I'm a Baby Boomer & Change is Hard.
I asked several friends, both FaceBook and non-FaceBookers, if they use electronic banking, bill pay, &/or electronic bank statements. Many of the FaceBookers do – not surprising. Some of my other friends don’t, and a few suggested they worry about having identity stolen or a lack of ‘trust’ for the internet.
Is the security of hard copy checks, in-store credit or debit purchases, and mail better? I wonder if my friends use their debit/credit cards in stores, where others have access to them. The only times I have had anything manipulated or stolen, was in a restaurant where a shady waitress evidently swiped my credit card twice, and had a nice meal. The credit card company took that charge off when I called them – they were accommodating. The second time, someone may have looked over my shoulder while I was shopping in Chicago. The bank evidently electronically noticed that my card number was trying to be used in a fraudulent manner, called me (I had just walked in the door from the Chicago trip), and together we blocked the charge, and the bank closed down that credit card, and reissued me a new number. That was a really proactive, positive example of my community bank in action.
So my ‘bad’ experiences toward fraud or identity theft have been out there in retail establishments, rather than via the internet. Do I use my credit card electronically for internet purchases? Just ask my poor husband. You bet I do - for everything from airline tickets to concert tickets, shoes, purses and crafting supplies. We use one credit card for online purchases, and I reconcile that bill every month, just before I pay it through my bank’s electronic bill pay feature.
One of my best friends from college, Nancy, says she likes her bank statements mailed ‘just in case.’ Just in case of what? What if your mail is stolen from your mailbox? What if your mailman is Newman (from the Seinfeld show) and chucks his bag full of mail out a window, along with your bank statement? Some identity theft comes from ‘dumpster diving’ criminals who access paper records from the trash as well as stealing mail from mailboxes, looking over shoulders at the ATM or in a retail establishment.
Nancy told me that she has those “annoying to-be-filed piles” of paper in her home. She also wrote that one of her children’s schools is ‘paperless’ and she loves it – “I can always find what I need on my Blackberry.” Her other children’s school is not paperless, and she “constantly has papers coming home and I’m going through their binder to find what I need.” Nancy’s last sentence sums it up, “Hmmmm.”
The dilemma Baby Boomers are experiencing is being born on the tail end of a paper-filled society and the infancy of the internet. Change. It’s hard.
What Does Memorial Day Mean to You?
Memorial Day is one of those holidays that mean different things to different people. To some it is the time to remember those that have given their lives to serve our country. To others, it’s a time to remember those we love who have passed on. To most of us, though, Memorial Day weekend is a long weekend and one that indicates the beginning of summer. Whatever reason you celebrate this holiday, it’s a good time of year to think of your financial health and future plans.
As you water-ski, you might not be thinking about your 401K or the bank CD in which you have invested. But half way through the calendar year is a good time to make an appointment with someone that can give you a “check-up” on your money and how it is working for you.
Here is a short checklist of things to take with you as you discuss your financial future:
- Bank Statements- Your financial advisor will need to see your total financial picture to give you advice that is best for you.
- Other investment statements- Again, a total picture will help your trusted advisor give you the best advice.
- Detailed plans on your future. Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years? Is your money helping you reach those checkpoints?
What does that last one mean? Have you ever tried to reach a destination without directions? It’s not easy. Similarly, your financial goals need a compass and the compass is you. It’s important to think about and discuss your future. Most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do their retirement. So, if you want to retire in 10 years or in 30, your advisor will need to know that so they can design a plan that works for you.
Memorial Day weekend is certainly a fun weekend, but can also be a profitable one if you use it as a milestone towards your financial future!
Protect Your Email Account
At MutualBank we offer our customers many different ways to communicate with us regarding the products and services offer. One of those methods is email and we would like to focus some attention to helping you keep your email accounts safe.
We have seen an increased number of customers who have had their email accounts compromised…in other words someone has gained unauthorized access to an email account. From there someone can attempt to initiate fraud using your email account. However, by following some easy steps you can secure your email account to make it less likely to become compromised.
Steps to securing your email account:
- Frequently (every 45 to 90 days) change your email account password.
- Do not click on links inside of an email from an unknown source.
- Do not write your email password down anywhere visible even in your own home…if you need to write your password down please keep it secured in a wallet or purse.
- Make sure your computers have virus detection/removal software such as the ones listed below and that they are updated frequently.
(Many times your Internet Service Provider provides these tools free of charge.)
- Remember that if something in an email sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
- Only share your email with friends on social media sites making sure that it’s not visible to everyone on your public profile.
MutualBank does not endorse the products listed below, but are provided as examples of free anti-virus/malware detection and removal tools.
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.
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.
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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.