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  • Do you 'Google' it?

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Did you know the Merriam-Webster dictionary now references google as a verb?

    Definition of GOOGLE
    transitive verb:  to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web

     

    I find this interesting because I google everything! I have a BlackBerry, so it makes it easier for me to google things I'd never think to google. Yesterday I was having lunch at a local restaurant. A song came on the restaurant's satellite station that was playing as background music. Two people at my table were having a friendly debate about who sang the song and what decade it was released. Not being a music connoisseur, I was clueless of the answer. So what did I do? I grabbed my phone and it became a race for me to identify the correct answer by googling it before the debate was over. (For those that have to know, I did find the answer and could affirm the one individual who was arguing that Robert Palmer sang "Bad Case of Loving You".)

    The reason why googling is so successful is that you can find everything you could ever want to know, just by searching a few words. But let me ask, how accurate are the results? To be honest, they are pretty accurate, especially on simple things. But have you ever thought about googling your financial questions?

    As I mentioned, I google just about everything. But when it comes to my money, I want to be sure I'm getting 100% accurate information. Sometimes I prefer to talk to someone face-to-face. And more often than not, I don't want to share personal financial questions unless it's with someone I trust. I have worked hard for my money and I want to be sure the answers I receive are customized to me and my situation. But there are many times I want to research options and give myself time to ponder before I take time to meet with someone. Sometimes, I want to be educated and have an idea of what I want or need before someone tells me.

    Are you like me? Do you want to take time to research options and advice before you're ready to take the next step?

    If so, MutualBank is taking steps to meet your needs. On October 3rd, MutualBank is releasing an Education Center designed for you. The Education Center will have articles to help you research that next financial step in your life. It will have calculators to help you determine what makes sense. For example, one calculator can help you determine if refinancing your mortgage is right for you.

    Get the best of both worlds: the ability to research your options before you take the next step and research with someone you already know and trust. Because at MutualBank, we're here to help you live a better life.

  • Economic Turmoil

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    There have been a lot of concerns surrounding the current US economic situation. While it is serious, there are a lot of different views that are creating more confusion. Here are some quick thoughts that I believe will shed some additional light on the situation.

    Debt Ceiling

    In the first few days of August we heard that we had reached our debt ceiling and that if it was not raised, the US would be in default on its obligations.  There is some truth, but also some misconceptions in that thought.  Assume you are utilizing a credit card to pay bills, etc with a $10,000 limit and you currently have $9,500 balance on the credit card, you have $500 remaining prior to hitting your personal debt ceiling.  What are your choices if you want to continue to use the credit card? {Get another credit card, get a line increase}.  If you have the ability to get another card or get a line increase, you will not default on the payments you are making, but payments may be delayed or delinquent until you get the new card or a line increase.  You would still have the ability to make payments on your bills rather than using your credit cards you will be limited to what is in your checking account or the cash you have available.  Congress needed to increase the “credit line” or debt ceiling so the US Treasury could continue to borrow.  While the US was not bankrupt like other European nations, without the increase the US Treasury could not continue to issue debt to pay the bills.  While the US Treasury would still have been able to pay some bills due to revenues, other bills could not be paid because the government is paying more out than they are receiving in revenues.  This practice of paying out more than revenues at the current pace is not sustainable and Congress must find a way to match revenues and expenses in the near future (balanced budget).

    S&P Downgrade

    S & P reduced the ratings of the US government due to the above discussion.  In normal situations, a downgrade of a company’s rating would result in the company to pay higher interest rates due to being seen as a riskier investment.  After the S & P downgrade the US Treasuries interest rates actually decreased due to it being the most liquid currency and the faith put into the US economic system around the world.  So, while a decrease in the S & P rating should not be taken lightly, due to the increasing debt of the US, we should not allow others to convince us that the sky is falling.  The most liquid, secure investment continues to be US debt (Treasuries) and other corporate debt will continue to be priced off of US Treasuries.

