Blog & News
COVID-19 Update III
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 16:44
Based on the new executive order issued by Governor Walz 05/13/2020, and our constant monitoring of the COVID Pandemic as it impacts our community, we are extending the way we currently serve our customers for the time being. We believe it is appropriate to follow the Center for Disease Control guidance and provide our employees a safe work environment so we can continue to serve our community in the manner necessary to endure the economic realities of our present and future situation.
Within our lobby, we are available to meet with customers on an appointment basis (Please call 320-859-2101, and email email@example.com to set up a time for assistance). Please be aware that you may be asked to wear a mask and we may limit you to certain areas of our lobby.
We continue to encourage our customers to use our full-service Drive-Thru, our ATMs, and our digital banking services for their everyday needs. Loans and Account Maintenance can be discussed over the phone and through email, with much of the documentation able to be handled through our digital channels.
We apologize for this inconvenience, but with your patience, we expect that we will be able to provide you the best customer service possible during this temporary period of time.
COVID-19 Update II
Thursday, March 26, 2020 - 11:28
Honoring Governor Walz’ order to “Stay at Home,” and our focus on keeping our employees and customers healthy during this uncertain time, First National Bank of Osakis is restricting its lobby traffic to appointments only. Please call 320-859-2101 to arrange a time for our staff to work with you on your financial needs. During the “Stay at Home” period, the First National Bank of Osakis will remain fully staffed and able to handle all customer requests. Additionally, because of the technological investments we have made, our customers can safely do transactions in our Drive-Thru, do deposits in our lobby ATM, use any of our ATM locations to get cash, and deposit funds remote, pay bills, transfer funds, apply for consumer loans, and view balances and statements on our online/mobile banking applications at www.fnbosakis.com .
Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 11:13
To our Community,
Your health, welfare, and safety are extremely important to us. As COVID-19 increases its impact on our world, state, and communities, I would like to take a moment of your time to share need to know information that will help you act responsibly to ensure our community safety.
Internally, we are closely monitoring the situation and following the recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) when possible. We are implementing our Pandemic Plan, which means we are cleaning our facilities more thoroughly and frequently, requiring sick employees to stay home, preparing a portion of our personnel to work remotely, encouraging frequent hand washing, and recommending social distancing.
One of the recommendations from the CDC is to encourage our employees and customers to limit their face-to-face interaction as much as possible. At FNB Osakis, we are fortunate that we have been proactive over the last few years and have already established multiple ways to allow your banking to be done electronically. Many of you have already taken advantage of our electronic banking tools like Online Banking, Mobile Banking, and a Mobile Deposit-Taking ATM in our front lobby. For those of you who may not yet have experienced these services, please let us know if you need help getting your accounts set up, and we would be happy to help walk you through the process! In addition, you can get cash at our ATM locations.
For those seeking the help of a teller, we encourage you to use our Drive-Up window to allow for some space and distance. For those desiring face-to-face interaction, know that we will be keeping our doors open for those that need to come into the lobby. Lastly, for those who wish to talk with a lender or open a new account, please call and make an appointment.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this challenging situation.
The Future of FNB is Bright
Monday, October 21, 2019 - 09:36
For 116 years, the First National Bank of Osakis has been locally-owned and managed by the Evenson/Olson family. With the community and our customers in the forefront of my mind, I want to publicly explain the news that you may have heard elsewhere: The First National Bank (FNB) of Osakis is in the process of selling to the Martinson/Nelson family, who currently own Glenwood State Bank and Lowry State Bank.
Newman Olson, Jr, my grandfather and Chairman of the Board of Directors has led the First National Bank of Osakis for over 50 years, with the community of Osakis as his primary focus. With it necessary to consider how FNB Osakis can best serve the community of Osakis for the foreseeable future, he sought a partnership with another locally-owned and managed institution that holds its communities in similar esteem.
I believe we have found a partner in the Martinson/Nelson family that values its communities with the same commitment, pride, and passion for community banking. They have purchased a bank in the past, Lowry State Bank in 2002. Seventeen years later, Lowry State Bank remains under the same name, committed to its community, and enjoying the advantages that partnerships of great independent community banks can provide its customers and community – stability, growth, and versatility in product and service offerings – without the sacrifice of local management and decision-making. Just as the Martinson/Nelson family preserved the legacy of Lowry State Bank, they will strive to continue the legacy of FNB Osakis for generations to come.
