Those working to close a mortgage may have an easier time finding and understanding information that might be important to them due to new rules and disclosures that recently went into effect from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Its Know Before You Owe initiative is designed to help consumers understand their loan options, shop for the mortgage that’s best for them, and avoid costly surprises at the closing table.
“Most banks, ours included, have been preparing for this change for a while,” said Amy Dunkley, mortgage department manager at Bank of American Fork. “We believe the new Loan Estimate resulting from the new rules and disclosures is preferable over the old Good Faith Estimate and Truth-In-Lending forms. It provides straightforward information in a much easier-to-read and understand format that consumers will probably appreciate.”
Under Know Before You Owe, four disclosures are replaced with just two. The former Good Faith and Preliminary Truth-In-Lending disclosures are replaced by the new Loan Estimate. The HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final Truth-In-Lending disclosure are replaced by the new Closing Disclosure. The disclosures are redesigned to highlight the information consumers typically look for and need to know to be prepared.
The new Closing Disclosure has potential to delay a closing since it needs to be given to borrowers at least three business days before the closing date. But if everyone involved pays close attention it doesn’t have to cause a delay, and as the process becomes more familiar with real estate agents, lenders and borrowers, delays should decrease.
The new rules and disclosures went into effect Oct. 3.
People encouraged to help build toys at Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids
Bank of American Fork has arranged a day of service for its customers and the community in support of one of the bank’s long term customers, Alton Thacker, founder of Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids. on Sept. 17 at 1:00 pm.
Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids builds and delivers 64,000 toys every year to needy children around the globe. They are also sent to hospitals where patients can play with and keep them; including Primary Children’s and Shriners hospitals.
The day of service will be held Sept. 17 at 1:00 pm at the Tiny Tim’s factory at 1423 W 8120 S, West Jordan, Utah. Up to 20 participants will help build toy cars that will be used to distribute to children. The materials used to make the toys are provided by various donors throughout Utah.
To participate, interested people should RSVP to Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth at 801-642-3139, or Christopher Liechty at 801-642-3094.
“As a community bank, it is important for us to provide opportunities for people to support great causes,” said Bill Swadley, vice president CRA/business development officer for Bank of American Fork. “Mr. Thacker, our longtime friend and customer, brings great joy to children in need throughout Utah and around the world. We are grateful that we can help him in one small way by arranging a day of service where people can go and help him in this great cause.”
Bank of American Fork also made a cash donation in support of Tiny Tim’s Foundation for Kids.
For the Personal Management merit badge, requirement 3d, Scouts must explain how hunger affects one when shopping for food items. This article will discuss some of the many studies showing that shopping hungry can cause you to purchase more, less-healthy food than you would otherwise purchase. After such a shopping trip, you may realize that you did not spend your money as wisely as you could have. Here are the possible consequences, why it happens and how to avoid it.
The best way to shop is with a full stomach and a list in hand.
Studies have shown, for years, that food shopping on an empty stomach causes shoppers to purchase more high-calorie foods.
One study, from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, went like this: Participants were asked to abstain from food for five hours before arriving at the study. Half of the participants were given a small plate of crackers and half were not. Then the participants began an online game that simulated shopping in a grocery store. All of the participants bought about the same amount of low-calorie, or “healthy” foods, like dairy, bread or meat. But, the participants who did not receive a snack of crackers also bought six higher-calorie items, like junk food or “unhealthy” snacks, and participants who ate something only bought four.
An endocrinologist who looked at the study’s findings, Doctor Tony Goldstone, explained that the body is always trying to defend itself. When you have gone without food and your body wants food, it makes sense that you would go for high-calorie food instead of something like lettuce, which may not give you the energy you would need if it’s all you have.
In another Cornell University study, researchers watched 82 people doing their real grocery shopping. They watched people from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and assumed they had recently eaten lunch. They also watched people from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and assumed most of the people ate lunch earlier and had not yet eaten dinner. The ratio of low-calorie foods to high-calorie foods was healthier in the first group.
How do you avoid making the mistake of buying high-calorie snacks and foods instead of sticking to a nutritious, balanced shopping cart? You can try having a snack before you go grocery shopping, chew on gum or take a water bottle.
Another good idea is to make your grocery shopping list as you run out of items you need and then review it (after eating, of course!) and add other items you need for the coming week. Then, shop from your list. Group your items into sections according to where you will find them in the store. That way, when you shop, you can stick to your list instead of browsing aisles with foods you don’t need, but might be tempted to buy.
But, wait! Even more recent studies suggest that you should be careful shopping for any kind of items when you’re hungry.
New research released earlier this year from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management suggests that your desire to acquire or have things increases when you feel hungry. The researchers studied people buying binder clips, clothes, shoes and electronics. In all cases, people who felt hungry purchased more and spent 64 percent more money than people who were not hungry when shopping.
