Businesses: I'm Talking To You!
New Year’s Resolutions... nope, I don’t subscribe to them. I also don’t subscribe to fad diets (although there are times when I should), the latest fashions, or much else that seem to be the latest topics, trends, or crazes. However, what I do believe is necessary and appropriate is to use the calendar as a good benchmark for various aspects of life. Spring and Fall time changes are good reminders to change the batteries in the smoke detector. Anniversaries are a good time to reflect and make a special effort to thank that special person for putting up with me. Well you get the idea...
And, this is the time of year that I encourage our lending team to get out and talk to our clients and vice-versa. Businesses traditionally are ramping up for the year and looking forward. They are thinking about meeting with their CPA. They are looking at the year ahead and trying to determine what sales goals are for the year. And it is at this time of the year that bankers should be taking the time to visit with their clients. Here is a list of conversation topics that your banker needs to be having with you (who initiates the conversation is not as important as having it).
- How do you (the business owner) think 2011 will end up and why? (Did revenue go up, down or sideways? What kind of bottom line do you expect and why? )
- What are your 2012 expectations – where do you see this year differing from last and why?
- Major acquisitions of fixed assets (equipment, real estate) on the horizon? What will that do for the company (does it make sense to invest hard earned money into something – will it make the company more efficient?)
- Any other potential changes on the horizon (staffing, ownership buy outs, possible acquisition of additional lines of business)?
- Expectations of what you (the business owner) want from your banker (number of meetings each year, communications channels, etc.)
You should expect your banker to be of assistance, giving you good guidance and advice. If the banker can’t understand your business, it is difficult for him/her to be able to help you. Meet with your banker, make sure he/she “get it”, and open up those communication channels for both of you to succeed. The bank doesn’t do well unless its clients do well, and businesses don’t do well unless their bank is by their side helping them achieve the goals and aspirations of their companies.
Go ahead and start these conversations today!
Tech Savvy at 50?
I’m 50 now. Shhh – don’t tell anyone. My brain still hasn’t caught up with my physical age in many ways, and I kind of hope it doesn’t. I’m actually working on just the opposite – getting my physicality in a little better shape, and a little ‘younger.’ It’s a long-term commitment, for sure.
My brain does act 50 sometimes though – when it comes to being technology-savvy, I’m a little slow to get on board. It took a lot of poking and prodding to get me on Facebook. I’ve been on it for a few years, and I have to face facts – my technology-driven friends were ‘right on.’ I’ve reconnected & learned more about friends -from my current pals all the way back to elementary school chums. Facebook is as intimidating as I let it be. I’ve learned to manage the urge to be on it incessantly. I’ve become closer with some of my friends as a result, and I know some acquaintances better than before.
I have a Smartphone, read books and magazines on my Kindle, am on LinkedIn (the professional social network, so they say), and I do most of my banking via the internet. I get my bank statements via email, and I have to stop sometimes as I flip through my mail at home – and ask myself why haven’t I signed up for almost everything to come electronically? So much paper is wasted….
Truth is, I’m not quite as tech-savvy as I could be, but I’m solidly above the bottom of the matrix. Maybe I’m in the ‘first quartile’ of tech-savvy? I don’t tweet, use Foursquare or Hootsuite, and frankly, don’t even know what a couple of those are. But I’m trying. Are you?
The New Year gives us the little nudge we need sometimes to try something new. Maybe you’ve been thinking about trying online banking or online bill pay. Maybe you’d like to use mobile banking, but you’re just not sure. Do it. Take that leap and try something new this year. Who knows, maybe you’ll be like this 50 year old and find that technology can be good.
Now That The Holidays Are Over...
You’ve made it through Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holiday gift exchanges, holiday dinners, family gatherings, post-holiday sales, gift returns, refunds, exchanges and you ask yourself now what? Well, there’s no doubt that during all of the holiday festivities that you have most likely used your MutualBank debit cards, credit cards, and checks.
You’ve probably used your MutualBank financial tools more over the last several weeks than the previous couple of months put together. This means unfortunately there are more opportunities for fraud to occur during the holiday season. Fraudsters and hackers are always attempting to get bank account information, especially during the holidays. One of the most important resources MutualBank has are our customers. That's why you will see us continue in the fight to protect consumers against fraud.
You are part of our front line defense against consumer financial fraud. Our job is to make sure that our customers, like you, are informed to protect their financial assets against fraud. A simple first step is to make sure that you know your spending habits. The easiest way you can do this is to carefully review your bank and credit card statements that cover the holiday time period.
