News Blog

It’s the ideal flip-flop scenarioKaitlyn and Jordan

Decorah & Cresco – July 31, 2017 – Isn’t it nice when good things fall into place? It just so happens that Kaitlyn Otteson, Cresco Bank’s personal banker (pictured left), moved back to Decorah and wanted to return to her work as a personal banker in Decorah. Concurrently one of Decorah Bank’s tellers, Jordan Isham, felt it was time to take another step in her banking career. Today Jordan will begin her work as a personal banker at Cresco’s location, and Kaitlyn will resettle as a personal banker at Decorah’s location. Please join us in congratulating these two employee-owners!

Home Buying 101

Couple On Sofa Taking A Break From Unpacking On Moving Day

Decorah & Cresco – July 20, 2017 – When it’s time to start thinking about buying your first home, it’s easy to let your emotions take over. Before you start looking, do some research to avoid costly mistakes that might keep you up at night in the future. It’s all too easy to buy a house you can’t afford, and that can affect your ability to build wealth in the long run. Understanding steps of the home-buying process helps you make smart decisions.

First, you should know that buying a house takes time. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average home buyer looks for around 10 weeks or more. No house – even that adorable cape cop with the perfectly manicured flower garden is worth rushing to buy until you are ready. Take some time to learn how to buy that house to save you from buying pains later. The decisions you make in the home-buying process can make a difference between a home that is a blessing for many years to come or a bully that keeps bugging you for more lunch money. For people that do their homework, buying a house isn’t a stressful, draining experience. It can actually be a lot of fun, especially if you’re making smart decisions with your head and not your heart.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Set a realistic time-frame for the home buying process
  • Find out how much home you can really afford. Start with a calculator.
  • Calculate how much you’ll need for a down payment
  • Learn how to buy a house with confidence. Find an experienced support team.
  • Interview more than one real-estate agent – true professionals enjoy tough questions
  • Figure out your must-haves in your first house
  • Get a home inspection, appraisal, and final mortgage approval
  • Be prepared to pay property tax, homeowner’s insurance, and possibly even homeowner’s association fees
  • Know what to expect from contract signing until your celebratory closing day

When you are ready to make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, you’ll want the backing of experts. You’ll want a house that fits your needs and your budget. You don’t have to do this alone. Learn more from our mortgage team.

Take a minute to think about all the ways you are connected to the world. Do you have a smartphone? Some kind of tablet? What about a smart TV? Perhaps you own a gaming system with online capabilities. The average U.S. household actually has 5.7 connected devices, and that number is going to rise. In the mind of a savvy hacker, that means 5.7 ways per home to hack in and steal valuable information. With some simple steps, you can stay secure.

Powerful pA$$w0Rds

Creating a strong password is the easiest way you can protect your valuable information (like bank accounts). Put passwords on as many things as you can, like your home Wi-Fi, smartphone, or laptop. Try to create a password that has eight or more characters and mixes numbers and symbols in place of letters. Do not ever share your password with anyone! Legitimate companies will never ask for an account password. If you get a phone call from some service claiming to help you achieve something, and they ask for any kind of website password, beware! This is a common practice for fraudsters. Fun fact: The top two most commonly used passwords in the U.S. are “password” and “123456”. Don’t be one of those people.

Biometric Security

While it isn’t everywhere yet, you can find biometric security now on many smartphones and laptops. If you have a device that offers this, use it. Unless a fraudster has your fingerprint or an exact copy of your retina, they will be unable to access anything you want to protect. Be on the lookout for this kind of technology to emerge more in the future.

TBYC (Think Before You Click)

This acronym is not an ice cream store, but an easy to remember phrase to help you avoid the unwanted hassle of being hacked. The dangers are all around – pop up ads on your smartphone, malicious websites on your laptop and fake apps on your tablets marketplace (fraudsters created a fake Angry Birds app, designed to install a virus on smartphones). When browsing the web, look at the websites URL before you click. Does it seem legitimate? Does it end in something common like .com, .net, or .org? In the marketplace, look at the reviews and comments before you download an app. Many clues to the legitimacy of an app can be found there.

From bank accounts to social media websites, you have valuable information everywhere. By following some easy steps, you can save yourself from a big headache. Check out for more detailed information on cybersecurity. For information on what the bank does to protect your information, give us a call.


Phone displaying Decorah Bank debit card + Mobile Wallet = happy shopperDecorah and Cresco – June 7, 2017

If you have our debit card, you have a new way to pay! Decorah Bank and Cresco Bank debit cards can now be enrolled in Samsung Pay, Android Pay or Apple Pay, and used anywhere mobile payments are accepted. Mobile wallets are the latest in smart phone payment technology, and offer a fast and secure method of using your card. Once you are enrolled on your newer smart phone we will provide further instructions on how to use this simple technology. Check out our Mobile Wallet page to learn more about mobile wallet.

