ECorp Login

Larrys _dollars _and _sense

Dollars and Sense

June 29, 2016

Q:

 Does the success or lack of success of our farmers have any effect on the rest of

A:

It absolutely affects us. If our farmers have good crops and solid income from their crops, they will spend more money in the community. It doesn't matter if it's agriculture or factory  workers. When they succeed and do well, we all benefit from it. We are also affected  indirectly. If our farming friends have a bad year, the cost of food will be impacted as well.Agriculture is by far one of the biggest parts of our global economy. It has always been that way and always will be that way. We sometimes forget that agriculture is much more than  just what we see around this area. There are the areas in the U.S. that grow cotton, oranges, grapes, vegetables and many other things. Globally, there are coffee beans, bananas,  cocoanuts, pineapple and many other items that are part of farming and agriculture. When you consider all these things, it proves just how far reaching agriculture is and how it affects all of us.

Q:

Back several months ago Target store had a security breach. Why couldn't the bank stop it?

A:

The breach at Target department store did not happen because of anything the banks did. The breach in security happened on the other end. I don't know all the details but, as I  understand it, Target's computers were hacked and the information on checks and debit cards was obtained by the hackers. There is absolutely nothing that the banks could havedone to stop it because it did not affect your bank's computers. I'm not aware of this incident costing anyone any money or if it was just information on their customers that was obtained.The danger of someone obtaining your information is always there but, the banking industry has done a pretty good job of protecting their customers. Of course, anything is possible. So, protect your information as best you can. Be careful who you share information with. Don't make it easy for crooks to be successful.

Q:

Is there a time of the year when it is easier to borrow money?

A:

No, there isn't. Our business is not cyclical. We are always ready to approve loans to qualifiedborrowers. Whether it is a loan to buy a home, new car or any other worthwhile purpose, we do not distinguish between seasons as to when it's the best time. I can't even tell you that acertain season has more application volume. Certain types of lending are stronger than others at different times of the year but, our willingness to lend money is the same year round. I  think customers are sometimes more prone to borrow at certain times of the year. For  instance, springtime is generally when people begin fixing things up around their house and some don't like the idea of buying a new car until the weather is nice. These are choices  people make that suit them. We really don't care what time of year it is for you to requestloan funding. We're ready whenever you are.

June 22, 2016

Q:

Should we be concerned if Donald Trump is elected President?

A:

What exactly should you be concerned about? The truth is, there are things about both candidates that should concern us. Having said that, I don't know that they are any worse than others who have won past elections. My advice is you should not let other people do your thinking for you. Forget about all the loud talking and bickering back and forth and listen to what the candidates say and listen to the debates when they start having them. It doesn't doesn't matter whether you are a registered Republican or Democrat. Vote for the one you  think can handle our three major issues and those are terrorism, the economy and our national deficit. We each must decide who that person is for ourselves. It only takes listening to TV newscasters for 2 minutes to tell who they are backing and this should not be your sole sourceof information in making a decision. The same goes for radio and newspaper.

Q:

If I have an adult child still coming to me for money, how do I handle it and stop it?

A:

You're not going to like the answer but, you probably should have addressed this when they still lived under your roof. Being independent and responsible should be taught when they are  young and under your supervision. Your issue is one of the most common ones for parents.However, it's not too late for you to have a meaningful conversation with your grown child to  put a stop to the handouts. Start by asking them to itemize for you everything they spend. There's a pretty good chance you are going to feel a bit irritated when you learn how they  spend their money and it's a lot easier for them to just ask for money from you to finance their  fun life. If you are not willing to take this tough love stance with your kids, learn to live with thefact that you will probably be supporting them to some extent the rest of your life. It's not a tough decision to make if you want to make it. Obviously, you can afford to do it or you would  not do it. However, It doesn't matter because you are not doing them any favors

Q:

If one of my children is abusing my debit card, am I responsible?

A:

You actually let your child have your debit card and pen number? I'm not sure why you thinkthat was a good idea but, you are obviously finding out that it wasn't. Yes, you are 100% responsible for your account if you give access to anyone. Your child is not mature enough to  handle the responsibility that comes with easy access to cash like a debit card. There are other ways to address your child's cash needs without giving them the keys to all your money.   Your child may be the smartest and most trustworthy in the world but, there are reasons we   call them children. It's because they are not adults. There may be some that will read this and they will not agree with what I am telling you. Nevertheless, if you want 100% assurance that your account is safe, don't share the card and password. Your banker is not going to pay for   your bad choices and you shouldn't expect them to.

June 15, 2016

Q:

How important is the Presidential Election to our economic recovery?

