Are You Creating a Successful Business?
An important part of a successful business is meaningful, regular communication with your banker. This dialog centers around a budget and first quarter review. Why, you ask? Let me share a quick analogy.
Picture this . . . its summer vacation. A family heads off to French Lick (after all, they are good Hoosiers and want to keep their money here in the state!) to enjoy all that vacation has to offer them once they arrive. As they begin the trip they realize that their primary route is closed due to construction. The family has no GPS, no paper map, and due to a dead iPhone, they can’t even rely on that technology. Without any of those tools, they are unsure how to handle the numerous detours, and unforeseen circumstances. Businesses are just like this family; issues arise that may change the planned course or destination. Without a good map or GPS (a budget and a plan), the business may become unsteady or lose focus on how to reach their destination (business goal).
What is the business’ plan? As one of my colleagues says, those who are living off the bottom line will continue to succeed, those that are living off the top line . . . well, it isn’t as pretty. So, what can a business person do? Consider the following steps:
- Put a good annual plan into place.
- Know where you want the business to go and figure out the mile makers with which you will measure progress
- Determine the resources needed to accomplish this plan
- Communicate with your CPA, attorney, insurance agent and business banker - help them understand your desired outcome.
At the end of the first quarter you may be saying, “Chris, it’s too late, we already are three plus months into the year, we can’t do that now.” Or maybe the statement is “we put our budget in place, we are one-fourth of the way through the year and we are ‘knocking it out of the park’ we don’t need to worry.” My response to the first statement is this - it is NEVER too late to budget and plan. My reaction to the second statement is, “Congratulations! Now, what else can you do to enjoy your trip and ensure you remain on course?”
It is never too late to plan your trip and it is never too late to plan for unforeseen circumstances. Is your trip a bottom line or a top line trip? If it is the latter, now is the time to consider changing direction and switch to a bottom line perspective. And if you have questions, make sure that you include your banker in that discussion. We want to help you live a better life and succeed, because when our clients do well, MutualBank succeeds too.
Have You Changed Your Online Banking Password Lately?
Yes, it’s the familiar question many of us get in today’s world of technology…‘Have you changed your password lately?’ Recognizing that it can be challenging to change passwords often it is however something that is necessary to help prevent financial fraud.
MutualBank is taking steps to help you protect your financial records accessible online. In October of 2012 MutualBank Online Banking customers will be required to change their Online Banking passwords every 180 days.
Please consider changing your password now in order to get used to this new process. As you change your password we ask that you follow the guidelines listed below in crafting your new password.
Online Banking Password Requirements
- Passwords must be at least 8 characters long but less than 17.
- Passwords must contain at least 1 number.
- Passwords must contain at least 1 alpha character.
- Consider using both upper and lower case alpha characters.
- Consider using special characters such as ‘!, @, $, %, etc.’.
- Do not use your name, date of birth, maiden name, mother’s maiden name, address, dictionary words, or other easily guessable words for passwords.
- Instead of writing a complete password down to remember it please consider only writing down a password hint that will help you remember and even then don’t leave this paper laying out in plain view.
If you need further assistance with changing your password please
call us at 800-382-8031.
Check out our Financial Education Center for more articles and calculators to help you live a better life!
MutualBank - A Great Place to Work
At the end of 2011 the Bank had quite a year. Taking a look back we celebrated 122 years in business – dating back to helping people live better lives since 1889. Since that time a lot has changed – even in 2011 we saw several changes. Outside of celebrating our 122 years, here are a few highlights of 2011. We unveiled our mobile banking application – MutualMobile. We upgraded to an improved electronic statement delivery, and offered a new checking account offering that provides customers with choices to build an account best suited for his, her, or their family’s lifestyle.
The hidden pieces that make all of this happen? The employees. Many employees have dedicated their entire career to MutualBank. In December of 2011, we held our annual years of service breakfast recognizing employees who have worked 5 through 40 years at the Bank.
I started at the bank in 1999 as a part-time teller finishing my degree at Ball State in Telecommunications. I moved to accounting after being a teller for a year. Then, I moved to the loan operations department where I processed loan paper work. Next, I began closing loans. Who knows, I may have even helped you sign the paperwork for your first home!
