Tag Archives: Two Rivers Bank & Trust

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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.

 

Give the Gift of Finances!

email headerLet’s face it. Your child has everything! They’re fed, clothed, and probably even have an Xbox One, a cellphone, or both! But did you know that 48 percent of children are lacking a college fund or any type of savings account?

Coralville Personal Banker, Jeannie Beisel, believes it’s never too soon to start teaching your children sound financial habits. “The earlier that you start those good habits, the better they’re going to stick.”

So, ‘Why open a Jr. Banker Savings account during the holidays?’ you ask?

“Grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. give money around the holidays, and opening a Jr. Banker Savings account at Two Rivers Bank & Trust will teach kids how to be responsible with their money instead of spending it on the first thing that catches their eye,” said Beisel.

It costs $5 to open the account.

Investing in your child’s future has never been easier! For just $5, you can open your little one’s savings account and set them up for a bright future. “The interest rate for the Jr. Banker Savings account is phenomenal,” said Beisel. “So your child’s money will grow as it just sits safely in the account.”

Maintaining a bank account teaches your child about money management.

campfireDon’t you wish someone taught you more about money management as a kid? Kids will be better off financially as adults when they grow up learning to set aside money, instead of spending it the minute they get it. Opening a savings account for your child is a great excuse to start that dialogue to explain why it’s important to save, and how much they should be saving. The best part? With a Jr. Banker Savings account, you can open it when they’re five, and it can stay with them when they decide to take up babysitting or a paper route a couple years down the road.

Your loved ones have more ways to give to your child.

All too often, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and even friends are uncertain about what to give your child for birthdays or holidays, so they turn to cash or gift cards. Beisel said, “A Jr. Banker Savings account is great for when your children do get monetary gifts from relatives.” So, rather than sending out extensive gift lists and keeping track of who got what, an alternative would be to ask your loved ones to contribute to your child’s savings account. A donation to your child’s savings is the gift that keeps on giving since Two Rivers Bank and Trust pays interest on these accounts!

For $5 you can open the door to financial security for your little one’s future, and your child will learn how to manage money – an invaluable gift.

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National Make A Difference Day

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust we like to take advantage of every opportunity we have to make a difference in someone’s life.

For example, Ashley from our Mt. Pleasant branch enjoys greeting our customers with a song!

Senior Branch Manager Linda Springsteen in Mediapolis says here at Two Rivers, that’s how we aim to treat each and every one of our customers.

“When our customers walk through the door, we always greet them and try to make them feel special,” said Springsteen. “We get to know our customers, not just on a financial level, but on a personal level. It’s not just coming in to take care of a transaction, and then they’re out the door. We like to have friendly conversations where we have the opportunity to ask them about their families, their trips, or anything else that’s happening in their lives.”

What Linda said goes to show that it doesn’t take a lot of time, or even a lot of energy, to positively impact someone’s life, which is why we want you to dedicate a portion of your day to Make a Difference.

Springsteen even had some great suggestions for how you can get involved. “When you’re walking down the street, say ‘hello’ to somebody or open a door for someone walking in somewhere. You could even call your neighbor to see if there’s something special you could do for them. Whether it’s raking leaves or fixing a meal, just offer to do something special for them.”

You could smile at a stranger, tell a friend you appreciate them, send someone a hand-written card, donate your time or volunteer. Whatever you decide, Springsteen believes it’s important to remember this:

“Just try to do what’s best for your community and your neighbors. At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we like to make sure that we make a difference in everybody’s life, every day.”

 

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we want every day to be Make A Difference Day! Become part of our neighborhood that makes a difference.

 

National Good Neighbor Day

Today we acknowledge and celebrate the importance of good neighbors. It’s always enjoyable having a good neighbor, but we think it’s more important to BE a good neighbor. That’s why today, on National Good Neighbor Day, our branches across Iowa are going out into their neighborhoods to deliver a smile, and in some cases, goodies too! IMG_0302

Senior Branch Manager of Central Iowa, Igor Cavlovic, said, “A good neighbor is someone that you can always count on, that’s there for you when you need them. Someone that you can have a nice conversation with and help each other out, which are all important values to us at Two Rivers Bank & Trust.”

