RCB Bank Stays True to its Roots

Two ladies in front of RCB Bank's ITM in Claremore March 11, 2019

When RCB Bank opened its doors for the first time in 1936, we made a promise to Claremore to be friendly in service and progressive in spirit. That promise still directs our decisions today.

“In these ever-changing times, RCB Bank strives to stay true to our roots and provide services that our customers want and need,” said Matt Mason, Claremore market president.

Our progressive spirit continually seeks to develop and deliver flexible and convenient banking options so you can bank how you want, when you want.

We are proud to announce our newest convenience, RCB instaBank, with self-service interactive teller machines, known as ITMs.

Make cash and check deposits for both personal and business. Withdraw cash and coins. Talk with live bankers during extended banking hours.

“The ITM has been a life saver,” said Betty Watowich, owner of Doe’s Eat Place of Claremore. “We don’t carry a bunch of cash so it’s super convenient when we need cash in a flash.”

You can skip the line in the branch or drive-thru and still speak with a teller. At an ITM, you can video chat with a live RCB Bank teller during extended banking hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., excluding holidays.

“Our video bankers can also help with issues like misplacing a debit card, closing a card and ordering a new one,” said Amber Holloway, branch automation supervisor, RCB Bank. “When you need to talk to a teller but the bank is closed or you’re in a rush, ITMs are a great alternative.”

Non-customers can use our ITMs as well, to cash RCB Bank checks and withdraw funds with their debit card like a normal ATM.

Our friendly service extends beyond our walls. As a locally owned bank, our foundation, our leadership and our drive focuses on community.

“In addition to our financial contributions, you’ll find us in the community, volunteering on local non-profit boards, event committees and at our local schools,” said Sara Moss, community and customer relations, RCB Bank. “We serve because we live here too! Our kids attend these schools too! We serve because we care!“

RCB Bank was formed out of a need during the Great Depression. Good people were struggling. They needed a hand and banks were not meeting their needs. RCB Bank founders stepped in to help local citizens keep their farms afloat and their businesses operating. They made bold moves to lend money because they knew a person’s character, not just their account balance, was worth investing in.

Because of our progressive spirit to loan in tough times, we have had the honor over the years to build loyal customers and serve the needs of multi-generation families.

It is an honor when our customers give us feedback like one of our recent Google Reviews, “Always been there for me!” – Five stars!

RCB Bank is about relationships, community and boldness. We believe building relationships with our customers will help us to better understand and serve their needs. We believe in building stronger communities by providing financial services to help citizens thrive and local businesses grow. We are willing to take bold steps and meet the needs of the community, even in tough times.

We invite you to come and see why so many customers say, RCB Bank “That’s my bank.”

 

ITM: Money transfers can only be made between RCB Bank accounts. ITM deposits made before 7 p.m. on business days the Bank is open will be deposited that day. Deposits made after 7 p.m. or on days the Bank is closed will be deposited next business day.
RCB Bank is a community bank with locations across Oklahoma and Kansas. Founded in 1936, RCB Bank is committed to serving its communities with conservative banking practices and progressive banking products. Learn more at RCBbank.com or give us a call at 855.BANK.RCB. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #798151. Matt Mason NMLS #799316
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It’s Tax Fraud Season. Be Aware.

Woman alarmed by phone call March 6, 2019

Don’t be another victim.

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to fake IRS communication scams, according to the IRS. Here are important reminders from the IRS about tax fraud.

​Two most important things to know about the IRS.

  1. The IRS DOES NOT initiate contact by email, text messages or social media with taxpayers to request personal or financial information.
  2. The IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

​Telltale signs of tax fraud.

​IRS-impersonation telephone scams

You are told you owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. You may also be told you have a refund owed to you and the caller needs personal information in order to process the refund. If you don’t answer the phone, they may leave an urgent callback message.

Scams targeting tax professionals: The objective is to steal their clients’ data so they can file fraudulent tax returns that better impersonate their victims.

​Email, phishing and malware schemes

You receive an official-looking email from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. Their name and logo appear on it. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Be alert to bogus emails that appear to come from your tax professional, requesting information for an IRS form. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information, nor do they require life insurance and annuity updates from taxpayers or a tax professional.

​Taxpayer Advocacy Panel scams

Some taxpayers may receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, where unsolicited emails try to trick victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click any link.

What to do? 

The IRS will only deal with you on these related issues via US mail. 
If you get a call, hang-up and contact the IRS directly.

  • Never respond to an email or fax.
  • Never call the number listed in the email or provided to you by phone.
  • Go directly to the IRS website at www.IRS.gov for assistance.
  • Read up on IRS Tax Scams Consumer Alerts.
Source: www.IRS.gov

 

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You Are At Risk!

Fraudsters Target Small Businesses.

January 22, 2019

By Stacy Dunn | RCB Bank Information Security

Information is as good as gold.

If you think your business is too small to be a victim of data loss, think again. Cybercriminals find small to medium-sized businesses to be more accessible targets.

While physical securities are a concern (leaving documents lying around or not shredding personal paperwork), the majority of incidents tend to be more hands off.

Hackers like to infiltrate businesses with social engineering tactics:

  • Phishing & vishing
  • Customer account compromise
  • Vendor management intrusion

The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers a framework to help businesses protect their work spaces. Each business has unique risks and will require tailored security measures.

Preventive measures:

  • Limit employee access to sensitive data.
  • Use strong passwords that expire.
  • Use multi-factor authentication.
  • Train staff on information security.
  • Reduce risk with effective policies and procedures.
  • Encrypt all data, especially email and mobile devices.
  • Use reliable endpoint protection, firewall and email filtering.
  • Update and patch systems regularly.
  • Protect all facets of your business, e.g., websites and vendor access.

Your network is only as strong as your weakest user.

Hackers are one step ahead in trying to steal information. Take steps to not become their next victim.

Information security training is a must-have in today’s environment.

Invite RCB Bank’s Information Technology and Business Services teams to speak about cybersecurity at your workplace. Call 918-342-7379 to schedule an appointment, or connect with our business services representative in your area.

