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Agricultural Banking: Helping Plant the Best Seed

Posted on April 16th, 2014 in Community by SSBblogger | No Comments

There’s no denying the fact that agriculture has been the backbone of Iowa’s economy since people began settling and raising crops here in the “Land of Opportunity.” The presence of agriculture in the blood of every Iowan, especially in our communities, means everyone knows the importance of this time of year. Late April and early May mean it’s time to plant corn and soybean crops for the season, the first step in a process that creates billions of dollars in revenue across the state of Iowa.

 

It’s this financial impact and the importance of corn and soybeans on the economic lives of local farmers that make having a knowledgeable banking and lending partner vital. Security State Bank has our roots in working with local farm families to ensure they have everything they need to succeed. We know the challenges of working with the earth and weather for your living, and our ag lenders and banking specialists work with farmers every day on their diverse needs.

 

Whether you have a large or small farm operation, or are beginning farmer, there is a solution for you. Security State Bank’s ag specialists know no two farm operations are exactly the same. That’s why they take the time to talk to you and understand your needs in order to recommend the best financing solution available.

 

We can talk about all the specific programs we have available for our local farmers, but the only thing that matters is this: we care about and are invested in your success. In our eyes, working with local farm families goes beyond simple banking. It’s trying to help our family, friends and neighbors succeed to help build and maintain a strong local economy.

 

A genuine relationship that offers you exactly what you need at a fair price; that’s what we offer at Security State Bank. You can talk to one of our ag banking specialists by contacting any of our locations today. Good luck to all our farm families during the upcoming planting and growing seasons, and here’s to beautiful weather for a bountiful yield!

The 5 Mortgage Types & Programs You Need to Know

Posted on March 19th, 2014 in Mortgages by SSBblogger | No Comments

When looking for a mortgage, it’s best to know all the options available to you.

It may be hard to believe, but spring is almost here. And with spring comes warmer weather, brighter colors and the beginning of “home season.” Despite all the freshness and excitement in the air, spring can also be a time of great stress and confusion for those looking for a new home and needing a mortgage.

One common question we get at Security State Bank when it comes to mortgages is “Which mortgage is best for me?” There isn’t a real answer, as each person and family’s situation is different. However, we can give you a brief overview of some of the most popular mortgages and describe which type of person best fit this loan.

Fixed-rate loan- this type of loan locks your interest rate in for the life of your loan. This can be beneficial if you get your mortgage at a time when interest rates are low.

Adjustable-rate loan- the interest rate in this type of mortgage fluctuates based on market conditions.

FHA loans- these mortgages are focused on helping those with less than perfect credit, and require only 3.5 percent of a home’s value for down payment.

VA Guaranteed Loans- these mortgages are available to veterans of the United States Armed Forces. They help veterans (or their spouses, provided they did not remarry) purchase a home without a down payment.

USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Program- these loans help low to moderate income families purchase a home through 30-year fixed-rate financing.

Security State Bank also offers mortgages through the First-Time Home Buyer Program, as well as new construction to permanent financing, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and bridge loans. If you’re looking to move to a new home in the area this spring or summer, get started by visiting the friendly mortgage experts at Security State Bank today!

Are You Asking the 8 Most Important Questions Before Buying a Home?

Posted on March 12th, 2014 in Mortgages by SSBblogger | No Comments
Mortgage questions answered at Security State Bank

There are many questions you need to ask yourself when considering purchasing a new home and getting a mortgage.

“Home season” will be coming along with the warm weather this spring. If you’re looking to purchase a home, you may have started getting together all the paperwork needed for mortgage preapproval and sought out the services of a real estate agent.

But have you asked yourself these eight important questions? If not, now is the time to ask them and find the answers.

How much home do we need? This all depends on your current and future family size. Also, do you or a spouse work from home or want a workout area? Think along these lines.

How much home can we afford? Once you have an idea of how much space you need, see how much home you can afford. Too many people got in trouble when the housing bubble burst with mortgages they couldn’t afford.

How much stress will this put on us and our kids? Purchasing a home can unravel even the coolest of customers, as can moving.

Have we been improving our credit score? Simply put, the higher your score, the lower your interest rate and down payment will be. A score of 720 or higher is the benchmark you should shoot for.

Will we be able to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI)? PMI is just another cost associated with purchasing a home.

