Category Archives: Business Banking

Celebrate Small Business Saturday

November 27, 2010 was the first Small Business Saturday. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in 2015 $16.2 billion was spent in small businesses on Small Business Saturday and, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), last year an estimated 112 million shoppers patronized local retailers and restaurants.

As a neighborhood bank, Two Rivers Bank & Trust works hard every day to help small businesses thrive and achieve their dreams.

Tammy Greene, Branch Manager in Ankeny, loves helping the small businesses in her neighborhood.small business

“At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we have great accounts for small businesses,” Greene said. “Our checking accounts save them money on fees and our ability to offer small business lending is really advantageous. Pat Quinlan, one of our lenders, takes care of their needs and works with them one on one.”

We are an Iowa bank and decisions are made here by Two Rivers Bank & Trust.

“Because we are a community bank, we get to know the customer more personally than other financial institutions,” she explained. “Pat and I go out on business calls and find out how things are going for our customers and if there is anything else we can do to help them.”

We want to encourage you to take advantage of Small Business Saturday! This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 25. Support your neighbors, support our neighbors.

“Small businesses are important in our community because they give back to our neighborhoods,” Greene said. “A lot of them donate their time and money to local schools and charities. They’re so involved and do so much good. It’s the least we can do to help them out, too.”

Two Rivers Bank & Trust really is here to meet the needs of small businesses in our community. If you’re a small business owner, come talk with us! We want to get to know you.

Ways to give back to the community

It’s hard to turn on the news and not get discouraged by current events. But, we’ve seen the country come together to help hurricane-affected cities and we know our local communities have the same capabilities.

As we enter the season of giving, Two Rivers Bank & Trust wants to remind our business partners that giving back is not just an individual’s responsibility. We know it’s a busy time for everyone, but there are ways, big and small, you can get involved.

Cyndi Parks, Senior Branch Manager at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, explained some of the ways we help out in our

“Last month was the 25th anniversary of our Paint-A-Thon in Burlington,” Parks said. “More than 500 homes have been painted by thousands of volunteers over the years. It’s wonderful to see our communities wrap their arms around at-need families.”

Since the holidays are right around the corner, we wanted to let you know about two of our volunteering programs that take place in December.

By market, some of our branches adopt a family at Christmastime and some accept Toys For Tots donations. In Burlington and Mediapolis, we also involve local law enforcement for a special day.

“One of my favorite activities is Shop With A Cop,” she said. “Uniformed officers take children to Walmart to shop and spend the afternoon together. It’s truly incredible. I’ve seen kids buying paper products because they know they need them at home and I’ve seen kids buy presents for their siblings. The officers love the time, too.”

Community volunteering is something Two Rivers employees take very seriously.

“As our neighborhood financial institution, taking care of our community is important,” Parks explained. “We care about our neighbors and giving back to the community whether it’s financially or with our time.”

So this holiday season, we encourage you to give of your presence, mentor, coach, and be visible in your community. It matters more than you’ll ever

Small Businesses, Welcome!

Small business owners. We see you. You are valued. We know how hard you work every day to make your dream a reality. As your neighbor, we’re here for you.

David George, Market President – Mt. Pleasant, explained what Two Rivers Bank & Trust can do for you. “We always look to do at least one of four things for small business owners,” he said. “Save them TIME, save them MONEY, make their lives more CONVENIENT, and make them MONEY.”

Our Business Banking Services can help make that happen. Our online banking and bill pay services & remote deposit capture are the best services to use to make a business more efficient.small business

Our financial team at Two Rivers Bank & Trust loves to help small business owners. “My favorite part of working with small business owners is to truly understand their unique stories and then add value by helping them explore all banking opportunities that they have available through us,” George said.

We’re here to help you through every business milestone. What can you expect when you work with Two Rivers? “When working with Two Rivers Bank & Trust, business owners can expect true understanding and compassion about their business and their needs,” he explained. “Our employees are a part of the community and will support the business every step of the way.”