Nothing you love about the First National Bank of Osakis will change. Newman, Bruce, and I, will still be leading FNB Osakis with the same values and service that our customers hold dearly. Our people have always been the reason we succeed, and we will keep it that way. Our commitment to community development, donations, and the support necessary to keep Osakis the place we love to live in, work in, and visit will be unwavering. As the community of Osakis grows, so does its banking needs, and our plan is for this partnership to allow FNB Osakis to be both an agent for, and a partner in, that growth.
When I took over as president of the First National Bank of Osakis in 2016, I made a commitment to stewarding this community asset as best as possible. The decision to partner with the Martinson/Nelson family is reflective of that commitment. I have faith that, together, we will guide FNB Osakis into a bright future, built on the strong foundation provided by the Olson/Evenson family.
Why We Ask All Those Questions
Friday, July 26, 2019 - 03:39
“I’ve lived in Osakis and been a customer for decades. My grandparents and parents were customers. The bank employees know me. Why are they asking me all these questions?”
The simple (and unpopular) answer is that it’s required by policy and regulatory changes. Unfortunately, the days of banking with just a handshake are gone. We, as employees, don’t like the changes any more than you do. We’d much rather ask how your vacation was, how college plans are coming along, talk about Amanda’s rock collection, or cuddle with one of those cute puppies you brought in. Having to ask our customers for their personal information can seem so invasive. And yet we aren’t bothered when the doctor or dentist office asks us for the same. It just seems like it should be different at your hometown bank.
So, can there really be any good coming out of this information exchange? Absolutely! Let me try to offer a customer-driven perspective on a few items we’ve been updating.
- TIN: TIN is a generic term for Tax Identification Number. For individuals, it’s usually their social security number. For businesses, it’s usually an employer identification number. Stated simply, this is your identity. And it’s what connects you to everything you do at our bank from accounts to online banking. If someone were to try to use your TIN to open an account, we have systems in place to help prevent identity theft.
- Current Mailing/Shipping Address: Use of your mailing address is a given. But we also need your physical address. Many of our customers have PO Boxes, which can be used for fraud. A physical address can be matched up with other information to further validate your identity. Fraud through forwarding mail has become a trend recently as well. Our bank has chosen to not allow forwarding of your personal banking information. If it can’t be delivered, it will be returned to us. A quick phone call or visit to update an address, even if it’s temporary, will allow us to still get you the information you need in a timely manner.
- Other identifying information: Basic personal information, unfortunately, can be easy for the bad guys to acquire. We try to use other less public information, so that is why we ask for a few things that may sound out of the norm.
- Email address: We do get emails from customers which sometimes include private information. Having your email on file is an additional way of verifying that the author is you, not someone pretending to be you. Plus, it connects you to online banking and allows you to opt in to e-statements.
- Employer/Occupation and Expected Account Activity: This helps establish and verify “normal” account activity as well as provide another way to contact you should there be a concern about your account.
- ID: I think this one is self-explanatory but getting an ID from our customers has not always been common practice. We are trying to update these when you are here.
- Signatures: If we don’t have your signature on file, we have nothing to compare it to in a fraud situation.
In this day and age, it’s difficult to stay ahead of the criminals and fraudsters, so a solid foundation of customer information is one of our best defenses.
The Costs of Childcard
Saturday, April 6, 2019 - 13:42
Growing a family is something that is rewarding on many levels, most of which cannot be measured. If you’re expecting, or planning on growing your family, congratulations! It’s not a small decision to make, and although you may never feel like you’ve truly done enough to be fully prepared, starting early on a budget, and practicing it, will help you considerably when your child is born.
For starters, the cost of child care can vary widely, and at times can be rather unpredictable, but taking steps to understand the predictable pieces will make the costs all the easier to digest. According to a 2017 USDA article regarding the costs associated with raising a child to the age of 18 puts a total cumulative amount at about $235,000. So, if we’re talking about digesting costs, that $235,000 figure is a tough one to swallow, but can be managed with a few financially savvy tactics.