Have we saved enough for a good size down payment? In general, making a down payment of 20 percent of your home’s value or higher allows you to forego PMI.

Have we saved enough for closing costs? On average, closing costs run between $2,300 and $4,000, so having this cash on hand makes you all the more prepared.

Are we ready to commit to living in one place for awhile? Short-term ownership is an expensive proposition, so be sure that purchasing this home is the best choice for your family.

The last thing Security State Bank wants is for our customers to be stuck with a home they are unsatisfied with or can’t pay for. Think hard about these questions, then call or come by Security State Bank today for help with your mortgage needs.

6 Tips for Becoming a Money Saving Masters

Posted on February 19th, 2014 in Savings by SSBblogger | No Comments

In one of last month’s blog posts we talked about how saving money (or more of it) is a very common financial resolution. Well, saying you’re going to save more money and actually do it are two very different things. If you’re looking to grow your savings account, know this: it takes consistency and some willpower.

 

That being said, Security State Bank also wants you to know that becoming a money saving master is possible. Here’s how you can feed your piggy bank a little more this year:

 

Recognize it doesn’t take much- most people don’t save money because they think they don’t make enough to begin with. It doesn’t take much to make progress when saving money. You have to…

 

Recognize saving takes time- you can’t double or triple your savings account over night. Why? Because, unless you came into a large amount of money, you still have expenses for that thing called life. Do as the tortoise did in his race with the hare- slow and steady.

 

Pick a goal- what do you need to save money for; an emergency fund or a new car? Having a goal helps you to track your progress instead of saving for nothing in particular.

 

Pick your percentage- 10 percent has long been the standard for how much of your income you should save, but if you can spare a little more, then why not? Most experts say 12-15 percent is where you should be.

 

Pay yourself first- yes, yourself. Not your mortgage, utilities or debts. Call Security State Bank or login to your Online Banking account and transfer your percentage from your checking to your savings on paydays. You can’t miss money you never “had” anyway, right?

 

Questions yourself- when at the grocery store, look at the items you have in your basket or cart and ask, “Do I really need all of these items?” Do the same thing any time you’re making a purchase over $50. You’ll be surprised at how much this can save you over time.

 

Being able to save money regularly without thinking about it is a skill that is learned before it becomes a behavior. We hope these tips help you to engrain good savings habits that will serve you well for the rest of your life. Come by and see us soon!

7 Money Wasters to Kick Out of Your Life NOW

Posted on February 5th, 2014 in Financial Management by SSBblogger | No Comments

 

We’ve all had this happen: you log in to your Online Banking account to check your balance, only instead of being satisfied with what you see, you are severely disappointed. “Where did all my money go?” you ask in astonishment.

 

The truth is, there are a few common “money wasters” that are sucking a lot of your money right out of your pocket. Security State Bank wants to help you identify these culprits to help you save more money and stay on track with your financial goals.

 

Carrying a balance- do you have a credit card? If so, do you make only minimum payments every month? Making minimum payments is a sure way to pay WAY more in interest over time than if you were to pay off the balance every month.

 

Not buying generic- yes, there are a few times when you must go for quality when at the grocery store. For every other time, going generic is the smartest move. For example, buying 30 items $3 each = total bill of $90; buy the same 30 items from generic brands at $2.50 each = total bill of $75, a $15 savings. Multiply that by however many visits you make to the grocery store and you have yourself a good chunk of change.

 

Paying late fees- even missing a credit card payment by one day can result in a fee of $25 or higher. Pay your bills on time!

 

Unhealthy habits- are you a smoker? The American Cancer Society estimates pack-a-day smokers spend $12,775 a year on cigarettes. Stop going to tanning salons too while you’re at it. There’s now a 10 percent tax added to your bill for blasting yourself with radiation.

 

Leaving electronics plugged in – sure, it can be a hassle to unplug everything when you leave the house. But you won’t think it’s a pain when you see how much you’re saving every month.

 

Going coupon crazy- couponing for the sake of couponing actually can cost you more money. Why spend $6 on 10 bottles of mustard when you go through only one or two per year?

 

Cable- do you really watch all 742 channels you get? No, you don’t. Talk to your provider about dropping channels or a la carte options to keep the ones you actually do choose.

 

Eliminating these money wasters from your budget helps keep more of your hard earned money in your checking and savings accounts. Good luck, and we hope to see you soon!