Stop by and talk with us about how Two Rivers Bank & Trust can help you reach your business goals. Here are a few other tips in the meantime!

Be a good bookkeeper. Invest in a service, Quicken or QuickBooks, so that you always know your financial situation. Everyone at Two Rivers cares about your success, but no one looks after your money like you do.

Be who you are. Having a business plan and a marketing plan are important. Stay true to who you are and give your customers consistent messaging. Your brand is what people say about you!

You have a neighbor in Two Rivers Bank & Trust! We care about our communities and the small businesses that make them unique. If you need help starting your business, need access to convenient banking services, or benefits packages for your employees, come see us!

Two Rivers: Helping Your Business Reach Your Goals

Every business has goals. Whether they’re short term or long term, goals for your business should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bounded. If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. It’s not.

Start with a big picture idea and put it through the SMART criteria.

Here’s an example: “I want to increase sales by 20%.” That’s not a SMART goal.

This is: “I want to meet the sales objective of booking $1,000 in orders, two additional salespeople will be hired to grow sales by 5% each month.”

No matter your goals, Two Rivers Bank & Trust can help you achieve them.

“One of the things we can do is help business customers find and identify industry trends and see how their business is benchmarked against other similar businesses,” Matt Shinn, Market President at Two Rivers Bank & Trust said.

“At the end of the day we want to be sure we’re providing additional value and that we’re viewed as our customers’ trusted advisor.”

It doesn’t matter if you are a small business on Main Street or a large international corporation, Two Rivers has the expertise, products, and services to support you. We understand your needs and can offer you the benefits of a large institution with local blog

“We have all the sophisticated cash management products and services, all the electronic banking tools, and we combine that with our ability to make the decisions locally,” Shinn explained. “We do a great job blending the two together.”

“For example, when our lenders go out into the field and meet with a business owner, they build a relationship,” he said. “Most of the time, that lender is the one who is going to represent them and make the decisions.”

Two Rivers Bank & Trust was built on lending, advising, and partnering with small businesses. That’s what we’ve always done.

“We want to do whatever is in the client’s best interest,” Shinn said. “Our mission is to make sure we find a solution for the customer to help them meet their goals.”

Visit our website or come talk with us to learn about the services we can offer your business. There is nothing better than access to the modern and updated tools of a large bank right here in your neighborhood.

Our Capabilities to Help You

Each day you make roughly 35,000 decisions. If you’re a small business owner, most of the big decisions you make affect you directly.

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we want to help make some of those decisions easier.

Our Small Business Checking account is a great option for small business owners. Kevin Lease, Vice President of Commercial Lending at Two Rivers, explained how convenient the account really is.

“We offer easy access to your account from our website, mobile app, and our network of branch locations,” he said. “Along with ease of access for the business owner, the account offers 400 free items, a business debit card, no minimum balance requirement, and an initial deposit of only $100 to open.”

There are other ways we work with you to realize your business goals. Work Perks is a program we offer to help you help your employees!

“The program has benefits for your employees including Two Rivers depositing $25 into their account with their first $100 deposit, up to 0.25% off consumer loan rates (not secured by real estate), mobile banking, bill pay, free checks and more!” Lease explained.

Todd Pringnitz, owner of Wicked LLC, knows what it’s like to trust Two Rivers with his business accounts.

Two Rivers understands your busy life and the intensified stress that comes with owning a business. Our Business Services are a convenient solution for you.

“Whether your business is big or small, these services were designed to help you save money, bank more conveniently, and run your business more efficiently,” Lease said.

Learn more about our services online and see how we can be a good neighbor to your business!

Ways to Keep Your Employees Happy

On average, a person will hold 12 jobs in his or her lifetime. Most people will also change jobs four times before they’re 30. Gone are the days when most employees would stay at one organization for 30 years.

