How time flies. It’s going on 17 years since I began my career at Community Bank. When I started, we were opening about a branch per year, and trying awfully hard to ‘grow into our shoes’. During this expansionary period, a recurring question from our bankers in the newer markets was: how can we distinguish ourselves from the competition with a seemingly common name like Community Bank? The answer then, as it is now, is simple. A name wouldn’t separate us from the competition, but our actions would. Exhibit superior customer service, and provide our bankers with the tools to make an impact in the community, and customers would perceive value in us. It seems to have worked. Your Community Bank surpassed $400M in assets for the first time at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
Through the efforts of our Community Bankers we continue to give back as a Community Bank should. In addition to more traditional lending, over the past several years we’ve completed a series of Community Development loans or direct bond funding for public agencies and certain non-profits that receive a large source of government funding. Here are just a few examples that I’m sure many folks are familiar with:
- Wallowa County Courthouse improvements
- Elgin Health District Facilities
- Morrow County Administrative Building
- Milton-Freewater City Hall Improvements (in process)
- City of College Place Water Improvement Project
This isn’t a full list by any means. However, it’s meant to demonstrate that the money you deposit in your Community Bank is directly deployed into projects that improve the services and infrastructure in our rural communities. Also, if you get a chance, check out the video we produced with a local production company, Paper Street Enterprise, which documents our efforts on the Elgin Health District project. Watch the video here.
We hope to see you at our Customer Appreciation BBQs this summer. A full schedule is included in the Newsletter. Have a great summer and thank you for banking with us.
As technology advances, you can be sure that identity thieves are not far behind. Here are some common methods cyberthieves use to steal your personal information and how you can increase your security while shopping or banking.
Your email messages may not be quite what they appear to be if you're targeted by a phishing scam. Phishing is the act of sending fraudulent emails that seem to come from familiar businesses. These messages contain links to phony websites designed to steal personal information either directly or through malware and keyloggers. Often you'll see a problem referenced with a request to click on the link provided to correct it. Once you've entered your information, ID thieves can access your accounts.
Vishing is the telephone version of phishing. Callers are sometimes bold enough to suggest the victim call back to verify authenticity. But the vishers don't actually hang up; instead they play a recorded dial tone to make the victim believe he's making a call.
Debit and credit card fraud
Most shoppers love the convenience of plastic, and identity thieves use this to their advantage whether it involves skimming, phishing, vishing, malware, mail theft or just looking over a victim's shoulder to steal account numbers. Someone running up debt in your name can ruin your credit score. When debit cards are compromised, it's particularly alarming because fraudulent purchases drain your checking account instantly.
Business email compromise, or BEC, scams have cost companies more than $1.2 billion. A phony email from a CEO requesting that funds be transferred per attached instructions is sent to an employee. Because the email appears to come from the employee's superiors, and because the message so closely resembles requests this employee receives regularly, the transfer is often made without question. The money then ends up in overseas accounts that are almost impossible to trace.
Tips to protect yourself
To even further reduce fraud risk:
• Install the latest editions of antispyware, antivirus, firewalls and browsers to all devices, and password-protect them.
• Use strong passwords for all accounts and change them frequently.
• Monitor accounts and credit reports to detect fraud early
• Don't use public Wi-Fi networks for financial transactions.
• Keep cards away from public view, and shred personal documents before discarding.
• Opt in for two-factor authentication on accounts.
• Turn off bluetooth and near-field communication when not in use.
• Don't click on email links. Type full web addresses to access business websites.
• Never share sensitive information in response to an unsolicited call or email.
• To verify calls, hang up for at least one minute to ensure the first call is disconnected. Call the customer service number listed on your bank's website or the back of your credit card, not a number provided by an unsolicited contact.
• To protect your business from BEC scams, use a two-step verification process for all money transfers. Verbal confirmation is also wise.
Staying informed and adopting smart fraud prevention practices will go a long way toward protecting your identity. Between your efforts and your bank's security, you should be able to stay a step ahead of identity thieves.
