Posts Tagged ‘ Citizens Bank Minnesota ’

Tips from the Office Manager

Being an Office Manager can mean many different things and can pertain to many different roles.  Here are a few tips that help me complete my day-to-day tasks. 

Stay Organized:  Make sure you are organized.  Make a list of daily duties/tasks that need to be completed during the day.  I find that using my Outlook calendar really helps me to remember what needs to be done and when.  It prompts me for upcoming meetings and appointments, and alerts me of projects that need to be completed. 

Prioritize:  Establish a to-do list for the day, ranking your priorities by importance and deadlines.  Do the work that has a deadline first, but allow time for work that comes up unexpectedly or those last minute crises.  You need to be able to multi-task so deadlines are met in a timely manner. 

Staff:  Having a great team is essential.  Train your staff so they are able to take over in your absence, because you want things to run smoothly when you are gone.  Work together as a team and don’t be afraid to ask for help from fellow team members, they are here to help you. 

Tools:  A few programs that help me with my daily tasks are Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Word is a great program for doing letters and mail merge projects.  Excel is a wonderful spreadsheet program that I use for many different projects throughout the day.  

These are a few pointers that help me to be an essential and effective member of a great team that is eager and prepared to assume our daily responsibilities. 

By: Lori Kollmann, Office Manager

Consumer Lending and Credit Worthiness

Consumer lending consists of installment loans, both secured and unsecured, credit cards, real estate mortgages and home equity lines of credit.

Two of the most common types of consumer installment loans are those which fund the purchase of a vehicle or a new residence for a borrower.  These two types of loans typically consist of a borrower making a down payment and then borrowing the balance of the purchase price from their lending institution to be repaid over time.

The borrower needs to be aware of what his bank will look at in evaluating his credit worthiness. To determine the credit worthiness of a potential borrower a lender will typically evaluate what are known as the five Cs of credit.

The five Cs of credit are:

1)      Character- the borrower’s reputation and payment history as viewed on a credit report.

2)      Capacity- the borrower’s ability to repay (debt vs. income).

3)      Capital- the down payment put into the transaction from borrower.

4)      Collateral- the value of the borrower’s property used to secure the loan.

5)      Conditions- the rates and terms of the loan.

In summary it is first important for a borrower to understand what information a lender will examine when he receives an application for credit. It is also a must for the borrower to take care of the five Cs of credit by developing solid household budgeting and payment habits, and by building a consistent savings plan for future needs. Solid financial preparation in these areas can help ensure success for the loan applicant in many circumstances of life.

By: Brant N. Drill, Assistant Vice President

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Make a Difference

“In the darkness shines the light of an angel”, said one Soldier.  Citizens Bank Minnesota employees decided we wanted to do something to make a difference, so on December 10, 2009 Citizens teamed up with Operation Minnesota Nice and sent our first packages to our newly adopted Soldiers/Marines who are overseas.  This is not a matter of whether you believe we are overseas for the right reasons, but a matter of supporting our Military that have received their Orders and have been called to duty.  Many of the men and women we have adopted hadn’t received so much as a letter from home. For them to know that someone back here cares about them makes a difference in their lives and makes their days a little bit brighter.  There are days these men/women go without a meal from their Mess Hall. Snacks are sent to help provide a little nutrition or help tie them over. Out in the field, they wear holes in their socks in a matter of days.  We send them new socks, as they don’t have a retail store to purchase new ones.  They may go for weeks without a shower.  Sending wet wipes and Q-Tips helps them stay somewhat clean. Many of our Military are overseas for the holidays.  We send them Holidays in a box.  As of April 4th, 2011 our employees have sent a total of 209 packages to 43 adopted Military personal (totaling 2,359 pounds of hope). Currently we are sending packages to 11 Military personal every month until they come home.  Right now, the cost of shipping is $12.95 per package.  The cost of a Thank You…Priceless.  If you would like to make a difference in a Soldier/Marine’s life, donations are being accepted at any of our Citizens Bank Minnesota locations. Make a difference today! 