After closing loans I began using my education and skills learned from previous positions in the Marketing department, communicating in a variety of ways with customers like you. After a couple of years in Marketing I became Manager of the Call Center. I had never been a manager before, but MutualBank believed in me and gave me a chance – a chance many organizations would not have given. This is a testament to MutualBank’s ability to help people grow. As a company that fosters employee development, my part-time teller position took me to where I am today in the organization. As head of training and development I am fortunate to have the opportunity to welcome all new employees.
I tell new employees in orientation, “MutualBank is a great place to work. While I believe that to be true, you’ll have to find out for yourself.” As orientation continues, new employees begin to see exactly what the company really is about. Visiting with a variety of employees, including our President who treats new employees to lunch, employees begin to see a company who cares about its employees.
You, your family, and your friends have the same opportunity. MutualBank is always looking for customer service driven individuals who want to be a part of a great team. I would encourage you to take a look at our open positions and see if there is a career that awaits you. As a college student looking to make it big in the film industry I ended up finding my calling - who knew it would be working at a bank. It is without question, had I not worked at MutualBank, my career would not be what it is today. Similar career opportunities are available for others! If you’re looking for a great place to work, then take a minute to see if you might find a job opportunity with MutualBank. Who knows, maybe you'll be our next 40 year employee!
What's Your Dream?
Got a dream? We’re here to listen!
David Muir came to MutualBank with a dream of a better life. He started 2008 as an unemployed “victim” of the Great Recession but ended the year with a plan for a business of his own. Muir and his wife, Michelle, decided to open a winery. The Mutual team was there to help.
Muir was referred to MutualBank by Alan Steele of the Small Business Development Corporation. Steele served as a mentor while Muir carefully assembled the components of his start-up plan. At the same time, Steele had been meeting with Client Relationship Manager, Vince Turner, to explore potential financing for innovative start-up businesses. The Muirs seemed to be a match.
Not long after, Vince introduced the Muirs to Kathy Sears of the Business Banking department. Kathy recognized the Muirs as strong candidates for an SBA loan. Soon the process was under way. It was not long before the Muirs were breaking ground.
As opening day approached, the partnership between the Muirs and Mutual continued to grow. Business checking accounts, merchant services, business debit cards - Mutual was there every step of the way.
Earlier this year, when the Dunlap financial center, in Goshen, Indiana, hosted a customer appreciation event, Fruit Hills Winery was there to serve! The Muir’s shelves are now stocked with original labels and customers are arriving from three states away to sample their wares.
Two years ago, Mutual told the Muirs to go ahead.
Today, they are living a better life.
Come share your dream with us. We want to hear it.
Visit Fruit Hills Winery’s website to learn more! Or check out Fruit Hills Winery on Facebook!
Credit and Debit Card Fraud Prevention: It's More Than Knowing Where Your Card Is.
Years ago people had A credit card... one, uno. Rarely did people carry around two, four, six, ten, twenty plus cards in their wallet or purse. Today, people do carry that many cards and don’t even realize it. Take a look at all those card slots in your wallet. They’re full aren’t they? Debit cards, credit cards, discount cards, membership cards, rewards cards, gift cards, and access cards. I’m sure there are others, but that’s just a quick look through my Card Cubby. Yes, I said ‘Card Cubby’.
I have an official organizer for all of my cards and oh yes, they are alphabetized. It’s a great invention and I receive complements all the time on what a great idea it is. It’s an easy way to track all of my cards and a quick way to find out if I have a gift card to a store or find my discount card in line at the supermarket. (Everyone behind me in line probably doesn't want to wait for me to dig through my Mary Poppins purse to find that little 1x2 inch card so I can save a few dollars.)
Reviewing the transaction activity on your cards is just as important as knowing where your cards are. Did you know that fraudsters can steal your card number and use it without actually having the card? Logging into your online banking and credit card websites regularly, or at a minimum, reviewing your monthly statements can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in fraudulent charges.
If you carry a zero balance on your credit cards, it’s still important to see if there has been any activity. If you don’t have a balance that means there is more spending money available for the fraudsters. (If you don’t recognize a merchant name, do a search online because it might be a parent company.) It is important to contact the merchants where the fraudulent transactions are coming from and explain that they are fraudulent transactions. Also, It is extremely important to contact your bank or credit card company to close your card. Without closing your card and getting a replacement with a new number, fraudulent charges can continue to hit your account.