    Conclusion

    Congress must find a way to reduce the increase in the US debt.  The final outcome will probably be increased revenues (tax increases) and expense reduction (reducing government programs) to help balance the budget.  The current level of expenses versus the revenues generated is not sustainable and a balance approach to solving this issue is necessary.

    Chris Cook, CPA, MBA
    Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Chief FInancial Officer
    MutualFirst Financial, Inc. and MutualBank
    Email Chris 

  • Christmas in July

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    It is hard to think about Christmas when it's over 90 degrees outside.  Let me give you a reason to start thinking about snow, get togethers, Christmas cookies and the holiday season...

    Christmas is 21 weeks away. You might not think that is very soon, but for those of us who buy gifts, make candies and cookies, host get togethers and travel, 21 weeks is right around the corner! 

    As each holiday season approaches, I realize I always forget to budget for Christmas gifts. Before I know it, it's Thanksgiving and I'm trying to figure out how much money I can spare so I can buy that special framed artwork that would look perfect in my sister's new home. This year is going to be different.  I'm planning ahead. I've come up with a few ideas to help me save specifically for Christmas. I thought maybe these ideas could help you too.  Also, I have a few ideas to help plan for the future holiday seasons! Take a look:

    • Open a savings account
      The first step in saving is having a place to put the money. (No, under the mattress doesn't count.)  MutualBank offers a variety of saving avenues from accounts to CDs.  
    • Set aside $25.00 per week.  
      Did you know: If you set aside $25.00 a week from now until Christmas, you will have saved $500 by Christmas? 
      You can save $25.00 or more per week by setting up TMS (Transfer Management System) with MutualBank. Money can be automatically transferred to another checking or savings account so you don't have to do a thing!! 

    There are other ways you can save for future holidays. Did you know we have a cd that requires a deposit weekly, biweekly or monthly? It's called the Clockwork CD. This helps keep you accountable to your commitment and can be automatic!

    The hardest step is the first step. Make a commitment to save and talk to your MutualBanker to get set up for plan that works for you. Saving doesn't have to happen overnight; it can happen $25.00 at a time! 

    Merry Summer to you!

  • How many folds?

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Last week, we asked our Facebook Fans and you through the poll on our website:
    "The average dollar bill is meant to take up to how many folds in each direction before it rips?"

    The results:

      Answer choices:     Facebook Results:     Website Poll Results:  
    500 25% 17%
    1000 50% 28%
    4000 25% 30%
    8000 0% 23%

     

    And the correct answer is:

    4000 Folds!

    Can you believe that? According to the United States Treasury, you can double fold (first forward, then backward) a bill up to 4000 times before it rips! The reason is because currency paper is 25% linen, making it rip-resistant.

    I wonder if that number decreases if the bill has been washed!

  • What's your phone to you?

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    MutualMobile is here!

    I have been waiting for this day, the day when MutualBank has mobile banking.  My phone is so many things to me:  my watch, alarm clock, email, newspaper, search engine, navigation, and now banking. 

    Did you know that there are over 223 million US mobile phone users over the age of 13*?  There are times I wonder how any of us lived without our mobile phones, and that we can’t survive the day unless our phone is within arm’s reach.  The more I have my MutualMobile APP, the more I wonder what I did without it!  At any moment I can see my balance, transfer money, check to see where the closest MutualBank ATM is.  Hold on, did I pay my electric bill?  Yes, I did, just checked it on MutualMobile

    With my busy lifestyle, I don’t always have time to write my transactions down the same day.  With MutualMobile I can keep track of the everything clearing my account and not worry about making time to sit down at my computer verifying the transactions and balancing my checkbook.  Just the other day, I was waiting on my car to get serviced, pulled out my phone to pay my bills, transfer money, and balanced my checkbook.  WOW!  How convenient is that?

    *Statistics from Nielsen 2010 Media Industry Fact Sheet
  • Race to Syracuse Summerfest!

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    It has been just over a month since the Joplin, Missouri tornado that claimed too many lives and left the town in pieces.

