News Blog

Piggy Bank CHalkboard $+$=College

Hint, it has nothing to do with test scores.

Decorah & Cresco – September 1, 2017 – College students have a tremendous understanding of test scores and GPAs, but how can we help them understand their credit score and the value of saving? Here is the American Banker’s Association top 10 tips that are designed to give students an edge on mastering personal finance. If you are a college student and take these nine tips into account, you will be well on your way to success.

  1. Congratulations! You are in charge. You are responsible for your finances, and you should act accordingly by creating a realistic budget or plan and stick to it.
  2. Watch spending. You control your money, determining how you spend or save it. Pace spending and increase saving by cutting unnecessary expenses like eating out or shopping so that your money can last longer.
  3. Use credit wisely. Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit. How you handle your credit in college will affect you after graduation.
  4. Use your bank account. Banks are more than money in a vault. Bankers offer valuable services like mobile banking apps, balance alerts, direct deposit services, financial education, and identity theft resolution services.
  5. New is out. Consider buying used books or ordering them online.
  6. Entertain on a budget. Get creative with fun activities to keep you busy in college. Make simple recipes instead on eating out.
  7. Be picky. Don’t trust just anyone with your money. Be skeptical of classmates, friends, or salespeople that have ideas for your money.
  8. Save it. Things happen, and it’s important that you are financially prepared when your vehicle or computer breaks. No matter how small the amount, you should start putting some money away. Start today.
  9. Just ask. Mastering your finances is a journey. Your parents or your banker are a good place to start learning.

Source: ABA.com/Consumers

Financial Education on chalk board

Getting ready for the real world

Decorah & Cresco – August 14, 2017 – As the back-to-school date approaches, many of today’s younger consumers are likely gearing up to spend money, yet among U.S. adults ages 18-34, just over half are paying bills on time. Furthermore, 44% of high school students report that they don’t know what a credit score measures, according to a recent study conducted by the Consumer Federation of America. We want to help change these numbers.

Decorah Bank and Cresco Bank is trying to change those statistics at a local level by providing financial literacy education to our Decorah, South Winneshiek, and Turkey Valley High School students and our Crestwood Middle School students. To help in that endeavor, we have partnered with EverFi, the nation’s leading education technology company. To date, EverFi’s financial literacy programs have helped 209 area students, equating to 1,260 hours of learning in these four schools. The eight-hour program per student covers key financial topics such as saving and budgeting, financing higher education, identity protection, credit scores, and more through web-based courses that use video, 3-D gaming, avatars, and social networking to bring financial concepts to life. Course curriculum aligns with both the state of Iowa and national financial literacy standards.

According to pre-and post-assessment surveys, students’ knowledge of the primary financial topics rose by an average of 49%. We’re excited to be supporting this kind of change and helping teach the next generation of adults.

Team hands within logo symbolPERSONAL BANKING

Decorah – August 11, 2017 – Enjoy a full-time career in the Personal Banking Department at our Decorah location. The ideal candidate will thrive in delivering excellent customer service and will be comfortable meeting new people. This candidate will help in supporting an existing client base while having a keen attention to detail and appreciating lifelong learning. Previous banking experience is helpful. If becoming a team member of our family and employee owned bank interests you, learn more about this exciting career opportunity!

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

August 18, 2017 – Here’s your opportunity to support meaningful customer relationships and work with state-of-the-art systems. Our Decorah location is seeking a full-time Customer Support employee. If the idea of working with several software/online applications while delivering excellent customer service appeals to you, consider applying for this position. You’ll be expected to have a keen attention to detail, have ten-key skills, and appreciate lifelong learning. This position also provides services on our ATM network and offers the opportunity to work alongside a supportive team. If becoming a team member of our family and employee owned bank interests you, learn more about this exciting career opportunity!

Decorah Bank and Trust Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. Decorah Bank & Trust Company is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. Minority | Female | Disabled | Veteran

 

 

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time Based goalsDecorah & Cresco – August 7, 2017 – A big step in successfully managing your money is learning to set and save toward financial goals. You will always have both short and long-term financial goals to work on. Short-term financial goals could include saving for a new video game, a phone, or a weekend trip with friends. Long-term financial goals might include saving for a new car or paying college expenses. You will also have goals for things like buying a house and saving for retirement.

Remember the acronym SMART. You may have heard about SMART goals before, and it applies to financial goals too. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based. If you set a goal to save for a new car, you might save a little each month, but you will have no way to know if you are going to be able to buy the car you want at the time you want it. Instead, decide how much money you need to save for a new car. Decide when you want to purchase the vehicle. Now figure out how much per month you need to save to reach your goal. If you want $2,000 saved towards your new vehicle purchase in one year, you would need to save $167 per month.

Look at your budget. Does the car fit with your current budget? If not, is there somewhere you can make an adjustment to make this work? If you can’t, saving $167 per month might not be realistic. When setting financial goals you need to fit the monthly savings into your budget, and keep track each month to be sure you are sticking to your goals. You will usually have more than one financial goal at a time, and you might not be able to make them all work with your current budget.

It can help to prioritize your goals. Which are most important? If you can’t do one of them what would you cross off the list first? Maybe you can save for them all at one time, but won’t be able to save as much as you hope. It’s not uncommon to have more items than you would like to save for than what is realistically possible. You may have to make some adjustments to your budget and to your list of goals.

Remember the concept of “pay yourself first.” Put your goal money in savings right away out of each paycheck before spending money on other short-term wants like going out to eat or a new shirt. Ask your employer if they can direct deposit paychecks into multiple accounts. This can make saving almost automatic.

If you really want to be creative while reaching your goals, consider using an online personal finance manager (PFM), like what Decorah Bank offers. PFM categorizes and tracks spending and saving from your accounts in easy to manage colorful charts.

It takes a little time to create and follow a budget based on financial goals. Mastering this skill, however, can help you for years to come. Knowing how much you need to save each month towards your goals and tracking your progress will ensure you stay on track and are able to meet your goals. Enjoy the journey!

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 https://www.dhs.gov/topic/cybersecurity 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 http://www.samsung.com/us/samsung-pay/for 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.