Planning one last summer vacation?

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Here at Citizens Bank Minnesota, safety and security of our clients’ accounts is priority.  As a precaution there are states and countries that are blocked for Debit Card use based on monitored fraud patterns. Just a reminder, when traveling out of state it is important to notify Citizens at 1-800-549-0194 or (507) 354-3165 with dates and the location of your travel so your card will be available for use.

Tips for your Travel:

  • Travel with more than one form of payment, i.e. debit card, credit card, pre-paid card, cash.
  • Check the expiration of your Debit Card to assure it will not expire while you are away.
  • Know and memorize your Pin.  Call 1-866-985-2273 if you need to reset your Pin.
  • When using ATM’s, stay in well-lit areas and be aware of the surroundings.
  • Do not leave receipts at the ATM.
  • Store your Debit Card account number and the lost/stolen customer service telephone number separately and in a safe & secure location – Card Member Services (800) 535-8440.
  • Monitor your transactions regularly via Online Banking at www.citizensmn.com, through an iPhone or Android App, or Telephone Banking 507-233-2265 (or) 1-888-476-2265
  • ATM and Debit Card Transactions are protected under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.  To limit your liability, you will need to monitor and immediately report any unauthorized charges to the bank.

By: Melissa Bergeman, Citizens Connection Manager/Complaint Resolution Officer

20 Year Anniversary of the Brown County Relay for Life

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This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Relay for Life in Brown County and its fight against cancer.  With the efforts and commitment of many people and countless volunteer hours, Brown County has now obtained total donations in excess of $2,000,000!  Citizens Bank Minnesota has been proud to sponsor a team for every one of those years.

Through a variety of fundraisers including potlucks, a 5K walk/run, a crafters’ retreat, an employee Silent Auction and donations from friends and family, the Citizens team continues to contribute sizable donations to the American Cancer Society every year.  This year we raised a whopping $24,425, bringing our twenty-year total to $198,846.72!

The money raised through Relay events helps with education, prevention, treatment, and support for all cancer survivors and patients.  A large portion of the money raised in Brown County stays in Brown County, helping our neighbors and friends when they need it most.  At our local Relay event, we celebrate all cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and learn how each of us can do more to fight back against this dreaded disease.

Citizens Bank Minnesota is in the fight for a CURE!

By: Barb Marti, Receptionist/Administrative Assistant

Replacement Cost For Your Home’s Contents

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Replacement cost contents coverage pays the full replacement cost of an item, minus your deductible.

If you want to restore the comforts of your home in the event of a loss, it’s best to choose replacement cost coverage on your household contents. It could be worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars to your family.

Most homeowners insurance policies cover personal property for its actual cash value. To cover your contents for the cost to replace them – new for old –request replacement cost contents coverage.

WHAT IS ACTUAL CASH VALUE?

Actual cash value is replacement cost minus reasonable depreciation. The actual cash value of your household property is what the items are worth at the time of a loss. For example, a television set usually lasts about 10 years. If you own a 5-year-old TV, about half of its life is used up. While you would pay $800 to replace it with a new one, its actual cash value is around $400. Homeowners insurance usually pays actual cash value (after the deductible) for your damaged or stolen TV.

REPLACEMENT COST CONTENTS COVERAGE IS AVAILABLE

With replacement cost contents coverage, no deduction is made for depreciation. Your homeowners insurance pays the full replacement cost of a new item of the same kind and quality, minus the policy deductible. Most policies require that you actually replace the item before replacement cost is paid.

Ask your local independent agent about replacement cost contents coverage. It lets you recover costs up to the full amount of your contents insurance limit. For example, your 10-year-old TV has an actual cash value of $100, but it would cost $800 to replace it with a new one. With replacement cost contents coverage, you could receive the full $800 for the new TV, subject to policy conditions, deductible and content limits.

This coverage would not apply to rare or antique items, those with sentimental value, or items insured under special limits of liability.

Come to Citizens Agency and talk with one of our local agents to insure your comforts of home at appropriate values.

Article courtesy of: Cincinnati Personal Lines

Investment and Insurance products:

  • Are Not Insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency
  • Are Not deposits of or guaranteed by a Bank or any Bank Affiliate
  • May lose value

Citizens Bank Minnesota Awards Scholarships

Emily Grob, a graduate of New Ulm High School, and Martin Halvorson, a graduate of Lakeville South High School, were recently presented with the Citizens Bank Minnesota’s fifteenth annual scholarship awards.  These scholarships are part of the Community Bankers Scholarship Program TM.  Both of these students received a $1,000.00 scholarship that is renewable for a potential value of $4,000.00 over four years of post-secondary education.

Alexa Diersen, a graduate of Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School, and Lucas Elias, a graduate of Lakeville North High School, were the recipients of a $500.00 Citizens Bank Minnesota scholarship.  This is something that is offered as a random drawing to all high school seniors from the New Ulm and Lakeville area that completed the Citizens Real Life Skillz online classes.

Each year, Citizens awards two or more high school seniors with scholarships.  The scholarship program was developed to express our belief in the youth and their potential to make a difference in our community. Citizens is proud to invest in their future by promoting education and excellence.

Emily Grob

Emily, daughter of Michael and Wendy Grob, will be attending the University of North Dakota this coming fall, pursuing a degree in pre-med and biochemistry.

Martin Halvorson

Martin, son of Chuck Halvorson and Maureen Thielen, will be attending the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities this coming fall, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering/computer science.

AlexaDiersen

Alexa, daughter of Greg and Kelly Diersen, will be attending Winona State University this coming fall, pursuing a degree in nursing.

Lucas Elias

Lucas, son of David and Patty Elias, will be attending the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management this coming fall, pursuing a degree in business/engineering.