    Sometimes being a community bank doesn't just mean helping the communities in which you reside.  Sometimes it means helping a community in need, no matter where they are located.  That's exactly what we're trying to do.

    The MutualBank team of Syracuse invites you to participate in a pedal cart race to benefit the Joplin Disaster Relief.  Here is all of the information you need to know:

    • Date: Saturday, July 9th
    • Time: Registration/Lunch 12:30pm - 1:30pm / Race 1:30pm
    • Address: 612 S. Huntington St. Syracuse, IN 46567
    • Teams of four may participate - Registration per team is $10.00
    • Prizes will be awarded to three teams with the best times

    Spectators are welcome! You do not have to participate in the race to enjoy this fun event. C'mon over for a fun time as we do our part to help Joplin, Missouri pick up the pieces and begin rebuilding!

  • Vacation

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    The 4th of July weekend is quickly approaching and that typically means traveling and vacation for you and your family.

    Family vacations can be stressful.  What are you going to pack? What entertainment do you need for the kids? When and where are you going to eat? The list goes on...

    So far on our Facebook Poll, many of you say you're driving to your destination for your family vacation this year. In order to help you live a better life and hopefully help you have a better family vacation, we found an article that gives you some summer driving tips for your family vacation.

    Travel safely this holiday weekend.  

    From our MutualBank Family to yours, Happy Independence Day!

  • Customer Appreciation Day - Warsaw

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    It’s a fun twist on the typical customer appreciation day.  We’re celebrating YOU in a tropical way! 

    We welcome your visit on Friday, June 10th to meet the Mutual team, play games, enter to win prizes, enjoy a free lunch with a cool beverage, from 11am until 2pm. Visit any of the following Warsaw financial centers to enjoy the festivities!

    2034 East Center Street

    219 West Market Street

    SR 15 and 250 North

    www.bankwithmutual.com

     

     

     

  • Customer Service Poll

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Have you taken our Polls?

    As part of our website upgrade and new look, we added a polling feature.  This is just one more way we're seeking your opinion.  Of course you can always call us, email us, visit our Facebook Page or Tweet us on Twitter.  But in case you just want to share your opinion casually, feel free to take our poll! It's located on the left hand side of the website homepage.  

    Since we upgraded our website in April, we had a poll asking, "How would you rate our customer service?"

    Here are the results:
    71% - Excellent (Thank you!)
    13% - Good
    6% - Average
    8% - Poor (Thank you!)

    You might be wondering, why are you saying 'thank you' to those who voted you having poor service?

    What this tells us is we have room to improve. While we believe we are the best bank in town and have the best employees in the world, we know there is always room for improvement.  If you have insights on how we can improve, please let us know!

    So feel free to communicate with us anytime, whether it be through our polls, via email or a phone call. Maybe it's through a blog comment or Facebook or Twitter.  We want to hear how we can help you live a better life.

  • Annual Financial Check Up

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    If you get an annual check up, shouldn't your finances get one too?

    Reviewing your finances can provide financial peace of mind.  Here are a few items to review annually. 

    • Insurance – Have enough coverage for your home, auto, belongings, health and life.  Review deductibles and consider an umbrella policy for extra protection.
    • Mortgage – Could you reduce your monthly payments by refinancing?  Would a different type of mortgage (ARM, 15 year or 30 year) be more appropriate?
    • Household spending – Preparing a household budget may identity ways to save.
    • Retirement planning – Take full advantage of your employer’s retirement plan and consider an IRA.
    • College funding – Start saving early.  Consider tax advantaged options like Qualified Tuition (Section 529) Plans.
    • Investments – Divide your funds into equities, fixed income and cash with an eye on your time horizon and risk tolerance.  
    • Income taxes – Take full advantage of all tax savings tools like your retirement plan.  Organize your records.  
    • Estate planning – Be sure your will is up to date and that you have named an executor, a guardian for minor children and have durable powers of attorney for finances and health care.

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