Saving For College: Graduating With the Least Amount of Debt Sep 19, 2013, 8:40 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Guest post by Katie Bryan, America Saves

As college students are beginning to see what costs really add up to and high school seniors start applying for their top universities, many are beginning to think about how to pay for the years of school ahead. We’ve heard the stats that the average debt students have upon graduation has skyrocketed to $35,200, according to a recent Fidelity survey, and that the costs of attending college increase 6 percent each year. Utah has the lowest student loan default rate in the country, and you too can be financially successful by implementing some of the tried-and-true ways to make sure you don’t get in over your head. College is still a great investment for most students, especially with some planning ahead of time to help keep debt to a minimum. It’s still true that those with a bachelor’s degree will earn $1 million more over their lifetime than those who only complete high school.

The challenge is to graduate with as little debt as possible. Here are three ways to help keep student debt to a minimum:

1. Create a College Savings Plan

Just like savings for retirement, it’s good to save early and often. There are many ways out there to help you save, from a 529 account to Savings Bonds. Tip to find extra money to save: If you can save an extra $300 a year ($25 a month at 5% interest, compounded monthly for 18 years) you will have an extra $8,766.43 to put towards tuition bills.

Haven’t created a college savings plan yet? Pledge to Save with America Saves where you can sign up for text message tips and reminders to help you reach your goal of saving for college. Bank of American Fork’s online money manager is another great way to budget and keep your spending in check with alerts and messages, and quick access to current savings account information.

2. Shop Around For Schools and Free Money

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created a tool to compare the costs of different colleges. Their tool will let you compare financial aid offers so you can see how all those numbers impact your payments down the road.

Apply for as many scholarships as you can. $500 here and $1,000 there can go a long way to helping pay for college. Many students also stop looking for scholarships once they enter college, but keep applying each year. Need some inspiration? Check out the article “How I won $100,000+ in college scholarships” by Ramit Sethi.

3. Find Ways to Reduce Spending (or Earn Money) While in College

For example:

• Live at Home – Living on campus can cost anywhere from $7,500 to $9,000 per year. Consider living at home during college (if you can) and you can save nearly $40,000. You can still get a full college experience by joining clubs and being active on campus.

• Get a Part-Time Job – Look for a job on campus or a paid internship to supplement your income and pay for expenses like food, books, and incidentals while in college. The more you can pay upfront the less your monthly loan payments will be when you graduate. Need more ways to save? We’ve got a list of 54 ways to save here.

If you’re wondering what the best options for saving are, come into a Bank of American Fork branch, call at 800-815-BANK or live chat with someone at www.bankaf.com.

America Saves, managed by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), is a non-profit researchbased social marketing campaign that seeks to motivate, support, and encourage low- to moderate-income households to save money and build wealth. Learn more at americasaves.org

 

Bank of American Fork launches new iPad® app Sep 16, 2013, 10:24 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

­We launched a new mobile banking application for iPad, making it easier for customers to bank on the go. Bank of American Fork mobile banking is now available through apps on iPad, iPhone® and Android™, or smartphone and tablet users can visit mobile.bankaf.com on their mobile device.

“We’re excited to be able to extend our mobile banking footprint to accommodate our iPad users,” said Josh Everton, eSolutions manager. “Our online customer base is more mobile than ever and they really like using the mobile handheld device apps, especially to be able to deposit checks. Our tablet users have anxiously awaited the launch or our native iPad offering and we are glad to provide another option to make their banking experience as easy as possible.”

Some of the expanded features unique to the app for the iPad include:

• Online consumer check and savings account applications

• Live customer service chat

• 30 days of transaction history

• 18 months of archived eStatements

• Advanced location and contact tools

Mobile banking with Bank of American Fork is safe and allows customers to bank on-the-go. All of the mobile apps allow customers to do the following:

• Deposit checks†

• Check account balances

• View account history

• Pay bills‡

• Transfer funds

• Find Bank of American Fork branch contact information and locations

To ensure safety, we recommend that customers only download our native mobile apps from the following sources: 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 their devices at mobile.bankaf.com without installing a mobile app.

For questions about mobile banking call 800-815-BANK or use the “Live Chat” feature on the bank’s website at www.bankaf.com.