Invest in your business.
RCBbank.com/BusinessSolutions

 

This article is published in Value News, February 2019 Issue, valuenews.com.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. See a business representative for specific questions regarding PosPay details, pricing and fees for your personal situation. Call us at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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PosPay: A Proactive Approach to Business Check Fraud

man typing at computer. Frontline Defense: PosPay December 26, 2018

Payments fraud is at an all-time high with check fraud as the most popular form of attack.* PosPay is your frontline defense.

Anticipate Fraud.

“Dealing with fraud is a painful process,” said Aaron Latsos, owner of Smokie’s BBQ in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma who has firsthand experience with check fraud.

Latsos is diligent and reviews his accounts daily, which is why he noticed the suspicious charges. They appeared to be duplicate charges from stores he regularly shops, except the charges were out-of-state. Someone had his business account number and was making counterfeit checks.

Now the pain. When fraud occurs, you have to shut down your account. Open a new one and re-establish all your automatic payments, payroll and direct deposits.

“Not to mention the hassle of filing paperwork with the proper authorities in an effort to recover lost funds,” Latsos said. “Never again.”

Implement Safeguards.

Latsos now protects his account with Positive Pay (PosPay), a valuable tool that authenticates payments before processing.

He writes checks, enters the data and PosPay verifies payments. If there are inconsistencies, he receives an email to accept or decline the transaction.

Aaron Latsos and Eddie Curran standing outside Smokie's BBQ
Smokie's Owner Aaron Latsos and Eddie Curran.

“Picture your checking account as a party and PosPay is the bouncer,” said Eddie Curran, Business Services manager at RCB Bank. “As guests (payments) arrive, they are checked against the guest list you provided to PosPay. If they match your information, they get in. If not, they are temporarily denied access until you give permission.”

Win The Fight.

PosPay can cover both paper items (checks) and electronic transactions (ACH debits, credits).
With PosPay, Aaron Latsos has stopped multiple fraud attempts while enjoying added benefits.

PosPay Benefits

Control. You approve what runs through your account.

Peace of mind. PosPay is watching your back.

Simplicity. It’s easy to use and takes much less time than having to deal with a fraud incident.

Affordable. PosPay potentially pays for itself on the first fraud prevention.

Talk to your bank to learn more about PosPay and other tools to protect your business.

Our lenders and business services representatives are happy to answer your questions, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a lender and/or business services representative in your area.

Invest in yourself.
RCBbank.com/GetFit

*2018 AFP Payments Fraud Survey, AFPonline.org.
This article is published in Value News, January 2019 Issue, valuenews.com.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. See a business representative for specific questions regarding PosPay details, pricing and fees for your personal situation. Call us at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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Email Extortion Scam Hitting Business Inboxes

Be aware of current bomb threat hoax

December 17, 2018

By Stacy Dunn, Information Security, RCB Bank

A new email extortion scam (bomb threat hoax) is making its way to the inboxes of several businesses, namely financial institutions. Narrated similarly to a scene in an action movie, the sender suggests an accomplice has planted a bomb within the recipient’s building that will be detonated if a bitcoin ransom is not paid by the end of the workday.

The sender discourages the recipient to contact the authorities and the subject line may read, “I advise you not to call the police.”

The message states:

extortion scam example

 

Notably, the businesses that have received this message proved to be safe after investigation, though numerous schools closed as a precaution.

Scammers strive on the human element of uncertainty and use whatever methods possible to get what they want.

Extortion emails, ransomware attacks, phishing attempts and various other methods of social engineering are all key parts of a hacker’s repertoire. Recognizing and detecting these instances are imperative to maintaining a safe, secure work environment.

If you receive an email similar to the one detailed above, contact your information security team immediately.

Interested in similar articles? Read this article about wire fraud.

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Low Cost, Big Heart Gift Ideas

Get$Fit Tip: Stress less.

Hand holding heart December 3, 2018

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

I stress over gift-giving.

I never know what to give people. I’m embarrassed when I can’t afford their wish list.

Holidays are a time for gratitude and fellowship. Gifts are to be an expression of joy and generosity, not a stress inducer. Definitely not a debt instigator.

If you fret over gift-giving, try one of these no stress, pay less ideas that won’t break your budget.

Low cost, big heart gift ideas:

“We give memories,” said Michelle Duhaime, Lawrence. “I bought 20 cans of silly string. I gave each grandchild two cans; told them Grampa was hiding somewhere on the property; and to go find him! Best $20 I have ever spent!”

“I follow a four-gift rule for my kids,” said Melissa Welchel, Oklahoma City. “Buy something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.”

“For families, we do group gifts, board games, homemade gift baskets, rather than buying for each individual,” said Welchel.

“I help someone with a project they’re working on,” said Kim James, Verdigris. “It means more than buying something they may not need or want.”

“We restrict ourselves to one store bought gift and we set a price limit,” said Stephen Taylor, Tulsa. “For friends, we make homemade goodies or gifts. People are happy getting it, and we don’t spend time agonizing over whether someone will like their gift.”

“We give money to our pastor to give to someone who could use extra help,” said Tara Depperschmidt, Stillwater. “We don’t want to know who it goes to; just that it goes to someone who really needs it.”

Invest in yourself.
RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.

 

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How to avoid delays in your mortgage process

Get$Fit Tip: Limit financial changes

Proceed with caution Mortgage Matters October 29, 2018

Obtaining a mortgage requires a lot of documentation, multiple forms, financial records, third-party paperwork; not to mention multiple layers of inspection to verify your information is accurate. Financial changes during your loan process can invalidate paperwork and delay your loan closing. Here are four ways to avoid delays in the loan process.

No. 1: Inform lender of a job change ASAP.

You submit pay stubs and W2’s to your lender, but, right before closing, your lender may request employment verification from your employer. If your job or income status changes, this can potentially create a holdup in the loan process; or worse, your loan may be denied, even if you were pre-approved. A job change requires updated documentation and approval verification. Some jobs have a probationary period, which too may affect your loan approval process. If you are planning a job change, let your lender know as early as possible as this can also help you avoid delays.