April 24, 2015 marked the 19th annual “Teach Children to Save Day”

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During the week of April 20th – 24th, several Citizens Bank Minnesota employees visited second grade classrooms in the New Ulm and Lakeville areas and connected with over 750 students, in 9 different schools, raising awareness on the importance of saving money at an early age, for “Teach Children to Save”.

“Teach Children to Save” is a national financial literacy program that organizes banker volunteers to help young people develop a savings habit early in life. Since the program started in 1997, more than 177,000 bankers have taught savings skills to some 6 million students. This year eighteen members of Congress also joined with participating bankers to co-host events!​

To emphasize how banks are a better place to save their money than at home in their piggy banks, we have the students play a game with Laffy Taffy.  After the class is divided into two, they each take turns to “make a deposit” with their taffy, one group to their piggy bank, the other to the bank.  After the first round, the students who deposited their taffy at the bank receive interest in the form of more taffy.  After five rounds, the bank students have an overflowing bucket of taffy, while the piggy bank students have only the amount of taffy they started with.  This is a good visual and interactive example for students to see the benefits of saving.

Following the Laffy Taffy game, the students talk about different ways they can add to their savings accounts, such as receiving money as a gift, earning money from jobs at home, or their allowance.  They also talk about their savings goals, such as buying video games or toys now, or saving for a car or college in the future. The students are always ready to ask questions in regards to saving and the bank! And of course we leave a bucket of the candy with the teacher to pass out when she sees fit!

Citizens has a great youth Savings Force account with a Power Rewards Program. This program is geared towards saving money and getting good grades in school to earn rewards!  It also includes receiving fun, educational newsletters, postcards for their birthdays and treat bags, and special promotions throughout the year. If you are interested in opening a savings account for your child or grandchild at Citizens, please stop in and talk with one of our Client Service Representatives today! You can also see details on our website at http://www.citizensmn.com/personal/the-savings-force.

By: Sarah Seifert, Marketing Assistant/Youth Club Coordinator

5 Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund

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Nearly eight out of 10 U.S. tax filers will receive a federal tax refund this year.  As millions of Americans await reimbursement from Uncle Sam, the American Bankers Association has highlighted five tips for making the most of their tax refund.

“Smart use of your tax refund can start you on the path to long-term financial security,” said Frank Keating, ABA president and CEO.  “Instead of going on a spending spree, take a moment to evaluate your financial situation and decide on where those dollars will make the most difference.”

ABA recommends the following tips for consumers looking to put their tax refund to good use:

  • Pay off debt. Pay down existing balances either by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Save for retirement. Open or increase contributions to a tax-deferred savings plan like a 401(k) or an IRA.  Where can you get one?  Your bank can help set up an IRA, while a 401(k) is employer-sponsored.
  • Put it toward a down payment.  The biggest challenge that most first-time home buyers face is coming up with enough money for a down payment. If you intend to buy a new home in the near future, putting your tax refund toward the down payment is a smart move.
  • Invest in your current home.  Use your refund to invest in home improvements that will pay you back in the long run by increasing the value of your home.  This can include small, cost-effective upgrades like energy-efficient appliances that will pay off in both the short and long term. If you have more substantial renovations in mind, your bank can help with a home equity line of credit.

Article courtesy of the American Bankers Association

Are You Ready to Leave Your Credit Cards at Home … and Pay by Smartphone?

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Paying for purchases by smartphone is becoming increasingly viable. Three major companies now enable consumers to buy goods at participating merchants with their credit or debit card by just waving a smartphone over the payment terminal. In fact, a major smartphone manufacturer recently teamed up with many banks and merchants to make the service available to anyone buying the newest version of its smartphone. What should you know about using your smartphone to pay in a store or a restaurant?

You need the right equipment. Your smartphone must contain a contactless or “NFC” (near field communication) computer chip that allows it to “talk” to the payment terminal via a wireless connection, as well as a digital wallet to store your payment card information. If you are buying a new smartphone, you can ask the salesperson if it has an NFC chip. For a phone you already have, check the “settings” menu and look for “NFC.” Your phone may already have a digital wallet feature. You can also download one through an app store or other online marketplace.

You have to load your credit or debit card information onto the phone. The setup procedure can be as easy as taking a picture of the front and back of the card with the mobile wallet application. The app will then send it to your bank for approval and to confirm that it’s really you. Some mobile wallets may allow consumers to load “loyalty” cards from favorite retailers. You may also receive store or restaurant coupons or other offers through your phone, based in part on your recent purchase history with the company.

Most merchants that accept mobile payments are large national chains, but smaller stores are beginning to sign up. A merchant must first install card terminals that accept contactless payments; they look different than the swipe terminals you are used to and display the symbol shown on the left.

As with any electronic transaction, pay attention to security issues. According to Jeff Kopchik, a Senior Policy Analyst at the FDIC, “Many security experts believe that mobile payments are more secure than swiping your magnetic stripe credit card because the mobile service keeps your credit number in encrypted form and does not transmit it to the merchant. But you still should make sure your phone is protected, such as with a password, so it cannot be accessed by a thief. Some of the newest smartphones use fingerprint readers to control access, which can be secure and convenient.”

Also make sure your phone “times out” and re-locks itself after it isn’t used for a short period of time. If you lose your smartphone, notify the bank or other issuer of any credit or debit cards that may be loaded on the phone.

“Remember that if there is a problem with a transaction, you will receive the same federal protections that otherwise apply to the underlying payment source,” noted FDIC Senior Policy Analyst Elizabeth Khalil. “For example, if the transaction drew on a credit card for payment, you will be protected by the same laws and regulations that cover credit cards.”

To learn more, start by contacting your smartphone service provider or credit card issuer.

Article courtesy of FDIC Consumer News

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