Category Archives: Financial Advice

Spend less this holiday season

According to the American Research Group, the average American spends $929 every holiday season on gifts and 56% of Americans in debt add to it during the holiday season.

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we understand you want to do everything you can for your loved ones without negative financial consequences. We’re here to tell you some ways to spend less this holiday season.

Kristin Fritz, Teller Supervisor at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, suggested one of our helpful products.santa pig

“Our TR Cash Back Checking account is a great way to help yourself during the holidays,” she said. “You basically get 10 cents back on most purchases, if you’re using our debit card.”

You can also use cash instead of credit cards.

“It’s easier to spend more if you use a card,” Fritz explained. “It’s just a swipe, right? But, you’ll incur extra fees from processing and interest. Using cash will make you more aware of your funds.”

Staying in the Christmas spirit all year round can help you save money, too! Our Christmas Club savings links to your checking account so you can have money put into it all year long and then at Christmastime we will transfer the funds so you have them ready and available.

Know the deals. Cyber Monday and Black Friday really are great ways to save. While it can be overwhelming to shop on these days, having a game plan and a list can make it easier – on you and your wallet.

Spend on something different. “In previous years, we’ve taken part in Warm Kids, Warm Hearts,” she explained. “Our customers and our employees brought in coats, hats, and gloves for children who needed them. It was so rewarding.”

If you need help setting your budget, come talk with us! “Everyone at Two Rivers is happy to spend time with our customers,” Fritz said. “We want to talk to you about what you need and how we can help make your holiday season a little more stress-free!”

Fraud Tips for the Holidays

Where has this year gone? It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is right around the corner, but it seems to sneak up on us every year. At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we love the holidays! We also know it can be a time when our customers need us the most.

According to ACI Worldwide, fraud increases by 31% during the holiday season and we want you to be prepared for the scammers and skimmers that are getting more sophisticated every year.

Follow these fraud tips from Alicia Whalen, Mt. Pleasant Branch Manager, to protect yourself during the holidays when you’re shopping for loved ones.

“Even though it’s cold, check the card slot reader at gas stations before you fill your vehicle with gas,” Whalen said. “It’s common for skimmers to loosen the slot to try and steal your card’s information.”fraud

Another way to protect yourself is to use your Two Rivers Bank & Trust EMV chip card.

EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard, and Visa”, the three companies that originally developed the specifications for the technology. “EMV chip credit and debit cards offer better protection than cards that do not have this technology,” she explained. “The embedded chips add security that can help keep your account safe.”

If you’re shopping online, be careful of fraudulent websites. Don’t enter your credit card information unless the address starts with ‘https:’. The ending ‘s’ means it’s a secure web address.

“As always, remember to keep your passwords varied and updated,” Whalen said. “It’s the first step to keeping your private information secure.”

“I love working at Two Rivers because my co-workers and I are just a big family that wants to help our customers,” she explained. “If our customers ever have a security issue with their accounts, we want them to know we are here to help.”

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we always have your protection in mind. Don’t forget about these helpful tips as we soon get swept up in the holidays and if you fall victim to a skimmer, call us!

Scary ways you get scammed

As humans, we’re conditioned to be nice to each other, to not be defensive, and to treat others with respect. However, advanced scamming techniques are preying on good-naturedness and it’s important to have a dose of skepticism.

Sean Allworth, Information Security Officer at Two Rivers Bank & Trust shared some ways you can get scammed and some advice to keep yourself safe.

Over the phone. People can pose as your relative and ask you to wire money. Don’t do it. “Ask for some sort of verification, hang up the phone, and call another family member to confirm what’s happening,” Allworth explained.

In your inbox. “The biggest issue we see right now is with business emails,” Allworth said. “Scammers are sending out emails with alerts to schedule transactions on behalf of clients. We tell our employees to always utilize call back procedures and to not move funds unless they have verified the transaction with our customers.”