If you’re simply planning on growing your family, starting early to set up accounts to cover initial, up-front costs is a great way to absorb the financial blow. Many people opt for a health insurance plans that allows for a Health Savings Account. These accounts can have funds contributed with “before tax” monies, and withdrawals from the account for medical purposes also come out tax free. These accounts can grow at a much faster rate than a traditional savings account, as the funds can be invested at a certain level. Furthermore, since the contributions are pre-tax, the payments made to medical bills (of which you’ll have plenty) will cost you less than if you were to pay it with post tax dollars. For the 2019 tax year, you’ll be able to contribute $3,500 for an individual, or $7,000 for a family. Nevertheless, having an account like this with at least your deductible amount in it, should be a goal to hit prior to the birth of the child when opening the account.
Setting that up will cover the cost of the hospital stay and the birth of the child, but what about when you bring that child home? Just like that, there’s another mouth to feed, and with food comes dirty diapers. There are clothes that’ll be needed, sleeper outfits, rockers, changing tables, bassinets, cribs, blankets, wipes, bottles…. The list can go on and on and is different with each family. A lot of those items are needed regardless, so buying them ahead of time when you see sales is very important, as you’ll want everything setup before the child is born. You certainly don’t want to have the child home, only to not have a place for it to sleep, or a bottle to add milk or formula to. Baby showers are a great way to gather items for the expecting couple and will significantly reduce the costs on your end to gather all these items.
Now that you’re comfortable with the child being home, and the child’s room is setup, you’re ready to cover regular day-to-day expenses. These include, diapers, wipes, formula (unless you’re able/plan to breastfeed) and a good stock of baby dish, bath and laundry soap. Diapers vary a bit on price depending on brands, but expect to pay about $20 for 120 diapers. This may sound like a lot, but that child could very easily dirty a dozen diapers before bedtime. At that pace, you’re looking to spend a solid $100 per month just on diapers and wipes. Feeding the child is another item to budget for, unless you’re breastfeeding. Formula fed babies, on average, cost just under $1,800 through their first year when fed formula. This is an additional $150 per month to add to your budget, for a total of $250 a month in just food and diapers/wipes.
If you’re both planning on going back to work, you’ll then need to factor the cost of daycare. Daycare costs will certainly vary widely depending on where you’re from, but you can certainly expect to pay $150 per week on daycare for an infant. That’s another $600, on top of the $250 you’re already spending from the aforementioned expenses, that needs to be considered. Your daycare provider may have different expectations with feeding, but you’ll typically need to provide them the breastmilk or the formula to feed your child, along with diapers and wipes.
A final point that we feel is an important one to cover is the cost of post high school education. Who knows whether or not your child will attend college, but preparing for it early on will allow you to provide a larger portion towards your child’s education expense. A great tool for this is a 529 Plan. There are many avenues to explore to set this up, but each state should have their own program, along with ones offered through financial companies. These accounts act similarly to a retirement account, where the power of compounding interest can really help that account grow. You’ll also receive tax benefits for utilizing the account. On top of all those benefits, it’s an account that anyone can contribute to, which makes it a great option for birthday or holiday gifts for friends and relatives.
So, when trying to fund a Health Savings Account, covering the cost of diapers, wipes and formula, toys and clothes, daycare costs and tucking money away for future education expenses, it’s pretty easy to see what that $235,000 cost over 18 years is made up of. Taking steps early on to save and experience that budget will absolutely benefit you as you bring your wonderful child into the world.
Lastly, this is not intended to be an entirely comprehensive plan on how to budget for a child, but does cover a lot of expenses of what you can expect. Each family is different on budgeting goals, so this should simply be looked at as a guide to help put a healthy and conservative perspective on the cost of a family.
For the Love of Paws... Budgets are Ruff!
Friday, March 22, 2019 - 04:48
We can all expect to budget or save for some of those big expenses in our lives, such as purchasing a new car, putting a down payment on a home or even an extravagant wedding. But something we don’t always budget for is the cost of pet ownership. Picking out a pet to join your family is one of the most exciting moments for both adults and kids. You and the family have decided you want to add a new furry (or sometimes not so furry) addition to your family and you all hop in the car to dash to the nearest pet shop or animal shelter. Sometimes the excitement of purchasing a new furry friend out ways the logical budgeting side of our brain (I mean, the sight of puppy cuteness typically makes me lose brain function altogether).