Tips on reviewing your holiday spending:
- Use your statements or MutualBank’s Personal Online Banking…are you signed up for eStatements yet?
- Look for extra charges from retailers that you visited.
- Pay close attention to your online purchase listings.
- View your cleared checks to make sure that they were not altered in any way to change the payees or dollar amounts.
- If you see any debits or charges on your statements that look suspicious please notify our Customer Support area immediately by email or by calling 800-382-8031. Additionally, we welcome you to stop by any of our locations!
If you are a victim of online fraud you should also file a complaint at the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Like what you read today? Stay tuned. At the beginning of every month, we’ll provide you with new security tips. Just one more way we’re trying to help you live a better life!
Last Minute Christmas Shopping
Are all of your gifts bought and wrapped? If so, I’m impressed!
Generally speaking, I am shopping all the way up to Christmas day. Sometimes it’s because I can’t decide what to buy and sometimes it’s simply because I haven’t made enough time to shop. Either way, there have been times I’ve found myself in a bind. It’s Christmas Eve and I finally decide what I want to give, but I can’t purchase it before the store closes. So what am I to do?
This year, I started shopping a couple of weeks ago and throughout one of my purchases, I had an experience I couldn’t resist sharing with you. Did you know you could use your UChoose Loyalty Reward points for gift cards? Did you know you could get some of those gift cards the same day? Let me share with you about my recent Christmas shopping experience.
I was using my lunch hour to complete some online Christmas shopping. It just so happened that I could get four different gifts for people on Amazon.com. Once I confirmed my soon to be gifts, I proceeded to checkout. As I arrived on the page asking for my debit or credit card number, I realized I could get a gift card with my UChoose Loyalty Rewards. It only occurred to me while I was checking out because a day earlier, my coworker said you can get UChoose Loyalty Reward gift cards emailed to you rather than wait the 7-10 days for a plastic gift card to come in the mail.
So I hopped over to the UChoose Loyalty Reward website to purchase a gift card with my points. I found the Amazon gift card, selected the amount I wanted, chose how I would prefer to receive it (mail or email) and added it to my cart. (Side note: I found in most cases, it was cheaper, less points that is, to choose the email option than the plastic option.) After I confirmed my purchase, I went over to my email and lo and behold, there it was! I used the gift card immediately and was able to complete my Amazon purchase.
As Christmas is only five days away, I thought you needed to know about this convenience. If you’re anything like me, still sorting out who to buy for and what to get, keep in mind UChoose Loyalty Reward gift cards. You could order it and receive it in less than 15 minutes.
Go ahead…finish that last minute Christmas shopping today!
The Android App is Here!
Beginning today, December 5, 2011, Android mobile phone users
can download an application designed specifically for Google Android devices!
We are excited to share this news because for almost 6 months, we've been offering MutualMobile, a free mobile banking service. When we discussed "What's your phone to you" back in July during the release of MutualMobile, Android users could use the browser on their phone to access their accounts. But now, the Andoroid App is here.
For users already enrolled in
MutualMobile, we created some quick instructions to help you get the application.
- Log in to your MutualBank online banking and access ‘Mobile
- Select the “I want to change my Mobile Banking services” option to
add the downloadable application.
- 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.
have not yet enrolled in MutualMobile, it only takes a few minutes! Log in to
online banking and navigate to the Mobile Banking pages to register.
Our phones are so many things to us these days...our watch, alarm clock, email, newspaper, search engine, navigation, and now banking. Go ahead...get started today!
Money Saving Tips for the Holidays
The winter holiday season is almost
here. Soon we will be busy with holiday activities--cooking, decorating and
socializing. We'll also be shopping for gifts for family and friends, but
unfortunately may overspend. Then in the New Year, when the bills start rolling
in, reality and regret will strike.
Here are some tips on how you can
enjoy the season without inducing an overspending hangover in January.
a list of everyone on your gift list. Try to limit it to close family and
friends, and set a maximum amount to spend for each recipient. Calculate
this total; if too high, revise the individual limits to keep the total
you have overspent already, review the list to see where you may be able
to give meaningful gifts without spending. Consider giving personal
"coupons" for specific chores-for example lawn mowing,
babysitting, cooking a meal or hand car washes.
some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping malls, you may prefer
to stay home and shop online, which saves on travel expense. To maximize
the value of virtual shopping, look for free-shipping promotions. Another
option is to check with nearby retailers to see if they can save you on
shipping costs if your item is shipped to the store, instead of to your
people use credit cards for their holiday shopping in order to increase
frequent flier miles and other rewards offered by their credit card
company. There are benefits to this strategy, but keep in mind that will
need to budget for the charges arriving in January; they will need to be
paid off to avoid incurring large credit card interest.
might opt to use cash for Christmas shopping. Decide on an amount for each
person, total the amounts, and take cash from your checking account.
