Bank of American Fork is serious about offering safe financial products designed to help you do the things you need to do. We don’t design our products to be predatory or to contribute to unhealthy financial habits, and we’re constantly evaluating the products we have to make sure we’re offering is valuable to customers.
Recently, the Brigham Young University statistics department did a study on the use of one of our products, Bounce Protection. They found that our lower-income customers are using this product less frequently than our middle- and upper-income customers.
Bounce Protection is an overdraft-protection product. Many of our customers like Bounce Protection because it helps them avoid embarrassing situations when their purchases would be declined, and it provides a safety net for unexpected financial situations and emergencies.
However, overdraft products can be known for their potentially predatory nature, so Bank of American Fork commissioned a study. Using a product like this excessively could be expensive for customers, and although we rarely receive complaints about Bounce Protection, we wanted to understand how our customers are using it. If our lower-income customers were using it more frequently, we would be concerned about the way we’re educating them about how to use Bounce Protection or about their overdraft options.
We like to see our customers make financially healthy decisions. If you’re ever unsure about whether your use of a product is helping or hurting your financial goals, feel free to reach out to us via social media, our website or our call center.
We want to make sure we’re offering potentially valuable products like Bounce Protection, but with education and information to help you use those products responsibly. We’re doing our best to do our part to help you make good financial decisions, including:
• Educating new checking account customers on Bounce Protection and less-expensive alternatives.
• Offering information about using Bounce Protection.
• Sending monthly statements that show year-to-date use of the product.
• Allowing customers who can’t pay the negative balance within the first month to repay it over time, without additional interest or fees.
This recent BYU study results are consistent with our policy of not offering predatory products or services, and we’ll always keep evaluating our products to that end. So what can you do to make sure you use this product responsibly? Start here for a great article about using Bounce Protection healthfully.
Fiscal fitness is all about using the right products and services for you in a responsible way. For example, the type of overdraft protection you use may be dependent on your current financial and credit situation, as well as your financial goals. Remember to talk to your banker (or call us at 800-815-BANK) about the goals you’re trying to achieve, besides the products you’re thinking about, because there may be a better option for you.
Did you see this Fresh Living segment with Mortgage Loan Officer Ike Dietz (NMLS 447506) about the first step to prepare for getting a mortgage loan?
Ike is a mortgage loan officer at Bank of American Fork because he loves seeing people in the same community that he lives and works in getting into homes. When someone asks about the first steps to getting a mortgage, Ike says he always suggests people look at their budgets. As mentioned in the clip, what you qualify for and what fits your budget are not always the same.
Rates are low, according to Freddie Mac, so get your income information together, and like Ike mentioned, make the call. If you call 800-815-BANK, Ike or another experienced mortgage officer can walk you through the process and may be able to help you find the mortgage that fits you.
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 questions so you feel confident about the process, the exact loan terms and the costs associated with a mortgage.
This year, we’ve spent some time focusing on making sure you know about and have access to the tools that will help you be fiscally fit when used responsibly. Chances are you’ve made some changes in your money management this year, since interest in saving money, effort towards saving money and effectiveness in saving money all rose for Americans in the first four months of this year, according to the America Saves Personal Savings Index. Now you’re thinking about evaluating your goals so you can adjust where needed. When it comes to goal-setting, sometimes measurement and evaluation are the hardest part! However, without measuring and evaluating, it’s nearly impossible to know whether the steps we’re taking to reach goals are working.
Enter online money manager. This online aggregator service allows you to automatically pull all of your financial accounts together in one place, set budgeting goals and then automatically track your progress towards those goals! This makes budgeting simple (and cheap, since it’s a free tool).
Here’s how online money manager works and how you might be able to use it to help you get or stay fiscally fit (even when you’re traveling and having fun all summer).
Our online money manager works for our customers. This smart and sleek financial management and budgeting tool allows you to get a complete picture of all your finances in one place. Link all of your bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, mortgage loans, investments and other financial online accounts—whether at Bank of American Fork or thousands of other institutions—to the online money manager within your Bank of American Fork online banking account. You can budget and manage your money with more clarity because all of your transactions and balances are in one place.