All three of our Burlington/West Burlington branches decided to deliver goodie baskets to customers and neighbors alike, including the police and fire departments, while our Coralville and Iowa City branches delivered their baskets to local police stations and area businesses.

Our Mediapolis branch served 475 people at a Community Appreciation Luncheon, held earlier in the month on September 10, which they said was a great neighborhood event that they will continue to participate in.FullSizeRender

Julie Brown, Alicia Whalen (pictured left), and the rest of our team in New London packed a van filled with balloons and donuts and is spending the day thanking the New London Schools, Daycare, Police, the Mt. Pleasant Police and Iowa Wesleyan University.

Cavlovic in Des Moines decided to offer their branch services to the Food Bank of Iowa in downtown Des Moines. “They need help with sorting dry goods, baked goods, and today we are providing some assistance to them so that they can get that distributed to those in need,” said Cavlovic.

 

Get out into your neighborhood today and do some good. Hold the door for someone walking behind you, strike up a conversation with a stranger, pay for someone’s coffee, write a positive review about a business you enjoy…

“Volunteer, maybe go around and deliver some small treats to your neighbors around you to say ‘thank you for always being there for us,’ and just showing that appreciation,” said Cavlovic.

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, you’re rewarded for being a good neighbor. In 1991, The Good Neighbors Club was started with about 100 members and today we have grown to a membership of over 3,000!

 

Senior Blog

Safe Financial Tips for Seniors

As many consumers get older, it can be difficult to manage their finances. With times and technology constantly evolving, it can also be difficult for seniors to maintain their financial security and keep their account information out of scammer’s hands. At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we value teaching our customers how to bank safe—here are five safe financial tips specifically geared towards older generations.

Know the red flags of fraud
It’s important to know the red flags of fraud—unsolicited phone calls, unexpected emails or calls requesting account information are all major red flags that someone unknown is trying to access your money. Also be on the lookout for offers that seem too good to be true, or individuals who seem to be expressing a new or unusual interest in your finances. Many scammers may also call you requesting large sums of money via wire transfer to help a relative—before sending any money, be sure to call your family members to check on their story.

“The biggest problem that I’ve run into in my career has to do with phone calls,” explains Eric Benne, Two Rivers Bank & Trust VP & Trust Officer. “For example, many seniors receive phone calls from individuals claiming to be relatives in trouble or even callers claiming to be the IRS. Always do your research before giving any information to these individuals. And remember, the IRS will never call you!”

“The most important piece of advice to remember is to trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Even if you feel like the person calling you is legitimate, always do your research before taking action.

Research financial advisors before investing money or paying for services
Before you follow advice from your financial advisor, you may want to double check their background, and research what their title actually means.

“Make sure that you find someone who is capable of assisting you in a proper way,” says Benne. “It’s easy enough to check and see that whoever you’re dealing with is registered with the proper licenses. Meet with them in person to see if the relationship will fit your needs before you even commit to working together. Most importantly, trust your instincts when it comes to this relationship—you need to trust your financial advisor and feel comfortable with them.”

A financial advisor is a great tool to have, but only when they keep your best interests in mind and truly have your back. Ensure you’re receiving the best financial advice and feel confident in your financial decisions by researching reputable financial advisors in your area.

Stay up-to-date with your account information and statements
Make sure your account withdrawals and deposits are accurate by reviewing your statements as soon as you receive them. If you notice any questionable withdrawals or activity, call your bank immediately to clarify the activity or to report potential fraud on your account. If you’re able to, also consider switching your paper statements to eStatements. eStatements will help reduce your risk of fraud, while also allowing you the ability to monitor your account activity any time of day via your computer or mobile device.

Be careful who you give legal authority to access your accounts
As you get older, it only makes sense that you include a Power of Attorney on your accounts. While this is a smart move, make sure you only give this access to someone you trust and who has your best interests in mind—a close family member or friend may be an excellent choice. Before giving them access to your accounts, make sure you sit down with them to layout your expectations and financial limitations, that way everyone is on the same page, and there will be no miscommunication down the road.