Although mobile banking is provided by Bank of American Fork free of charge, you may be charged access rates depending on your mobile carrier. Web access is needed to use mobile banking. Check with your service provider for details on specific fees and charges.

†  Enrollment in Mobile ExpressDeposit is available in mobile banking and includes meeting eligibility requirements. For consumer accounts there is a $0.50 service fee per deposit on the first 20 deposits processed in the calendar month and a $1.00 service fee per deposit on each deposit over 20. For business accounts there is a $0.50 fee per deposit on the first 60 deposits processed in the calendar month and a $1.00 fee per deposit on each deposit over 60. For full details, please visit the Mobile ExpressDeposit product page.

‡ Online customers must first enroll in PowerPay™ and establish payees in online banking prior to using this function in mobile banking.

iPhone, iPod Touch, 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. PowerPay is a trademark of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.

Social Media Sites and Terms of Service: What May I Do With the Content? Sep 05, 2013, 8:20 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Guest post by John H. Rees, Attorney, Callister Nebeker & McCullough

Facebook™’s terms of service give Facebook the unlimited right to use any photos, videos, and other intellectual property content posted on the site.  Facebook acknowledges that ownership of the content is retained by the user, but the ownership rights are subject to the license granted by the user to Facebook.  Twitter™ similarly acknowledges that ownership of content remains with the user, but also claims an unlimited license to use the content.

It’s quite tempting to use content posted by friends and others on social media sites.  Whether the use is personal or commercial, or for public or private use, some content is simply very good, and users may want to use the content for a variety of purposes.  The rights granted to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites are very broad, and sharing takes place freely, but the sharing rights are not unlimited.

In a case decided earlier this year in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York, the court decided what rights third parties had to photos posted on Twitter.  Daniel Morel, a photojournalist, was in Haiti at the time of the devastating earthquake in January 2010.  He took several photographs of the scene after the earthquake, and posted them on Twitter through his TwitPic account.  Shortly after Morel posted his photos on Twitter, they were reposted to the account of Lisandro Suero.  Through a series of events, some of the photos were downloaded by Agence France Presse (“AFP”), a French news agency that maintains an online photo database, and some of the photos were licensed by AFP to Getty Images through a reciprocal license agreement to display images.

AFP brought the action against Morel seeking a declaration that its acts did not constitute copyright infringement.  Morel filed a counterclaim against AFP, Getty Images, and the Washington Post seeking a determination that they each willfully infringed his copyright in the photos.

One of the arguments made by AFP was that it was not liable for copyright infringement, because Morel granted it a license to use the photos by posting the photos on Twitter.   AFP acknowledged that the act of posting photos online did not eliminate Morel’s copyright in the photos, but argued that it had a license to use the photos through the Twitter terms of service.  Alternatively, AFP argued it was a third-party beneficiary of the Twitter terms of service.  The court was not persuaded by either of these arguments.

The court acknowledged that Twitter encouraged and permitted broad reuse of content, but also found that Twitter did not grant an express license to AFP to use the photos for purposes other than reposting.  The Twitter terms of service provide that the user, by posting content, grants to Twitter a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use content in any and all media or distribution methods.  The terms of service further provide that Twitter may make content available to other companies, organizations, or individuals who partner with Twitter.  But the court found that the terms of service did not give AFP the rights of use it claimed in the litigation.

Photos and other content on social media sites generally may be reposted.  The current Twitter terms of service provide that “this license is you authorizing us to make your Tweets available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same.”  Facebook’s terms of service are similar. However, the rights granted are not unlimited, and specifically do not include the right to download and license photos posted on Twitter or Facebook to third parties.

There are two potential ways to have permission to repost or otherwise use a photo or other content posted on a social media site.  One is to contact the owner of the copyright and obtain permission directly from the owner.  The second way is to fall within the terms of the terms of service of the social media site.  Before relying on the site’s terms of service, however, it should be clear that the use falls within the scope of the license granted in the terms of service, and that the person using the content is an intended licensee or beneficiary under the terms of service.

As Agence France Presse learned the hard way, using without permission another’s content posted on a social media site is still copyright infringement.