Here’s an overview of how you can use online money manager:
• Get a complete financial picture – view all accounts (checking, savings, retirement, mortgage, credit card, investments and more), including those from other financial institutions, in one place
• Track expenses – automated and manual categorization of expenses
• Create a budget – the budget wizard helps create a budget based on actual income and expense or using national averages
• Track savings goals – budget for and track savings goals, making it easier to create a realistic savings plan
• Set alerts – choose user-defined spending limits, balance, deposit or transaction alerts to be sent via email or text message
To use the Online Money Manager, just log into your online banking and click on the “Money Manager” tab. To enroll in online banking, visit any Bank of American Fork branch, use our live chat feature at www.bankaf.com or contact us at 1-800-815-BANK.
On August 18 Bank of American Fork will open the doors to its new St. George branch at 335 East St. George Blvd. Bank of American Fork has operated a mortgage-loan office in St. George since last year. The bank’s commitment to small-town service has been a natural fit in the St. George community, and now Bank of American Fork will be able to offer the technology, products and services of a big bank to the consumers and business owners of the St. George area.
“Bank of American Fork is excited to offer community banking services to the people living in and businesses building up the St. George area,” said Richard Beard, president and CEO of Bank of American Fork. “We have a strong customer base in Washington County. We are excited to offer our customers, the community and business owners the big-city banking we’ve been building for more than 100 years. Our strong, locally-owned community bank will be valuable by providing personalized services to this vibrant area of Utah.”
The bank already has a mortgage-loan officer, Chris Palmer, and some additional associates in the mortgage-loan office that will work at the new branch. In addition, the bank has hired Bradley Stucki as branch manager, John Allen as a business development officer and Mike Draper as operations manager. Stucki and Allen bring years of Washington County experience to the new branch.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of the Bank of American Fork branch in St. George,” Stucki said. “I love Washington County and I’m pleased that we’ll be able to provide the services this community needs so we can be a vital part of the economy here.”
It’s rare for a business to last 100 years, and Bank of American Fork is still locally-owned and invested in the local economy. Its community-banking model has survived and thrived in the 14 communities it serves.
The new branch will open for business on August 18, and a grand opening will be held later in the month. You can reach the new office at 435-319-6900. For other questions, please feel free to call 800-815-BANK or visit us at www.bankaf.com .
Do you know where your nearest Bank of American Fork location is? Do you know that we have branches throughout Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties? Have you heard that we opened a mortgage office in St. George? Do you know how to find us online?
We’re working on making sure you know where we are, because we heard that some of you don’t know about our branch in Saratoga Springs, or our branches in Salt Lake County, and some of you didn’t realize we were even outside of American Fork. We want to make sure you know where we are, so you can get the services you need, when you need them.
Here’s a little bit about our great team over in Saratoga Springs:
Megna Brown, Loan Secretary
Loves about her job: “I love living close by where I work and interacting with all the same wonderful people from the community. I love recognizing the smiling faces from the local stores and kids’ sporting events.”
Favorite Saratoga Springs spots: “Kneaders and Smith’s.”
Leah Hickenlooper, Vault Teller and New Accounts Representative
Why she’s a banker: “I love working with numbers and helping customers and I love the people I get to work with every day.”
Favorite Saratoga Springs spot: “I love the Kneaders just across the street from the bank.”
Angie Allen, Branch Operations Manager and Customer Service Chair
Loves about her job: “I enjoy getting to know customers and helping them with their financial needs. I am also proud to work with such a great team in our Saratoga Springs office.”
Favorite Saratoga Springs spot: “I have seen our rural community grow from just a few stop signs, cows and a swimming pool to our full city of Saratoga Springs. When I want good Mexican food I enjoy eating at Café el Lago right here in Saratoga Springs.”