Another tried and true method of fraud is phishing emails that have attachments containing malware.scam

“It’s the easiest to fall victim to, so you always have to look closely at the email addresses from which you’re receiving mail,” he said. “Phishing scams are getting more and more sophisticated. Never open an email from an address you don’t recognize and never download the attachments.”

Your online cart. Online shopping can be dangerous, for more reasons than one. Know where you are shopping and know when to give away financial information. Use the 3 Rs as your guide. Reputation, Recommendations, Research.

It’s always best to be proactive, too.

“Make sure you have a proper anti-virus on your computer and just be diligent,” Allworth urged.

If you think you’re a victim of fraud in any way, make sure you call us so we can help you take the necessary action. We care about the safety of our neighbors and will help you in any way we can!

Retirement Options at Two Rivers

Less than one-third of Americans are taking advantage of the benefits of an IRA, according to a recent survey conducted by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA). While the business landscape changes frequently, it can be difficult to know whether your retirement through your employer is adequate to get you to your retirement goal.

That’s why you should open an IRA with Two Rivers Bank & Trust. Whether you’re just starting out or are well into your career, it’s always a great time to start saving. We offer Traditional and Roth IRAs and have skilled professionals who can help customize a plan for you!

Brett Bessine, Vice President & Retirement Plan Services Specialist at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, explained a little bit about IRAs and the benefits of an account with Two Rivers.brett

What is an IRA? 

“An IRA is simply an account (not an investment itself) where you can make contributions, have those contributions invested, and accumulate assets throughout your working years so that you have money set aside to live on in retirement.”

Why are they beneficial? When should you open one?

“Not everyone has access to a 401(k) or another type of retirement account through their employer. For these individuals, it is imperative that they take the initiative on their own to start an IRA and make contributions consistently throughout their careers. Even for those who do have access to an employer sponsored retirement account, it can make sense to have an IRA also. If a person has maxed out his or her 401(k) contributions and would like to save more or if the employer’s plan doesn’t allow ROTH contributions, opening an IRA or ROTH IRA is an option. If you are unsure if an IRA makes sense for you come see us at Two Rivers for additional information.”

What tips do you have for people saving for retirement? 

“It is so important to start saving early and consistently save throughout your working years. Create a budget so you know where your dollars are being spent and adjust in order to increase your savings level. Have a long term plan and sit down with a retirement plan specialist to review.”

Controlling the expense of your IRA is critical to maximizing the return.  One of the ways we can help you increase your return is by reducing your costs through the utilization of lower expense share classes of funds made accessible by partnering with our knowledgeable team at Two Rivers Bank & Trust.  Come talk with our team about the many advantages we can offer. As your neighbor, we want you to retire well. Contact Two Rivers today!

Investment and Insurance Products: Are Not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency; Are Not deposits of or guaranteed by the Bank or any Bank Affiliate; May lose value.

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!

Investing, in the Beginning

Budgeting and saving your money is the first step to financial freedom. Investing is the next.

To some, the stock market is a very scary place full of uncertainty. We understand! At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we want you to achieve the financial success you’ve worked hard to earn. We can help you make that happen through our Two Rivers Investment Services team.

Our investment professionals can assist you if you want to invest and save for the short and long term with our array of mutual funds, stocks, and money market options.

With Two Rivers in your corner, you don’t have to be an expert to make a thoughtful investment plan.invest blog

Tom Johanns, Senior Vice President – Senior Trust Officer at Two Rivers, encourages you to do your research first. “There are a lot of great places to gather information about investing before you jump in,” he said. “Trade publications and Internet sources are helpful. In fact, at Two Rivers, we actually have several investment classes available at no charge.”

Best practices for a beginner investor? “One good investing technique to practice is dollar-cost averaging,” Johanns explained. “That means you buy a fixed dollar amount of a particular investment at a regular interval.”

What can Two Rivers do for you? “We have the most complete offering of investment services and guidance,” Johanns said. “We can literally provide our clients help throughout their entire lifetime.”

