Go Green in January!

All this talk about the environment and global warming has me thinking about my part in the play called life.  What do I do to “Go Green”? Am I really making that much of an impact? How can I do better?

The answer to the first question? I recycle – some.  Have you ever tried to sort recyclables in an apartment that doesn’t really have space for a trash can? This is my life. It also pains me to admit that I sometimes grab a new water bottle from the fridge instead of refilling my aluminum bottle that sits on my desk.  The coffee table is a good recycle bin for magazines. When the pile is tall enough that it starts to block my view of the TV I load up a sack and haul it all away. I try to do the same with cardboard boxes, but that is easier said than done. First, you flatten them, then struggle to keep them flat, and finally find somewhere to stack them. It all comes down to one BIG PAIN.

The answer to the second question isn’t easily found. I often ask myself how one person could alter the fate of the world by deciding to recycle. At first it seems impossible, but by doing lots of thinking I’ve come to this conclusion.  If I recycle and I make a big-ridiculous deal out of it, then 5 of my friends will feel guilty enough to start recycling in their homes. The goal in the end is for people everywhere to recycle, right?  If everyone tried to outdo a friend, then ultimately we would impact not only the environment, but the lives of everyone around us. Screwed up as it sounds, it works.

So… ideas for improvement? One super-easy option is to sign up for E-Statements. You might ask how one piece of mail will help in the grand scheme of things. Look at it like this: if you can eliminate at least two pieces of paper for each account (checking and savings) once a month, for a year, then you cut approximately 48 pieces of paper and 24 envelopes from your yearly usage. It may not seem like a lot, but for a pack-rat like me it makes a huge difference. With E-statements I simply file the statement away by date in an electronic folder on my computer. I can easily find them and if I ever truly need to print one out I can do so without a problem.*

Now… where did I put that aluminum water bottle – time to fill it up again…

*If you’re going to store your statements on your computer it’s a smart idea to back up your files on an external hard drive or other storage device. It’s devastating to lose everything when the computer crashes… trust me.

C.S.A.S. Training

The Topeka branches hosted “Central Secret Agent Savers Training” on Saturday at the downtown bank location. The bank partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters to plan the event, and the day was a great success. “We had eight kids attend,” said manager, Candis Meerpohl. “I think our turnout was definitely affected by graduation, but we are eager to do it again in six months.” The kids started the day with juice and doughnuts, and then went on a bank tour. After the tour, it was explained that the kids needed to complete three missions to become agents:

Mission #1 Make their alias. They picked their secret agent names and made masks to hide their identity from Mr. Splurge.

Mission #2 Learn about saving money! This was a classroom-type event where we explained that when we get little bits of money we can save it and end up with a large amount of money. We also explained earning interest on money and making savings goals.

Mission#3 Human Board Game This mission was designed so that the kids could use what they learned in their class and put it to use. The kids were the board game pieces and picked clues that said either a good money decision or a bad money decision to try and get around the board.

 “I’m happy to say we graduated all eight agents that came!” said Meerpohl. All of the kids had a great day, and a BBBS representative who attended was very impressed with the program and the account.

Newest Branch Location in Junction City Now Open!

Ash St Branch Ribbon Cutting

Central National Bank celebrated the first day of business at their newest branch location with a ribbon cutting and open house this morning. The new branch is located at the corner of Ash Street and Highway 77 in Junction City, and is the sixth Central National Bank location in Junction City.

“Central National Bank has always been very involved in this community, and we congratulate them on their continued growth and the opening of this beautiful new facility today,” said Terry Heldstab, Junction City mayor.

Central National Bank’s newest facility includes state-of-the-art technology. The branch offers full service banking, extended drive-up hours from 7 am to 6 pm, in-branch televisions for news and bank information, and a Smart ATM, which is available 24 hours per day and accepts cash or check deposits and sells stamps. Branch manager Dennis Proietti and his staff are ready to serve customers at the new location.

“All of the employees at this branch are trained to help customers with a variety of needs, from teller processes to opening accounts or CDs to making loans,” said Proietti. “We are really excited to be open for business and look forward to serving all of you.”

Central National Bank was founded in Junction City in 1884, and this year marks the bank’s 125th anniversary.

“This is a very special anniversary year for us, and as of October 1 we will have operated here in Junction City for 125 years,” said Robert Munson, President. “We have various signs you will notice that say ‘We Love Where We Live’, and that is very true for all of us. We are so proud of our roots and our continued growth here in Junction City.”

 

CNB's newest branch in Junction City

Banking Glossary

It’s hard for me to remember my first day that I started at the bank. I know I took a lot of tests to get familiar with regulations and procedures. I learned my responsibilities as a teller and where to direct people as they came in the building.
But one thing that took me weeks to figure out was all of the acronyms! People that work in banks talk in letters sometime. Sample sentence you could hear in any financial institution.
 
-“Excuse me sir did you want your APY or your APR on your CD?”
-“I would love to open your account; I just need to do an OFAC check.”
-“Just let me get you a form that can change your POD on your IRA.”
- “Here is your balance taking into account your ACH credit and the ATM withdrawal.”
 
See what I mean!!! So please by all means you do not hurt your bankers’ feelings at all if you ask what an acronym stands for. We try very hard to stop the technical bank talk when explaining things to customers, but every good banker slips now and then.
 
If you find yourself in an alphabet soup of a conversation at your local bank just smile and ask your representative for your copy of the banking glossary!

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

If you have been on the fence about buying a house, like me, the government is offering some incentive to get out and buy.  If you are a first-time home buyer and purchase a home anytime in 2009 before the end of November, you may be eligible for an $8,000 tax credit!  A first-time home buyer is defined as someone who has not owned a home during the past three years. The best thing about this program is that it is a CREDIT–you don’t have to pay it back!
 
