benefits to fit anyone’s tastes!
Rock on MutualBank!
Written by Debra Jones-Price, Financial Center Manager, Bethel Financial Center, Muncie
Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and others have exploded in growth over the last few years. Most of us have several social media accounts and use them frequently to communicate with others. As with any online activity, social media does have risks so we do have to follow best practices when using social media sites.
By following these guidelines you can greatly reduce risk in social media:
Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concern for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog is brought to you by John Mickle of Risk Management and Compliance.
Recently I had the opportunity to succeed my manager who is retiring after a long and full career. As I reflect on those people who have helped me reach many of my career aspirations, including this gentleman, it struck me, once again, how lucky I have been to have had people that have taken time, effort, and energy to mentor me. Many of these people were busy with their own work and yet they stopped what they were doing to give me some time, to lend me a hand, or guide me in one direction or another.
My first bank manager is the reason that I found banking to be so much fun and the reason that I chose this as my career (a decision that I still feel wonderfully blessed to have made). He took a very naïve, young man, fresh out of graduate school with no real sense of what I was going to do professionally, and guided me to think seriously about banking. He gave me opportunities to succeed (and sometimes fail) and helped me learn from each of them. He gave me the chance to manage others and helped me learn how to do that too. Sometimes he taught me on the job, sometimes on a Saturday morning run. But always he kept reassuring me that I “had what it takes” to succeed in this career if I wanted to.
The second mentor in my career was my grandfather. He helped me see the true potential that I had within the industry. He guided me into an MBA program to help me learn more about business. But most of all, he showed me every day in his business dealings that honesty and integrity were critical to true success and the ability to go to sleep at night knowing that I had done the right thing.
Finally, the gentleman that just retired showed me that I can be successful as the manager of the business banking group. He sent me an e-mail right before he left giving me encouragement to stay steadfast, to continue to reach for those goals, and then said, I know “you have a good skill set. Just be yourself!!!” What a great confidence booster he gave me. He helped me learn so much about myself while teaching me about the business of commercial lending.
And so it is that I write this blog encouraging every reader to find the opportunities to mentor someone. That person may be someone you work with, it may be a customer, it may be a neighborhood kid, or it may be your grandson (or granddaughter). Whoever it may be, when you mentor someone you give them the courage, the confidence, and the belief that maybe they can do something that they hadn’t even dreamed they could do. And if you have been mentored, take a moment and drop that person a thank you letter, e-mail or phone call to let them know how much you appreciate their help in getting you to where you are today.
If asked how you would describe where you work, what would you say? If you asked me I would say challenging, caring, and fun. Yes, I said fun. Sometimes work is a place where employees take a deep breath before walking through the door each morning reciting affirmations to simply get them through the day. Not me. When I walk through the door each morning of MutualBank, I think of how thankful I am for working at a great organization who challenges me to produce my best work.
Core values of Class, Character, Compassion, and Competition are engrained in each MutualBank employee from day one. Somewhere in these core values you will find that fun is intertwined. Culture plays a big part in this. Top leaders know that a job needs to get done, customer relationships are vital, shareholders want to see a return, and employees are more likely to do these things well when they are having a little fun.
It’s okay to talk about having fun at work – it’s not a forbidden topic. Heck, this past Monday was national “have fun at work day”. This national "have fun at work day" indicates that having fun at work is an important piece of the workday. So what do MutualBank employees do to have fun at work?
To answer the above question in detail would take more than this blog will allow, so I’ll give you a couple examples, and pictures, of employees having fun at Mutual.
The Bank has a dedicated committee to ensure all employees have opportunities to have fun. Mind you, managers in our organization understand the importance of the fun factor and make sure it happens in their department when there isn’t an organized event taking place.
Let’s start with employee luncheons. Luncheons are held and some sort of activity is usually planned. Activities have included three-legged races, corn hole tournaments, cookouts, and even piñata busting. Recently, MutualBankers wore MutualBank UCrew shirts to celebrate our MutualMan Super Hero. Not only did employees wear the t-shirts, they took pictures as a department wearing the attire with an opportunity to win a prize for creativity. See our Human Resources Department below:
At least once a month employees wear jeans with a donation to local community non-profits. Departments often take advantage of popular events like the Super Bowl to sport their favorite team’s colors and decorate their departments. The most recent took place in our Kosciusko County. In their annual United Way fundraising campaign employees created “Call Me Maybe” videos to tout the Call 211 feature of the United Way. This was cool and I guarantee they had fun making it! Check out the Syracuse Financial Center video where employees from different parts of the company were included.
The list could go on and on! The fun even extends outside of the workday and includes company parties, coffee and canvas events, and a picnic where employees had a chance to sink our Bank President in a dunk tank.
The career I’ve had at MutualBank, going strong for 13 years now, has been and will continue to be, fulfilling because I like to have fun while getting my work done. Going to work shouldn’t be work – it should be fun! If you are interested in a career and having fun at it, then I would encourage you to check out our career opportunities. MutualBank is always looking for the brightest, most creative and fun individuals to help our customers live a better life. Now, ask yourself again how you would describe your place of employment. If you want to have fun while being challenged to get results then MutualBank just might be the place for you.
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!)
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.