But, in all seriousness pets need your undivided time, emotional connection, and financial support. Having a pet or pets isn’t cheap and when you have made the decision to purchase one, two, or even three you need to be sure that you have properly planned and budgeted for your pooch. Speaking as someone who owns a Daniff (Great Dane & Mastiff mix breed) I am going to go ahead and use purchasing a dog through out the rest of this blog, but in general the expense types associated with owning a pet are similar for most types (maybe not a goldfish though).
According to the American Kennel Club the lifetime costs for dog ownership are as follows:
- Small dog: $15,051 (average life expectancy of 15 years)
- Medium dog: $15,782 (average life expectancy of 13 years)
- Large dog: $14,480 (average life expectancy of 10 years)
The question you may be asking yourself is…
Where Is the Money Going?
Initial Cost: So, you have decided to purchase a dog or puppy! Super exciting! The cost of the initial sticker price on your new furry friend depends on the breed of dog you purchase and where you purchase from. A purebred dog can range between $500 – $2,000, where as a mix breed or rescue can range between $40 – $400. Purchasing a dog from an animal shelter can not only be less expensive but can also give a pooch a second chance with a new and loving family. If you are looking for a specific breed and decide buying from a reputable breeder is your route, then you are looking at a higher price point for the cost of your new pet.
Veterinary Care: Keeping your dog healthy and happy is an important part of dog ownership. Things like routine vet visits, wellness checkups, vaccines, dental care, etc. can cost anywhere from $700-$1500 a year depending on your dog and where you reside. Then the preventative medications to prevent heart-worms, fleas, ticks, etc. can cost between $100-$500 per year. This doesn’t include emergency vet visits, medications, or specialty needs. The truth is there are dog breeds who are more prone to certain health conditions and that can increase the cost of health care for your animal.
Dog Chow: Whether you are feeding your furry friend cheap kibbles or an all-natural gourmet chow, the cost of feeding your dog is something you shouldn’t take lightly. Costs for food can run anywhere from $120 – $900 per year and even more if you have a larger breed dog who needs more calories in the day. Another thing to keep in mind is some of those special breed dogs, like a Great Dane for instance, need to have a certain amount of nutrients in the food they are fed otherwise they experience health ramifications. So, for my family we spend $90 a month on specialized dog food created specifically for our dog Obi’s breed. That’s about 16 Starbucks raspberry & white chocolate lattes!
Treats & Toys: Let’s face it. Once we buy a pet, we love them, we spoil them, and we shower them with toys and treats every time we go shopping. At least I do! AKC estimates that a dog owner spends about $35-250 per year on toys and treats for their pooch.
Pet Sitters: If you are someone who enjoys vacations and traveling, be sure to keep the cost of pet boarding in mind. We hate leaving our pooch behind, but most people will need to leave their dogs behind at least once or twice a year. Typically, this will cost about $100 – 300 a year.
Beautifying Your Pooch: You want your canine looking like the top dog but, grooming isn’t necessary for all breeds. Depending on the breed and the maintenance their hair requires you can spend anywhere from $15 for a brush you can use at home to $1,400 a year for frequent professional grooming.
The Must Haves & Extras: I think some of the things that all pet owners must purchase would include leashes, collars, dog tags, a crate, house gate, fencing (either electric or permanent) food & water bowl, poop bags, you know >> the essentials. That typically would cost between $200 – $300. Extra things that you can invest in when you purchase a dog would be things like pet insurance, obedience classes, pooch outfits, etc. Expenses like dog obedience and training can cost anywhere from $40 to $2,500. It all depends on the type of training that you commit to, simple dog obedience would be less expensive than sending your dog for training to become a service dog or hunting buddy. Those more specialized training can be even more expensive than $2,500!
Of course, there are a few things that are difficult to budget for such as emergency vet visits, puppy or dog destruction to your personal property (it happens, trust me!), extensive health issues, etc. Just know that there are things that you just won’t be able to budget for when contemplating adding a dog to your family. And that’s ok, we just need to be aware that things come up with dogs, just like humans.
So, how can you budget for all of this?
Well, the first and most important thing you should do is research the type of dog you want to purchase. The size, breed, and place where you purchase the pooch can all contribute to the lifetime cost of the dog, so be sure that you do your research! Then after extensive studying sit down and do a budget of your current expenses to determine that you can in fact comfortably afford the responsibilities of being a pet owner. Be sure that the monthly cost is something that fits well within your budget and that the purchase won’t cause any financial hardship for your family and you. If it is something where you can’t afford to add to your budget; open a savings account. Save a little each week or month for a specific period and then take that money and buy your dream pet! I can even name your savings account “Dream Pet Fund” and help you open it!