Need a debit card? Ask a personal banker to set up a new debit card for you at 563.382.9661 or 563.547.2244.

Apple Pay and the Apple Logo are trademarks of Apple Inc. registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Android Pay is compatible with NFC- and HCE-enabled devices running KitKat 4.4 and above. Android, Android Pay and the Android Logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Samsung Pay is compatible with select Samsung devices. Visit details. Samsung, Samsung Pay, Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy S are trademarks or registered trademarks of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Decorah & Cresco – June 1, 2017

Map of world

What you should know before planning your adventures

For a few years we’ve been hearing, “I can’t travel without a credit card.” For whatever reason there’s a myth that debit cards won’t work while traveling. The truth is that debit cards work just as easily as credit cards and you won’t have to endure the high interest rate of a credit card when the statement arrives in a few weeks. All major airlines and travel agents take debit cards and it’s incredibly easy to hop on their website to book a trip. You can use your debit card at hotels too. Some hotels will place a temporary hold on your account for the amount of the bill to cover incidentals. (You can avoid actual incidentals by avoiding crazy parties in your hotel room.) To be sure, you’ll want to keep some extra money in your account and ask your specific hotel if they’ll be putting a hold on your debit card during your stay. That’s usually easy to do if you plan ahead.

Car rental places also accept debit cards. Just like hotels, many car rental places will temporarily put a hold on your account ($100-$500) because they don’t know how good of a driver you are. If you still believe that you can’t use a debit card to rent a vehicle, you’ve bought into the old myth. If you’re unsure, just ask them what, if anything, the hold will be. If you’re not going to be driving much on your trip, consider public transportation. That way, you don’t have to deal with a rental or parking costs. Of course you can dine, fuel up, adventure, and shop most anywhere with a debit card. The key is to be aware of how much money you have in your account before you travel to cover your costs. Make sure you call the Bank ahead of time to verify your limit, which can temporarily be raised during traveling. It’s also a great idea to have a back up plan in case your cards are lost or stolen. If you have specific questions about international travel and the use of ATMs, contact us, we’re happy to help you. Let’s break the myth, it’s really pretty easy to travel without a credit card and the high-interest rate that it leaves behind.

If you are interested in a debit card simply ask for a personal banker at 563.382.9661 or 563.547.2244.

Happy Camper Win $50 by using your debit card! No purchase necessary.Decorah & Cresco – May 30, 2017 – This summer we are giving 26 lucky winners $50 in area chamber dollars for using their debit card. Every time you use your Bank MasterCard Debit Card you’ll be automatically entered to win from June 1 – August 31. One winner will be selected at random each week. Decorah Bank winners will receive $50 in Decorah Area Chamber Dollars and Cresco Bank winners will receive $50 in Cresco Area Chamber Dollars to encourage local shopping. No purchase necessary. See details below.

Interested in a MasterCard Debit Card? Stop in or call 563.382.9661 or 563.547.2244 to set up your debit card.

Weekly Winners:

June 9: Leah D. of Elko New Market and Tyler M. of Manchester
June 16: Brandon D. of Decorah and Margaret R. of Cresco
June 23: Gary K. of Castalia and Kimberly M. of Cresco
June 30: Jay H. of Decorah and Kaitlin M. of Cresco
July 7: Rebecca T. of Ottumwa and Deborah E. of Cresco
July 14: Nicol B. of Decorah and Jesse S. of Lime Springs
July 21: Justin P. of Decorah and Timothy R. of Lime Springs
July 28: Trista T. of Decorah and Kim H. of Lime Springs
August 4: Devin S. of Decorah and Tim G. of Lime Springs
August 11: Amy U. of Decorah and Jackie M. of Cresco
August 18: Christopher E. of Ossian and Jean K. of Cresco
August 25: Paul B. of Decorah and Patrick M. of Cresco
August 31: Pearl F. of Decorah and Adolph G. of Cresco

Prize details: Use your Decorah Bank debit card however you like, as a debit or credit, at an ATM or anywhere Debit Card MasterCard® is accepted from June 1 – August 31, 2017 and you’ll be automatically entered to win $50 in Decorah Area Chamber Dollars. One prize will be selected each Friday starting June 9, 2017 during the thirteen (13) week promotion period. $50 Decorah Area Chamber Dollar gift will be mailed or presented to each winner within 14 days of winning. To enter without a purchase or debit card: Mail or drop off a 3″ x 5″ postcard with your name, address, and phone number to: Decorah Bank & Trust Co., Debit Card Drawing, 202 East Water Street, Decorah, IA 52101. Mail-in entries must be postmarked by August 21 and received by August 31, 2017 to be eligible. Enter as often as you wish; however, each mail-in entry must be mailed in a separate postmarked, stamped envelope and not mechanically reproduced, illegible, or incomplete – any such entries are considered invalid. Prize may not be exchanged or redeemed for cash or credit. Any expenses not specified relating to the acceptance and use of a prize are the responsibility of the recipient. Must be 16 years or older as of June 1, 2017 to win. Employees and their immediate household family members are ineligible to win. Member FDIC.