For more information go to: http://www.operationminnesotanice.com/.  

By Jill Derksen, Loan Processor/Secretary

Credit Cards

In my opinion, credit cards are a necessary option of payment in today’s highly technical world.  The key to credit cards is discipline in the use of the “plastic” (credit cards). You can hardly go shopping without being asked if you would “like to save an additional amount today by opening a credit card account” with XYZ Company.

An abundance of caution needs to be used with all the credit card temptations that are out there.  Remember that what you charge to the account still has to get paid for over time, typically, not at the most attractive interest rates.

Questions you need to ask yourself are:

1)     How am I going to use the credit card?

2)     Why am I going to put this purchase on a credit card?

There are many good reasons to use a credit card, if you have the discipline to pay it off when the monthly bill comes, there are many types of cards that have rewards tied to them, such as rebates, gifts or travel rewards offered from companies on the usage of their cards. An example would be where one to two percent of what you spend on the purchases you make, comes back to you in some type of a reward.  For someone who travels for their job and spends a great deal of money on gas, food and lodging, uses their card for payment and pays it off at the end of each billing cycle, a nice reward would be created at the end of the year. 

An example of poor use of a credit card would be to constantly charge day-to-day expenses to a credit card and not pay it off at the end of a billing cycle.  This creates a growing credit card balance at interest rates that are typically not attractive and would negate any reward that you would be receiving. 

When choosing a credit card, look at these areas and ask yourself some questions:

1)     How am I going to use this card?

2)     Why am I going to get a credit card?

3)     Is a reward card what I need or what I want?

4)     Is there an annual fee tied to this card that I am considering?

5)     What is the interest rate on this card if it is not paid off at the end of the billing cycle cut-off?

Credit cards certainly have their place in this world as a form of payment, whether you are reserving a hotel room, renting a car, buying something online or booking a flight, but I can’t emphasize enough the need for discipline in the use of the “plastic”. 

By:  Tim Hoscheit, Vice President

Preserving a Precious Commodity – Your Credit Report

We all have seen commercials on TV or in the media regarding identity theft and how that impacts you and your Credit Report.  Due to our busy schedules, many folks ignore the importance of checking their credit reports on an annual basis.  Credit reports contain your personal information and history on how you pay your financial obligations.  Obligations reported about you may vary; they could include your credit card activity, payments on your car loan, your home mortgage, student loans, etc.  More importantly, they include information about “bounced checks” written by you, that have been turned over to an agency for collection, unpaid medical bills or any other account you have incurred that has been converted to judgments against you. The report also shows if you have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past.

You may ask, “Why is this important to me?” This information is used to assist a lender in determining your credit worthiness when you apply for a loan, credit card or any other credit request you may have.  It will be used to determine if you get a preferred interest rate or if you are considered a higher risk, thus demanding you to pay a higher rate.  Your credit report may be reviewed by a potential employer when you apply for employment. A poor report certainly could negatively influence their opinion of you and the possibility of being passed over for the job.  Insurance companies use a credit report to determine how you will pay your bills – the higher your credit score, the cheaper your insurance premium may be.

It is widely recognized that a great percentage of credit reports contain incorrect information or information that is not yours.  Your credit report is yours alone. You need to monitor it closely and make sure that it accurately states your history.  If there are inaccuracies, it is your responsibility to get them corrected. The reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian or Transunion. Contact any one of them for the procedures to make corrections.  You may access your credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com.

By: Bill Brennan, Sr. Vice President

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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

Meals on Wheels

We’ve all experienced it…the aroma of oven roasted turkey wafting through the open door, the sight of enticing mashed potatoes slathered with grandma’s blue ribbon gravy.  And don’t forget the accompanying brightly colored vegetable favorites neatly heaped to cover every visible fragment of plate beneath the inviting festival of tantalizing flavors. 

Or maybe for you it’s the zesty aroma of thick-layered lasagna and the accompanying basil & garlic fragrance to tantalize your taste buds. 