This article was first published at Consider The Law (and don’t worry, we have permission from the author to publish this content).

John Rees is a business lawyer with the law firm of Callister Nebeker & McCullough who helps clients find solutions to their business legal needs, particularly in a complex legal and business environment. He focuses on corporate and intellectual property issues, particularly relating to licensing and doing business on the internet.

 

 

Facebook is a trademark of Facebook Inc. Twitter is a trademark of Twitter Inc.

September branch spotlight and cookies: Sandy Sep 04, 2013, 9:10 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

We’re celebrating one hundred years of serving Utah communities with free cookie Fridays. Each month one of our 13 branches will be spotlighted—for that month, the spotlighted branch will have free cookies in their lobby. You can read a little bit about the history of Bank of American Fork below, with a history of the spotlighted branch. For a deeper history and to view photos visit here and select “downloads”.

Bank of American Fork was established in 1913 as The People’s State Bank of American Fork. The first two decades after opening brought success for the bank and its reputation for being safe and sound was solidified. Challenges came in 1932, when the People’s State Bank of American Fork closed its doors to prevent a run on deposits. While a third of the nation’s banks did the same and never reopened, the People’s State Bank was open for business nine months later after tremendous sacrifice on the part of its management. The 1940s and ‘50s were better years for banking, and the People’s State Bank of American Fork thrived. In the 1960s the name was shortened to Bank of American Fork and proved itself a technological leader when it made a large investment in upgrading to advanced computerized systems. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Bank of American Fork began to receive national recognition for being safe and strong. It was during this time that the bank began strategic expansion across Utah, finding communities where Bank of American Fork fit and filled needs. Today, we are proud to be a part of 13 communities, and Utah’s community bank leader.

Sandy Branch October 1, 2001 For its ninth branch, Bank of American Fork departed from its usual process when it purchased a building and a portion of a portfolio from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Bank, Sandy. The board and management had been weighing the option of purchasing a branch versus starting from scratch. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter announced its building, loans and accounts were up for sale and the Bank of American Fork purchased a part of this, continuing its foray into Salt Lake County.

Don’t forget to stop by the Sandy branch on Fridays this month and grab a cookie! For the full parade and community appreciation day schedule, see here!

This Labor Day, make your money work for you with a Roth IRA Sep 02, 2013, 9:00 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Happy Labor Day! Remember, all branches are closed for the holiday!

As Americans take a break from their usual work this Labor Day, they should consider how to make their money work harder for them. One way to do this is with a Roth IRA. IRAs—Individual Retirement Arrangements—are personal accounts that may allow individuals to receive tax advantages for money they save for retirement.  Roth IRAs may benefit individuals because they can save money for retirement now, even if they’re starting their first job out of school and may not have retirement in their near future.

Roth IRAs are different from traditional IRAs because tax is paid on the money when it is contributed, rather than when it’s used—so it may be a good choice for someone young or who expects to be in a higher tax bracket when they’re ready to withdraw funds. Distributions of principal and interest are tax-free, assuming the individual follows the guidelines set forth by the IRS.

Why would an individual consider a Roth IRA?

• They want to save for retirement.

• They may be leaving a company and need somewhere to place their 401(k) earnings.

• They want to save money now, even if they don’t have very much to save from each paycheck. The money they save will earn interest and grow.

• They have a goal to save, but struggle to stay motivated and not pull their funds from long-term savings, since Roth IRAs have penalties for withdrawing early.

Even individuals who are not close to retirement may want to consider saving in a Roth IRA, so their money is working for them. To learn more, visit www.bankaf.com or speak with a Bank of American Fork representative at 800-815-BANK.

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. And best of all, online money manager is free.

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.

In 1963 the name The People’s State Bank of American Fork was shortened to Bank of American Fork. Orville Gunther, the then-president of The People’s State Bank of American Fork, felt the bank’s name was too long, and with new technology, it was an appropriate time for change and modernization.

This photo shows an original copy of The American Fork Citizen with an article detailing the name change. The paper was published August 22, 1963—50 years ago today.