In conclusion, owning a pet is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences. Having a furry pawed friend waiting for you at home and loving you unconditionally is something everyone dreams of. Just make sure that before you venture out and purchase your pooch, research the breed, check your budget, and know that not only will this be a financial commitment, but also an emotional one. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade purchasing Obi for the world, he has been expensive, destructive, and at times drives me crazy, but we love our pets >> they are a part of our family, they are like another child, just a furry one.
FDIC Insurance Keeps Your Money Safe and Secure
Friday, February 8, 2019 - 11:50
With online financial technology companies ramping up pressure to get into community banking, only the time-tested, traditional community banking model ensures these advancements are not at the expense of customers trust, financial resources, and community wealth.
Just recently, a company named Robinhood Financial LLC advertised a 3% deposit account, and in that advertisement for the account stated that funds would be insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corp (SIPC). Shortly after, the SIPC CEO disagreed that funds in those advertised accounts would be protected by the SIPC, theoretically, leaving customers of Robinhood Financial LLC at risk. (link: https://www.americanbanker.com/articles/robinhood-backs-down-after-outcry-over-checking-account)
This is just the most notable, and recent, of a rash of Silicon Valley-based financial technology companies that have entered banking market. Many partner with banks to allow their technology to be used in combination with the traditional protections that our Banking industry provide their customers, Federal Deposit Insurance and continual regulatory examinations to ensure the safety and soundness of the place you keep your money.
The most troubling aspect of these financial technology companies trying to separate themselves from the traditional banking industry is the perception that they are as safe as a bank. They are not. Whether you are using PayPal, Venmo, or the most recent, convenient technology, consumers need to be aware that those organizations may have products that operate like a bank, but they do not have the backing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the regulatory supervision of the Federal Reserve, FDIC, State, or Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Balances kept with these companies are not necessarily safe, nor is what the company is doing with the funds you entrust with their institutions.
Independent and locally-owned Community Banks, like the First National Bank of Osakis, are the most logical place to keep your hard-earned dollars the safest, because they are time-tested and consistently regulated. Through the 115 years FNB Osakis has been in existence, it has seen numerous economic cycles, and is focused on the constant risks to our customer’s and community’s financial health.
The best alternative to enjoying convenience without sacrificing risk –open a checking account and make that the only checking account you link to transfer balances between these Financial Technology Companies applications/websites. Keep your other checking account hidden from electronic connections and only transfer the funds in between the two checking accounts. Our Customer Service Concierge can assist you in structuring accounts in this manner, as well as guide you to using your accounts safely in conjunction with Paypal, Venmo, etc.
Over the past 2 years, FNB Osakis has made significant investments in digital ways to use your accounts, backed by the common-sense understanding we have of our customers. We are constantly upgrading and adding features to our Online and Mobile Banking environments to be as safe, and convenient, as possible.
Want to know how much FDIC coverage you have at FNB? Check out this tutorial on FDIC’s EDIE The Estimator. It’s a great resource for our customers to calculate their FDIC coverage, so give it a try!
EDIE the Estimator Link → https://www5.fdic.gov/edie/
What is the FDIC?
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency of the United State government that protects the funds depositors place in banks and savings associations. FDIC insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. Since the FDIC was established in 1933, no depositor has lost a penny of FDIC-insured funds. FDIC Insurance covers all deposit accounts including:
- Checking Accounts
- Savings Accounts
- Money Market Deposit Accounts
- Certificates of Deposit
FDIC Insurance does not cover other financial products and services that banks may offer, such as stock, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, annuities or securities.
The standard insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each ownership category.
More Information on Regulation E
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Regulation E (“Regulation E”) provides a basic framework that establishes the rights, liabilities and responsibilities of participants in “electronic fund transfer” systems. This framework provides consumers with certain protections for personal deposit accounts. A “consumer” means a natural person and, therefore, Regulation E protections apply to consumer accounts established primarily for personal, family or household purposes.
The term “electronic fund transfer” (EFT) generally refers to a transaction initiated through an electronic terminal, telephone, computer or magnetic tape that instructs a financial institution either to credit or debit a consumer’s deposit account. Examples of electronic fund transfers include automated teller machine (ATM) transactions, point-of-sale (POS) or purchase transactions done using a debit card and pre-authorized transfers from or to an account (such as direct deposits).
