Fixed mortgage rates have been slowly and steadily rising, according to Freddie Mac, meaning that now may be a good time for you to stop waiting and consider buying a home.
Don’t let the process of getting a mortgage loan overwhelm you—Bank of American Fork’s experienced loan officers in Washington, Utah, Salt Lake and Davis Counties will help you understand the process, guide you through the paperwork and provide a quick turnaround.
To get you started, here are the steps you will need to take:
Organize your finances. Analyze your finances and figure out what you think you can afford for a monthly payment. Aim to keep the mortgage payment and all other related obligations below 40 percent of your monthly income and stay within your budget when considering homes. When you go to your lender bring pay stubs, tax returns, financial statements, other monthly payments or anything else that may help your lender determine more about your financial situation.
Determine loan type. Your loan officer can help you determine the type of mortgage loan that is right for you. There are several popular options—fixed-rate loans have interest rates that stay the same for the life of the loan, adjustable-rate loans have interest rates that move up and down as the economy changes, high-dollar loans that have higher interest rates and loans through special programs are designed for low-income borrowers or borrowers that need to make a lower-than-normal down payment. Talk to your loan officer to find a loan that fits for you.
Get pre-qualified. Your loan officer will pre-qualify you for a certain amount based on your financial position. You should look for homes that do not exceed this amount plus your down payment and closing costs.
Obtain the loan. Once you have made an offer on a home and your offer has been accepted, your loan officer will help you navigate the loan closing process. This is when you will lock in an interest rate, submit your down payment and pay closing costs and other fees. The whole process typically takes 2-3 weeks.
Pay it off. After closing on your loan, you will be responsible for making minimum monthly payments for the life of the loan, ranging up to 30 years. When the loan is paid off, the lien is released from the title to the home.
Buying a new home is something most people do only a few times in a lifetime, so it’s to be expected that a borrower will have many questions. Don’t be afraid to ask them so you feel confident about the exact terms of your loan and all the costs associated with it.
Don’t let historic low rates pass you by. Call a Bank of American Fork mortgage loan officer at 800-815-BANK or visit our mortgage page to download an application.
Bank of American Fork is once again the title sponsor for the 9th Annual Woman of Steel Triathlon and 5K being held on May 17, 2014 at the American Fork Fitness Center. The all-female triathlon includes a 300-meter outdoor-pool swim, 12-mile bike ride and 3-mile run, and also offers a 5K as a separate race and is a USAT-sanctioned race.
The event honors women who have used fitness to overcome life-changing obstacles. It will also benefit Kids on the Move, a non-profit organization that provides services to families and children with special needs.
Bank of American Fork is partnering with race organizer TriUtah to produce the race. Athletes can go to triutah.com to register for one of the 1,000 triathlon or unlimited 5K spots. Registration is not available at Bank of American Fork branches or via mail.
Every participant will receive a women-specific technical race shirt, commemorative finisher medal and chocolate at the finish line.
The Bank of American Fork Woman of Steel Triathlon was voted the Best Sprint Triathlon in 2011 by Active.com, the leading online community for millions of active individuals to discover, learn about, share, register for and participate in races, team sports and recreational activities. The Best Sprint Triathlon is a national award that recognizes short-distance triathlons that are ideal for beginner athletes.
Looking for more details about the race course, rules or directions? Visit the 2014 Woman of Steel race page.
Students and parents of Park Elementary invited to attend financial seminar
Bank of American Fork is sponsoring a fun and educational event for students and parents of Park Elementary School on Thursday, April 24. Brian Nelson Ford, founder and president of 8 Pillars Financial Education company and one of the leading experts in workplace financial wellness programs, will lead a seminar for parents while students participate in a service activity and kickball. Following the seminar and games, there will be BYU Creamery ice cream for everyone. Admission is free.
Ford created the 8 Pillars program to promote financial peace even in times of financial struggle. Ford will share with attendees the best ways to get out of debt and start saving. He’ll also discuss the most common mistakes people make with their money and how they can be avoided, as well as the best ways to teach children about money using old-school values.