In the same decade, the bank was remodeled for a more modern feel to match changes in technology. When the bank purchased its first computer, they held an open house to show customers the new machines and how they worked. New electronic calculators at 3-feet long and 2-feet wide, weighing 15 pounds, and a Ditto machine were rented to other local businesses after hours to offset the high costs of the new technology.

You might be wondering about artifacts you’ve seen from before 1963 with the name “Bank of American Fork,” or you may have heard of family members banking with “Bank of American Fork” before 1963. Before The People’s State Bank of American Fork was incorporated, there was another Bank of American Fork.

When the Great Depression hit Utah, there were two banks in American Fork. The original Bank of American Fork, or “Chipman’s Bank,” was established in 1891. The People’s State Bank of American Fork—now Bank of American Fork—was established in 1913. On Sunday, January 15, 1932, the original Bank of American Fork president James Chipman visited his neighbor of 20 years, Clifford Young, the manager and vice president of People’s State Bank of American Fork. Chipman told Young that his bank did not have enough liquidity for one of its most prominent accounts to withdraw its Monday payroll. In order to avoid a run on the bank, Chipman would not be opening it the following day and advised Young to do the same. Young complied and both banks remained closed on Monday, January 16, 1932. The closure of both of American Fork’s banks prompted the state government to send bank examiners to audit the banks and determine what the shareholders needed to do in order to reopen.

The People’s State Bank of American Fork, by tireless efforts of Clifford Young, raised $200,000 in capital. He was also able to secure signatures from depositors pledging to defer withdrawing funds for five years after reopening and successfully persuade investors to repurchase their stock for twice its value. The People’s State Bank reopened in October 1932, nine months after closing. The original Bank of American Fork never reopened. Thirty-one years later, The People’s State Bank of American Fork changed its name to Bank of American Fork.

In the same edition of the American Fork Citizen it was reported that Edith T. Chistensen, vice president and director at People’s State Bank of American Fork was elected chairman of the Utah Group, National Association of Bank Women.

To learn more about the bank’s history, visit us here or stop by our American Fork branch to see a permanent history display, including original artifacts from the last 100 years.

Everyday Heroics: Sandy and her smartphone Aug 19, 2013, 9:00 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

With Bank of American Fork’s mobile app and online banking tools Sandy’s impossible schedule becomes no big deal. She can deposit checks, transfer money or pay bills from anywhere she has internet access.

Learn more about mobile banking here.

Tips to help students handle credit wisely Aug 12, 2013, 8:35 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Courtesy of Independent Community Bankers of America

As the nation’s college students head back to school, and with a growing number of them planning to use credit cards during the school year, the Independent Community Bankers of America and Bank of American Fork want to encourage students to be responsible when using their credit cards so they can maintain their finances and establish solid credit.

“The fact is that no one may ever need to see your transcript after you leave school, but your credit report will be with you for the rest of your life,” said Sal Marranca, past ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Cattaraugus County Bank in Little Valley, N.Y. “Community bankers want to be sure that students learn how to use consumer credit wisely so that they establish good credit and build a foundation that will serve them well when they are ready to buy a car or a home or pursue their dreams of owning a small business.”

New rules governing credit cards aimed specifically at protecting students went into effect in 2010. Credit card companies are prohibited from issuing cards to anyone under the age of 18, and those under 21 need either an adult co-signer or proof of income. Educational institutions must disclose any agreements they have with credit card companies that market to students, and credit card companies may no longer entice students with free gifts. All other provisions in the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act that cover consumers—such as advance notice of changes, more time to make payments and terms that are easier to understand—apply to students as well.

Even with these safeguards, the best protection against getting deeply in debt is knowing the pitfalls and how to avoid them.  We offer the following tips to help students use credit cards wisely:

• Set up and follow a budget that includes paying off a credit card balance. “Maxing out” or charging up to your card’s credit limit can make sticking to your budget more difficult.

• Remember that cash advances, unlike purchases, generally have finance charges that apply immediately.

• Pay on time, every time. Whenever possible, pay more than the minimum payment owed (for example, 150 percent of the minimum) to pay off the balance faster and save on finance charges.

• Keep records of your account number, expiration date and the phone number of your card issuer in a safe place.

• Keep your account information confidential.

• Never give out your credit card number, card verification number (which appears on or near the signature panel) or expiration date over the phone, unless you initiated the call and know who you’re dealing with.