Links to more information:
FAQ from the FDIC: https://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/faq.html
Overview from the FDIC: https://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/
Insured or not insured: https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/information/fdiciorn.html
Regulation E, demands bank insures against fraud: https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/efta.pdf
Bank Customer’s guide to Cyber Crime: https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnwin16/FINAL_Color_CN_Winter2016.pdf
How FDIC Insurance Works: https://www.thebalance.com/fdic-insurance-315761
The Dreaded Word Dormancy and What It Actually Means for You
Friday, February 1, 2019 - 11:53
Dormant Checking and Savings accounts are among one of the most common unclaimed property items in the State of Minnesota. That being said, the staff at the First National Bank of Osakis want to make sure that we do our due diligence, so that your inactive account doesn’t become state owned property too. Hence the reason we send those inactivity and dormancy letters out to our customers informing them there has been no activity on the account and giving them the option to reactivate. Having a financial account go into a dormant or inactive state is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Life happens, and we are here to help.
Having a bank account go inactive or dormant is usually not something that is planned by our customers. It typically takes our customers by surprise when they get that initial inactivity letter from the bank and a flood of questions enter their mind. I am here to hopefully answer some of those questions you may have, explain the dormancy process more in depth, and provide you with some tips on how to keep your account out of an inactive state.
First, let’s touch on how an account becomes inactive or dormant. A bank considers an account dormant when there are no transactions made on the account within a specified period, typically 1 to 2 years at most financial institutions. At the First National Bank of Osakis dormancy starts after 1 year of inactivity, meaning there has been no deposits or withdrawals made on the account for 12 months. After 11 months of inactivity we send you a courtesy letter stating the account has been inactive and in 30 days the account will be put into a dormant state. At this time, the customer will need to act on the account to avoid the dormancy stage. At FNB you can simply make a transaction on the account (either a deposit or withdrawal), contact us and inform us you want the account to remain active or you can send the bottom of the letter we send signed and dated back to the bank. Once one of these options is completed the account will be removed from the potential dormancy process. Whala!
In some instances, the letter either never makes it to the customer or back to the bank. In this instance it is typically because we do not have a current address or contact information for our customer on file in our database. If at this point the customer did not take action the account will be placed into dormancy after another 30 days from receiving that initial inactive letter from us. We will also send you one more letter once your account enters dormancy. This letter is our last effort to inform you that the account has become dormant.
What Dormancy Means For You
The question you are probably asking yourself is what does dormancy mean for me and my account? The first thing most customers become privy to quickly is the $2 dormancy fee that is charged to your account on a monthly basis. This fee starts after your account has been inactive for one year and is put into the dormancy stage. The most asked question is, why do we charge it? The honest and transparent answer is financial institutions do accrue costs for dormant accounts. When your account goes dormant the bank is required to not only continue to send you statements, but also acquire special reports and processes for the dormant account. Not only is the bank trying to recoup some of the cost of not only sending, but re-sending bank statements and letters to you, but the immense reporting that is required for dormant accounts is extremely time consuming. We must take extreme caution and be very diligent if and when the accounts go inactive. Meaning, on each and every dormant account our staff have to actively view transactions and verify if the transactions are indeed legitimate. Dormant accounts are a great way for not only thieves to make fraudulent acts on your account, but also money laundering. The other reason that we must do special reporting is the State of Minnesota requires intricate reports be given to them on the account once it becomes dormant and through the dormancy process.
After three years of the account sitting in dormancy and no contact from or with the customer has been made the account must be forfeited over to the State of Minnesota. We, as the financial institution, have no bearing at this point on what happens to your account. That is why we are diligent in making sure that it never gets to this point. Once your account has been forfeited to the state, not only will you have to claim your property, but you will also have to pay penalties and fees to receive it. The bank is not responsible for the unclaimed property process, the fees associated, or the time line at which we must forfeit your assets. This is strictly based off rules and regulations that the state has put into place. To learn more about the State of Minnesota’s unclaimed property process visit https://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/your-money/find-missing-money/.