This event will be held at Park Elementary, 90 North 600 East, Spanish Fork, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 24. Please note that students and parents must attend together. Please contact Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-642-3139 with questions.
A tool to get you the help you need, while you keep the control you want to be independent.
Are you looking for a tool that will allow someone else to help you manage your finances while you maintain control? Are you looking for a solution to help you help someone else manage their finances? Bank of American Fork can allow you to give view-only access to a helper—meaning they can watch for scams or fraud by others and double-check your transactions, without running the risks that joint access can bring.
Joint access can be risky for someone who needs help with their account. When a helper is added as a joint account owner, they are seen as an equal, regardless of who originally owned the account. One of the implications of having a helper that has joint access is that they can make payments or account changes without any approval from the original account owner. Another is that the account and the original owner are vulnerable to lawsuits or tax liability of the joint owner—the money, by law, is seen as theirs and can be seized.
Below are a few of the types of personal circumstances where you might benefit from an account with view-only access.
Persons in the armed forces: If you’re in the armed forces and you’re heading away for boot camp, training or deployment, you might be concerned about how to keep up with accounts you have already. Give someone at home view-only access and they’ll be able to watch for fraud or other account activity without having access to your money.
Missionaries: Do you have a son, daughter, parents or other relative on a mission? They may be unable to check their online banking or account statements as often, and having someone at home that can keep an eye may be helpful. If a parent or trusted friend has view-only access to the missionary’s account, they can watch for low funds or fraud when the missionary doesn’t have time or ability to check.
Senior parents or grandparents: Do you have parents or grandparents that need help managing their finances, or will need help in the future? Putting checks into place now can help your family later. Having view-only access will allow a helper to watch out for fraud or make sure bills are being paid on time without taking away control from parents or grandparents. Read more about how to help protect seniors from fraud here.
Persons who are home-bound or nursing home residents: Perhaps your schedule, abilities or lack of regular internet access make it difficult for you to monitor your account regularly for fraud or unusual activity. You may feel more comfortable if you have a second set of eyes watching out for you. View-only access is a good way to give someone else the ability to watch account activity while you maintain control.
People in long-term rehabilitation centers or long-term hospital care: If you have a family member who suffered an injury, accident or from something else that has caused them to be in long-term care, you’re probably looking for the safest way to help them with their finances. If they have automatic bill pay for their rent, utilities or other bills already set up, you may only need view-only access to make sure everything is running smoothly with their account. Or, if a trusted helper has already been given access to manage finances for the person in long-term care, you may want to consider giving a second helper view-only access to avoid any temptation or accusation of fraud.
Minors: Help your son or daughter learn the value of earning money, saving and smart spending by giving them some financial independence. With an account of their own, they can learn about making wise financial decisions. With some guidance, you can help. Having view-only access will give them some necessary accountability as they’re learning and allow you to help steer them in the right direction. Read more tips about teaching kids the value of money here and find out more about KidSmart Savings Accounts for kids up to 18 here.
Persons on extended vacations: If you’re heading off on a long trip, you may want to consider giving someone at home view-only access to your account to watch for fraud. Whether you’re sight-seeing in another country, hunting, hiking in a national park, exploring a part of the U.S. you haven’t been to, sailing on the coast or taking in scenes from a helicopter, you may be at risk of fraud (find some financial tips for traveling here). If you want to watch for fraudulent transactions or be sure all of your automatic payments go through and you know you won’t have regular internet access or phone service, set up a family member, trusted friend or advisor with view-only access and they can watch your account activity.
Those working overseas temporarily: Are you one of the lucky ones sent to open your company’s office in Beijing? Are you heading to Ecuador to teach English for a summer job? If you’re working overseas temporarily and you’re worried about remembering or being able to check your transactions regularly for fraud, give view-only access to someone at home to help you out. There may be new risks for fraud while you’re traveling (read financial tips for traveling here), and it’s important to keep up regular monitoring of your account.
College students: Perhaps your son or daughter is off at school, with your financial help. You may have an agreement to help pay for their housing and food, and while they need some independence so they can learn important budgeting skills, they may also need some guidance. Having view-only access will give your child the independence and control they need to grow, and also allow you to track their expenditures so you can send the right amount for groceries, at the right time.