No. 2: Resist increasing debt.

A few days before closing, your lender runs a final credit check to check for new debt. If you open a new credit card, finance new appliances or furniture, buy a car, co-sign on another loan or take on more debt, new documentation is required. Resist the urge to make big purchases during your loan process. New debt may affect your loan qualification.

No. 3: Avoid big financial changes.

Most lenders require up to two months of bank statements for proof of funds used for your home transaction. Changing banks during your loan process may cause a delay in obtaining the necessary statements. Moreover, any large deposits made into your account need explanation. Most loans will allow a gift, but these funds require additional documentation signed by you and the person making the gift.

No. 4: Keep credit card balances low.

A large portion of your credit score reflects your credit utilization. Keeping credit card balances under 20 percent of your available balance helps your credit score. When it comes to your mortgage, your credit score helps determine both your interest rate and mortgage insurance (if required). A higher credit score helps you qualify for better rates, saving you money over the life of your loan.

Before you make major financial changes, talk to your lender first. This will help you avoid delays or setbacks during your mortgage process.

We are here to help even if you’re not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a local RCB Bank lender to get answers to your lending questions.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

This article is published in Value News, November 2018 Issue, valuenews.com.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Kenneth Wohl and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934
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Fraudsters are targeting ATMs with sneaky tactics

What you need to know about card fraud, skimmers, ATMs & more.

ATM on a wall October 24, 2018

By Jamie Andrews, SVP, Senior Operations Officer, RCB Bank

In a recent trend, fraudsters are focusing their attention on ATM terminals. Be aware.

Fraudsters are able to compromise a merchant’s payment system or ATM by use of malware or by attaching a physical device, such as a skimmer, which reads the data in the magnetic stripe and can be used to produce a fake card.

Fraudsters may also use mini cameras to capture PIN numbers used on transactions at ATM terminals. Then, they go on shopping sprees and/or withdraw funds from the bank account attached to those cards.

What is a skimmer?

A device made to fit snugly and invisibly over or inside an ATM card slot or merchant terminal.

How does RCB Bank protect you?

RCB Bank issues EMV chip cards, making it more difficult for fraudsters to counterfeit your debit card. When possible insert your card to complete your transaction.

Some merchants do not have EMV chip terminals and require you to swipe or slide your card. Be more alert when using these types of terminals with the tips below.

RCB Bank uses systems to monitor unusual card activity and will reach out if we see something suspicious. Note: We will never ask you for your PIN number. 

RCB Bank’s ATMs have been upgraded to EMV chip terminals, which provide an additional level of security.

How can you help protect yourself?

  • Before using your card at an ATM, inspect it to see if anything on the card insert looks suspicious.
  • Be aware and report the transaction if it initially errors but then suddenly goes through.
  • Be alert if the insert or swipe of  your card is not smooth.
  • Avoid standalone cash machines in dimly lit areas.
  • When possible use ATMs physically installed at a bank.
  • Cover the PIN pad with your hand when entering your information.

RCB Bank is dedicated to protecting your financial information. When we work together, we can prevent, identify and resolve fraud faster.

If you suspect fraudulent activity, contact our fraud department immediately at 877.361.0814.

Learn more ways to stay alert for fraud in our Learning Center and Security Center.

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Ways to save at closing

Get$Fit Tip: Compare lender fees for better savings.

Woman dreaming about house holding piggy bank. October 18, 2018

Did you know closing costs vary between lenders? If you want to save the most money on your closing costs, it pays to shop around. Here’s why.

Interest rates are restricted by market conditions. Your options are limited.

Buyers often shop interest rates, choosing the lowest rate possible to help their overall savings over the life of the loan. Yet, rates change daily, sometimes more than once per day depending on different economic factors.

When comparing lenders’ rates for secondary market financing, all lenders base their rates off the same market trading; therefore, all quotes should be similar, typically within .125 percent, .250 percent at most.

Lender fees vary from lender to lender giving you more options to lower your costs.

Lender origination charges, application fees, processing and underwriting fees can vary significantly between lenders. The best way to compare lenders is to request Loan Estimates. Their fees will be listed under Closing Cost Details on page 2, section A.

You can also cut costs by comparing homeowner’s insurance coverage and premiums.

Oftentimes, the largest expense on your Closing Disclosure is homeowner’s insurance, another expense that varies between companies.

Generally, you will need 14 months of homeowner’s insurance set aside in your escrow account paid at closing. If you choose a policy that charges $1,800 annually versus a $2,500 annual policy, you can save $800 at closing.

Know where your money is going.

Ask your lender plenty of questions. A good lender can answer all your questions and make you feel comfortable about your spending decisions. Buying a house is one of the most expensive things you will buy. Why spend more than you have to?

Talk to a lender to explore your options. Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Alex Penny and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Alex Penny NMLS #1535836.
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Best Financial Advice

Get$Fit Tip: Sweat the small stuff.

Wise Monday Advice August 10, 2018

There is a saying that wisdom comes from listening to advice, so I asked bankers to share the best money advice they have received and the impact it has made in their lives.

No. 1: Pay attention to your small expenses.

“Spend more time thinking about $20 decisions rather than $20,000 decisions,” shares Gregg Conklin, RCB Bank lender. “You’ll make $5, $10, $20 decisions daily. These add up. Learn to be wise in how you spend and save $20, so as you build wealth, you’ll be wise in how you spend and save $20,000.”

“I received this advice from a man who immigrated to the U.S. from Holland in the 1950s,” Conklin says. “He left Holland with $20 in his pocket and taught himself English by watching Saturday matinees. He eventually owned thousands of acres of ranch land, raising cattle in Kansas.”

No. 2: Invest in your future.

“Pay your obligations first, invest in your future second, indulge in non-essentials last,” shares Emily Dake, RCB Bank loan document specialist. “My grandparents taught me to see money as a tool that could guarantee future comfort. If I buy something, I want to walk away having gained something permanent such as knowledge, an experience or an asset.”

No. 3: Build an emergency fund.