“Anytime you start to explore the avenue of allowing another individual to have authority over your affairs, you need to make certain that they are the right person for you, and it’s also the right decision for them,” explains Benne. “Even though someone may seem trustworthy, you don’t know what’s going on in their life—make sure it’s a good decision for them, too. It also doesn’t hurt to work with an attorney to have another set of eyes on your accounts and decisions.”

Sign up for direct deposit
Direct deposit allows your money to be deposited directly into your account without having to receive any checks in the mail. Direct deposit offers a fast and safe way for you to receive money during retirement—like your pension or social security—without having to go to the bank to deposit the money yourself. Even if you are receiving direct deposit, you still want to make sure that you are checking your account each month to see that you are receiving the full amount you are entitled to receive. If you notice an error, be sure to contact your bank right away.

“Direct deposit is an efficient program that can eliminate obstacles or hassles—especially for seniors that have physical limitations or disabilities. Always important to double check statements for accuracy—at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to check your accounts to ensure they are accurate.”

 

Keeping your account information safe is a full-time job. Do you have additional questions regarding your account security? Contact Two Rivers Bank & Trust today—we’d be happy to talk with you and answer any of your questions!

Business Banking

Mobile Apps Make Depositing Checks a Snap

As routine financial tasks move online, you may have fallen out of the habit of banking at a branch office. If so, receiving a paper check can be a hassle, requiring a special trip just to deposit it.

Thankfully, mobile depositing is now widely offered by banks, allowing you to put that refund from the cable company or birthday check from your uncle into your account without having to go to a branch in person.

How it works

Financial institutions that offer remote depositing generally do so through smartphone apps. Although the exact procedure varies, in most cases you start by endorsing the back of the check, the same way you would if you were depositing it with a teller or at an ATM. The app prompts you to snap photos of both the front and back of the check and send them through the phone to your account provider.

If you have multiple accounts at the same institution, you’ll need to select the one you want to receive the money. Most of the time, you’ll be asked to enter the amount you’re putting in. The app usually has software designed to read important information from the photos, such as account and routing numbers and the amount of the check. But having you punch in the dollar figure reduces the chance of a software error that accidentally moves $20 into your account when the check was for $200, for example.

Is it risky?

Ideally, the same privacy and security safeguards are in place whether you’re conducting a transaction online with your computer or logging in with a mobile app. Depositing a check by phone is no different. Financial institutions are refining and improving online security practices all the time, and their customer service departments can answer questions if you’re concerned.

You can decrease your risk of having your personal financial data stolen by changing your passwords frequently, using an authentication code on any mobile device you use to access your financial accounts, and avoiding using unsecured Wi-Fi networks at cafes and other public places.

What’s the downside?

If the camera on your phone isn’t of good quality, it may be hard to take a clear enough picture. To improve your chances, lay the check on a flat surface like a table, and make sure it’s well lit. Some apps require the image to include all four corners of the check, so make sure you’re not cutting off part of it when you take the photo. To be safe, allow a small margin around it.

In many cases, there are restrictions placed on money deposited by mobile app. Some financial institutions limit the total dollar amount you can put in this way each month, or won’t accept individual checks over a certain amount. Sometimes, these limits are lower if you’re a new customer, and you’re allowed greater freedom to deposit checks with the mobile app after you’ve had your account for a while.

Although paper checks are becoming less common, you may still receive them from time to time. Having the option to deposit them with your smartphone eliminates a lot of the associated inconvenience. This will only be more true as the technology improves.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Two Rivers Bank Background

Home Equity Basics for Borrowers

Home equity is one of the most important sources of wealth for many Americans. If managed carefully, it can help you finance home improvements, pay for education or take a once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

Here’s what you need to know so you can make the best use of it.

What is home equity?
Your home equity is the amount you would clear if you were to sell the property for its appraised value. Estimate your home’s potential sale price by searching real estate valuation websites, looking at recent sales of similar properties or talking to a local real estate agent, then subtract the balance of your mortgage. Your home equity generally increases as you pay down the mortgage principal and can change with local real estate values.

Best uses of home equity
You should be gradually increasing your home equity, with the ultimate goal of paying off any mortgages and owning the property outright. Not having a loan to pay each month will mean you can get by on less income, which can be handy especially during retirement.

