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For rich people, mortgages are getting cheaper and easier

Sunday, September 21, 2014 5:02 pm

For wealthy homebuyers, mortgages are getting cheaper and easier to come by.

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  • Health Savings Account (HSA) Tips and Benefits

    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    Autumn always represents a time of change in Indiana. Leaves change colors, temperatures cool down, and the humidity finally drops to a tolerable level. For many companies, autumn also brings changes in health insurance. Open enrollment opportunities provide employees the chance to explore new health care options to maximize their benefits and protect against hardship. In addition, changing health care laws have brought the topic of health insurance to the forefront of many consumers’ minds.

    One health insurance option that has steadily gained popularity over the years is the Health Savings Account (HSA). In fact, research conducted by wealth and investment management company Devenir showed that HSA numbers across the country reached 9.1 million accounts in July of 2013. Paired with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), the HSA presents a more affordable option for employers and an excellent way for employees to save money for healthcare expenses.

    Thinking about opening an HSA? Here are a few tips and benefits:

    • A High Deductible Health Plan is defined by the IRS as having a minimum deductible of $1,250 for singles and $2,500 for families (limits applicable for tax year 2013).
    • Contribution limits are capped at $3,250 for singles or $6,450 for families into your Health Savings Account for tax year 2013. In 2014, these limits increase to $3,300 for singles and $6,550 for families. 
    • HSA owners over the age of 55 are eligible for an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution in 2013.
    • Deductions do not have to be itemized on your federal income taxes to deduct your contributions to an HSA. 
    • HSA funds can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. (Consult a tax advisor for items considered as qualified medical expenses.)
    • Once the HDHP deductible is met, the health insurance covers medical expenses as defined in the policy.
    • Over time, if medical expenses are low and contributions are made regularly to the HSA, the account can accumulate significant assets that can be used for health care tax free or used for retirement on a tax-deferred basis.
    • HSAs also have an advantage over the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) since deposits are not necessarily tied to expenses in a particular plan or calendar year. (No use it or lose it policy.)
    • HSA funds are automatically rolled over for future medical expenses or may be used to reimburse qualified expenses from prior years, as long as the expense was qualified under an HDHP at the time that the expense was incurred.

    High Deductible Health Plans and Health Savings Accounts are great options for many consumers, but the choice of health insurance should not be made alone. Excellent resources include your employer’s Human Resources department, an insurance representative, or a professional tax advisor.

     

    This blog was brought to you by Jared Matchette, Deposit Product Analyst at MutualBank.

  • Be On Guard!

    Friday, September 6, 2013

    Scammers are everywhere. It's easy to be tricked into sharing personal information with someone who shouldn't receive it. We have learned that customers of some banks and credit unions in Indiana are the target of scammers. Currently, MutualBank customers are not targeted, but it's important to be on guard. 

    What you need to know is that we will never call or email you asking for you to identify personal information. This includes information about your accounts, your personal identifying information, your debit or credit card information. If someone is calling or emailing you asking you to take action or provide information, please hang up immediately. 

    These kinds of scams are often called "Social Engineering". Check out our blog from 2012 called "Social Engineering...Don't Be Fooled and Keep Your Information Safe". This will help you protect your information and bank accounts if scammers target you.

    If you have accidentally provided information about your debit or credit cards or your bank accounts to someone, please contact us immediately.
    Call us at (800) 382-8031 or stop by a Financial Center near you.

    Learn more about what to do if you believe you're victim to debit card fraud. 

  • Email Phishing - Protecting Your Information

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Whether you own a small business or use your home computer for financial activities, you need to be aware of Email Phishing which can ultimately lead to identity theft and corruption of your small business and home computers. 

    What is Email Phishing?
    Phishing emails are crafted to appear as if they have been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often attempt to entice users to click on a link that will take the user to a fraudulent website that appears legitimate. – United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)

    Common forms of Email Phishing
    Phishing emails are becoming very personalized posing as your cable company, utilities, credit cards, mobile phone carrier, banks, and many more entities that you do business with on a regular basis.  The most common threat of Email Phishing right now is malware.  If you click on a link inside of an email that was intended for phishing; your computer can become infected with malware.  The malware will attempt to steal your personal information, usernames and passwords to systems such as online banking.

    Trigger events that can lead to Email Phishing
    Here are some trigger events that fraudsters may try to leverage with Phishing Emails.

    • Natural disasters (Hurricanes, tornados, etc.)
    • Political elections
    • Holidays
    • Economic conditions
    • Tax season

    Here are some steps to take in order to protect you against Phishing.

    • Most importantly, do not give username and password information (such as online banking systems) out to anyone.  Many phishing emails try to trick you into entering username and password information into a phony web site.
    • Make sure that email spam/junk filters are turned on and configured properly.  Consult with your email provider or IT specialist for assistance.
    • Do not click on links or open attachments in suspicious looking emails.  Delete them immediately and tag them as spam/junk within your email system.
    • Log into your known sites from your web browser to verify if an email is legitimate as the links in emails can be easily spoofed to go somewhere other than where it looks like it will go.
    • Be leery of unsolicited emails asking for personal information or presenting links to click on in order to update account information, track orders, overdue bills, cancelled ACH/Wire transactions, etc.
    • If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
    • Do not email sensitive information in email unless it is encrypted.  Banks and other businesses should provide secure email systems to communicate regarding account information.
    • Do not store usernames/passwords, account information, SSN numbers, or other personal information in your email systems as if you do become infected with malware it will attempt to scan your email for this information.
    • Make sure that you have anti-malware/virus programs installed on small business and home computers and they are always updated and perform frequent scans.
    • Make sure that you keep other programs such as Java, Adobe programs, Internet browsers, and other online programs updated with the most current patches.
    • More information about Email Phishing and Cybersecurity
    • Here are some good web sites to obtain more information about email phishing.

    Learn more about Phishing through information from the FTC and from the United States Government

    Remember, you can call us anytime. Let us know if you have questions or concern for your bank accounts. Call 800-382-8031or email customersupport@bankwithmutual.com.

    This blog is brought to you by John Mickle of Risk Management and Compliance with MutualBank. 

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