So, the important question is how can you prevent dormancy in the future? How can you prevent your accounts becoming unclaimed property and in the hands of the State? The good news is that there are several easy steps that can be taken to make sure that you account is both active and up to date.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR ACCOUNTS
It should go without saying that you will always want to know where all of your money is at all times. For those tech savvy customers of ours monitoring your accounts can be as simple as logging into your online banking account or accessing our FNB app. Both of our online banking modules are a perfect tool to view all of your FNB accounts in one place.
The more traditional and less digital approach would simply consist of keeping all of your most recent banks statements in a file folder. The main objective with either option is to always be aware of where you are banking and what your balances are. It may also be a good idea to keep a spreadsheet or documentation listing all the financial institutions that you bank with, the account types, and general contact information for them.
KEEP YOUR INFORMATION UP TO DATE
I cannot stress the importance of keeping your contact information up to date with your financial institution. Let’s face it, when your life changes in big ways (like moving or changing your phone number) calling the bank isn’t the first thing in mind, but it should be. Making sure that the bank has updated contact information is a security net for you, knowing that at any time you are able to be contacted by your financial institution. The letters that we spoke about earlier in this post are a prime example. If we don’t have your most recent address on file you won’t receive our initial attempt to contact you and inform you that your account has been inactive or receive the final letter stating your account has reached dormancy. Therefore, eliminating your ability to act on the account, because you simply didn’t know it had become dormant or inactive. One of the main reasons most accounts are turned over to Minnesota’s Unclaimed Property Division is because a customer did not notify us when they received a new phone number or had a change of address, giving us no way to contact them.
CLEAN UP AND ROLL OVER UNUSED ACCOUNTS
If you are one of those people who create different accounts for individual goals or have several accounts at an array of different financial institutions, then it may be safe to say that you may have accumulated multiple accounts over time. It is easy to forget to close out an account that maybe you used for a specific reason and there were only a few dollars left in the account. Or maybe you opened a checking account at one institution and decided to switch, but you just didn’t want to take all the funds out of the old account. A few dollars left in this account, a couple twenty in that one – you may end up with a hundred dollars spread out through multiple accounts. Eventually, you may forget what you have and where you have it. Or you could simply be missing out on better rates or incentives, just by not have those multiple accounts bundled into one. This is more reason to take a look at how many accounts you have and consolidate as much as possible. Look at the options on the table and see which one speaks true to the goals you have in mind for your future. Then, consolidate all those tiny accounts into one primary account you can use for everything you need.
KEEP YOUR ACCOUNTS ACTIVE
And lastly and most importantly, keep your accounts active. If you have a savings or checking account either here or at another institution they will require activity on the account. This activity could be either a deposit or withdrawal. Transactions of any type keep your account active, out of dormancy, and avoid the chance of it being turned over to the State as unclaimed property.
Busy lives sometimes make it difficult to remember when to transfer funds, so automate your savings/checking account. If remembering to make a transfer is something you are worried about then look into setting up an automatic transfer from one account to another may be a great option for you. These transfers can be set up to occur daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. And with our integrated online portal and mobile app you can do these transfers from the comfort of your home with a simple finger click. This form of automation will keep your account active and your worries of dormancy at bay.
In this piece I have explained how your account can become dormant, what the dormancy process is, how it will affect you as a customer, and ways that we can work together to make sure that your account never becomes inactive or dormant. Essentially the most important point to not only you, but the staff at FNB is that we are very transparent in this dormancy process and we work together to make sure that your account never becomes another asset sitting in the State vault of unclaimed property.
If you believe you may have unclaimed property at the State of Minnesota, simply visit https://www.missingmoney.com/
Impulse Purchases: Defending Your Budget
Monday, March 5, 2018 - 12:50
“Tis the season,” tax return season, that is. The season where many large, consumer purchases are made possible with the down payment a tax return provides. It’s one thing to buy something outright, but increasingly more and more consumer spending is on items that require some level of financing. Getting a loan isn’t a bad thing, however, a hastily purchased and poorly thought-out transaction can be a very bad thing for your finances.
In many cases we take the time to think about what we would like to spend, but we tend to devalue future income spent—we don’t correctly quantify the total amount of future payments, interest, etc, we just look at the amount of the payment. With the importance of financing to drive sales of many higher priced goods, sales environments are increasingly more purposely set up to take advantage of this impulsive behavior, that Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize Winner, describes as ”Mental Accounting.”