Faith West, Teller and New Accounts Representative
Why she’s a banker: “I LOVE getting to know each of our customers. I love customer service, so talking to the people that come inside our branch is my comfort zone.”
Favorite Saratoga Springs spot: “Kneaders and Café el Lago are my two top favorites.”
Dustin Phillips, Vice President and Branch Manager
Loves about his job: “The feeling of knowing I’ve helped a business owner start up, expand or succeed, especially when they may have been turned down somewhere else first.”
Why he’s a banker: “It’s not glamorous, but I started as a teller while I was in college and decided not to leave.”
Favorite Saratoga Springs spot: “Café el Lago.”
Rochelle Mitchell, Teller
Loves about her job: “I am the newest convert to Bank of American Fork. I love my job! I really enjoy being able to interact with customers.”
Favorite Saratoga Springs spot: “For shopping, I enjoy Maurice’s. My husband and I go to Café el Lago for dinner, but I love Won Won Wok.”
Lindsey Kilpack, New Accounts Representative
Loves about her job: “I love meeting new customers and building relationships with them as I see them come back into the branch.”
Why she’s a banker: “My mother always said to find a job with a bank so I’d have good benefits and holidays off. I followed her advice and it turned out I love accounting and working with numbers!”
Favorite Saratoga Springs spot: “My favorite park is Neptune Park—there are so many fun things for kids to do. I also love watching Saratoga Springs develop because it’s exciting to see what will pop up next.”
If you made a goal to be fiscally fit this year, we have some resources to help keep you on track or help you get on track. Now that we’re halfway into the year, it’s a good time to evaluate how you’re doing on your New Year’s resolutions, high-five yourself for goals you’re on top of and make some adjustments for goals you aren’t. If your financial goals include better money management, paying bills on time or saving more of your income, here’s a tool for you.
PowerPay™ is Bank of American Fork’s online bill pay service that allows you to make payments for bills that you normally send through the mail. Do you sometimes feel like you’re spending all of your time paying bills? Eliminate the paperwork and set up online payments. Online payments through Bank of American Fork are safe and easy. “Push” payments are a safe and easy way to pay your bills, because the bank pushes the payment out to the billing company (the opposite, a “pull” payment, requires you to give your account information to your billing company and they pull it out of your account each month).
If you haven’t taken advantage of this free tool before, now may be a good time—if you’re heading out for a vacation this summer or your day-to-day schedule changes, it can be difficult to stay on top of bills and paperwork. Setting up automatic bill payments, or being able to quickly make your payments online may make it easier to get your bills paid on time, without feeling like paying bills is the center of your life.
To use this “push” payment service, all you need is Internet access and a Bank of American Fork online banking account. When you have those, you can use PowerPay to:
• Make payments online, saving money on checks, stamps and envelopes
• Schedule one-time or recurring payments
• Use any of your checking accounts to pay bills
• Easily access your transaction history and pending payments anytime you want
• View images of cleared transactions sent through PowerPay
• Feel confident knowing your payment information is protected 24/7
• Spend your time where it matters most
PowerPay is free with your online personal and business banking and you can set it up in these easy steps:
1. Log into your online banking.
2. Click PowerPay.
3. Select an account (or accounts) out of which you want the payments to go.
4. Set up your payees under the link at the top titled “Payees.”
5. Set up your payments through the links at the top titled “Add Payment” or “Quick Payment.”
6. Track your payments through the link at the top titled “History.”
Keep up with your fiscal fitness by signing up for PowerPay today.
PowerPay is a trademark of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
Considering building your dream home while interest rates are historically low? You may be able to save by financing that dream home when you get both your construction loan and long-term mortgage loan at Bank of American Fork. We’re offering 3.99% interest-rate, owner-occupied, residential construction loans (11.04% or 10.35% estimated APR*, depending on term).