So, how do you get people to stay?Employee Retention

As a small business, you might find it difficult to offer your employees everything a Fortune 500 company can. But, you’ll be excited to know that people tend to be loyal to organizations that provide them other benefits and a positive work environment, not just a large paycheck.

Rhonda Carlston, Vice President, Human Resources Officer at Two Rivers, said the culture of an organization is really crucial.

“Culture is not how a company describes itself; culture is how the employees describe the company,” Carlston explained. “At Two Rivers, we have programs that allow our employees to give back to the community. What’s important to our employees is important to us!”

Building a sense of community within your organization can help your employees feel more invested in your mission and goals. Doing this requires excellent communication skills – something you should keep in mind when hiring new employees.

“At Two Rivers, every job requires a different set of qualifications but we look for certain basic characteristics in everyone,” Carlston said. “New employees really need to be good communicators. Two Rivers is about building relationships with our customers, with our community, and with each other.”

Another way your business can encourage employees to stay is to make them feel valued. “Celebrate the successes, big or small, of your teams and individual employees,” Carlston suggested.

Feeling valued by an employer also means employees feel safe to voice their concerns, questions, and ideas to management.

“We like to have open and honest conversation with our employees to ensure we are on the same page,” she explained. “Sometimes what employers think and what employees think are not always aligned. You can amend that with satisfaction surveys or focus groups.”

We know that happy employees are more productive employees and once a company culture is established it is difficult to change. When you’re looking to hire new employees consider how they will fit in your organization’s culture and if your organization is the right match for them.

If you want to provide your employees a benefits package, come talk with us! At Two Rivers, we can help tailor a benefits package for your business.


Let’s Work Together

The business landscape is drastically different than it was 15 years ago. At Two Rivers, we know our clients are diverse in age and we know your employees are, too. Here are some tips to improve working relationships between generations and to understand their unique talents!

  1. Utilize their strengths. The skills a young person brings to the table (technological and otherwise) are valuable. Combining that technological ability with an older person’s experience, wisdom, and management prowess makes an even stronger and more collaborative relationship.
  1. Make them talk. Intergenerational relationships are unique and reciprocal. By encouraging conversation with one another they can both gain so much. “For young people, having an older friend listen closely helps them feel heard and respected. For older people, having younger friends can help them better connect to the broader culture,” said Dr. Jon Nussbaum, a communication professor at Penn State.
  1. Focus on the job. Instead of spending time dissecting the weaknesses and differences among generations, encourage collaboration in order to complete the job. After all, at the end of the day that is the goal!

Just like other businesses, at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, our customers span generations and we love to work with them all.

Aaron Cling, a Two Rivers Ag Lending Officer, said it’s important to build rapport with your customers even if there is an age difference.

“I think it’s important not to put up a façade,” he explained. “I try to answer any questions my customers have and if I don’t know the answer, I admit that and find the information for them.”

Cling has many working relationships with lending customers of all generations and believes it’s great when everyone works together.

“It’s so neat to see a 70-year-old father and 50-year-old son come in together to transition the financial documents of their farm from one generation to the next. We get to know our customers of all ages and we’re really happy we get to work with all of them.”

Two Rivers cares about your business. Check out our website to learn more about our business services that can help you help your employees and customers, no matter their age.


Helping You Help Your Employees

two rivers house ssSmall businesses employ nearly half of the private-sector workers in the United States. Of those small businesses, 31% offer a retirement plan for their employees. For small businesses, a well-run retirement plan is a great recruitment and retention tool.

We know that you care about your people. Kyle R. Hauenstein, Fiduciary Advisor – Retirement Plan Services Specialist at Two Rivers, loves helping small business employees. “Being able to give back to the community and taking care of the people who live here is a top priority here at Two Rivers,” he said. “We get to sit down with people who might not normally seek or have the ability to seek professional financial advice. We lean on the people in our community for their expertise in a number of areas. Being able to help those same people that we rely on to plan for their retirement is the least we can do.”