The purpose of budgeting is to set our own expectations of how we should spend our money to accomplish our financial goals. The budget process places an importance of our own expectations, information gathering, and awareness of our impulsive nature to arm ourselves with the knowledge custom to our situations and how to be on offense when looking to make purchases. Dealer financing is EVERYWHERE – Homes, Car Dealerships, Furniture Stores, Cell-phones, rec vehicles, credit cards, without making a game plan, you’ll find yourself, and your budget, always on defense! Retailers aren’t going to sit down and work out your budget for you, they are going to run a credit report, and either approve or deny.
In order to make a rational decision, one that makes the most financial sense, a consumer needs full information. How often in a sales environment do you have full information? Do you know the mechanical history of the car, the total cost of the loan or lease over the duration of the contract, and the fees associated with the transaction (motor vehicle sales tax, tabs/registration cost for coming years, etc)? There’s so much information to be gathered that often in the heat of the moment, this information is ignored because we WANT that item and we simplify our economic decision-making to one very small piece of the puzzle—the payment.
It used to be that when you entered a store or dealership, the “how to purchase” and “can I afford this” questions were already answered. You have the money, or you are preapproved for a loan to buy it. Now, it’s likely that you know you want something, but you leave it up to the people benefiting from the transaction to help you figure out how to buy it. That’s where our own lack of information and irrationality lead to a potentially bad or costly decision.
The above table shows an example of a car purchase. The consumer currently owns a 2007 Honda Civic with no loan on it. The consumer is considering going with a newer Honda Civic, or moving to a pickup truck of a similar price. It’s becoming more common that a consumer walks into a dealership looking for a new vehicle and is presented options, eventually payment amounts based on the sales price, less a trade-in, and the loan over a certain amount of months. However, the table above shows there’s a considerable amount of other factors that hit the budget: Fuel cost, Insurance Cost, Maintenance, the Sales Cost (trade-in vs private sale), Taxes, and Registration. What appears to be a $240/month payment to purchase one of these vehicles, is actually anywhere from a $497 to $737/mo cost! To make a commitment of years on the spot, in the heat of the moment, based on limited information will wreak havoc on your budget!
Without full knowledge, we cannot be rational consumers. That is why it is important to step away from these transactions and acquire that knowledge to avoid the impulsive irrationality that many sales environments are either directly or indirectly encouraging. Come to the Bank, talk it over, and decide what the best course of action is. Or, at the very least, make that purchase days later, after you have had the time to analyze all the costs of the transaction, including the opportunity cost of dedicating a stream of income to an object that has very little value or less and less value the moment you purchase it.
By taking the time to understand what you want or need and what fits your budget, you are now on the offense to understand if something is a good deal for you. Consumers have never been hit with more ads, deals, etc than they are right now, and in very personal and subliminal ways. Are deals even deals anymore? Again, if you have a game plan—a budget—you’ve done your homework on the things you want to purchase. The following websites have handy information on the best times to buy items:
Consumer Reports – Best time to buy
Lifehacker – Best time to buy
You’ll notice that often the best time to buy something is when it isn’t in season. Winter clothes, the end of the winter. TVs-after the Super Bowl. Lawnmowers—right before winter. If you are planning ahead, this isn’t difficult to take advantage of. But, the dealers are betting you aren’t. And after that first snow, they set the price on what you pay for that snowblower, because you need it now, not in 5 months.
Finally, it sure is easy purchase things online, but there are many hidden costs to those transactions. Don’t chase those low online prices and in doing so devalue your time and the impact of spending your money locally. The time you spend to get a good deal, put together a product, and spend minutes—even hours—on the phone with customer service is a cost to you. Many times, in fact, most of the time, working with independent local businesses can save you time and stress. Local business owners stand behind their products and services, their business depends on your relationship, ensuring that consumers get what they need and problems get resolved quickly by people whom can actually make decisions. Additionally, spending your money locally contributes to community wealth that is returned to you in the forms of lower property taxes (better tax base), better amenities (schools, parks, etc), and future job opportunities with growing businesses!
Sources for info on Car Purchase
Trade in value – Kelly Blue Book, can check with dealerships
Private Sale – internet listings, take about 5-10% off to get the value you could get. Can check local listings in publications, www.carsoup.com, www.autotrader.com, www.edmunds.com, Facebook Marketplace, www.craigslist.com.
Insurance—with your Agent on various models