But careful use of home equity during your working years can be a wise move. Because the interest you pay on both a primary and secondary mortgage is usually tax deductible, the cost of carrying the debt can be lower than other types of loans. But there are expenses to take into account. Typically, borrowing against your property incurs costs similar to those you paid when getting the first mortgage, such as appraisal, title check and loan-origination fees, among others, so consider these before taking the plunge.

How to borrow using your equity
To unlock your home equity, you can either refinance the current mortgage or borrow against it. Lenders such as Two Rivers Bank & Trust offer two main ways to do the latter — home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs.

Home equity loans typically provide a specific amount of money up front, and their rates are generally fixed for the life of the loan. HELOCs, on the other hand, usually have variable rates that can move up or down based on a market index. That means your monthly payment can vary, too. But because they are lines of credit, you have the option to make an interest only payment on the amount you’ve borrowed. If you’re financing a big renovation and don’t know what the final price will be, a HELOC might be a better choice, because you can borrow the money as you go.

A word of caution
When you take on a second mortgage in the form of an equity loan or HELOC, the lender can start foreclosure proceedings if you fail to repay the loan, or default. Home equity can be a powerful tool to pay for big-ticket items, but it shouldn’t be used lightly.

Ideally, you’d prepare for major expenses and save money in advance. The costs of sending children to college, taking your mother on her dream Caribbean cruise or adding a second bathroom to the house are usually not the result of spur-of-the-moment decisions. Paying for such things out of pocket is usually a better idea than borrowing, but if you do need financing, using home equity may be the best solution.

When it comes to financial planning, home equity can be your ace in the hole. Use it wisely to finance big life-changing purchases, but don’t squander it needlessly on insignificant things.

 

Virginia C. McGuire, NerdWallet

Oh the places you’ll go: Banking conveniently while in college

ICollege Blogs your child heading off to college in the fall? Ensure your child has a bank they can trust and rely on when moving to college—like Two Rivers Bank & Trust! Even if they’re not home, you can still bring the feeling of home to them with excellent financial care and guidance.

“When it comes to banking for college students, convenience is the biggest thing. Make sure that you have the ability to bank from anywhere using tools like mobile deposit, online banking and more,” explains Two Rivers Bank & Trust AVP – Community Banking, Liz Ross. “At Two Rivers, we want to create a seamless online banking experience for busy college students on-the-go through a variety of convenient tools!”

Here are four ways Two Rivers makes banking convenient when you head off to college!

  1. Mobile Deposit—Deposit checks from anywhere—even your bed! With Mobile Deposit, one of Two Rivers’ newest perks, college students can deposit birthday money, their roommate’s rent check or even their friend’s repayment from last weekend’s awesome concert without ever having to leave the house! Perfect for a student without access to a nearby ATM or branch, Mobile Deposit is just another way to bank when it’s convenient for your schedule.
  2. Online and Mobile Banking—Access your accounts from anywhere, anytime with Online and Mobile Banking. View your account balances, transfer money, monitor transactions, make loan payments, set up recurring transfers and more—all from your computer, tablet or smartphone. With Online and Mobile Banking, you can carry your accounts with you wherever you go. It’s safe and secure, and you can even set up free text or email alerts to stay on top of your accounts when your schedule starts to seem overwhelming!

“Two Rivers Bank is your home away from home,” explains Ross. “You’re in a new neighborhood, and we’ll welcome you as your new neighbor. Being away is hard enough—you have new roommates, you’re trying to find your classes and trying to meet new people. At Two Rivers, we make it easier for you by providing tools that make banking convenient for your schedule.”

3. electronic statements—It’s surprising how much of our financial lives is automated now! With automated payments coming out of your accounts—like Netflix, Spotify and Hulu—it’s important to monitor your account to see when money is coming and going. electronic statements are available online 24/7 and allow you to view current and past statements without having to dig through a mess of papers in your dorm room!