We can offer you personalized financial planning by analyzing your current financial situation, helping you determine achievable goals, and then we guide you in implementing the plan that works for you.

Our investment professionals care about you, our neighbor! Visit our website for more information about our Investment Services, Financial Planning, and Investment Accounts.

Investment and Insurance Products: Are Not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency; Are Not deposits of or guaranteed by the Bank or any Bank Affiliate; May lose value.

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!

Make it Work for You

The average tax refund is about $3,000. Granted, this is not a ‘gift’ but money in your pocket nonetheless.

One way to make that money work for you is to put it in a Certificate of Deposit (CD). A CD is a great savings tool when you don’t need to access your money right away.

Llew Anderson, Two Rivers Branch Manager, explained that there are times when CDs are a very logical choice.Capture

“CDs are good tools for people who get large lump sums of money (bonuses, tax refunds, inheritance, etc.) and want to keep that money for future purposes,” she said.

Why choose a CD over other options? The great benefits, of course!

“CDs generally earn a higher rate of return than a traditional savings account because you can’t access the funds in the account in the same manner,” she said. “They are great for people who have a hard time saving because you can’t access the money (other than at maturity) without a penalty.”

Two Rivers Bank & Trust has lucrative CD options with flexible terms and rates. These accounts require a minimum deposit of $1,000, which might be close to the amount of your tax return!

At Two Rivers, we want to help our neighbors achieve their saving goals.

“I had a customer who was saving to purchase a home in the ‘next few years,’” Anderson said.

“She admitted she wasn’t great at saving and needed a way to put money aside where she couldn’t access it easily.”

Anderson recommended we set up an auto-transfer from her checking account to a special savings account. When those savings accumulated, she opened an additional CD, and started building her balance again!

“She was able to save a little over $5,000 over the course of a year, and the interest that she earned seemed like an extra perk to her.”

If you’ve opened a savings account with Two Rivers, consider opening a 3 to 60-month CD with us, too! Select the term that best fits your needs. You can easily transfer some of the funds between Two Rivers accounts to earn higher interest with a CD – just remember the minimum requirement for your savings account!

We want you to have financial success! Contact us if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help our neighbors.

 

 

How to Spring Clean Your Credit Card Debt

As the weather gets warmer, don’t let your credit score go up in flames! The average person with credit card debt has a balance of $16,000. That’s the cost of a brand new Ford Focus!

We understand the road out of debt isn’t easy but we want to provide you with some helpful tips.

Spring CleanGet organized. Kyle Long, Senior Commercial Credit Analyst at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, said organization is essential! “Create a detailed list of your current credit cards, total debt on each card, minimum payment on each, and their interest rates,” he suggested.

Hide your cards. After you’re organized, hide your cards. Try not to use them if you don’t have to. “Determine if there are any areas where you can save money during the month,” Long said.

“If you can eat out less, eliminate unnecessary luxury expenses, and utilize coupons, that money can be saved to make additional payments to the total credit card debt.”

Start with one card at a time. The card with the highest interest rate is where you should start. “Apply any extra cash you have every month to paying off this card, while still paying the minimum on the other cards,” Long explained. “Continue this approach until all your cards have been paid off.”

Long’s best advice for someone with substantial credit card debt? “Don’t ignore it! Make a plan and execute it because prolonging the debt will lead to increased interest charges, late fees, and a decrease in your credit score,” he said.

Our advice? Take a deep breath. Two Rivers can help you along the way. Our checking accounts include a debit card and online banking services that can help you use your credit card less.

You can come see us, too. Our lenders can review your finances with you.

“We can determine if a personal loan or home equity loan can help you consolidate your credit card debt, which can save you thousands of dollars in interest payments,” Long explained.

Being a good neighbor means we are there for financial guidance. Call us or come see us to talk about your credit card debt. We can help you breathe a little easier just in time for spring!