Posts Tagged ‘ Citizens Bank Minnesota ’

Minnesota State Rural Finance Authority Lending Programs

Citizens Bank Minnesota is an approved lender to participate with the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority Loan Programs.  The State loan programs are established to help individuals who farm in Minnesota and offers affordable financing at reasonable rates and terms.  The State offers multiple lending programs ranging from buying a farm, building livestock facilities or restructuring existing farm debt.  The State of Minnesota participates with the local lender in providing the credit needs to Minnesota farmers.

The most popular program is the Basic Farm Loan Program which is used to purchase farmland.  The farmer must be a resident of Minnesota.  They must be a full time farmer or intend to become a full time farmer.  The loan applicant’s maximum net worth is $409,000.00.  The local Bank is the primary lender and finances 55% of the first mortgage on the property with the Bank’s normal rates and terms.  45% of the loan will be financed by the Rural Finance Authority up to a maximum of $300,000.00.  The farmer applicant works with the lending officer at our Bank to fill out the application and loan documentation requirements.  All loan payments are remitted to the Bank and the Bank forwards the State’s portion of the payment to St. Paul.  The State requires the borrower to be enrolled in Farm Management Classes and obtain all necessary State and County permits.

The Minnesota Rural Finance Authority also has an Agricultural Improvement Loan Program.  This loan program is for any physical improvement to the farm operation and a first real estate mortgage is required on the entire farm.  The State of Minnesota participates at 45% of the first mortgage to a maximum of $300,000.00.

The Minnesota RFA has a livestock expansion loan program which finances the construction of new efficient livestock facilities.  To be eligible for this program, the farmer applicant cannot have a maximum net worth exceeding $772,000.00.  The State of Minnesota will participate at 45% of the mortgage amount to a maximum of $400,000.00.  The farmer must be a full time farmer and have all necessary feedlot permits.

The Livestock Equipment Pilot Loan Program is to purchase livestock related equipment.  Equipment purchased will be security for the loan.  RFA will participate at 45% of the equipment loan amount up to a maximum of $40,000.00.

The State of Minnesota’s Restructure II Program is to provide restructuring for existing agricultural debt only.  A first real estate mortgage is required.  The RFA participates at 45% of the first mortgage amount to a maximum of $400,000.00.  The maximum net worth of the loan applicant cannot exceed $772,000.00 and the operation must have a positive cash flow.

As you can see, there are a variety of lending programs through the State of Minnesota which are available for our farm customers.  Our experienced Bank lending officers and staff can assist a loan applicant in preparation of the financial statements, cash flows, and application and make the process very easy for you.

By: Kevin Yager, Vice President

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The Focus Committee

At Citizens Bank Minnesota, we have a really fun group called the Focus Committee. The Focus Committee consists of 10 employees from different departments along with branch representation. The employee serves a two-year term and when their term is over, someone else from their department or branch will take over. The main purpose of the Focus Committee is to plan fun events for our customers and employees and to create a fun light-hearted work environment while still keeping things professional. Some of the ongoing, fun ideas that we celebrate are supporting Minnesota sports teams, supporting our local high school teams, Red Fridays to support our troops, special events each month for our customers, and weird and wacky national days.  Weird and wacky national days include National Chocolate Chip Day, National Root Beer Float Day, and National Apple Day. We also have a “Happy Birthday to You Day” for our employees, a “Wear Pink Day” to support Breast Cancer awareness, and we celebrate Moms and Dads on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. So the next time you stop into your local branch, you may be part of a fun event we might be celebrating!

By: Pamela Stoltenberg, Assistant Branch Manager

Tips for Organizing Your Financial Records

How much time do you spend each month trying to locate bills and receipts because you have them in various piles around your house?  Here are some tips to help you get your financial records organized and begin 2011 with a fresh new start.  Having your financial records organized will save you time and is a simple process which only requires monthly maintenance and a little discipline. 