I login to my online banking and credit card websites weekly. Last month I had $4,000 in fraudulent charges in Texas on a credit card I rarely use and was in my possession. WOW! I contacted the merchants and called my credit card company right away. Because I didn’t wait to notify them, I’m not liable for the charges. If I would have waited days, weeks, or months, I could have been liable for some or all of the $4,000. When you notice fraud, don’t wait to take action. The longer you wait, the more time fraudsters have to take your money. (And the greater chance you’ll have to pay for it.)
Having and using these cards make our lives on-the-go easier and more convenient. We don’t have to worry about carrying cash; just swipe, earn rewards points, and go. I couldn’t live without my debit card and don’t intend to stop using it any time in the future, especially with all the rewards points I earn. And yes, I cash those points in for more gift cards to keep in my Card Cubby.
We're serious about doing all we can to protect you from debit card fraud. MutualBank customers can call 800-382-8031 to report any instances of fraud or suspicious calls.
Is It Time to Call in the Professionals?
I don’t know about you, but for me, cars have become way too complicated. When I headed off to Indiana State University for my freshman year it was in a five-year old, used Ford Maverick. I really liked that car. It was bright green with a vinyl, black and white checkered bench seat in the front (which made it easier for snuggling with my girlfriend and eventual wife).
It had a 3-speed on-the-steering-column manual-shift transmission. Every once in a while the shifter would get stuck making it impossible to move out of second gear. The solution was simple: hold down the clutch, coast to the side of the road, turn off the engine, get out, open the hood, reach in and jerk on one of the bars connecting the shifter to the transmission. This got the stick unstuck and allowed me drive on shifting through all three gears.
That was something I figured out on my own with just an 8th grade shop class knowledge of cars. There was plenty of room under that hood. I could set a tool box in there and actually change spark plugs myself.
Now I don’t know if the Ford I’m driving today even has spark plugs. If it does, I’d never be able to locate them in the tightly packed jumble of components under the hood let alone get my hands in far enough to put a tool on them. The transmission in my current car is both manual and automatic! How in the world does that work? If something got stuck, I’d have to call the auto club.
I suppose I could learn how to work on my car but I think my life is better spending that time with my family, working in the community, and doing my job.
There are times in our lives when it’s better for us to turn to professionals. Just like me hiring a mechanic when I have car trouble, if you need legal work done, you see a lawyer; if you’re really sick, you call a doctor; and if your tax return is complicated, you hire an accountant. If you’re at a point in your life where it takes too much time, energy and special knowledge to manage your investments yourself, you should call MutualWealth Management Group.
For most of us that time comes when we have to take full control of a retirement plan from an employer and that time may come well before you retire. When you change jobs you may have a retirement account at your old employer that probably should be rolled over to an Individual Retirement Account. Some people have retirement accounts scattered among several former employers.
There are plenty of other situations when you should call us for professional investment help such as when you sell a business or property, inherit money, change marital status, receive a large legal or insurance settlement, or (don’t laugh because it happens) win big in the lottery or at the casino.
MutualWealth manages investments for people in personal accounts, retirement accounts, and trust accounts. Our fee is based on the value of your account; we are never paid commissions for “selling” investments. The only thing we sell is ongoing service based on your individual needs. So if you’re at the side of the road in your financial life and you don’t know which bar under the hood to jerk, call MutualWealth Management Group.
David Riggs is Vice President and Trust Investment Officer with MutualWealth Management Group.
Online Shopping - Safeguarding Your Account.
When you shop online do you know where you’re shopping? According to the National Consumers League, online shopping is #3 for overall scams and #1 for Internet scams. That would imply that online shopping is a very risky activity. However, there are ways you can still shop online in a safe manner.
Following these guidelines can make your online shopping more secure:
- Use a low limit credit card for online shopping. Your liability is $50 on fraudulent charges using your credit card.
- Know with whom you’re shopping. Be leery of unknown or obscure shopping websites.
- Stick with well-known shopping sites from reputable retailers.
- If it’s too good to be true…it probably is.
- Look for the padlock. Secure online shopping sites should use the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology for securing online transactions. You should see a padlock icon at the bottom or top of the browser status bars that you are using.
- Use anti-virus / anti-malware software on your PC. This can prevent a virus infection if you happen to end up on a bogus shopping site.
- Make sure you use online banking to check your shopping activity and don’t wait for your statement to verify online shopping activity.
(Side note: Have you signed up for MutualBank’s online banking? Sign Up today!)