“Build up a savings to cover at least three months worth of bills,” says Jessica Hamman, RCB Bank eServices. “After having ER surgery, I was without a paycheck. No savings and no paycheck can quickly put you behind on bills. It took three times as long to get caught up as it did to get behind.”

No. 4: Learn Rule 72.

Rule 72 will help you better understand the power of compounding interest over time,” shares Brad Ward, RCB Bank lender. “Take the number 72 and divide it by the annual rate of interest that your money is earning to determine the number of years it will take for your money to roughly double.”

No. 5: Pay yourself like a bill.

“Put money into a savings account directly from your paycheck so you don’t have time to spend it,” says Kim Harrison, RCB Bank loan assistant. “Since I started doing this I have been able to steadily save, and I was able to use part of it to buy my first house this year.”

No: 6: Start young.

“Early in my career, I was told about the value of saving now for retirement later,” says Jenna Louderback, vice president, eServices. “Putting that advice to work at a young age has paid off as I have watched my investments grow immensely over the years. Starting as early as possible has put me ahead of the game for my retirement plans.”

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit
You’re future self will thank you.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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Financing options for new home construction

Get$Fit Tip: Plan short-term and long-term financing before you build.

home under constrcution July 27, 2018

When it comes to financing the construction of a new home, you have two options.

1. Let a builder finance construction.

Common with larger building companies. The builder may ask you to put down a deposit while the company carries the cost of the construction. You get to choose floor plans, paint colors, fixtures and so on.

When construction is complete, you will obtain a typical mortgage, as if you purchased an existing home. Construction costs are built into the purchase price.

2. You finance construction.

Typical with smaller building companies or individual builders. You may choose to the carry the construction loan yourself. This type of financing is usually offered only at your local or regional banks and credit unions.

Your lender will determine the value of your home during your loan application by ordering an appraisal on the building and design specs.

Construction loans are short-term loans, generally 12-18 months. Costs vary by lender, so do your homework.

The majority of lenders will finance up to 80 percent of the property’s value.

Once approved, your loan is a closed line of credit. You can withdraw from the account as certain construction stages are completed. For example, after you acquire the land, you will need to pay for dirt work, then the foundation, the framework and so on.

Your lender will likely prepare a payment plan – a draw schedule – to guide the disbursement of funds through each stage. Periodically, the bank will send someone to check on the progress and verify draw schedule and budget.

Plan before you build.

Cost overruns

There will always be cost overruns or change orders. You may decide to add a larger patio or extra lighting. These items seem small individually, but they add up quickly. When planning your budget, conservatively allow for a 10 percent overage.

Variable monthly payments

Construction loans are short-term loans with adjustable interest rates. Think of it like a credit card payment. You pay the interest each month on the amount you borrowed. Prepare for payment fluctuation.

Permanent financing

Make sure you are qualified for permanent financing before taking out a construction loan. Some lenders may do construction loans but not permanent mortgages. Others do both.

Get pre-qualified for your permanent mortgage before you build.

Make certain you are pre-qualified for long-term financing before you build to avoid a potential financing nightmare when your new home construction is complete.

Talk to a lender to explore your options. Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Alex Penny and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.
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Sustainable. Responsible. Investing.

Get$Fit: Invest in the future you want.

Hand holds sustainable world July 27, 2018
By Grant J. Goering, AIF,® AVP, Portfolio Manager, RCB Bank

 

There is a growing trend in investing — sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI)— that blends personal values and principles with investment choices.

Aligning investments with values.

Sustainable investors consciously choose to invest in companies that contribute to advancements in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices, e.g., clean tech, labor and human rights, anti-corruption policies.

Sustainable investing has grown 33 percent in the U.S. since 2014. That equates to $8.72 trillion. SRI now accounts for more than one out of every five dollars under professional management, according to the latest SRI trends report, published by The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment Foundation (US SIF).

Sustainable investing performs in line with traditional investing.

Research also reveals a positive correlation between SRI strategies and corporate financial performance. A 2017 study conducted by Nuveen TIAA Investments found that investing in SRI strategies did not lead to a decrease in performance or an increase in risk.

The MSCI KLD 400 Social Index, one of the first socially responsible investing indexes, has performed right in line with the S&P 500.

In fact, during the February 2018 market downturn, SRI funds actually outperformed the broad market, according to Morningstar investment research company.

Wondering what impact your investments are making?

Ask your financial advisor for a portfolio review to see if your current investments include SRI companies.

Learn more about SRI at ussif.org, or speak with a financial advisor.

We offer free portfolio reviews at no cost, no obligation. We’d be happy to take a look at your current portfolio and offer a second opinion to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments.

Connect with an RCB Bank Trust Wealth Advisor in your area.

Invest in your values. RCBbank.com/GetFit

Investment products are Not insured by the FDIC or any government agency, Not a deposit, Not a bank guarantee, subject to risks and may lose value.
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Rural Development Home Loan Advantage

Get$Fit Tip: Know all your financing options before you start home shopping.

Rural Neighborhood July 26, 2018

USDA Rural Loan Requirements

If you feel like homeownership may be out of reach because you don’t have a large down payment, look into the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan (RD) program, which provides up to 100 percent financing to qualified households in eligible areas.

Fun fact: Rural America includes 72 percent of the nation’s land mass, according to the USDA RD 2017 Performance Report.

Rural Development Loan Advantages

100% financing

Rural Development loans may only require you to pay closing costs. The majority of other loan programs may require at least 3 percent down.

Lower Interest Rate

Because Rural Development loans are backed by the government, they typically are lower interest rate loans than most conventional loans.

Keep in mind, interest rates vary daily and depend on a number of factors, such as loan amount, credit score and rate lock.

Seller Concessions

Rural Development loans allow the seller to contribute up to 6 percent of your closing costs, which may cover your out of pocket needs entirely.

Mortgage Insurance Reduction

Most loans require mortgage insurance (PMI) if you pay less than a 20 percent down payment. PMI covers the loan in case of default and may require an upfront fee and/or is included in your monthly loan payment. With a Rural Development loan you may be able to finance the upfront portion and receive a discounted rate on the monthly fee.