A:

It's important but, I don't think the future of our economy rests just on who wins the election.  Neither candidate will have enough power on important issues without the backingof Congress and the Senate. Presidents can't just do everything they want to do. However, it still matters who is elected. We have some critical issues that need to be addressed. The two biggest are the economy and national security. We need someone who understands  business and who will watch out for us when it comes to being safe. Watch the debates and  look at the records before you make a decision. Don't get hung up on them being either aDemocrat or Republican. Look past all that and look at the issues and who has addressed  them best. This may very well be the most important election in many years and we shouldtake an interest in it whether we are interested in politics or not.

Q:

You commented on veterans getting a free education. What's it called?

A:

It's commonly referred to as the G.I. Bill. This Bill was passed under Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency in 1944 to help soldiers returning home from the war to get an education.  Millions of veterans have gotten their degree through the G.I. Bill. Veterans have been slighted in many ways over the years but, education is not one of them. I have no figures on  how much of our tax dollars goes to pay for these educations but, as far as I'm concerned it is  more than fair for those who risked their lives for our country. Some may feel it is not a  justifiable program but, I disagree. Soldiers are not compensated well to begin with and thehazards to their health and wellbeing are high. My Dad dropped out of high school, joined the U.S. Navy, came back and got his high school diploma and went on to receive a college degree through the G.I. Bill. Allowing these soldiers to receive a free education is a small price to pay for what they do for us.

Q:

Some states are requiring mandatory drug testing to receive Welfare. Why not all of them?

A:

I find it very disturbing that our government will spend millions of dollars to prosecute a proathlete for taking drugs but they won't pass mandatory drug testing for anyone seekingwelfare benefits. This gives you a clue as to how out of touch with reality our elected officials are. I applaud those states that require drug testing for welfare recipients. It should be afederal law in all 50 states. If you want to live off tax payer's money, prove that it won't go to  support a drug habit. Not everyone on welfare is using illegal drugs. I know that. However,  studies have shown that the percentage of welfare recipients using illegal drugs is higher than those not on welfare. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this information but, it should not come as a surprise if it is accurate. Some say it is a violation of their civil rights to test for drug  use. Those who live off of taxpayers don't have the right to spend that money anyway theywish. Illegal drug use is one of our country's worst problems and it is costing all of us billions ofour tax dollars and increases the cost of our healthcare. 

June 9, 2016

Q:

Last week you were critical of forgiving student loan debt. Why is that? It helps the kids.

A:

Going to college is expensive. I understand that. However, when someone accepts tax payermoney to get their education and doesn't pay it back, it's not right. I realize that good jobs arescarce for graduating students. However, if graduates can't find a job immediately in their field of studies, take a job that doesn't utilize your education until one comes along. It's called being  responsible. You won't be the first college grad who was forced to take a job they didn't like so  that they could pay their bills. If you are one of those individuals who paid for their educationthrough a loan, pay it back when you go to work. Don't start your adult life by taking handouts from the government and parents, don't encourage this kind of behavior and attitude. The only individuals who should get a free education from the government are veterans who served in the military and risked their lives. We have a program for them and that's fine by me.

Q:

Can you explain what an IPO is and if they are a good investment?

A:

IPO stands for Initial Public Offering. It's usually a company that needs to raise capital to support rapid growth or, it could be someone who wants to maximize their personal  investment in the company by selling stock and giving up a part of their ownership. Some of the more famous IPO's were Amazon, Yahoo and Facebook. Most of the high tech companies were started with an IPO and a lot of people got very wealthy by investing in them. However, don't assume that every IPO will be a success. When you purchase stock in a company, you arerelying on someone or some group of people that you don't know anything about who have no obligation to you as an investor to be successful. They plan on being successful but, there areno guarantees. I would say that there has been much more money lost on IPO's than money  made on them. It's risky and I would not invest any more than you can afford to lose. If you arenot a gambler or risk taker, I would be very careful on an IPO.

Q:

I get the impression that Presidential candidates are more interested in protecting consumersthan they are businesses. Why?

A:

I don't necessarily believe that the candidates are against businesses. However, what you might be seeing is "pandering" to voters. It's a word that we hear a lot during elections and  what it means is the candidates are saying what they think people want to hear. Businessesdon't vote. People vote and speaking from a financial point of view, the candidates want to   leave the impression with voters that they are going to protect them against the business world taking advantage of them. The voters don't need protection but that's the impression they want to leave. Our free enterprise system allows people to do business with whomever  they wish based on service and pricing. The average voter wants to believe, based on what    they hear, that the candidate will look after their best interests. I wouldn't place any  importance on these kinds of comments from the candidates. Bashing some segment of society to win votes is an old tradition with political candidates whether it's deserved or not.