Getting off to a Good Financial Start in 2014

Posted on January 14th, 2014 in General, Savings by SSBblogger | No Comments

Here we are in a brand new year, which means it’s time to do those things we said we’d do last year but didn’t. If this includes some financial items, (saving money, paying off credit card debt, having more control of your finances, etc.) Security State Bankcan definitely help you out. We’ve come up with some tips to help you get your 2014 off to a great start AND help you achieve your financial goals!

Let Security State Bank help you find the “missing piece” to help you achieve your financial goals this year!

Save More Money

First off, if you don’t have a savings account, you should open one right away. It gives you a different place to set aside money so you can actually save it instead of spending it. If you have online banking with SSB, you can also set up automatic savings, which transfers a specified amount into your checking account every week. Lastly, “pay yourself first.” This means that any time you get income, make your first action be to put at least 10 percent of it into your savings.

Pay Off Credit Card Debt

Stop using your credit cards! If you don’t have the money to make a purchase, you definitely won’t have the money to pay that cost plus interest. Then, start paying more than the minimum amount. While you may be decreasing your balance, you’re actually paying more in interest over time.

Gain Control of Your Money

Start by making a budget. List out your weekly/bi-weekly/monthly income and expenses, then adjust so they are equal or you bring in just a little more than you spend. You can help track this over time by using SSB’s Online Banking and Mobile Banking, which give you 24-7, anytime, anywhere access to your accounts.

Make More Money

You are the biggest asset you have when it comes to your earning potential. Take the time to learn more skills, get a better education or commit to proving your value to your employer. It all starts with you!

If you have any other banking needs, the staff at any of Security State Bank’s locations will gladly help you out. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Tips to Start the Year Off Safe and Secure

Posted on January 3rd, 2014 in Security by SSBblogger | No Comments

Nothing matters more to us at Security State Bank than the security of our customers banking and personal information (we take it so seriously that we stuck “security” in our name!). That’s why we took swift action last month when reports about a breach Target’s security – a breach that allowed debit and credit card numbers to be stolen – came to light.

Shredding documents with personal information before you recycle them is just one way to prevent identity theft.

Because of this event, we wanted to go over some basic security items that you can employ to help keep your personal and financial information safe this year.

The Basics

  • Never carry your Social Security card or passport around with you unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Memorize account numbers or pins, or keep them in a password-protected or locked file drawer.
  • Shred any mail that comes to you with personal information on it before recycling it.
  • Never give out personal information or account numbers over the phone to someone claiming to be from Security State Bank; come by our locations to verify we need this information.
  • Check your credit reports at least once a year (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian)

Online

  • Change the passwords to your email, social network profiles and online banking profile regularly.
  • Log out of any profile (social network, online shopping, online banking) when you’re done.
  • Before entering any information into the forms when online shopping, check to see that the web address starts with “https” and that there is a padlock in the address bar or in the lower left hand corner to signify a secure website.
  • Delete strange emails as they are most likely phishing scams. DO NOT click on links or attachments in these emails.

There are many other great resources available to help you prevent identity theft or falling victim to a phishing scheme. We hope these tips help you keep your information safe for a great start to 2014. Come by Security State Bank and see us soon!

A New Year’s Resolution that can Really Pay Off

Posted on December 18th, 2013 in General, Savings by SSBblogger | No Comments

There’s no denying that New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. Last year, nearly half of American adults made a resolution, yet only 12 percent of those reached their goal. While the most common resolutions revolve around losing weight and better health, financial resolutions are also popular.

These financial resolutions can give your piggy bank something to smile about.

Money issues create stress, and since we don’t like to be stressed we naturally look for solutions. Security State Bank wants to offer you some “stress busters” in the form of financial resolutions you can make for 2014.

Save More Money- how to do it: pay yourself first from every paycheck by setting up automatic savings in your online banking; create an emotional attachment to saving money so it becomes a priority for you.

Create a Budget and Sticking to It- how to do it: come up with a list of expenses and compare it to your income. If you’re spending more than taking in, you need to cut costs. Keep constant tabs on your spending through your online banking during the weeks to make sure you’re staying on schedule.

Make Smarter Purchase Decisions- how to do it: take emotion out of the purchase process, you either need it or you don’t. Take a list with you when you go shopping and buy those items only. Give yourself 30 days to think about any major purchase.