Talk to a lender to explore your options, and to find out if you qualify for a Rural Development loan.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Alex Penny and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Alex Penny NMLS #1535836.
Source: USDA, https://www.rd.usda.gov/
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GAP – Payment Protection for Life’s Unexpected Moments

Learn About GAP

June 14, 2018

By Brent Carroll, RCB Bank Lending

New cars can quickly depreciate in value causing your auto insurance to pay less than what you owe on your car loan. What happens when an accident totals your car? Who pays the difference between the insurance settlement and your outstanding loan balance? You do. Or, maybe not.

Get$Fit Tip: Protect your assets.

It may be worth buying Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) coverage to help you avoid the risk of negative equity and having to continue making principal payments after a total loss. Depending on your loan term, GAP adds on average an estimated $7-$111 to your monthly loan payment, but it potentially could save you thousands of dollars in the event of loss.

After insurance settles, GAP will pay off your remaining loan balance2, including up to $1,000 of your car insurance deductible.

 

When GAP may benefit you:

• You make a small or no down payment on a new car
• You agree to a loan term longer than 48 months

Talk to a lender for details to see if GAP is right for you.

Our lenders are happy to answer your questions, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a lender in your area.

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit

1GAP insurance costs varies between lenders and loan terms. See your lender for specific questions regarding your personal loan qualifications and overall costs. 2GAP covers the residual value of the loan as of the date of loss. Above example is for generic illustration purposes only, based on 700 credit score. Does not factor in down payments, additional fees or other costs. Subject to credit approval. Rates are accurate as of June 15, 2018, and subject to change without notice. Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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Travel Planning Tips to Prevent Fraud

Don't forget to add fraud protection to your packing list

Travel planning tips to prevent fraud June 4, 2018
By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank Marketing

1. Bring only what you need.

When planning your next vacation, pack a lighter wallet, suggests RCB Bank Vice President, Security Officer Christy Wild.

“Bring only the amount of cash you will need and maybe one credit card.”

2. Leave your debit card at home.

“Especially if you are traveling internationally,” says Wild. “Debit cards tie directly to your bank account. If fraudulent charges are made, it is possible money may be taken out of your account that day.”

If debit card fraud goes unnoticed for a number of days, thieves may deplete your funds. Credit card fraud is not an immediate financial impact on you.

Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), federal law limits your liability for unauthorized charges, but your protection depends on the type of card and when you report the loss.

After you report fraud, your bank has to investigate and process your claim, which takes time. Rules pertaining to refund timeframes vary between types of fraud. Ask your bank for details.

3. Keep an eye on your account.

“From the time your card leaves your wallet until the time it returns, it is technically at risk,” Wild says. “It is crucial to monitor your accounts.”

Proper monitoring will help you find discrepancies.

Early detection and fast action to alert your credit card company and bank is the key to protecting your money.

Many credit card companies and banks offer text banking. This is a great fraud detection tool as you can set up transaction alerts.

Set an alert to notify you each time a transaction occurs on your account. This will help you spot charges you did not initiate. Text banking message, data rates and fees may apply.

You can also download your bank’s mobile banking app. This is another good tool that allows you to scan your accounts anytime from practically anywhere.

“Do not log in to your account on a public Wi-Fi network,” Wild says. “Fraudsters hack public networks and can watch you from the shadows.”

4. Tell your bank when and where you are going.

Before you hit the road, notify your bank and tell them your travel plans.

“It’s added protection,” Wild says. “It alerts them to keep a closer eye on your account. Plus, it helps to make sure they don’t decline your card when you are making purchases in another state, which to a bank may look like suspicious activity.”

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC.
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A case for shorter term loans

Get$Fit tip for how to save money on your auto loan

Car driving April 30, 2018

Is a longer-term, lower monthly payment loan saving you money?

Probably not.

Lower monthly payments of longer-term loans often come with higher interest rates, which means you end up paying more money over the life of your loan.

When it comes to borrowing money, it’s wise to consider the total cost of your loan.

If you can afford a higher monthly payment, accepting a shorter-term loan could save you thousands of dollars.

lower monthly payment and a longer loan term may cost you more money overallLet’s crunch the numbers on a 48-month (4 year) and 72-month (6 year) auto loan with example an example rate of 2.89% annual percentage rate (APR) for 48 months and 3.89% APR for 72 months for qualified buyers. Rates are for illustration purposes only; See a lender for current rates.

On a $30,000 new car loan, total interest increases from $1,805 for a 48-month term to $3,687 for a 72-month term – a significant cost difference of $1,882.

Focusing on the total loan cost will help you avoid buying more car than you can afford, plus help you avoid owing more on your car than what it is worth.

The longer the financing term, the more susceptible you are to having negative equity and being upside down on your loan.

A typical new car can lose close to 22-percent of its value in the first year, and roughly 12-percent annually in years two through four, according to data from the online car-pricing company Edmumds.com.

If you do go with longer financing, consider buying Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) coverage to help mitigate the risk of negative equity and having to make additional principal payments after a total loss. Having GAP can help with the difference between the primary insurance settlement and the outstanding balance on your vehicle on the date of loss. Ask your lender for details.

Get$Fit Tip: Before car shopping, get pre-qualified for financing so you know your numbers. Then, stick to your budget.

Our lenders are happy to answer your questions, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a lender in your area.

Invest in yourself
RCBbank.com/GetFit

RCB Bank Learning Center articles are for education purposes only. Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration. Scenarios, terms and rates shown are only examples as of May 2018 and are subject to change without notice.  Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Brad Ward, NMLS #536616.
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Guide to defining your second home

Vacation home April 18, 2018

When it comes to buying a second home, understanding how to define the property will help you better understand your mortgage options.

Let’s go over the basic home types defined by Fannie Mae.

Principle Residence, a property the borrower occupies as his or her primary residence.

Second Home, a property that must be occupied by the borrower for some part of the year, restricted to residences suitable for year-round occupancy. Borrower must have exclusive control of the property, must not be rental property or timeshare, and cannot be subject to any agreements that give management firm control over the occupancy of the property.

Investment Property, a property owned but not occupied by the borrower.