We also know running a retirement plan can seem like a daunting task. Keeping up with the ever-changing regulations, and monitoring investment options can take precious time away from your business. What you might not know is, you have options.

Two Rivers Bank & Trust offers Business 401(k) and Retirement Plans for your company. But, we don’t just offer a plan, we offer our services as well. Our retirement plan services specialists are available for a no cost retirement plan analysis.

The review can be done in the comfort of your office, and in as little as 30 minutes. We will help you compare costs to industry standards, uncover hidden fees, identify potential liabilities, and suggest options for upgrades to your current plan. Our Business Retirement Plan Clients benefit from on-site visits with education for your employees to ensure everyone understands the plan and their options. Our offerings are not limited to 401(k) and 403(b) plans. We also offer additional types of retirement plans, including but not limited to, pension plans and traditional, Roth, SEP, & SIMPLE IRAs.

With increased scrutiny from the Department of Labor on cost and appropriateness of investments offered through your retirement plan, coupled with the rising trend of legal action from employees on those grounds, now is the time for an in-depth retirement plan review.

Give us a call, or visit us, at Two Rivers to schedule your no cost retirement plan analysis. Our retirement plan services specialists work with you and your business to help your employees plan for the future.

Most Trust and Investment products are not insured by the FDIC; are not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by, Two Rivers Bank & Trust; and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested. If a specific Trust or Investment account includes FDIC-insured deposits, you will be notified as such at the time the investment is made.

5 Tips to Prepare Your Small Business for Tax Season

StockSnap_JONMP7TPGKEven if you’re staying on track with your New Year’s resolutions, every small-business owner has to prepare for tax season. The major deadline may be a month or two away, but it will approach faster than you think. Here are a few tips to think about as you begin.

1. Try bookkeeping online

For all the times a cashier asked you, “Do you need a receipt?” hopefully you said yes when it was for business. Now is the time to organize all of your receipts and records from last year, whether in paper or online, and keep them all together in case of an audit. If you find paper receipts cluttering your workspace, consider storing them online using nifty apps like Shoeboxed and Neat. Some financial institutions, like Two Rivers Bank & Trust, even offer mobile apps that will store your receipts.

When it comes to taxes and the Internal Revenue Service, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if your business is in its early stages.

2. Separate personal and business deductions

For small-business owners especially, make sure that your personal and business expenses stay separate. As you follow the Section 179 guidelines and divide up costs, check your personal bank accounts for any business expenses or employee reimbursements.

Remember to check for any changes in the rules for deductions. For example, business rates for standard mileage deductions went up last tax year to 57.5 cents per mile, an increase of 1.5 cents from 2014. Another thing to note is the relatively new simplified option for home office deductions, in which home use for business can be calculated by square foot, not just percentage. Just be sure to know the limits of these deductions as they apply for your business.

3. Apply for an EIN

If this is the first tax season that you have employees or you recently restructured your business, you will need to get a new EIN. This is an employer identification number, a nine-digit number given by the IRS so your business can be identified consistently on taxes from you and your employees. Applying online will be the fastest way to receive your EIN.

4. Keep taxes for your employees and contractors straight

Distinguishing your employees from your independent contractors is crucial. Simply put, an employee’s work can be monitored for what and how things are done, whereas a contractor’s work can be controlled only when it’s complete. For taxes, this freedom of action makes the contractor a self-employed worker who files a Schedule SE (Form 1090), or the self-employment tax.

For employees, payroll taxes include income, Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes. Employers withhold the first, withhold and pay the next two, and pay the last. Then employees can file their W-2s.

Since contractors don’t have payroll taxes, mislabeling an employee as a contractor can look like tax evasion in the eyes of the IRS and result in serious repercussions. Employers can be charged with penalty fees and interest on the employee’s payroll taxes.

