News Blog

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.


Phone with Apple PayDecorah & Cresco – April 4, 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 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 Apple Pay will provide further instructions on how to use this simple technology. Check out our Mobile Wallet page to learn more about Apple Pay, and other mobile wallet options coming soon!

Interested in Apple Pay but don’t have a debit card? Call now and ask a personal banker to set up your new debit card 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


Limestone stairsDecorah – March 9, 2017 – That’s right. You have the capacity to become wealthy. Many of the wealthiest people in America have similar spending habits. It may not be obvious by seeing what millionaires drive or where they shop. You can learn a lot on how to build wealth by looking at these shared habits of the wealthy.

They live within their means and spend less than they earn. Many wealthy people live just like the average household. Many don’t drive expensive cars or live extravagantly. They are content with what they have and don’t try to “keep up with the Jones’s”. As you receive pay raises over the years save the excess.

They automate their savings. You’ve heard the saying “pay yourself first.” Many people use the savings plan that they will save whatever is leftover at the end of each month. For most of us, there won’t be much leftover if we do it that way. Instead, decide how much you will save each month and have that automatically taken out of your paycheck or transferred from your checking account. It’s a painless way to save.

They plan their spending. Make a budget and stick to it. Without a plan, you will spend more than you intend. People are often surprised when they add up what they spend in a year on clothes, restaurants, entertainment, and many other budget categories. A spending plan helps you choose where your money goes and make sure that you are on track to meet your financial goals.

They don’t carry credit card balances. The more monthly payments you have, the harder it is to save. Instead of paying high interest on credit card balances, save for purchases in advance and earn interest on your savings.

They set financial goals. It is important to think ahead about things like purchases you want to make and how much you need to save for retirement. Over half of American workers have never calculated how much money they will need for retirement. You need to set goals and make a plan to reach them.

They take care of their health. Exercise and eating right improves your health which can lower your health care costs.

They maximize their contributions to retirement savings. Any saving you do now will create big returns for you later.

As you can see it’s the little habits that will bring you the most glory. It takes more than dreaming about becoming wealthy – with a little savvy planning and pinching pennies, you’ll be well on your way to building wealth.

Enjoy the journey!

Decorah Bank leadership Joe Grimstad, Donna Thomas, and Ben GrimstadDecorah & Cresco – February 21, 2017

Greetings!  The books are closed for 2016 and we just finished preparing thousands of tax notices for interest paid and earned. 2016 was a solid year for the bank. Following are some highlights.

If you look around town there is quite a bit happening! The Bank is an active partner in many of the projects you see. These projects don’t happen without entrepreneurs with a vision and a willingness to put their capital at risk.  We are proud to support these projects and their owners investing in their future.

The basics of banking haven’t changed. We gather deposits from many and lend those out to people, businesses and farms. The spread between what we earn and pay is our margin. Our margin covers our overhead and risk and provides a profit. We also earn fees from managing money and other assets and underwriting and servicing home loans. We were fortunate to grow a little in all areas in 2016 which is healthy growth.

Agriculture is a big part of our local economy and our farmers are working through a second year of low commodity prices which slows their spending and investing. There is no telling how long a down cycle will last. Factors include weather, global trade, politics and more. We’re having lots of productive discussions with our farm customers about how to adjust through this cycle.

The Bank saw many big projects in 2016. We re-issued over 7,000 debit cards featuring the new chip technology.  This was an important project for us because it is a more secure way of using debit cards. This should help protect our customers and the bank by reducing fraud cases and loss. Of course fraudsters are adapting and have found new ways to commit financial crime. It’s a good idea to remain vigilant in who you trust. We’re here to help!

A logo refresh and new website was another undertaking for us last year. Our classic diamond has served us well and now we added a little color for more energy and combined the look in both Decorah and Cresco. This move provides us some efficiencies and a combined website. Decorah Bank and Cresco Bank are one, but each proudly carries the name of the community it serves which we think is important.

We thank you for banking with us. We know there are many options for banking and financial services. Just like shopping locally stimulates our community, provides jobs and supports families, so too does banking locally. We employ over 90 employee-owners (through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan) who are active in our community.

In 2017 we will bring you real-time technology, mobile payments, two more ag bankers offering crop insurance, an expanded home mortgage team offering mobile and online application technology, and continued wealth management services.

Our doors are always open! We recognize the ease and speed of electronic banking and communication, but know that there will always be a live person here ready to greet you with a smile.

Thanks again and we wish you a healthy and prosperous 2017!

In the Driftless Area & beyond

Decorah & Cresco – January 20, 2017 – Buying and maintaining a home is a big deal. It’s quite the commitment. Feel confident knowing that we offer a knowledgeable team of eleven employee owners to support you during the life of your loan. We’ll have you relaxing with your favorite beverage on your comfy couch in your new home before you know it.

Do you like the tech approach? We are equipped with online mortgage application technology, backed by our team of bankers, making the home financing process more convenient for you.

Call, stop in, or apply online!

Picture of the Mortgage Team: Dorothea Dahlen, Emily McConnell, Mike Huinker, Laura Schmauss, Becky Mitchell, BreeAnn Hageman, Jody Roberts, Muriel Lensch, Joe Grimstad, Rachel Kemp, Ruth Schraeder

Mortgage Team: Dorothea Dahlen, Emily McConnell, Mike Huinker, Laura Schmauss, Becky Mitchell, BreeAnn Hageman, Jody Roberts, Muriel Lensch, Joe Grimstad, Rachel Kemp, Ruth Schraeder