Divide the cash into your predetermined amounts for each person, and place
the cash in envelopes with each person's name and amount on the envelope.
Take these envelopes with you on your shopping excursion. Stick with your
list, and when the cash is gone, it's gone.
social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, you also may be able to
find additional money-saving coupons and discounts.
you have adequate storage space, one of the best times to do your
Christmas shopping is in January, when retailers are clearing out their
merchandise from the holidays. Along this line, think of shopping for
stocking stuffers during the year, as these trinkets can become costly if
bought during the holiday rush.
To make the most of your holiday season, sit back and
take a moment to enjoy the meaning of the season and the opportunity to gather
with family and friends and all those you hold dear. Then take a deep breath,
and shop wisely.
Source: Indiana Bankers Association - November 15, 2011
MutualBank Awarded for Support of Habitat for Humanity
Each year, the Greater Muncie Indiana Habitat for Humanity
hosts a ‘Volunteer Dinner’ to celebrate and thank the volunteers who’ve helped
them accomplish goals of raising money, building awareness and building homes.
This year at the dinner, we were given the Corporate Partner
of the Year award. Over the course of 2011, MutualBank employees helped to
build homes and raise money for Habitat for Humanity by paying $5.00 to wear
jeans one Friday. We had the opportunity to underwrite a grant yielding the
Greater Muncie Indiana Habitat for Humanity $50,000 in funding from the Federal
Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. Additionally, we hosted the “Traveling Wall” for the
“$10 Makes a Difference” campaign. Lastly,
we serviced nearly all of the Greater Muncie Indiana Habitat for Humanity
It was a true honor for us to be named Corporate Partner of
the Year. After all, MutualBank’s motto
is to help people live better lives. It closely ties to Habitat’s motto: “Build
Hope, Build Dreams, Build Community”. Together, we help people achieve their
dreams of home ownership. Furthermore, our community is better when more people
have safe and affordable homes
to live in.
We thank the Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity for their
service to our community, giving employers opportunities to serve the community
and honoring MutualBank as the
Corporate Partner of the Year.
(Left to Right):
Lindsay Arthur, Executive Director, Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity
Jennifer Volk, Senior Staff Auditor and Outreach Committee President,
Tips to Help You Succeed
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Have you ever participated in a Facebook contest? On November 14th, MutualBank began
its very first Facebook contest. The contest is called “Reward Yourself”. It’s
designed to get you thinking about how you would reward yourself if you were to
win some free money.
So what do you have to do to participate?
It’s easy. You go to our Facebook Page and like our
page. From there you can enter the Reward Yourself contest. All we need from
you is your name, email address and a photo of you rewarding yourself or how
you’d reward yourself if you won.
We’ve seen people stop there. They’ve taken the time to
enter the contest, but they haven’t taken the final step of sharing the contest
with their friends and family. The more you can share it and get your friends
voting, the more likely you’ll see victory!
At the end of the contest, which is December 16th,
the three photos with the most votes will win the prizes. (Which are AWESOME if
I can share my biased opinion.)
First place wins $1,000 VISA gift card.
Second place wins $500 VISA gift card.
Third place wins $250 VISA gift card.
Let’s put things into perspective. What can you get for
Four flights from Indianapolis to Orlando for Spring Break
Two night stay in New York City over New Year’s
100 movie tickets
Clearly, the prize is worth it. Not only because it’s worth
$1,000, but because you get to choose what to do with your reward. And rewarding you is what we’re really
excited about. We can’t wait to hear how you will choose to use the money
whether it is for a new kitchen countertop, a tropical trip or simply to pay
for groceries for a few months. It’s your choice.
So here are a few tips to help you be successful:
- If you’ve not yet liked our page or entered the
contest…what are you waiting for?
- Share the contest with your friends and family.
- Remember everyone, including you, can vote every
single day. (After today there are only
23 days left!)
And keep in mind, rewarding yourself isn’t just for this
month long Facebook contest. At MutualBank, you can always reward yourself with
UChoose Loyalty Rewards. UChoose Loyalty Rewards reward you for your
loyalty to MutualBank. Learn about all of the ways you can reward
yourself just by doing everyday banking.
Remember, we’re excited to reward you, through this contest and throughout
the entire year!
Go ahead! Start
rewarding yourself today!