5. Know the important dates

Your deadlines will depend on your business structure. For a sole proprietorship, the deadline to fill out a Form 1040 with a Schedule C is usually April 15. For an S corporation, the deadline is a bit earlier. You have to complete the Form 1120S for income taxes and pay by March 15. For any shareholders, provide them with a Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S) so they can calculate share of income, deductions and credits.

If you miss the deadline, the IRS imposes a penalty fee of 5% monthly for late filing, up to a maximum of 25%. The total penalty is calculated from your deadline to the date you filed the tax return, so it’s in your best interest to file your taxes.

Make sure to prepare your business for the inevitable, and you will glide through tax season with minimal stress.

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National Write a Business Plan Month

How to- Write a business plan (2)

If you’ve always wanted to turn your passion into your profession, there’s no better time than the present – especially considering December is “National Write a Business Plan” month. Vice President of Community Banking, Jason Svejda, thinks that behind any strong business model, lies an even stronger plan.

“It serves as the framework for the company and lays out strategies and action plans so that you can establish and successfully operate your new business.”

Here’s everything you need to get on your feet when you’re in the early stages of planning your small business.

Do market research.

StockSnap_A9BJ0ZOQ0WBefore you launch your business, be sure to conduct thorough market analysis to determine whether or not your products and services will fill a consumer need. Methods of research include consumer surveys, experiments, and utilizing free resources like the Census Bureau for demographic information.

“It’s essential to have the knowledge and understanding of what exactly it is you want to do and knowing the obstacles involved,” said Bill Partain, Senior Vice President at Two Rivers Bank & Trust and Chair of the Entrepreneurship Committee of the Greater Burlington Partnership.

“A business plan isn’t about fluff or length, it should be more about facts and other key variables that will make the business successful, as well as knowing what hurdles and threats you will face that could potentially cause the business to fail.”

Write up your company details.

Clarify your business structure and product offerings by writing up the details. Consider the best method of managing your company, how your products will benefit your consumers, your products’ lifecycles, and your company’s differentiators; what makes your business stand out from the competition?

To put it simply, Svejda said, “Determine what your competitive advantages are or a distinction your business has, or could offer.”

Determine your marketing methods.

This is the step where you need to determine how you will market your products or services. Analyze your market research to determine the best method of reaching your target audience. For example, a younger demographic is not likely to be persuaded by mailers. Find out what works best for your target market, and include the sales strategy in your business plan.

Create your financial projections.

StockSnap_D0IYVWQ0KVThis step is crucial if you are in need of funding for your small business. Investors need to see sales projections in order to invest in you and your business. Keep in mind that different investors will be interested in different projections – determine what kind of projections you need before you make your pitch!

“Financial projections are simply a forecast and provide a means to quantify the many different variables and considerations within the business plan,” said Svejda. “While it’s not an exact science, a well-prepared financial projection will show a potential investor your understanding of the market you wish to be in, as well as financial metrics such as growth rates, expense ratios, profit margins, etc.”

Revisit your business plan frequently.

“It’s important for any business owner to maintain a healthy balance sheet to ensure they have the ability to withstand any adversity they may face,” said Partain. “We actually encourage the majority of our business customers to review their business plan at least a couple times throughout the year.”

Two Rivers Bank & Trust | Small Business Account

At Two Rivers Bank and Trust, we love supporting our neighbors, which is why we offer our Small Business Checking with 400 free items per month at no charge! It’s a great way for your company to manage its finances without spending a lot on services you don’t need.

“We take a simple approach with our small business account,” said Svejda. “This account provides the basic services and conveniences at a minimum cost. Our Small Business Checking is a great option for startups or businesses working on growth, as we offer the first 400 items (debits, credits, deposited items) free.”

Partain says at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, he’s fortunate to be part of many financial success stories in the local small business community.

“Whether a business owner needs to borrow funds to grow their business, or they simply need a better way to manage their cash, Two Rivers Bank & Trust has the resources and the experienced staff to assist you.”

Learn more about our Small Business Checking at Two Rivers Bank & Trust and get your start-up on its feet!