Eliminate Your Debt- how to do it: make more than the minimum payments on credit cards or loans to reduce the amount of interest you pay. Make debt payments a priority in your budgeting.

Fund Your Retirement- how to do it: make your money work for you buy contributing to an interest-bearing account like an IRA or 401(k). Compound interest and time can help turn even smaller contributions into a sizeable nest egg.

When it comes to your money-related resolution, it’s important to think about both now and the future. Security State Bank would be glad to assist you in achieving your financial goals, so just let us know if we can help!

Northern Ireland & Scotland: A Trip Full of Beauty and History

Posted on December 4th, 2013 in Travel by SSBblogger | No Comments

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Edinburgh Castle is just one of the many great sights that will be seen during the trip.

Security State Bank is proud to announce another great travel opportunity being made available to our customers. In partnering with Star Destinations, Inc., we are offering a trip to the beautiful and historic countries of Northern Ireland and Scotland Sept. 1-11 of next year.

Northern Ireland and Scotland are both countries that have been blessed with a wide variety of breathtaking scenery and history that extends back for centuries. The tour includes stops in Edinburgh, Fort Williams, Glasgow, Belfast, Derry and Dublin. Over the course of the tour you’ll visit some of these countries most famous locations, such as:

Edinburgh Castle- home of the Scottish crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, a block of red sandstone used for centuries to coronate the monarchs of Scotland, England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom.

Holyrood Palace- official residence of the Monarch of the United Kingdom of Scotland and home to Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th Century.

Glengoyne Distillery- home of Scotlands most famous malt whiskey (with a tasting included!)

Loch Lomond- take in the scenery of the most famous lake and scenery in Scotland from a cruise vessel.

Titanic Belfast- a shimmering gallery dedicated to the history of the Titanic, which was built in the Docklands of Belfast.

The Giants’ Causeway- Ireland’s first UNESCO World Heritage site first documented in 1693 consists of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.

The city of Derry- this city is the only completely walled city in Ireland and the British Isles with over 1450 years of history to its name!

The city of Dublin- tour the famous pubs, cathedrals, squares and shopping districts of this famous Irish city that started out as a Viking settlement.

Security State Bank hopes that you’ll join us for this amazing, once in a lifetime trip. If you have any questions, you can contact Jan Scott at 319-334-7035, or ask for her when you call you your nearest SSB location.

Showing Some Love for Our Communities

Posted on November 19th, 2013 in Community by SSBblogger | No Comments

There are times when we all get caught up in everything life throws at us, whether it’s work, extracurricular activities or the activities of our kids. It happens to us at Security State Bank, too. We get so busy with the day-to-day transactions, business meetings and other items around our bank that we overlook all the great things in front of us.

Thank You from Security State Bank

Security State Bank wishes to thank our wonderful communities, and we hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving this year!

It’s with that and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in mind that we want to point out all the great things about the communities we serve. These are by no means exhaustive lists of all the great things Independence, Urbana and Dysart have to offer, but we tried to do each area justice.

Independence- what we love most about Independence is that it offers many of the amenities of larger towns and cities while not losing its small town charm. It’s hard not to notice the Wapsipinicon Mill, the Lee Mansion or any of the other structures that show off Independence’s rich history. Besides history, there are also some great places to eat like the Okoboji Bar & Grill and First Street Deli, as well as shopping and recreational areas to burn off that delicious food!

Urbana- we love how much growth we’ve seen in this town lately! Population was up 43 percent back in the 2010 census, and Urbana is currently one of the fastest growing areas in the state of Iowa. We love that you continue your farmer’s market indoors at the Community Center to help support local bakers, famers and craftworkers. We also love that if we need to go for a walk or a light run (when the weather is nice, of course) the Cedar Valley Nature Trail runs through town.

Dysart- just because you’re our smallest community doesn’t mean there aren’t great things happening here. Like Independence, there’s a lot of history to be found at the Dysart Historical Museum and fun to be had at Heritage Arboretum, The City Park and Christmas on Main next month. Dysart is also “A City on the Grow” with more and more opportunities becoming available every day.

Thank you to all of the great people and businesses in our communities. Without you there would be no Security State Bank. We look forward to serving you into the future and hope to see you soon!