During tax season or for accounting purposes: Giving your accountant view-only access may help speed up tax preparation or other accounting and help you go green, since you won’t have to print out months or years of statements.
View-only access is a safe and convenient tool to allow someone else to help you manage their finances while you maintain control. Bank of American Fork can allow you to give view-only access to a helper, so talk to your banker or call 800-815-BANK to find out if this solution might be helpful to you.
This year several new mortgage rules went into effect to protect consumers and to reduce the risk of another housing recession. Each of the new rules is meant to address a perceived abusive practice by lenders toward borrowers. For the most part, there won’t be many changes for Bank of American Fork customers, but below we’ve highlighted differences you might see in obtaining a mortgage loan after the rule changes took place in January.
Some changes you may notice:
More-thorough application process. The Ability to Repay rule, mandatory for all mortgage lenders, is meant to address one of the purported causes of the financial crisis—borrowers entering into mortgage-loan contracts that they were unable to repay. Specifically, the rule mandates that lenders consider and verify the applicant’s ability to repay before making a mortgage loan. For example, lenders will ask about employment status, income or assets, loan repayment terms, debts, credit history, monthly debt-to-income (“DTI”) ratio, monthly payments associated with the property being purchased like taxes and insurance, and monthly payments on a simultaneous loan secured by the property being purchased. Although Bank of American Fork and many other banks already made mortgage loans responsibly, some lenders disregarded basic underwriting standards and made loans based on the expectation that the loan would be repaid when the property was refinanced or sold, rather than by regular principal payments made by the borrower over time. Lenders now have an extra incentive not to make loans with risky features, such as terms that exceed 30 years, interest-only payments, or negative-amortization payments (where the principal amount increases), and not to make “stated-income loans”, i.e., loans based on the income the borrower lists on the application but which has not been verified by the lender.
It will be harder to get loans with risky features such as balloon payments, terms exceeding 30 years, negative amortization, interest-only payments, and loans to borrowers whose DTI exceeds 43%. Again, most banks, including Bank of American Fork, already made mortgage loans responsibly, but because some lenders didn’t, the new rule gives lenders an extra incentive to avoid these risky features when making loans.
Your lender must provide you with a list of homeownership counseling agencies when you apply for a mortgage loan. Housing counselors throughout the country can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. The counseling agencies on this list are approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and they can offer independent advice about whether a particular set of mortgage loan terms is a good fit based on your objectives and circumstances, often at little or no cost to you. This list will show you several approved agencies in your area. One of the new rules requires lenders to provide this list within three days of application. You can also find counselors yourself at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor.
You will receive an appraisal even if you do not request it. Lenders are now required to provide home-loan applicants with an appraisal of the subject property even if they do not request it. It must be provided within a certain time before closing, although that timing requirement can be waived by the borrower if the waiver is done early.
Some home purchases will require a second appraisal. When a seller sells a home after owning it for less than 180 days and for a price that is substantially higher than he or she paid for the home, and a lender finances the sale to a new buyer, if the new buyer’s APR exceeds a certain amount, a second appraisal must be obtained from a different appraiser. The new buyer won’t have to pay for the second appraisal—the lender has to pay for it—but it may delay the closing.
Bank of American Fork is committed to caring for its customers, and that includes keeping you apprised of changes in the banking industry that may affect you. To find specific information, talk to a mortgage loan officer today. Come back often for information and news!
People’s Utah Bancorp President and CEO Richard Beard has been named the chairman of the board for the Western Independent Bankers’ Association. His experience with and passion for community banking has positioned him to help WIB support community banks throughout the western United States.
Beard has been the president, CEO and a member of the board of directors of People’s Utah Bancorp and Bank of American Fork since 2004. He currently serves as a member of the board for the State of Utah Department of Financial Institutions and has also served on the board of directors of the Utah Bankers Association. Prior to his appointment as the chairman of WIB, Beard served on the board and executive committee.