Here’s how you’ll save:
• Low, fixed rate on 6- or 8-month construction loan
• No origination fee on the long-term mortgage
When you bundle your home construction and mortgage loan, you’ll get a low, fixed rate for the term of the construction loan†—see the chart below for rates, which is a substantial savings off typical construction rates.
|Home construction loan details||Term||Origination Fee||Interest Rate||Estimated APR|
At Bank of American Fork, construction plus mortgage equals savings. Besides great rates for both loans, here’s what else you’ll get when you bundle:
• Fast approval with our local loan committee
• An interest reserve will be set up to make the monthly interest payments during the term; the monthly interest payment will increase as the balance increases
• A balloon payment will be due at the end of the 6-month or 8-month term
• Multiple draws without additional fees
• Exceptional service
You can save thousands more with no long-term mortgage origination fee when you get both your construction and mortgage loans from Bank of American Fork.‡
*Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The estimated APRs are based on a $417,000 construction loan at 3.99% with Bank of American Fork’s standard loan fees and either a 6-month or an 8-month term. The standard loan fees are: 1.5% (6 months) or 1.75% (8 months) origination, $600 (6 months) or $800 (8 months) inspection, $100 appraisal review, $15 flood determination, $5 credit report (per borrower), $150 document preparation, title insurance (varies), recording (varies), and appraisal (varies). Payment example: Assuming that a loan with standard fees and a balance of $417,000 was 50% disbursed for a 6-month term, the monthly interest payments are estimated to be $693 and the balloon payment is estimated to be $417,000. Subject to credit approval. Other discounts may be available if necessary for loans exceeding $417,000. Inquire for details. Only valid in Utah, Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Tooele, Cache, Washington and Wasatch counties.
†An additional 2-month extension with a 0.25% extension fee may be available if necessary and subject to approval. The reduced-construction-interest-rate program lasts until 12/31/14.
‡The 1.5% or 1.75% construction loan origination fee applies whether the mortgage loan comes from Bank of American Fork or not. The no-mortgage-fee promotion lasts until 12/31/14. The mortgage must follow a construction loan and be originated on or before 12/31/14. Only valid in Utah, Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Tooele, Cache, Washington and Wasatch counties.
This summer, Bank of American Fork is celebrating Utah’s cities and the wonderful people that live in them. Join us for Community Appreciation Day at your local Bank of American Fork branch for free food, prizes, games and fun.
And don’t forget to wave to us as we float through your city parade!
|CITY/BRANCH||PARADE INFO||COMMUNITY APPRECIATION DAY|
|Alpine||August 9, 10 a.m.||August 8, noon-2 p.m.|
|American Fork||July 19, 9:30 a.m.||July 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.|
|Draper||July 19, 9 a.m.||July 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.|
|Eagle Mountain||June 7, 10 a.m.||N/A|
|Highland||August 2, 10 a.m.||August 1, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.|
|Kaysville||July 4, 11 a.m.||July 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.|
|Lehi||June 28, 10 a.m.||June 27, noon-2 p.m.|
|Murray||July 4, 9 a.m.||September 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.|
|Orem||June 14, 7 p.m.||June 13, noon-2 p.m.|
|Pleasant Grove||June 21, 10 a.m.||June 20, noon-2 p.m.|
|Riverton||July 3, 6:30 p.m.||July 2, 9 a.m. -5 p.m.|
|Sandy||July 4, 6 p.m.||October 1, noon -2 p.m.|
|Saratoga Springs||June 14, 10 a.m.||June 13, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.|
|Spanish Fork||July 24, 9 a.m.||July 22 & 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.|
Courtesy of FDIC Consumer News
Credit cards can offer numerous benefits to consumers, including a convenient way to pay for purchases, the ability to build a credit history, and the potential for rewards. But to make the most of your credit cards, it helps to be an informed consumer. First, remember that any purchase you make with your credit card is a loan that must be repaid. And as with any loan, it’s important to select the right product for you and to use it wisely.
To help you maximize the benefits and avoid the potential pitfalls, here are our latest tips for choosing and using credit cards.
Choosing a Credit Card
Maximize your ability to get a good credit card by ensuring that your credit report is accurate. Correcting inaccuracies may help you improve your credit history and credit score, which card issuers will consider when deciding whether to offer you a card and how they will determine your interest rate and credit limit. You also can find out if an identity thief has opened credit cards or other accounts in your name (see 10 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information and Your Money).
By federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major nationwide consumer reporting agencies (also called “credit bureaus”) — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each company issues its own report, and because some lenders do not furnish information to all three of them, it’s useful to request your report from each one in order to get a comprehensive view of your credit history. Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228 to order free credit reports or for more information.
If you find errors, each reporting agency provides ways to ask for an investigation and a correction. In addition, you can request a correction directly from the entity that supplied the incorrect information.
“Your credit reports play a large role in what credit you will qualify for, so it’s important that they be accurate,” said Jonathan Miller, Deputy Director for Policy and Research in the FDIC’s Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection (DCP). “If you find any mistakes on a report, you have both a need and a right to have them corrected. And, be wary of companies that promise to ‘fix’ your credit report. If there is negative information that is legitimate, there is no way to remove it, although it will expire from your report after a period of time.”
Determine what type of card best meets your needs. First, think about how you will use the card. In particular, do you expect to pay your card balance in full each month or carry a balance from month to month?
If you don’t pay your card balance in full each month, the best card for you will likely be one with a low Annual Percentage Rate (APR). But if you do plan to pay in full each month, you might instead focus on whether there is an annual fee, rewards or other features, such as a waiver of foreign transaction fees (helpful for international trips or purchases).
Shop around and compare product terms and conditions. Although you may receive credit card offers, don’t assume these are the best deals for you. If you decide you need to apply for a card, compare multiple products from several lenders. Various Web sites can help you compare product offerings from different institutions, but be aware that some sites list only companies that pay to advertise there.
What factors should you consider? Federal law requires creditors to disclose important rate and fee information to you before you apply. “This enables you to make apples-to-apples comparisons for the most important factors,” pointed out Elizabeth Khalil, an FDIC Senior Policy Analyst.
Here is additional guidance on how to compare key terms and conditions:
Do your homework before signing up for promotional offers or additional products. Some credit cards come with promotions that are enticing but may cost you more money in the long run. For instance, some credit cards marketed by retail stores offer “no interest” on balances for a certain period of time, such as the first 12 months after purchase. But if you don’t pay off the entire purchase balance by the end of the timeframe that was disclosed, you may be charged all of the interest that accrued since the date of purchase. “With any deferred interest offer, it’s important to pay the balance in full before the promotional period ends,” said Matt Homer, a Policy Analyst at the FDIC. “If you can’t do that, a better fit might be a credit card with a low APR that doesn’t expire after the promotional period.”
Additionally, credit card companies might offer other credit-related products, such as credit protection (to pay, suspend or cancel part or all of your outstanding balance in the event of a specific hardship) and identity theft protection (to monitor your credit reports for signs that a crook attempted to use your name to commit fraud). “Make sure you fully understand how these products work and how much they cost by reading the fine print and asking questions before you sign up,” advised Homer. “Also evaluate whether the price you will pay justifies the value you will get from the product.”
For example, he said, as an alternative to paying for identity theft protection, you can look for warning signs of fraud by monitoring your free annual credit reports, especially if you space out the requests for a different company’s report approximately every four months.
Using a Credit Card
Carefully review your card statements for billing errors and other problems, and report them quickly. The FDIC’s Consumer Response Center reports that billing disputes and error resolution problems and processes are the most common types of complaints it received in 2012 and 2013 related to credit cards. And, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, many consumers are confused and frustrated by the process of challenging inaccuracies on their monthly statements.
If you notice a billing error, such as an unauthorized charge on your statement, contact the card issuer as soon as possible. For guidance, see consumer information from the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0219-fair-credit-billing.
Checking your account periodically also can help you monitor your spending. “You may want to sign up for alerts on your mobile phone or through e-mail that inform you when your credit card has hit a specific balance amount or you are close to your credit limit. Other alerts can remind you about an upcoming bill,” Homer added.