“When it comes to automated payments, they are often ‘out of sight, out of mind,’” says Ross. “Viewing your electronic statements provides an opportunity to think about all of the places you currently spend money. Use this time to perform a ‘self-check’ to see if you really need to be spending the money that is coming out of your accounts through automated payments. Additionally, review to make sure you don’t see any payments that you haven’t setup on your account. ”

4. Online Account Opening and Online Chat—If you’re new to our neighborhood and are looking to switch banks, Two Rivers is here to help! Make the transition to college stress-free by opening an account online with Two Rivers Bank & Trust—if you need assistance, you can utilize our online chat option without ever having to leave campus!

“Opening an account online is the easiest way to open an account for most college students,” explains Ross. “At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, you don’t even have to come into the bank to open that account. We know that students’ time is valuable, so we make switching as smooth and seamless as possible.”

Remember, “Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away,” Dr. Seuss.

As your neighborhood bank, Two Rivers Bank & Trust is here to help you through the transition into college. Remember that managing your money doesn’t have to be difficult. With convenient services from Two Rivers, you can access your accounts—and your money—anytime, anywhere. Contact us to learn more!

Commonly Made IRA Mistakes

Business BankingFor most Americans, their IRA represents a bulk of their retirement fund. With such a dependence on this account, it’s important to know how to manage your IRA account, while also taking advantage of any loopholes to get the most out of your money. Here are five commonly made IRA mistakes we bet you don’t even know you’re making.

  1. Never assume you can’t have an IRA because of your employer plan

While some employer-sponsored plans limit you from also having an IRA, this is not always the case. For most plans, you are allowed to have both an employer-sponsored retirement plan and an IRA up to a certain income limit. Make sure you do thorough research, as well as talk with your Human Resources Department about your specific plan before completely ruling out an IRA.

“You can definitely have an IRA even though you are an active participant in an employer plan, and it’s a great way of supplementing the benefits you’ll derive from the employer plan,” explains Two Rivers Bank & Trust VP & Trust Officer John Walz.

  1. Not making a contribution because it isn’t tax deductible

Even if your income is too high to make tax-deductible IRA contributions, you should still make contributions. Even if your savings is not tax deductible, investment earnings in your IRA will still be tax-deferred, which means that your funds will accumulate tax-free until you withdraw them from your account. Bottom line, tax deductible contributions are important, but tax deferral wins every time.

  1. Not listing your beneficiaries correctly

Some people forget to change beneficiaries when they get married, divorced or inherit an IRA. Not properly listing your beneficiaries, or not keeping your beneficiary information up-to-date, can cause a major hiccup for you down the road. Talk with your financial advisor to find out if your beneficiary information is correct, and nail down any issues in your information before you encounter a problem. Don’t forget to ensure your backup beneficiary is up-to-date, too!

“Many people forget to list their beneficiaries correctly, or go through life changes where they forget to change the beneficiary listed on their account,” explains Walz. “However, some states have statutes that deactivate your beneficiary designation in certain situations. For example, if you get divorced in the state of Iowa, the state automatically removes your former spouse as your beneficiary.”

  1. Paying unnecessary penalties on withdrawals

In general, you should only take money out of your IRA in the event of an emergency. While you can technically take money out of your account whenever you need, if you’re under the age of 59-and-a-half, this decision could cost you. If you’re older than 59-and-a-half, you can usually make penalty-free withdrawals, also known as qualified distributions, from an IRA—but you will still owe the income tax on your withdrawal if it’s a traditional IRA.

“The money in your IRA is set aside for retirement, and should be saved for retirement,” explains Walz. “If you’re in a situation where you need money desperately, there are exceptions to penalties on withdrawals. For example, if you’re unemployed, you can pay your health insurance premiums from your IRA with no penalty.”

  1. Not taking advantage of increased contribution limits

Make sure to max out the money you deposit in your IRA by taking advantage of increased contribution limits for each age bracket. For 2016, your total contributions to all of your traditional and Roth IRAs cannot be more than $5,500, or $6,500 if you’re older than 50. These contribution limits do not apply to rollover contributions or qualified reservist repayments. Get the most out of your money by making the maximum contributions each year—your future self will thank you.

 

For additional questions regarding your IRA, feel free to reach out to one of the financial advisors available at Two Rivers Bank & Trust—your neighborhood bank! Contact us today.