June 1, 2016

Q:

How bad is the student loan debt crisis they keep talking about in the news?

A:

There is approximately $1.3 trillion dollars in student loans in this country and virtually all of it is backed by the U.S. Government. The most recent reports tell us that 40% of this amount is individuals being either behind on their payments or not paying at all. This SLA loan program started out as a good idea. However, as happens with most government sponsored programs,  it has become a nightmare. President Obama wants to forgive all this debt and let them walkaway without paying a dime. If you have student loan debt or your children have it, you are probably excited about this. If you do not have student loan debt or your children don't have student loan debt, you are probably very angry about this plan of forgiveness. Especially if you paid your own way through school or paid for your child's education. This idiotic forgiveness of debt is another example of what has gotten our country into this financial mess. It's our tax  dollars they are giving away and it has to stop for our nation to get better financially.

Q:

What is this new law that raises the level for qualifying to be an exempt employee?

A:

For years, this government imposed rule stated that a worker had to exceed a base salary of $23,660 per year to be eligible for exempt status. Most exempt employees are not paid overtime and usually have official titles or they're a part of management. As of December 1, 2016 it will be increased to $47,476. In other words, anyone on a salary under that figure  must be paid over-time pay if they exceed 40 hours per week. The department of labor estimates that this will affect 4.2 million workers and additional income to workers of $12  billion collectively over the next 10 years. Furthermore, it may be necessary for employees to use time card who currently do not do so in order to give employers appropriate records. Thismajor change affects everyone regardless of their status or title in a company. Once again, politicians with no business experience, making rules that unfairly affect workers and it will notmake a substantial difference in wages for those 4.2 million individuals. All it will do is create more paperwork for employers.

Q:

Why do banks change the pricing of their fees so often?

A:

I don't believe it's fair to say they do it often but, from time to time, all banks take a look at their pricing on products and services. Why? Because your bank's cost to provide the products and services change. Employee compensation is the biggest factor. Not only the expense in  what we pay employees but also health insurance which has been rising by double digits  annually for some time now. Most banks set a level of relationship at which you can avoid fees.  We are no different than any other industry. Our cost of operating our business is constantlyrising. This isn't just about making the bank a profit. It also allows us to continue contributing   to important projects and programs in our communities. A strong and profitable communitybank is essential to a strong and progressive community. Charging appropriately for services isessential in accomplishing this.

May 24, 2016

Q:

If some people live pay check to pay check and they are happy, what does it matter?

A:

Money won't bring you happiness. I can agree with that. However, don't confuse being happy with being secure financially. I doubt that anyone would be satisfied with living paycheck toto paycheck but, it doesn't have to keep them from being happy. Also, there is a difference between barely making ends meet on the essentials and intentionally spending your last dime on frivolous things that you could have done without and risking your families wellbeing. The welfare system our country has created is responsible for a lot of these attitudes. Many of those collecting from the system have decided that it will be their retirement plan. I don't have to work another day in my life because Uncle Sam will send me money when I run out. I think all hard working Americans would love to see our government revamp a system that creates these attitudes. If you are broke but working and you arehappy, that's great. If you are choosing not to work and collecting from the system and happy, most working people will have a problem with that.

Q:

Will you get an audit by the IRS if you don't check the box for a political contribution?

A:

Every taxpayer must file an annual tax return. For many years, there has been a box that youcan check to donate $3.00 to political campaigns. You can ignore it without fear of being audited. This is purely voluntary on the part of the taxpayer. In my opinion, I don't think it should even be on the form. Political contributions should be a private matter and if you want to make a donation, you can do it on your own without being reminded of it by the IRS.  I have never heard of a single person who got audited and claimed it was a result of his or her refusal to contribute. Maybe it is only $3.00 and it wouldn't make a difference in your wallet.  However, I don't criticize those who are contributors or those who are not. That's your business and should not be open to criticism by anyone. The campaign system needs some change and it should start with funding.

Q:

Why are charitable contributions tax deductible and some other things are not?

A:

It would be a pretty sad country we live in if it were not for charitable organizations. I think getting a tax deduction for charitable contributions is great. I have seen estimates of 75%fewer donations if it were not for the tax break. I can't imagine all the people in need that  would not be taken care of without tax free donations. Thankfully, this has not been taken away and I hope it never is. However, over the past few years, there have been news stories about the high percentage of some charities income that goes to administrative expenseslike salaries. While it is not practical to think these organizations can operate without   employees, you would do well to do some research to see which ones have the highest and the lowest percentage of their income going toward salaries and other administrative cost before making a commitment. We all want most of the money to go for the intended  purpose.

