From The President's Desk
Where 2018 began on a strong footing, the year ended with an awful wobble to it – both economically and politically. I’ve rarely touched on politics in the President’s Letter, and I’ve no intention of doing it now. That leaves us with a bit of an economic exploration. Space is limited, so let’s concentrate on how your Community Bank has fared through these volatile times.
During periods of instability or unsteadiness, people often rely on banks for financial safe refuge. By extension, banks have a responsibility to manage the inherent risks present on their balance sheets (primarily within the loan portfolio) in an appropriate manner, as expected by the customers who depend on us. Your Community Bankers understand this, and we spent 2018 turning an already sturdy balance sheet, into one of the strongest in the Pacific Northwest. This is especially important, since the current United States economic expansion is now one of the longest on record. Boom times don’t last forever, but rest assured we’re prepared to help you navigate through the uncertainty if you need us.
By the end of the year, total assets of Community Bank crested $420M. As of this writing, Community Bank is now the largest bank headquartered in Northeastern Oregon. We can directly attribute this success to the dedication of our employees, and the continued support of our customers, who understand the importance of banking with a local financial institution. The funds deposited in Community Bank are redeployed directly into our local markets in the form of loans, investments, sponsorships and donations. We see little reason to change this business model. After all, it’s worked for 64 years.
Despite the dose of shakiness at the end, 2018 was a very good year for your Community Bank. A fresh year is upon us, and hopefully it’s already shaping up to be a prosperous one for our customers. As always, if there is anything we can do to assist, please let us know. We’re always here to lend a hand.
Find Us On Instagram
Have you ever seen a random act of kindness out in your community? Have you wished that more people could have witnessed it or at least heard about this person or business that did a wonderful thing for someone else?
We’re kicking off our Instagram account asking you all to watch for those great examples, get a picture of the person or business (with their permission, of course), and post it on Instagram explaining what was inspiring about it with #HighFiveCommunity. Tag us @cbank_local to be sure we see it and we’ll give them a shout out on our page.
Linda Jacoby Wins $2,500
Island City resident, Linda Jacoby, was the 2018 Win-Win CD Annual winner. She also was randomly selected for the monthly $200 drawing in November! She’s been saving money for herself in her CD, and has now won $2,700 total in prize money. Congratulations Linda!
Budgeting in the New Year
Did you know the average person spends $546 a year on auto repairs? Or that an ER visit averages $2,168 per visit? With the unexpected costs that can arise at a moments notice, it’s important to be prepared.
Sticking to a monthly budget can help you save for life’s unexpected expenses. Whether you’re trying to become debt free, save for a new home, or saving for retirement, a monthy budget can help keep you on track and provide you with peace of mind.
To assess your current spending habits and see areas where you could save, check out our monthly budget calculator, found in the “Financial Basics” playlist in our Community Classroom online.
Traveling Piggy Bank
While you’re planning your adventures for the spring, don’t forget that Traveling Hamilton loves to tag along. Capture him enjoying his vacation and then watch for the rules for this year’s Traveling HAMilton $1,000 Photo Contest that will take place in June and July. We’ll be changing it up a little bit, as far as how you enter and how the winner is selected. But we’ll still have the same photo guidelines:
- It must be a photo of HAMilton in an actual setting, not placed in an editing program.
- The photo of HAMilton must show at least 50% of the Community Bank logo.
- Must be suitable to be published.
- And it must be a new to the contest photo for 2019, no entries submitted in previous Traveling HAMilton photo contests are eligible.
Don’t have a HAMilton travel buddy? Pick one up at your local Community Bank branch.
Debit Cards Vs. Credit Cards
When it comes to making purchases, not all plastic acts the same. Debit cards and credit cards both offer a convenient way to pay without cash or checks, and both are accepted in nearly all the same places. But that’s where the similarities end. The fundamental differences are where the money comes from, and what it can cost.
Debit cards typically pull funds from a checking account, while credit cards charge purchases using a line of credit. With a debit card, you’re spending money from your own funds. Use a credit card and you’re borrowing the money and eventually will have to pay it back to the card issuer, perhaps including interest.
Debit card pros:
The biggest benefit of using a debit card to make purchases is that you’re not creating debt and the interest it can accumulate. So if you’re looking to stay (or become) debt-free, a debit card is probably the way to go.
Using a debit card also helps free you from the interest burden that can come with using credit card. Unless you’re paying off the balance every month, whatever charges you make accrue interest. And that can end up costing you a lot.
Debit card cons:
The biggest drawback to debit cards is the potential for spending more than you have in your account, which can result in overdraft fees. This can get expensive quickly. So it’s important to keep track of your available funds and not spend what you don’t have. Disputed charges can be more difficult to resolve when a debit card is used instead of a credit card. You also can’t improve your credit score by using a debit card.
Credit card pros:
Many credit cards provide rewards when they’re used, like points that can be cashed in for store discounts or travel benefits. You can also employ this type of plastic practically everywhere, including abroad.
Credit cards can also provide a financial backup in case of an emergency such as an unexpected job loss, hospitalization or car repair. Some consumers use them to pay bills, then pay off that balance every month. That can increase those rewards points, and using a credit card responsibly also helps boost your credit score. A better score can pay off in the long run by helping you qualify for lower interest rates on debt, including a mortgage or other loans and new credit card accounts.
Credit card cons:
One of the biggest drawbacks of spending with a credit card is the interest on unpaid balances that can pile up if you don’t pay it off each month. A high interest rate can drag you deeper and deeper into debt if you let the unpaid amount rise. Credit cards also make it easy to spend money you don’t have and become detached from your spending. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to fall into suffocating debt, start missing payments and damage your credit rating. That can make it harder to borrow money in the future.
If you miss a payment, you may be charged a late fee, and between that and interest on an unpaid balance, costs can add up quickly. Plus any missed payment can harm your credit.
So when you’re trying to decide which plastic to swipe at the checkout counter, keep in mind the costs and benefits of both, and make the appropriate choice.
Community Bank is here to help protect your hard earned money. Watch out for these scams and techniques used by fraudsters:
"Robo-Dialers": The annoying automated calls asking to "verify" information regarding card accounts, taxes or debt collection can be incredibly dangerous. An automated voice may ask you to enter a PIN number or Card Number, or request that you press "1" to speak to a live agent, who will attempt to steal your information. Don't do it.
"Local" Calls are Not Always Local: We often hear folks say they only "answer calls from local numbers". While it is a good practice to only respond to unexpected calls from 541, 509 and 208 area codes, crooks and telemarketers can spoof area codes on caller ID. If a call purporting to be "local", seems even the slightest bit suspicious, hang up, and call back a local number you've verified is accurate.
Requests for Your Card Verification Code (CVC): The CVC, or 3 digit code on the back of your debit card, is an extra layer of security typically used for purchases completed online or by-phone. Once a debit card or Mobile Wallet is activated, your bank (including Community Bank), or credit card company, is highly unlikely to request this code from you. As a bank, we are the conduit to your purchase from a merchant. It is typically the merchant, not the bank, that would typically need a CVC to complete a transaction. Therefore any requests for the CVC when you're not actively making a purchase online or by phone, should be questioned.
Facebook "Polls", "Tests' and Quizzes" Phishing: These days, crooks are not only phishing for info by phone or email. In certain instances, they will initiate social media "polls" or "tests", then ask you to provide a form of identification to submit or receive your results. Most of the polls are harmless, but if completing a poll, test or game that requests personal information, and you are not intending to enroll or purchase a product, it's best not to provide any information at all.