The takeaway? Eat a healthy, filling snack and drink water before you go to the mall or shop online, regardless of what types of items you are shopping for. You may make better choices for your wallet or bank account.
We anticipate being able to offer Apple Pay in early 2016.
We have been pursuing Apple Pay™ with our credit and debit card processors—we have told you before that we’re excited about Apple Pay. We anticipate being able to offer Apple Pay processing during the last quarter of 2015 or the first quarter of 2016.
This is a later date than we were hoping to be able to offer Apple Pay and we’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.
In order to offer you Apple Pay, we have to make sure we have our applications and networks ready and the vendors we offer credit and debit cards through have to be ready. We are ready. We have been working hard to make sure we can offer the most important technologies, as a part of our pattern and commitment to innovation. However, our vendors aren’t ready—we are making a change with a vendor and another vendor is beta testing Apple Pay with some clients.
We will keep you updated. We are excited about this product and we care about the products that will make your financial life easier. Feel free to call 800-815-BANK with questions, comments or concerns, or leave us feedback at www.bankaf.com.
Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple, Inc. The Apple logo, Apple, iPhone and Passbook are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc.
Utah recently earned the top spot for states with the best economic outlook, according to the new edition of Rich States, Poor States released by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
This economic outlook is meant to be a forward-looking measure and ALEC uses 15 areas they have determined to be the best determinants of economic success. The measure is meant to show how each state can expect to perform.
We love Utah over here at Bank of American Fork. As community bankers, we get to help local business owners to finance their dreams and grow. We find that our customers are hard-working, ambitious and intelligent.
What else do you think makes Utah’s economy and business owners successful?
Michelle, a Bank of American Fork employee, received a text alert about a zero dollar amount transaction on her debit card from retailer Amazon. Since Michelle only uses her credit card on Amazon, she knew right away it was a fraud attempt. She quickly had her card blocked to protect against any additional fraud attempts and filed a claim for the fraud against her.
Even though Michelle checks her transaction history regularly and feels she would have noticed the fraudulent transaction soon after it took place, she was glad she had signed up for smsGuardian™, a text alert service through Bank of American Fork that alerts customers to certain types of transactions. In her case, smsGuardian picked up on the zero dollar amount.
Here’s how you can help protect yourself with smsGuardian. When you sign up, you will receive text alerts that will alert you to certain transactions being conducted using your Bank of American Fork VISA® debit card via alerts to your mobile phone. Once enrolled, you will receive a text message each time your debit card is used for: international or out-of-state debit card transactions, purchase authorizations greater than $200, five or more transactions within a 24-hour period, card purchases where the card is not present and many other types of irregular transaction behavior. You can enroll by visiting www.bankaf.com >Products >Personal >Bank cards. On that page you will find a link to sign up for smsGuardian alerts.
After hearing Michelle’s story, I signed up for smsGuardian. It took me less than five minutes.
*Amazon, Kindle, Fire and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
smsGuardian is a trademark of JHA Payment Processing Solutions, Inc.
Recently, Christopher shared his experience paying for unexpected expenses without stress, because he previously set up accounts and automatic transfers to save for these types of bills. Here’s his story:
I recently had two big expenses—a medical bill and a surprise car repair. In the past when these kinds of bills came up, it caused a lot of stress because I had to figure out where to get the money, or it triggered austerity measures for the next month or two. This time, paying the bills was a totally different experience because I had money set aside.
A few years ago, I set up accounts for specific uses—sort of an electronic version of the old envelope method, where one divides up their cash into separate envelopes for separate spending categories. I have an HSA that I allot pre-tax funds for medical expenses, an account for car insurance and repair and a dining out and entertainment fund. I set up automatic transfers in online banking to put a little money in each account every two weeks when I get paid. Over time, the money adds up. Then, when these unusually large bills come up, I have the money. I paid my car repair bill from my regular account and then transferred the amount of bill from my car insurance and repair account into my regular account. That way, I still had the money I needed for groceries and other regular expenses all month.
It felt so good to be prepared and to have the money when it was needed.
You can do the same thing, or something similar. Why, though?
In a study by the Brookings Institution, findings showed that Americans are largely living paycheck-to-paycheck. Sixty-six percent of Americans who are living paycheck-to-paycheck are considered middle class, which the study authors and economists found surprising.
“Those living paycheck to paycheck have a tougher time weathering income shocks, such as illnesses or bouts of unemployment,” CNN reporter. “The study found that they have to cut back their spending far more than those with a reserve they can tap more readily.”