Mobile App log in screen shotDecorah & Cresco – May 26, 2017 – You now have access to a new version of the Decorah Bank and Cresco Bank (DBT & CBT) mobile banking app that includes some new features. If you already have the app it will update automatically depending on your smart phone settings. The redesign keeps all the functions you use now in easy to find places within the app. You now have the ability to send and receive secure messages within the app. Find the messages section under the “More” button, and feel free to contact us with any account questions or concerns.

Click here to learn more about mobile banking, or as always, feel free to reach out to us at 563.387.5230 with your questions or comments. Apple & Android users can get the app by searching “DBT & CBT” at the App Store. Enjoy!

Decorah & Cresco – May 23, 2017

Do you know your credit score or what makes up a credit score?

There are over 600 risk factors that are included when calculating a credit score. These risk factors fall into five main categories: payment history, which makes up about 35% of your credit score; how much you owe, which makes up 30% of your score; how long you’ve had credit, which makes up 15% of your score; last application for credit which makes up 10% of your score; and types of credit, which makes up 10% of your credit score.

You may be wondering how your score rates among the rest of the nations. The median score today is 723 which is considered above average. Listed below are credit score ranges:

Credit Scores Ranges: Excellent 750+, Above Average 720-749, Average 660-719, Below Average 620-659, Subpar Below 620

Credit scores impact more than just getting a loan at your local bank. Credit scores are used as tools for businesses to determine the likelihood of you paying your debt back to them. Credit scores are taken into consideration when getting insurance, entering into contracts with cell phone companies and utility companies, and even when applying for jobs. Your credit score can influence the interest rate you will pay on your next loan, your insurance premiums, and the amount of your next utility deposit. Credit scores are being utilized in a variety of ways making it more important that you check your credit report on a regular basis.

Good news! You are entitled to a free credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. It is recommended that you check your credit report annually. Checking your credit report can help detect fraud and ensure accurate information is being reported. Your free credit report can be obtained from

Building good credit is a good thing for yourself financially. Remember you can contact us anytime you have questions or want more information. Contact Us.

Family inside of stick build houseDecorah & Cresco – May 11, 2017 – Have you been dreaming, planning and designing your dream home? Before you start falling in love with design options, establish your budget and be prepared to stick to your budget. Figuring out financing is as easy as 1-2-3.

Step 1 – Get preapproval for your construction loan

You’ll want to visit with a home mortgage banker that can guide you through the construction financing process from beginning to completion of your building project. A mortgage lender can provide support and help you find out how much home you can comfortably afford. A building contractor will ask you to obtain financing for your project. Once your financing strategy is in place it’s time to meet with your builder design team to finalize your home design plan and a price that fits into your lifestyle and budget.

Step 2 – Get approval to start building

Your home appraisal is based on a completed set of plans, specifications, estimates, insurance, and the builder’s contract. This is done before the physical work begins. A construction loan has two parts; the interim loan during the construction period, and the long-term loan which is put in place after the house is built. Occasionally the buyer already owns the land and depending on how long they have held the title, this might work as appreciation or equity in the land in lieu of a downpayment. Let the home mortgage banker know if you are in this situation. You’ll want to establish a clear title to your new home site before any physical work starts on the project. The time to build a new house ranges from 3 – 18 months. While in the construction loan phase, you will pay interest only and only on the amount that you’ve borrowed.

Step 3 – Get ready to move in

A final inspection by the home appraiser is done to determine that the house was built according to the original plans and specifications once the house is completed. You’ll sign documents with your home mortgage banker to convert the construction loan to a long-term mortgage plan that makes sense for your needs.

Congratulations! It’s time to settle in to your new home.

It’s important to note that loan products are subject to credit approval. Other terms, restrictions & fees may apply.  Learn about our home construction loans.

Decorah Bank & Trust Co. NMLS# 677265 / An Equal Housing Lender

pocket watch and moneyDecorah & Cresco – April 14, 2017 – We are pleased to bring you Real Time Banking beginning April 25, 2017. This enhancement allows for faster and more efficient banking. Real Time Banking simply means your account balance will be quickly updated whenever a transaction to your account or debit card is processed whether from a purchase, deposit, transfer, or withdrawal. If you have questions about Real Time Banking please contact Customer Support at (563) 387-5230 or (563) 547-2244.