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Read the full contest rules here. And good luck to all photographers! The 4th Annual Traveling HAMilton $1,000 Photo Contest kicks off on June 4th. Entry period is from June 4th through July 1st. The top 5 photos submitted each week will be vying for the most votes via the contest app on Facebook. The photo with the most votes for the week will earn the winner $100 plus a chance at the grand prize. The Top 4 photos from 4 weeks of competition will be assessed by a bank committee and the best will be awarded $1,000!
Pictured, last year's winner, Kierra Peltier of Clarkston, WA.
We’ve been gearing up for a great BBQ season. We’re ordering supplies, organizing our BBQ buffet station, and anxiously awaiting beautiful weather to accompany each and every (fingers crossed) BBQ event this year. We’re serving up a delicious burger and hotdog feast with all the fixings to show you our appreciation for your continued business. We hope you’re able to join us!
BBQs run from 11 am - 2 pm.
May 31 in Heppner
June 5 in Clarkston
June 7 in Hermiston
June 14 in Milton-Freewater
July 19 in Baker City
July 25 in Elgin
July 31 in Pendleton
August 14 in Wallowa County
August 21 in College Place
August 29 at Downtown Branch
in La Grande (904 Adams Ave)
Many companies offer insurance to help you restore your good name in the event of a breach to your identity. What are some questions to ask if you’re in the market for a restoration program?
Does the cost of the program cover your spouse also? What about your minor children?
Will you have an expert assigned to help provide guidance through the recovery and restoration process?
With Benefits Plus Restoration Rescue,® a special partnership program offered with Community Bank checking accounts, the answer to the above questions is “Yes”.
For the one low monthly fee of $5.99* you can enroll a spouse/joint owner and minor children in the program. You’ll have the option to give temporary power of attorney to the expert leading the restoration process on your behalf.
In addition to Restoration Rescue,® the overall Benefit’s Plus® program also includes cash back on hotels, flights and travel, plus discounts on gift cards, and much more.
To start a free 90-Day trial,* enroll online here or visit your local branch.
*After trial, a monthly fee of $5.99 will be deducted from your checking account. You can cancel at any time.
Celebrate Good Grades!
As the school year comes to a close, don't forget that your grades can earn you money! Youth Savings customers in grades 1 - 12, bring in your report card in June or July.
Last year we paid 748 student-customers a total of $17,135! Since the program started in 2011, we've awarded over $79,000 to local students.
Learn More about the program here.
Browse these local business news briefs from throughout our footprint. If you are a business customer owner or manager with some exciting new change to your business, please send info to email@example.com to have your news considered for our next newsletter.
Life’s Little Treasures Community Thrift is now open for business and accepting donations at 2203 Adams Ave, STE B in La Grande. Affordably priced items allow you to get the things you need without breaking the bank!
Dr. Kate Spangler is a naturopathic doctor who makes house calls in and around La Grande; she uses natural, gentle, and nourishing remedies to help her patients rebuild their health from the ground up. www.drkate.net.
Next time you travel to Elgin, check out Cricket Flat Coffee Co. for a quick drive-thru coffee treat, slushy or milkshake. Located smack dab in the middle of Elgin, at the Junction of Hwy 204 & Hwy 82.
Heppner native, Adam Wight is operating Wight’s Electric in the Heppner area. 541-591-2674.
Anton’s Home & Spirits, a long-standing business at 6 S main street in Joseph, is now under new ownership of the next generation. Judie Anton’s son and daughter-in-law, TJ and Sara Anton have purchased the store and are expanding offerings.
Curtis and Laura Pumphrey, owners of Black Forest Auto Repair & Transmission Specialist, have opened their doors at 217 E Broadway Ave in Milton-Freewater, the former PGG building. To reach the crew or Manager, Adam Novakovich, call 509-520-1522.
We’d like to welcome a new business to the La Grande area: Welcome Home Construction and Design LLC. They are helping area homeowners to remodel existing houses into dream homes. 541-861-0263.