• Elect to receive your statement information online. Many sites offer an alert for unusual transactions and reminders of when your bill is due.

• Consider making your credit card payment online to ensure it is received by the monthly due date.

• Routinely access your account information online to track your spending and to quickly identify fraudulent transactions. If you see a transaction that is not yours, notify your card issuer immediately.

• If there’s an error on your account, report it immediately by notifying your card issuer. Look for complete instructions on your monthly statement or your bank’s website and follow them carefully to protect your rights.

• Keep a copy of your sales receipts so you can compare what you bought with the charges on your bill.

• When making online transactions, be sure the site is secure. Don’t let others see you enter card information.

• Don’t lend your credit card to anyone, not even a friend. Ever.

• If you move, notify your card issuer immediately.

• If you encounter financial difficulties, contact your card issuer as soon as possible.

If students want to learn more about credit cards and how to manage their credit, they should talk to their local community bank. Community banks are common-sense lenders that provide credit cards as a valuable service to their customers.

To learn more about community banks, visit www.icba.org. To find a community bank, visit ICBA’s community bank locator by clicking here.

To learn more about credit cards at Bank of American Fork visit our website or call 800-815-BANK.

Frugal Shopper: Knowing when to buy bulk food is as easy as 1, 2, 3 Aug 05, 2013, 8:30 am By Heidi Carmack Pfaffroth

Our new series, Frugal Shopper with Rachel Turner, brings you tips for paying less and getting more at the grocery store. You know you don’t have the time to go to 37 different grocery stores to find the best price for cheddar cheese, and so does Rachel. She does the price matching for you. Just print out your list from www.pricematchwithrachel.com (or pull it up on your smartphone) and tell the checker what’s up. Grocery store shopping has never been so easy!

Guest post by Rachel Turner, founder and owner of www.pricematchwithrachel.com

We all want to build our food storage and buy the food we love in bulk. The trick is the timing of these purchases if you want the most bang for your buck. Once you learn the sales cycle, you will have a full pantry and a full wallet. If you are going to buy bulk food, these are some tips you may want to consider:

Buy bulk food during major holidays.

Holiday seasons like Christmas and Independence Day are just a few of the times during which that you can shop during to really build your food storage on less cash.

Need to stock up on your baking supplies?

If you’re low on chocolate chips, evaporated milk, flour or other baking supplies, then the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are for you! Many people do a lot of baking during these holidays and grocery stores know it. They know that if they offer you the best prices on items you need to buy, they will get your business and then some! Grocery stores make certain these “must have” items are deeply discounted and then count on you doing the rest of your shopping there.

Low on meat?

Warm-weather holidays like Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Independence Day are great for those tender ribs, ground beef for burgers and steaks. Everyone likes a good barbecue and the grocery stores will compete for your business. What that means for you is fantastically low prices on barbecue meats. It’s a good idea to have an extra freezer in your house, and the money you’ll save on good quality meats will likely offset the cost. If, however, it’s a good spiral ham or whole turkey that you want to stock up on, then Thanksgiving and Christmas are your best bets for good deals.

Want to really build your food storage?

January is a huge month for food storage fans. Many grocery stores do their case-lot sales during this month, especially canned foods. Canned foods are one of the best items to store because they have a longer shelf life than other items.

Price match to buy bulk foods on the cheap.

With so many stores competing for your business these times of year, take advantage by price matching. On www.pricematchwithrachel.com you can see all deals hassle-free because the research is already done organized into categories. So start organizing your pantry and make room to buy bulk food on a dime!

Rachel Turner is the founder and owner of www.pricematchwithrachel.com , where her savvy skills can help you save money on your groceries. This self-taught, New York-born-and-bred mother of two loves saving time and money—and it kills her to see you missing out saving time and money! That’s how she became that woman you met in the Walmart juice aisle who told you to save a few by letting the cashier know how much that apple juice is on sale for at that other grocery store.

100 Year On Blog
This blog includes articles, information, tips and advice on all things money by the financial experts at Bank of American Fork. But this blog is not one-sided; we want to hear what you think. Share your ideas, experiences and comments to get the dialogue going.

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