The property types seem straightforward, but here are a couple examples of when it gets tricky.

College homes

Many parents planning to purchase a home for their kids while they attend college will often apply for a second home mortgage.

If a home is considered as someone’s primary residence, regardless if that person (or student) is obligated or not on the loan, the home cannot be someone else’s secondary. In this case, the college home is an investment property.

Vacation homes

Another area of confusion are timeshares or homes managed by a management group, e.g., rental company. Most often, these do not qualify for conventional financing.

Your vacation home may qualify as a second home if it is in your full control and not generating income.
Remember, second homes are a second residence for the borrower to enjoy or use when not occupying their primary residence.

If you plan to rent the property while you are not using it, it may not qualify as a second home.

If you’re planning to purchase a vacation home or second property speak to a lender before you start the mortgage process.

The more you know about your loan options and your individual qualifications, the more satisfying your homebuying experience is.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934. 
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A Caution About Wire Fraud

Six signs you are a target for wire fraud

Caution: It is a scam graphic March 25, 2018

By RCB Bank Fraud Department, 877.361.0814

Wiring money is a way to send and receive money fast. It’s also a prime target for fraud.

Wire fraud often happens when dishonest people convince you to willingly send funds under false pretenses.

Because money moves fast in a wire transfer, it is nearly impossible to get it back.

Banks are required by law to make deposited check funds available within days, but it may take weeks to uncover a fake check.

You are liable if you deposit fraudulent funds into your bank account. If a check you deposit turns out to be a fake, you are responsible for repaying the bank.

Don’t be fooled. Before sending or accepting money, ask yourself these questions.

Do I really know this person?

Is the person a new acquaintance? A new romance? Scammers often use social media, email or phone to target victims. They will do whatever it takes to develop a seemingly real relationship with you, which may include meeting you in person. Be on guard for romance scams.

Is this person claiming to be a family member in trouble?

It’s called a grandparent scam. A criminal pretends to be a relative who needs money, e.g., they’re in trouble, had an accident or need bail money. They ask you to send money fast via gift cards or wire transfer, and beg you not to tell anyone. Always call the person at a known number (not the caller ID number) to confirm their story.

Is this person claiming to be a government agent, police officer or banker investigating a series of fraud cases and needs my help?

Scammers spoof caller ID and email addresses to look as if it is a trusted company or friend calling. Do your research, check the facts and talk to your bank about the transaction before sending money.

Is this person offering a get-rich deal. Am I asked to keep it secret?

Do not pay upfront for a promise to make money fast. Watch out for prize and inheritance scams that require you to pay taxes in advance.

Did this person come to my door or are they offering me an advance-payment service?

“No thanks.” Do not pay for services in advance. This also goes for things like debt relief, loan offers, online purchases or jobs. Watch out for services that require payment through electronic transfer to a home office or to another individual who they claim to be the boss.

Are you feeling pressured to send money?

Be suspicious of urgent money requests. Scammers want you to act fast and use threats and emotional ploys. STOP. Slow down and check the facts. Discuss the transaction with your bank, the police or a friend before sending money.

Protect Yourself: If you feel you are a victim of fraud, call your bank immediately.

Get more security tips at:

RCB Bank Security Center
FBI.gov/scams-and-safety

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC.

 

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Benefits of an escrow account

A home ownership payment manager

House and calendar March 15, 2018

It should be no surprise that as a homeowner you are responsible for expenses beyond your mortgage payment, such as property taxes, homeowner insurance and mortgage insurance, to name a few.

Benefit #1: Escrow is a personal payment manager

An escrow account is a service provided by your lender to help you manage and budget home-related costs. A benefit of an escrow is you make one monthly payment that includes your mortgage principle and interest, plus a percentage of your insurance and tax expenses. Your lender takes care of paying the various bills due throughout the year.

Most lenders require escrow accounts on mortgages greater than 80 percent loan-to-value and are set up at closing.

Benefit #2: Escrow lets you spread out annual costs over time.

Another benefit of an escrow is you don’t have to stress to come up with large lump sum payments.

How escrow works

Your lender adds up your additional home-related costs outside your mortgage payment – taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, flood insurance, etc. – They divide the total cost of these payments by 12 (months) and add it to your monthly mortgage payment.

Generally, a cushion of 1/6 of the total escrow charges is collected at loan closing to account for any unexpected increase in premiums when it’s time for the lender to make the yearly payment.

Your escrow account builds with each monthly payment. Funds are withdrawn from your escrow to pay for bills as they are due.

Can your escrow payment change over time? 

Yes, if there are changes in insurance costs and taxes, your escrow payment will also change.

Annually, your lender will review your escrow. The review looks at updated taxes and insurance costs to ensure the amount paid into the account is enough to cover costs. If costs have decreased, due to a change in insurance for example, there may be an overage and you would be issued a refund. If costs have increased, you will be required to make up the shortfall.

There are usually two ways to cover a shortfall.

1. Pay the shortfall in one lump sum.

Your full payment covers the past payments and brings your account to balance. An increase in monthly payments is necessary to cover the increased costs for future payments.

2. Divide and pay the amount over the next 12 payments.

Paying back your shortage over time will increase your monthly payment more than paying a lump sum because you are paying the shortage plus the increase in costs over the next year.

It’s important to understand, if insurance costs and taxes increase, your monthly payment will also increase going forward.

Get$Fit Tip: Shop around for insurance.

If you want to keep your monthly payment as close as possible to what you pay now, an annual check on your homeowner policy or other insurance plans may help. It is your responsibility to review your policy and shop around for the best deal, not your lender.

Make sure your policy is in line with current market rates and has not increased more than a few percentages, which is typical for some insurance companies. It’s always a good idea to comparison shop and request quotes. If you find a better deal, contact your lender to update your escrow account information.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of Kenneth Wohl and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB. RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.
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Upgrade your life: Tips to get ahead financially

Lady holding bag of money and debt February 25, 2018

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

I challenge you not to accept your financial life as it is. This coming year, aim to get ahead — start an emergency fund, build your retirement savings, pay off your debt or take control of whatever money situation is causing you stress.