  1.  Keep all of your records in one place
    What you store your financial records in is up to you as long as they are all kept together.  Inexpensive storage ideas that will serve the purpose include a filing cabinet, three-ring binder, accordion file or a cardboard storage box.  Consider renting a safe-deposit box at your financial institution or purchasing a fire resistant storage unit to keep in your home to store those permanent records that would be difficult to replace. 
  2. Separate your financial records by category
    Once you have decided on your storage unit, separate your financial records by categories depending on your needs.  You can use hanging folders, file folders, labels or colored tab markers to separate each category.  Color coding is also a good way to highlight different sections of your files. 
  3. Review and discard unneeded records
    You may accumulate many financial records over time so it is important to know what and how long to keep them.  Generally a good rule of thumb is personal records, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, divorce agreements and powers of attorney should be kept permanently.  Check book registers, bank statements, pay stubs, tax records and returns, should be kept for at least seven years for all tax-related records.  Receipts and warranties for major purchases should be kept as long as you own the item or until the warranty expires.  Those records that you decide to discard that contain personal information should be shredded before disposal.  Proper disposal of these items will ensure that this information cannot be read or reconstructed.   These are only guidelines to follow and if you have additional questions on financial records retention, please consult a financial advisor. 
  4. Keep up on filing
    Once all records have been filed and organized, set aside time each month to maintain and properly file records.   It takes less time to maintain this process than to start over.  Get into the habit of filing records right away when you are done with them, so the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

Don’t waste any more time hunting through piles of papers, good financial records organization can help you save time and money while giving you  peace of mind.  Good luck organizing!

By:  Stacy Merkel, Auditor

Young Farmers Getting Started

There is no doubt that in the current environment, it takes help “to get started”.  The help can come from different areas and help can be defined in different ways. 

Help from a parent, grandparent, family member or from a friend of the family can give you the start that you need.  This help can be defined in various ways, such as:

1)     Monetary – Cash for a down payment or inputs
2)     Favorable rent terms on land, buildings or equipment
3)     Use of machinery or equipment to plant or harvest crops and care for livestock
4)     Gift of livestock and feed to get your own herd started
5)     Exchange of labor for offsetting any of the above expense items
6)     Utilizing any government programs that are available to beginning farmers
7)     Working with Citizens Bank staff for financial advice, support and future success 

When deciding how to get started, look at what will create a return on your investment (profit), not a draw or straight cost to you.  Ask yourself, “How do I make money if I do this?” An example would be buying a new pickup for $30,000 – $40,000.  This purchase might cost you $750 in monthly payments.  Is there a way to make money with that pickup? 

If you are able to run a piece of ground, hopefully you would have profits at the end of the first year to “leap frog” you into the next crop year; or if you start with some breeding stock, you should have more numbers of livestock one year from today. 

To be a young farmer getting started, you need to take care of your credit, ask yourself the profit question, and with some help, you can be a success story! 

Tim Hoscheit, Vice President

Could you use $4,000 for College?

Citizens Bank Minnesota has paid out $104,500 in awards since 2000 with their Scholarship Program. 

Citizens awards two or more scholarships each year to local graduating seniors who will be attending post-secondary education. Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America of St. Peter, performs the selection process and administration. This program was instituted at Citizens as a way to show our commitment to the community and our belief in today’s youth. Citizens plans to continue this tradition for years to come!

Applicants for the scholarship program must be high school seniors, who plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited four year college or university in the fall following graduation. This program’s requirements include that the student be a customer of Citizens Bank Minnesota with an open and active checking account. The applicant must also attend the required educational banking classes before applications are distributed.

Students applying for the scholarship are required to attend the ‘Real Life 101’ seminar. This seminar focuses on teaching valuable lessons in banking. The classes include Personal Finance, Loans and Credit, Investments, Insurance and Online Banking tools. The classes include lecture as well as real life examples, such as how to work a budget, what is needed to apply for a loan, and various investment options to name a few.

Scholarship awards are $1,000.00 each. Awards may be renewed for an additional three years, on the basis of satisfactory academic performance and maintaining full-time enrollment. Applicants not selected for the scholarship awards will be entered into a drawing to win some fun prizes. Not all applicants will be selected to receive an award.

Interested students must complete the application they receive after meeting the bank’s requirements. Applicants are responsible for gathering and submitting all necessary information. Applications are evaluated on the information provided; therefore, the applicant must answer questions to the fullest extent possible. All information received is considered confidential and is reviewed only by Scholarship America. Applications must be completed and postmarked by the deadline set by Scholarship America.

Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic record, potential to succeed, leadership, participation in school and community activities, honors received and work experience. Students are also asked to complete a statement of educational and career goals, and submit an outside appraisal from a teacher or counselor. Financial need is not considered. Selection of recipients is made by Scholarship America. In no instance does any bank or school official play a part in the selection. All applicants agree to accept the decision of Scholarship America as final.

If you are interested in this program contact Scholarship Coordinator Missy Marti (mmarti@citizensmn.com). Our first Real Life 101 seminar for 2010 will be held Tuesday, December 28th in New Ulm. 

Missy Marti, Assistant Marketing Director/eWorld Coordinator

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