Review all communications from your lender. Keep a copy of your cardholder agreement and look at all other mailings from your lender because they may include notices about adjustments to the important terms of your card. For example, a credit card issuer must typically provide customers a 45-day advance notice of an interest rate increase.
Pay on time to limit late fees and protect your credit history. If you miss a payment, you’ll likely be charged a late fee, which can sometimes be up to $35 or more. Late payments are also reported to the major consumer reporting agencies, which can harm your credit history.
Pay as much as you can to avoid or minimize fees and interest charges. While it may sound like a bargain to pay the minimum amount due, the long-term costs can be staggering. You will generally be charged interest on the unpaid portion of your balance at the beginning of a new billing cycle and your credit card issuer may start charging you interest from the time of purchase. If you can’t pay the full amount, paying even slightly more than the minimum amount due can reduce your interest costs.
If you add an “authorized user” to the account, set rules and monitor transactions. Adding an authorized user can be a way to jointly manage your finances (for your convenience) or to help someone else (such as a relative under 21 years old) establish a credit history. But remember that you will be liable for any charges the authorized user makes with the card, so it’s best to have a mutual understanding about your expectations as the account owner. Also consider asking your card issuer to place a spending limit on the card assigned to the authorized user. And, of course, be sure to regularly monitor the account and take appropriate action, if necessary.
Protect your card from fraud. Never provide your credit card numbers — including the account number and expiration date on the front and the security code on the front and/or back — in response to an unsolicited phone call, e-mail or other communication. When using your credit card online, make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate company.
Also, take precautions at the checkout counter and gas pump, watching for card reading devices that look suspicious, such as a plastic sleeve inside a card slot or other possible signs of tampering.
If you have lost your card or are the victim of identity theft, contact your credit card company as soon as possible. Write down the contact number printed on the back of your card and keep it somewhere else that you can quickly access.
Recent security breaches at a few major retailers have some consumers concerned about using their credit cards. Federal law protects consumers from unauthorized activity, and card issuers often will waive any liability for fraudulent purchases that are reported promptly. For more tips on avoiding fraud and reporting identity theft or unauthorized charges, see 10 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information and Your Money.
To try to resolve a complaint, first contact your card issuer. Before calling, think through and summarize what the problem is and what you’d like done about it. This will help you remember the key points of the issue. In case the financial institution doesn’t agree to your solution, think about other alternatives you might propose or accept.
“If you’re having trouble resolving a complaint with the credit card issuer you can consider taking your concerns to the institution’s federal regulator,” pointed out DCP Director Mark Pearce. “Doing so not only can assist a consumer with a legitimate complaint, but it also provides the regulator with important information on consumer concerns and trends in general.”
The FDIC and other banking regulators can’t settle contract disputes between a bank and a consumer, but they often can assist consumers in other ways, such as helping people understand confusing information, contacting the issuer and initiating a formal review process, and/or taking supervisory actions if the institution is in violation of a law or regulation. To find the regulator for an FDIC-insured institution, you can use our online directory at http://research.fdic.gov/bankfind or call the FDIC toll-free at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).
For more tips and information, start at the FDIC Web page “How to Choose and Use a Credit Card” at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/ccc/choose.html. Another resource is a set of questions and answers developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb.
One lender, one loan package, one dream home
Building a home means spending a lot of time paying attention to the details, from blueprints to paint and everything in between. Luckily, choosing the loans that will finance your new home isn’t as complicated.
Simplify your financing with a construction loan and mortgage loan from Bank of American Fork. Save big with no origination fee on your mortgage loan if you do your construction loan and long-term financing with us*. In addition to saving money, we’ll save you the headaches that can come with financing your dream home. You can count on the experienced lenders at Bank of American Fork to offer fast approval, low, fixed interest rates, multiple free draws and exceptional service.
Contact us today at 1-800-815-BANK.
* The mortgage must follow a construction loan originated on or before December 31, 2014. Only valid in Utah, Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Tooele, and Wasatch counties. Subject to credit approval.