Consider a way you can cut back on your expenses so you can set up an automatic transfer to save a little each month for unexpected expenses. For example, if eating out costs your family $40, and eating in costs your family $20, you can eat out one less time per month, saving $20. You may be more likely to save the money if you set up an automatic transfer out of your main account into your medical expense, car repair or house repair fund before the money comes in. If you are paid twice a month, set up two $10 transfers to come out the day after each of your paychecks come in. You might be less tempted to eat out if you already moved the money to cover your future expenses. In just five months you’ll have $100 in your account, which might relieve a little stress when your car battery dies.
If you want to avoid some stress when you have unexpected expenses, or large expenses that come up a few times a year, like car insurance, try what Christopher did.
Have you already done this? Does it help you? Do you have another method that works for you?
Guest post by Quincy Fowler
You have probably read recent news about security breaches. Passwords are stolen and online accounts compromised. Online safety is a top priority for everyone who uses the internet for financial transactions. A strong password can help protect you online. Many people are under the impression that a strong password will be difficult to remember. There are effective techniques for creating a strong and memorable password that is difficult to guess by those close to you and by strangers who would want to either figure out your password through social engineering or various decryption methods.
One of the hallmarks of a strong password is the inclusion of special characters to prevent a person from creating a program to guess using standard dictionary words or letters in a random order. The old advice of using a pet’s name or birthdate is simply outdated and dangerous in this age of advanced computing power. In order to create a strong password, you should consider making up a sentence that is easily remembered, but long and complex enough to make it challenging to guess. After you create the sentence, use the first letter of each word to write your password. Include numbers in the sentence and incorporate them with digits. Finally, use any punctuation that may appear in the sentence. In addition, use some special characters such as the ampersand (&) or the “at” symbol (@) in place of letters or entire words as appropriate.
For example, if I chose my sentence to be “The quick brown fox jumped over the 2 lazy dogs”, my password would wind up being Tqbfjot2ld. Most people would be unable to remember this password without context, but I, the rightful owner of the password, would have context to help me figure it out if I forget. Think of your password as the key to the vault door of your online bank account. You want it sufficiently complex that a skeleton key won’t allow unauthorized access.
Quincy Fowler is one of our customers who has years of IT experience—and even more years of creating, forgetting and learning to remember passwords!
Teachers, there are some new resources available to you to help you teach your students about money and making smart choices. Free lesson plans for pre-K through age 20 are available through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Money Smart for Young People.
The FDIC and CFPB worked together to develop lesson plans that could be tailored to students of different age groups and abilities throughout the nation. There are four curricula in the Money Smart program: Grades Pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Each curriculum consists of multiple lessons that offer instructors ideas on how to weave financial education into subjects like math, English and social studies.
You can access the curriculum here: www.fdic.gov/teachers.
Here, you can also access three short videos developed to show teachers how these lessons can be used in your classroom: www.fdic.gov/consumers/education/torc/videos.html.
To learn more about the FDIC’s Money Smart curriculum, please visit us at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/.
If you’re interested in having a banker visit your classroom next year and talk to your students about money and saving, or scheduling a tour of a bank with your class, please contact us at 800-815-BANK or email@example.com.
Guest post by Katie Bryan, America Saves Communications Manager
The numbers are shocking.
• In 2012, the average credit card debt among adults aged 65+ was $9,283 (Demos: The State of Young America).
• One-third of senior households have no money left over each month or are in debt after meeting essential expenses (Institute on Assets and Social Policy).
• The share of Americans 65 and older in the labor force went from 12.1% in 1990 to 16.1% in 2010 (Census).
• 60% of women over 65 across the country lack the incomes to meet basic expenses (Wider Opportunities for Women).
With Americans, especially women, living longer – the reality is that we need to save more money for retirement or plan to work longer.
Tips to Prepare to Live Debt Free in Retirement
1. Start saving, keep saving and stick to your goals.
3. Save at work and/or through a Roth IRA.
4. Find places to cut back so you can save more.
Already Retired and Need Help: You Gave, Now Save
Millions of low-income seniors continue to miss out on nearly $1.2 billion in benefits that can help them pay for their health care, prescriptions, food, utilities and more. These aren’t handouts—by working hard their whole lives, older adults have paid into the programs that can now provide them support needed to remain healthy and independent.
• BenefitsCheckUp ® is the National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) web-based service offering information on benefits programs, specifically programs for people with Medicare and limited income and resources.
• The Eldercare Locator, a public, nationwide service that connects older adults and their caregivers with information on senior services. The Locator is available both online http://eldercare.gov and as a toll-free hotline at 1-800-677-1116.
• “Navigating Your Rights” is a legal guide to help those 55 and older to know their rights. Find the Utah-specific version or the national version in any Bank of American Fork branch or the full PDF at www.LegalGuide55.utah.gov.