Whatever your favorites, whatever your most enticing menu items, our local Meals on Wheels volunteers load up & deliver these and other tasty and nutritious meals to nearly 100 senior or special needs citizens all around New Ulm.  

With the generous funding efforts of the United Way, Kraft, 3M, and others, the Lutheran Social Services Senior Nutrition Program has worked tirelessly to provide a wide variety of these nutritious tidbits, and here at Citizens Bank Minnesota, we’ve teamed up with other New Ulm volunteers to deliver those nutritious meals to the shut-ins who are depending on them.  

Once the lunch bug hits and one of our 20 volunteers opens the door of the New Ulm Community Center, the aromas tickle the sensations as the piping hot meals are wrapped and boxed into coolers to keep them warm inMinnesota’s frigid winter temperatures.  But whether we deliver in -30° F or in 90° F, the results are always the same:  Smiles and greetings, thankful recipients, and warm and satisfied stomachs! Many THANKS to all of our generous community volunteers! 

By: Judy Hahn, Loan Processor

The Savings Force

Today, April 25, 2011, we celebrate the introduction of The Savings Force! Our former Junior Banker President, Breezie, has retired and these Superheroes are coming in to teach our youth bankers how important it is to save. Here is a short story of how they came to Citizens!

The Story of Citi & Zen 

In the village of Bankland, not far from here, lived a young girl named Citi and her best friend, a boy named Zen.  They did everything together – riding bikes, playing soccer and just having fun.  But their favorite thing to do was searching for adventure, and that’s just what they planned to do.  They packed lunch bags with sandwiches and juice.  They each had a couple of dollars to spend, just in case they found something they wanted to buy.  They set out on their bicycles to a nearby village, named Squanderville, hoping that it was a good place for an adventure.    

There were so many things to do in Squanderville.  They spent the morning exploring the town and decided to visit some of the stores after lunch.   The first stop must surely be the candy store.  There were shelves full of bins with candy in every one!  Some of the local children were buying bags full of candy, emptying their pockets and spending all the money they had.  Citi and Zen weren’t sure about spending all their money on candy so they decided to shop some more.  

The next store Citi and Zen went into was a toy store.  It was full of toys, from floor to ceiling – everything a kid could ever want!  Again they saw some of the local children emptying their pockets to purchase toys.  Citi and Zen saw a few things they wanted, too, but still waited to see what else they could buy in Squanderville. 

After a few more stores, Citi and Zen looked at each other and realized they didn’t really want to spend their money that day.  They decided to save it for something special that they may want to buy in the future. 

Citi and Zen returned to their homes in Bankland to tell their parents about their adventure in Squanderville.   They explained how the other children had foolishly spent all of their money on candy and toys, and how they had decided not to spend their money today, but save it for a special purchase later.  The parents told Citi and Zen that they were proud of both of them for being so responsible, saving their money wisely and waiting to buy something they really wanted. 

Citi and Zen saved their money for several months.  They decided to return to Squanderville to teach children there about saving money and how to spend it wisely.  But how would they get the children to listen?  They knew what to do…their fist stop would be the costume store, where they found exactly what they were looking for- super hero costumes!  They would become The Savings Force!   Citi became Lil’ C and Zen became Super Z.  The Squanderville children gathered to listen while Lil’ C and Super Z explained the importance of saving money.  They told of the day they visited the village and watched as many of the children emptied their pockets and spent all of their money on candy, toys and other things.  They pointed out that there was nothing wrong with spending some of the money on these items once in a while, but encouraged them to save some for the future.  In time, there would be enough money saved to buy something really special!      Citi and Zen were happy to help the kids in Squanderville and decided to help other children as well.  

Before Breezie retired, he invited Lil’ C and Super Z to come to Citizens Bank Minnesota to help YOU learn how to save money, too!   We hope you get a chance to meet them – they would love to meet you!!

By: Missy Marti, Assistant Marketing Director & Kelly Blick, Marketing Assistant

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