The key to getting ahead is to get started. Here are some tips to help you make a financial change.

Invest in you

To build your wealth, start paying yourself first. When you receive money, before you spend a penny, put some of it in your savings account or retirement fund. Set up automatic deposits and watch your savings grow with little effort.

Changing your saving habits may require changing your spending habit, but the payoff – not worrying about paying your bills, taking a trip you’ve been dreaming of and retiring on your terms – is worth it.

Stop throwing money away

Paying late fees is like pulling money out of your wallet and throwing it into the wind. Start paying down debt, beginning with the highest interest debt. Pay your bills on time. If need be, call the company and see if you can adjust your due date. Never hurts to ask and it could save you from paying late fees.

Try the 50/30/20 budget plan

Harvard bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren suggests splitting your monthly income into three categories:

  1. Fixed expenses – survival needs – should total no more than 50 percent of your income.
  2. Non-essentials – wants like TV, morning coffee, hair appointments – should total no more than 30 percent.
  3. Savings – emergency fund, retirement – should be 20 percent or more.

Match your spending

Have a hard time sticking to a budget? Try this. Before you spend money on something you want, first put the same amount of money in a savings jar.  You will be able to see exactly how much money you are spending, or how much you could be saving or using to pay off your debt. If you cannot afford to match your spending, you cannot afford whatever it is you want to purchase.

Live within your means

Rich people stay rich by living like they are broke. It is a matter of what you value more, instant gratification or freedom from debt and having money when you really need it.

You work hard for your money. Do not waste it on things you do not really need.

50/30/20 Plan: Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan. Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, member FDIC.
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What NOT to do during your mortgage process

Four tips to avoid closing delays

Woman holding hand up February 22, 2018

You found your dream home, made an offer and it was accepted. You’re pre-approved for a loan and feeling good. Your mind is now focused on moving. Hold on. A pre-approval is not a loan guarantee. To ensure a smooth mortgage process, avoid these four things during closing.

DO NOT take on new debt.

I realize with a new home comes the desire to purchase new furniture, appliances and sometimes even a shiny new car for the garage. Some stores offer no-money down and zero percent interest credit. It’s tempting to start purchasing.

Taking on new debt may raise your debt ratio (the relationship of income to debt). Banks and mortgage companies weigh this number heavily to determine your credit worthiness. Raising it could cause heartache at the end of your transaction. Loan officers run another credit check a few days before closing to verify no new debt has been obtained.

DO NOT Change Jobs.

The stability of your job and income are essential to your loan approval. Your capability of repayment is ultimately what the lender needs to see. Changing jobs during the purchase process could complicate things. For example, if switching from a W-2 salaried status to a contractor or full commission job would most likely disqualify you (that income typically needs two years of income for calculation). A bank typically needs to see 30 days on the job, at least one pay stub and time to verify employment. Verification of income is sent to the employer to make sure the income matches the paystub and that you are still employed, as well as a verbal verification a day or so before closing.

DO NOT stop paying your bills.

A new home purchase can become expensive when you are out closing costs that aren’t part of your typical monthly obligations. You have additional costs like movers. Even if money gets tight, pay your bills. Remember, loan officers will re-pull credit at the end of the transaction.

DO NOT pack up important papers.

You’re stoked about moving. Maybe you’ve already started packing. Make sure you don’t pack up tax documents, bank statements, paystubs or any other important documents that might be requested by your loan officer. The quicker you can respond to the processing requests of your loan, the quicker it will be approved. Delaying the response can delay closing.

Buying a home is exciting, but until you sign the papers at closing, your mortgage isn’t final. Loan officers issue a pre-qualification based on the documentation you provide. The final approval is issued on documents retrieved between signing the contract and loan closing. The final underwriting decision is made on a final credit review, tax transcripts, verification of employment and verification of deposit, NOT the initial credit, tax returns, paystubs and bank statements.

Loan officers are here to make this process as smooth and as simple as possible. Be open with your loan officer and make sure they completely understand your situation and that one of the above doesn’t become a gotcha moment.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934. 
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5 C’s every business startup needs to know

How to prepare before you request a business loan

Business couple in front of organic store February 21, 2018

Is this the year you have resolved to start your own business?

First, I suggest you get to know four people:

  • A banker
  • A CPA
  • An insurance agent
  • An attorney

Building good relationships with these invaluable resources will help you and your business succeed.

Now, let’s talk about applying for your business loan.

Prepare a solid business plan

Before you apply for a business loan, you need to have a good business plan. A lender’s main concern: are you going to be able to repay the loan?  You need to be clear on how you plan to build and sustain your business.

Understand what lenders look for

When deciding to loan you money, most lenders look at the five C’s of credit.

  1. Credit – Your credit report is a detailed list of your credit history and provides insight on how you manage credit and make payments. Lenders are looking to see if you pay back your creditors.
  2. Capacity – Do you have the means to repay your loan? How much debt do you have compared to how much you earn? Lenders want to know if you can comfortably manage your loan payments.
  3. Character – Character is tough for a lender to assess in the brief time loans are considered. This is where a good-standing relationship with a banker, who is likely to be your lender, is beneficial. They want to know if you are trustworthy. Will you repay your loan? Lenders will review all available information, such as credit reports and public records, to see if you’ve met past obligations or have a history of legal problems.
  4. Conditions – These are economic and other outside circumstances that may affect your ability to repay, like your business industry, the local market and competition to see how your business may fare.
  5. Capital – Do you have some of your own assets invested or a financial base to help you weather changes in the marketplace? Trying to start or sustain a business without any owner investment is considered very risky – what’s to keep you from walking away in hard times? Most lenders want to see some financial investment from the business owner.

Build relationships

While you want to score as high as possible on each of the five C’s, all loans are different and not every borrower will have an A+ rating on each category.  Having high scores on some factors may compensate for less-than-perfect scores on others. The key is to be open and honest with your lender.

If you’re interested in starting a small business, check out local resources available to help, such as:

Our lenders and business services representatives are happy to answer your questions, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a lender and/or business services representative in your area.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender.  RCB Bank NMLS #798151. David Goodwin NMLS#449727. Member FDIC.
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Bucket Approach to Investing

Bucket with money in it February 20, 2018

Investing is a tool for building wealth.