WIB is a trade association that informs, educates and connects community banks with banking-related resources and services to achieve the highest standards of personal and organizational performance. More than 150 community banks in the western states are members. Besides educating bankers, WIB also educates communities on why the community-banking model should matter to local citizens.
Beard and WIB are passionate about the community banking model. Community banks are focused on the unique needs of local businesses and families. Loans are generally invested in the local economy and decisions impacting customers are made locally, by people who live and work in the communities they serve.
According to the Independent Community Bankers of America, community banks fund nearly 60 percent of loans to small businesses, although they compose just 10 percent of the nation’s banking assets. The high-touch, personal service they offer to individuals and communities can’t be matched by banks that make loan decisions a thousand miles away from the borrower’s community.
“When you look to your community banker for a mortgage loan or funding for local business, you can feel confident that they care about what they are offering the community,” Beard said. “Community bankers want to see people get into homes or get the loans they need to grow or start their businesses, and make loan decisions that ensure profits are reinvested in the local economy. We live and work in the community, too, so we have a vested interest in seeing the economy and individuals thrive.”
The number of banks in the United States is shrinking dramatically. In 1990 there were more than 12,000 banks in the country. Today there are less than 7,000, 98 percent of which are community banks. Some experts predict that soon there may only be 3,000-4,000 banks left after the last economic downturn and with continued consolidation subsequently occurring. WIB is concerned with the shrinking number of community banks, since fewer banks mean fewer choices for individuals and business owners.
Business owners benefit from working with local lenders who have unique knowledge about their communities—Senior Economist and Economic Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Robert deYoung calls this “soft information,” and it comes from a relationship-based approach to lending.
Beard’s new position as chairman of WIB will allow him to continue to help preserve this critical community-banking model.
Bank of American Fork hosts shred day at branches in Draper, Lehi, Orem
Do you have a backlog of confidential documents that you want to get rid of? On May 3, 2014 Bank of American Fork customers and non-customers can bring their documents to the Draper, Lehi or Orem branches to be shredded by Cintas Document Management shredding services.
At Bank of American Fork, we care about your safety. One of the ways you can protect your identity is by properly destroying unneeded documents that have personal information on them, including documents that are out-of-date or documents you have saved electronically. Make sure you know the recommended amount of time to keep hard copies of important documents. You may be able to find the time period for keeping different types of documents with the respective organizations—for example, you might find the recommended amount of time to keep tax documents at www.irs.gov.
At Bank of American Fork’s shred day, customers may have up to five boxes of documents shredded (beyond five, we ask that you to wait in line again if other customers are waiting) and will be able to watch items being shredded by a camera on the side of the shred truck. Cintas can also provide free dated certifications of destruction.
Please note, the following can go into the shred truck: computer paper, colored paper, staples, paperclips, black binder clips, hanging file folders, magazines, phone books, spiral notebooks, two-part equi-fasteners, checks, brass fasteners, brochures and rubber bands. We will not be able to shred: cardboard, carbon paper, plastics, three-ring binders, microfiche or food wrappers. Small amounts of compact discs and cassettes are acceptable.
All paper shredded by Cintas will be recycled. For every ton of paper recycled, 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 6,993 gallons of water and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space will be saved.
Remember to invite your friends and family to come on Saturday, May 3 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Bank of American Fork’s Draper, Lehi and Orem branches. Find the addresses online at www.bankaf.com.
We know that convenient and safe banking is important to you, but we also know that convenient means something different for each of our customers. Maybe you’re the type of person that feels most comfortable bringing your cash in to a real, live teller for a deposit. Maybe you like to withdraw money when you’re out and about, but you don’t want to get the kids or puppy out of the car. When you have a question, maybe you want to make a call during your commute (on a safe, hands-free device, of course!). Or maybe you want to make your deposits through your smartphone, since you do much of your other business online.
We are here for you, in the places where you need us to be. We have 13 branches open on weekdays, with real people who care about you—some of you come in and wait for a specific teller because you know them and they know you. Find out the address and open hours of the location nearest you.
We have drive-through banking available at each location weekdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturdays, because we know that’s when some of you need us.