May 18, 2016

Q:

Is there one type of business that works best in a small town like Hicksville?

A:

I'm sure some types of businesses are more suited for a small town than others. However, there are things much more important than the type of business. Someone wanting to open anew business must do research to determine if there is a need for their product or service. They need to have knowledge of what they are selling not to mention practical experience.  All too often, people go into business just because they have always wanted to start a business or maybe they have an emotional attachment to what they are wanting to do. These are not good reasons for doing it. It doesn't matter how passionate you are about your product or service. If there is not enough of a market for it, you are wasting your time and money. Having  passion for something is great. However, you cannot let it stand in the way of making a goodbusiness decision like this. Make the decision with your head and research and not your emotions. Your margin for error is much smaller in a small community.

Q:

I've heard that banks sometimes go in partnership with businesses. Is this true?

A:

By virtue of lending money to a business owner, we are partnering with them. However, not in the sense that you are thinking. We don't own stock in their company, we don't make business decisions in the company and we don't help manage. If it gets to the point that we are makingdecisions, it means the business is in trouble and we are trying to avoid losing money. We neverplan on that happening and we don't want it to happen. Bankers are not interested in running your business if there is any way possible to avoid it. Obviously, we are glad to offer advice if itis requested. Otherwise, we don't interfere. Sometimes, when a business owner gets in trouble, they become too emotionally involved to make the tough decisions needed like   closing the doors. If our loan is in jeopardy, we help them with that decision just to avoidthings getting worse. We will do everything we possibly can to stay out of your business affairs but, we will get involved as a last resort.

Q:

What's the single most important thing in making a decision in lending to a business?

A:

Well, you may have heard the phrase, "numbers don't lie." When it comes to making a credit decision, the ability of the borrower to repay the loan is critical and we determine that by analyzing financial numbers. The borrower may have the best intentions in the world of repaying the loan but, if there is insufficient income to pay it, they won't pay. Hard work, character and experience are all important things to a credit decision but, the numbers are themost important thing. A lender could know the individual his or her whole life but, if they are attempting to borrow beyond their capabilities to repay, we won't loan the money. I've made the following statement many times over my career. I would much rather have you upset with  me because I rejected your loan request than to make the loan and have you upset with mefor taking your home or automobile because you didn't pay as agreed. I think most bankers  feel the same way. If they don't, they should.

May 11, 2016

Q:

The government is always giving economic percentages on the economy. Are they reliable?

A:

We read numbers like the CPI (Consumer Price Index), Unemployment Rate and the number  of new homes under construction. All of these ratios and numbers are for the entire country. People that are giving us this information (our government) are the same people who cannotstop the wasteful spending, stop welfare fraud and offer political favors for votes to keep  them in office. The economic numbers may possibly be fairly accurate. However, when they come from people like this, how can you believe anything they say. If you want a good feel for the economy, read what the big retailers are telling us about sales. If they are seeing anincrease in sales, you can feel better. If they are not experiencing and increase, it's a prettygood indication that the economy is still struggling.

Q:

Is the banking industry worried about something like a cyber-attack on their computers?

A:

It's not just the banking industry that's concerned about it. All businesses plus our federal government is concerned too. It's the number one threat to our country. Billions of dollarshave been spent over the past few years to protect computers against attacks from enemies abroad and criminals in our own country. However, to address your question, we are very concerned and have been for many years. It's one of our industry's largest areas of expense.  Is a cyber-attack possible? Anything is possible but, we have taken steps to minimize the riskof such an event and we will continue to upgrade our safety measures to stay on top of thisissue. We have to be diligent and the cost of system upgrades is a permanent item in ourbudget every year. I believe it is the same in all financial institutions.

Q:

Have many people have stopped having home phones to help their financial budget?

A:

According to some reports, about 40% of homes do not have a land line (home phone) and their cell phone is the only thing they have for calling and receiving calls. To be honest, I thought the percentage might be higher. I'm guessing it will go higher. Aside from wanting to save money, the other reason landlines are disappearing is due to the ever increasing amount of telemarketing calls they receive. I know there is a number you can call to get on a  "do not call" list. However, speaking from my own experiences, that is a waste of time. It doesn't work. I think most people feel the way I do. The people I want to receive calls from have my cell number. So, I don't need a land line on which 80% of the calls received weretelemarketers that I didn't want to hear from. With today's economy being what it is, the average person needs to save on expense anyway they can. Some people want or need a  land line and some don't. There is no right or wrong decision. It's just a preference.

 

Name 
Phone 

Thank you, your request has been submitted.