Legendary investor Warren Buffett defines investing as “… the process of laying out money now to receive more money in the future.”

The key to successful investing is setting clear-cut goals. Know what you want, the cost to get it and how long you have to save.

We all have different comfort levels when it comes to investing our money. We call this risk tolerance. The concept of risk tolerance refers not only to your level of comfort in taking a risk, but also your financial ability to endure the consequences of loss.

Therefore, when it comes to investing, there is no one- size-fits-all strategy.  When I talk about investing with my clients, I like to use a bucket visualization. Imagine investing as three buckets.

Everyone needs to begin with a foundation – bucket one. This is your readily available cash, including your savings, emergency fund and short-term investments.

Once you have bucket one filled, you are ready to toss money into buckets two and three, your mid-term and long-term goals. The amount you invest in each bucket varies by your time horizon and risk tolerance. Bucket two consists of low-risk investments while bucket three is long-term, higher growth risk investments.

As with any plan, it is important to monitor your portfolio to ensure you stay on track with your goals.

If you plan to work with a financial advisor, make sure they are working for you with your best interest in mind. It’s important that you have an open line of communication with your advisor.

I am here to help answer questions you may have about investing even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Feel free to call me at 918.342.7100 or email mwood@bankrcb.net.

At RCB Bank Trust, we offer professional recommendations at no cost, no obligation.

We provide a conservative approach to growing and preserving wealth tailored to your individual financial needs. Call one of our wealth advisors today and request your free review.

We offer free portfolio reviews at no cost, no obligation. We’d be happy to take a look at your current portfolio and offer a second opinion to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments. Connect with a wealth advisor in your area.

The bucket concept was originally created by planning guru Harold Evensky. It is one of many approaches to investing.
Investment products are not a deposit. Not insured by the FDIC or any federal government agency. Not guaranteed by the Bank. Subject to risk and may go down in value.
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. This information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. The material is general in nature. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.
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7 habits to teach young adults for financial success

Help young adults build wealth not debt

Teen girl removing money from wallet February 20, 2018

The habits your kids pick up now will follow them throughout life. Guide them to good money habits with these tips.

Get$Fit Tip #1: Pay yourself first.

Did you know the average college debt for the graduating class of 2016 was $37,000?* Are your kids prepared to manage debt and build wealth at the same time? Do they know the secret to keeping car-buying costs as low as possible? What about how to prepare for unexpected expenses?

Get$Fit Tip #2: Take full advantage of your bank.

Teach your kids about money using our Learning Center, which offers uncomplicated money tips to help  build wealth, reduce debt and make money-smart decisions.

Also, help your kids begin building relationships at their bank and gain an understanding of services and resources available to them. Building a relationship with a banker now will help them in the future when it comes time to borrow money, begin investing and buy their first home.

Get$Fit Tip #3: Comparison shop for everything!

Student loans, college text books, rental properties, auto insurance, clothes – make it a habit to compare prices and look for the best deals. A little effort on your part can save you thousands of dollars.

Get$Fit Tip #4: Learn to budget.

Money flows out faster than it flows in. Building wealth is not about how much money you have, it’s about how you manage the money you have. Learn to live below your means. It’s the only way to build wealth.

Get$Fit Tip #5: Watch your credit score.

Your credit score is a history report on how well you manage your money. Pay bills on time and use credit cards carefully. The alternative is long-term debt and financial hardship.

Get$Fit Tip #6: Needs and wants are not the same thing.

There is never enough money to buy everything you want. Choose wisely. Today’s choices will affect your future financial well-being. Is instant gratification more important than a comfortable lifestyle?

Get$Fit Tip #7: Learn the secret to saving.

The easiest way to build wealth is to set up automatic savings. Have a portion of your wages automatically go into a savings and/or retirement account through payroll direct deposit. Invest in yourself.

* Institute of College Access and Success.
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Avoid this car-buying mistake

Tips to help you save money on your next car loan.

February 18, 2018

The Problem

Buying a car is a major purchase. Budgets are tight. It’s tempting to accept financing based on the lowest monthly payment, but this may prove a costly mistake. Here is why.

Lower monthly payments often mean longer loan terms and higher interest rates. You may be able to obtain 84-month term (7 year) financing and a budget-friendly monthly payment, but you’ll pay more over the life of the loan. You also risk becoming upside down on your loan, owing more money for your car than it is worth.

Don’t be payment-driven. Save up as much as you can and negotiate the sales price down, not the monthly payment.

The Solution

Here are additional tips to help you keep your car buying costs as low as possible.

  1. Know your credit score. More importantly, know the details in your report. Your credit score will determine which loan you will qualify for and the interest rate you’ll pay. Start reducing your current debt now to improve your score and financing options.
  2. Get pre-approved. Know the exact amount you can spend before you start looking (and stay under that number). Start with your financial institution and shop around. A banker can also access car evaluations to improve your bargaining power with the dealership.
  3. Focus on price. Know what the car is worth, not what the dealer tells you it is worth. Do your homework. Check NADA guides. Shop online. Compare dealers. View the car evaluation with your banker. Then go to the dealership and negotiate a fair purchase price for the car, not your loan payment.
  4. Decide needs versus wants. You may want a newer model vehicle but do you want — can you honestly afford — the higher purchase price and possible higher interest rate? It’s a matter of choice. I encourage you to save up as much money as possible before you shop so you have more choices.  With a higher down payment, you can borrow less money. You can choose a higher monthly payment with a lower term, which will save you more money over the life of the loan.

Avoid the payment-driven temptation and start saving up now for your next vehicle. In the meantime, explore your financing options and ask your banker what you can do to improve your credit score.

Final piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to walk off the lot.

Don’t rush your decision and accept the first offer. It’s your money and your life. Be good to yourself.

Our lenders are happy to answer your questions, even if you are not an RCB Bank customer. Connect with a lender in your area.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Curtis Bales, NMLS #800411.
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