Our customer service team will personally answer your phone calls from 7:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Monday through Friday at 801-815-BANK. When you have a lost or stolen card outside those hours, you’ll still be able to reach recorded instructions on how to report it.
To conduct basic banking transactions from your phone through our 24/7 Tele-banking service, call our Utah Valley, Salt Lake Valley and toll-free lines, numbers found here.
You’ve probably heard that we offer online banking from your computer at www.bankaf.com. We also have mobile apps so you can bank from your smartphone or iPad®. Download our iPhone® app or iPad app from the iTunes Store® or App StoreSM and the Android™ app from the Android Market™. Customers can also visit the mobile site from an internet-enabled device at www.mobile.bankaf.com without installing a mobile app. Find out all of the things you can do in online and mobile banking here.
If you’re online and have a question or problem you need help with, you’re also welcome to use our “Live Chat” feature at www.bankaf.com, near the top right corner of the browser.
At Bank of American Fork, we want to provide you with safe financial services where and when you need them most!
iPhone, iPad and iTunes are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark and iTunes store is a registered service mark of Apple Inc. Android and Android Market are trademarks of Google Inc.
Bank of American Fork recently added online features that allow customers to apply online for a credit reserve account or a credit card* and submit their personalized images for credit and check cards.
The new online application for credit cards will provide quicker—instant, in some cases—approval for qualified credit card applicants. Customers can apply online for a VISA® Platinum Credit Card, VISA® Classic Credit Card or Credit Reserve. Visit www.bankaf.com and select “Products” and then “Bank Cards.” After selecting the product you want to apply for on the left side of the browser, select “Apply Online” to fill out your application.
“We’re excited to offer these online features that speed up the application process for customers who want to do more of their banking at home or on-the-go,” said Art Porter, manager of Bank of American Fork’s bankcard department. “It will also mean that our busy customers can apply for a card without ever having to drive to a branch or mail an application.”
Customers who have a credit card or check card with Bank of American Fork can now upload images for personalized cards on the bank’s website. Customers should go to www.bankaf.com, select “Products,” select “Bank Cards” and then select “Personalized Credit Cards” or “Personalized Check Cards” on the left side of the screen. Uploading an image to personalize your card is fast, easy and the first image per card is free.
For questions about credit cards and more information about how to apply call 800-815-BANK.
*Subject to credit approval.
Guest post by Jon Allen, Chief Compliance Officer, Bank of American Fork
This year we’ve been talking a lot about being fiscally fit—we’re always doing our best to help you be financially healthy by offering products that do have value and don’t have “gotchas,” and we’re also here to help you understand how you can use bank products healthfully.
One product that can be valuable to responsible consumers is Bounce Protection. However, used irresponsibly, Bounce Protection is a bad idea.
What does it mean to use Bounce Protection responsibly?
Like many of the things that help us stay physically fit, the key is moderation. Use Bounce Protection for emergencies or as a backup for the times you make a mistake in keeping track of how much money you have in your account—it happens to everyone sometime. You’ll avoid bouncing a check or having your card declined.
We recommend that you don’t use Bounce Protection for everyday purchases. For example, if you use Bounce Protection on a $3 bottle of water at the gas station because you just really want it now, even though you know you don’t have $3 in your account, you’re really paying $28 for that bottle of water (counting the $25 it costs to use Bounce Protection). It would be better to wait and buy that bottle of water once you have $3 in your account.
For frequent use, we recommend one of these less-expensive alternatives to Bounce Protection:
• Using your cash instead of borrowing
Bounce Protection is a great product for occasional, responsible use. We’ll keep creating and offering products that are healthy for you. We’ll keep trying to help you know how to use our products healthfully. When you use our healthy products in a healthy way, it will help you stay on track for a fiscally fit life.
If you have questions about Bounce Protection or any other products, call 800-815-BANK.
Bounce Protection is a registered trademark of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Jon Allen (B.S. Brigham Young University, J.D. University of Idaho), is an attorney and a certified regulatory compliance manager and teaches a finance class as an adjunct at Utah Valley University. Before becoming Chief Compliance Officer at Bank of American Fork, he was a commercial and consumer loan officer at Capital Community Bank.