Remember that you are the best defense against online shopping fraud! If you suspect that you have been scammed please call the MutualBank customer support at 800-382-8031.
Also please report any online fraud to Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Android Users...We Have an App for You!
Beginning today, February 27, 2012, Android mobile phone users will be able to download an application designed specifically for Google Android devices.
For users already enrolled in MutualMobile, follow these easy steps to getting your app!
- Log in to your online banking and access Mobile Banking, via ‘Options’ and 'Manage Device(s)'.
- Select the “I want to change my Mobile Banking services” option to add the downloadable application. (You may also notice that we have modified the “Select Services” page to better assist you with your mobile banking options.)
- After you have changed your services, we will send you a text message with a link that takes you directly to our Android application, TouchBanking, in the Android Market.
If you have not yet enrolled in MutualMobile, it only takes a few minutes! (And it's FREE!)
Log in to online banking and choose ‘Options’ to register today. Need help? Contact us at 800-382-8031 or CustomerSupport@bankwithmutual.com.
Learn more about MutualMobile.
Have you ever thought about how much your prescription or doctor visits cost your employer? Many people who have a traditional insurance plan know they pay a $20 or $30 co-pay then they go about their day. But have you ever looked at the amount your company pays?
Insurance costs have skyrocketed over the past decade and companies have tried to find a way to still offer benefits to their employees. The solution has been to offer a high deductible insurance plan. These types of programs are often accompanied by something called a Health Savings Account (HSA). Simply put, a HSA is a checking account where money can be deposited and used for medical expenses. (You might have heard of a Flexible Spending Account, FSA, which is similar to a HSA, but different. FSAs require you to use your money set aside before the year ends. HSAs allow you to roll money over year after year. There are other differences as well. Learn more about HSAs through the Treasury’s website.)
So, are HSAs a good idea? Yes! HSAs make us better consumers of our health care. We look closer at a bill or prescription if we know it will come out of our pocket. We take the time to make sure if a generic medicine is just as good as a name brand, or if we truly need to go to the doctor for our sniffles.
The beauty of a health savings account is that the money grows tax free as long as we use it for qualified medical expenses. So not only are we being more proactive with and aware of our healthcare, we are being smart about our money as well!
Together, a health savings account and a smart consumer make for very healthy living!
If you have questions about your HSA or want to learn more, chat with us! Your local MutualBanker is here to help you live a better life!
Simplify...Using my Bank to Make my Life Easier
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My age is on my mind. I’m 50, my favorite (& only) hubby just turned 50. I need to simplify my life. I need ‘easy,’ so I can spend more time doing the things I need and I want to do, like:
- Hanging out with my family (need & want)
- Getting myself back in shape (need)
- Enjoying time with friends (need & want)
- Stressing less (need & want)
- Preparing for retirement (want sooner, rather than later, if possible).
When it comes to my finances, the benefits of having multiple relationships with my bank are many – everything is in one place; I don’t have to work to remember which loan is where; which financial institution my checking, savings, CDs are – and ditto for my family. After all, my 50-year old brain is getting full, and I do have ‘senior moments’ on occasion.
I admit I have had multiple relationships with other financial institutions. Why? Mostly, my laziness in moving accounts when I built my current banking relationship and just letting them “be” when I knew it was just making my life more complicated. I got numerous paper bank statements – mine, my husband’s, my daughter’s. Translation – more paper for me to file, keep track of, give to my accountant, shred, or heaven forbid, lose….
Having one bank is oh, so much easier. I’m a convert to electronic banking and all that entails – bill pay, e-statements, automatic deposits. And if you’re worried about security, yes (my age-level friends) – it is safe. With FDIC insurance on deposits and multiple electronic safeguards in place to keep my information safe, I’m comfortable – albeit it was not initially easy to convince me. I have had, knock on wood, no instances of fraud or theft since moving to electronic.
Now, I have password protected access to my internet banking, from anywhere, including my cell phone – where I can see on one page – my checking account balance & transactions; my savings account; CD; mortgage, and personal loan. I know, at any point in time, my total balances in each of those. I get most bills electronically (remember – less mail to sort through = more time for ME), and can set up a payment for future dates. My life is incrementally simpler, in many ways thanks to my bank.
Come on, fellow 50-year olds – I know we are on the cusp of liking the old ways – paper checks, snail mail, filing, and more filing. But, wouldn’t you like more time for yourself?