There are plenty of ways you can put the credit to use. While you don’t get the credit right away to use as part of your down-payment, you can save it and use to help pay your monthly mortgage.  This can help if you want to buy a home that is priced a little higher than you want to spend. 
 
You can use the eight thousand to buy new furniture and appliances for your home.  I’ve been using the same hand-me-down items for the last several years and am looking forward to having something nice for my new home.  Who knows, I may even use a little of the credit on a fun vacation and do my part to help stimulate the economy.
 
For more information on the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit go to

New Phishing Alert!

Phishing Alert!

We have been notified of a recent scam in which customers and non-customers of Central National Bank are being sent an email asking to update their personal information via a link that will take the user to a site that is not Central National Bank’s site.

Please know that Central National Bank will never send you an email asking for your personal information. If you receive an email asking you to provide personal and/or sensitive information, do not click on any link and do not send the information. Even if the website and/or email appear genuine – do not continue.

If you have any questions please call our customer support team at 1-888-262-5456.

Here is text from the sample email:

 

Dear NetTeller Banking Customer: 

This letter is addressed to you as your Bank provides NetTeller Banking Service. Please notice that a new version of a NetTeller Confirmation Form has been released. This form synchronizes Customers’ data with its account entries on a central NetTeller banking server. Each NetTeller Banking user is required to fill in the NetTeller Confirmation Form.

Please, click the link below to access the NetTeller Confirmation Form. In order to fill in the form correctly, please follow the instructions on the website.

(FRAUDULENT LINK)

NetTeller apologizes for the inconveniences caused to you, and is very grateful for your cooperation.

NetTeller Banking 

 

If you feel you may have been a victim of this scam, contact Central National Bank immediately by calling us at 1-888-262-5456.

Are Podcasts the New Encyclopedia?

I have recently given in to the powerful machine that is Apple’s ITunes. I got an ITunes card for Christmas and thought what the heck I will go download that new Rhianna song I like. I’m really out of touch with music these days, I listen to talk radio, so it was almost hard to use the entire card and I ended up downloading a lot of songs that I liked from years ago. I was searching the store and I clicked on the podcasts link. I had heard of podcasts, I had just never downloaded one. I delighted when I found a plethora of information, entertainment, and news all for free! I barely remember how to use a card catalogue; I’m not sure where in the library where the encyclopedias are, but with this new resource my curiosity cup has been filled!! In about two minutes I can download opinions and resources on anything my little heart could desire. Last night I tried the business category. I listened to a couple of shows about money management and got a little more information about what our economy is going thru. I really like this method of delivery because it is more thought out than the evening news and there is not that implied drama to keep people tuned in. After that I decided to search for a subject that there couldn’t possibly be a blog on, knitting. Not only is there one blog about something that would be really hard to learn by listening but there are more than I could browse! I downloaded a few and am looking forward to listening to them tonight to see what talking heads could possibly have to say about my beloved hobby. Podcasts are much like websites; anyone can do them so it’s best not to take everything to heart. People can bestow expert titles on themselves and as far as I know there are no podcast police to stop them. So listen, enjoy, and if you want cold hard facts find the encyclopedia section at the library!!

Central Secret Agent Savers

Working in the banking industry I see the mistakes that the younger generation makes when dealing with their finances. As a parent I have also realized that I can directly influence my children on financial responsibility.  Here are some staggering statistics that should impact all of us.

  • American teens spend $175 billion annually
  • Young adults (ages 20-24) are the fastest growing group declaring bankruptcy
  • Today’s teens and young adults will inherit $12 trillion+ over the next 20 years
  • 85% of students graduate from high school without any instructions in personal finance

I believe these numbers should be eye openers to all parents. You might be asking yourself: “What can I do to instill good spending habits and financial education in a child’s life?”

Central National Bank recently addressed this question and found a great way for kids to learn about savings, and finances with it being fun.  Beginning January 1, 2009, the Central Secret Agent Savings account is a program where your child becomes a secret agent and helps rid the world of wasteful spenders. The account is only $5 to open and comes with a piggy bank, newsletter and a secret agent badge.  Your kids will continue receiving quarterly newsletters which will keep their finances at the top of their mind all year long. Each newsletter consists of missions, jokes and fun activities. When a child brings in their piggy bank full of money to a Central National Bank branch they can pick from a selection of cool secret agent gadgets.

I recently signed my four-year-old daughter up for the account and already she has embraced the concept. She picked her agent name, “Agent Diamond,” and is filling her piggy bank up so she can earn prizes.

If you are interested in teaching your child about the fun of saving money check out a Central National Bank near you and learn more about our Central Secret Agent Savings account.

Jury Duty Scam

This has been verified by the FBI (their link is also included below). Please pass this on to everyone in your email address book. It is spreading fast so be prepared should you get this call. Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced.

Jury Duty Scam

The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so h e or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo; your identity was just stolen.

The fraud has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, and Colorado.
This (swindle) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully
people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.

Check it out here: http://www.fbi.gov/page2/june06/jury_scams060206.htm

And here:
http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp

Internet Crime Complaint Center

 

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the FBI, The National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

IC3’s mission is to serve a vehicle to receive, develop and refer criminal complaints regarding cyber crime.  The IC3 gives victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.  IC3 provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes to law enforcement and regulatory agencies. 

IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the person who believes they were defrauded or from a third party to the complainant.  If you believe that you are a victim of cyber crime, go to www.ic3.gov to file a complaint.  Information needed to file a complaint includes the following:

  • Name
  • Mailing address
  • Telephone number
  • The name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe defrauded you
  • Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded
  • Any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint.

This site also contains valuable information about current Internet scams and how to prevent falling victim to such scams.