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Newsletter 4th Quarter 2019

Inside This Issue:

Our Team Continues to Grow

We are pleased to announce the addition of the following new staff to our banking team. 

Theresa Strine

Theresa joined the bank’s loan processing department in late August after many years at Jewell & Associates in Spring Green. Theresa and her husband Troy reside in the Spring Green area and are the parents of three – two in college and one a high school freshman.

Jenny Milchuck

Jenny serves as Location Manager and Personal Banker at our Barneveld location. Jenny’s history with the bank dates back to high school when she worked as a Customer Service Representative. A few years later she came back to participate in our college internship program and subsequently served as an assistant in our Investment Center before moving to North Carolina where she worked as a manager for a logistics company.  Jenny is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a degree in business administration. She and her husband, JP, make their home in the Barneveld area.

Katrina Crow

Katrina joined our team in Spring Green where she is presently training as a Customer Service Representative and will eventually take a position in the bank’s call center.  A native of California, Katrina has lived and worked in the Spring Green area for the past three years and was previously employed at Lands’ End.  

Please join us in welcoming Theresa, Jenny, and Katrina to the bank!

Complete Control in the Palm of Your Hand

It seems as though every time you turn on the news you see a segment highlighting the latest fraud scheme. These stories have become all too common. A data breach here and a phishing scam there, it’s enough to worry even the most tech-savvy individual. Here at the bank we take precautions to ensure that your financial data is secure and monitored around the clock. Beyond that, we’ve invested in two services that put control of your credit and debit cards in your hands.   

MobiMoney for debit card management and SecurLOCK Equip for credit card management.

These free mobile apps enable you to manage your Peoples Community Bank debit and credit cards right from your phone. Not only do they allow you to turn your cards on and off, you’re also able to set up transaction alerts and can limit card usage based on location, merchant type, transaction type, and dollar thresholds. Look for MobiMoney and SecurLOCK Equip in your phone’s app store.

Refinancing: When is the Right Time?

At some point over the past year you’ve likely heard someone talk about refinancing their home. Rates have crept back down to historically low levels and many who purchased homes in a higher rate environment are benefitting from the lower rates by refinancing their mortgage. Is this the right time for you? 

A rule of thumb often floated around is that, if you can lower your rate by 1% or more, refinancing makes sense. While that is true in many cases, the answer isn’t quite that simple. Here are a few additional factors that you should consider:

1.    How long do you plan to stay in your home?
2.    Has the value of your home increased or decreased?
3.    What are your other financial goals?

We recommend speaking with your mortgage lender at one of our six locations to see if refinancing makes sense based on your current and planned situation. They can provide you with a clear and concise picture of the costs and benefits associated with refinancing your mortgage.

Five Plans to Paying Down Debt

Have credit card debt? You're not alone. According to analysis from NerdWallet, at the end of 2018 the average U.S. household owed just under $7,000 in revolving credit card debt (the balance carried from month to month). Unlike more benign debt like a mortgage where you gain net worth through increased equity when you make payments, credit card debt is a drag on your finances with no benefit. Now is the perfect time to make a plan for becoming debt-free. There are several strategies you can use to pay off your credit card debt in manageable increments. Here's a look at five of the most effective options:

1: Follow a Budget

The first step in paying down debt is to create a monthly household budget. This will give you an accurate view of how much you make, how much you spend, and how much you can afford to put toward paying off debt each month. It can also help identify where you can redirect some money each month toward paying down credit card debt. One popular example is to commit to skipping the morning coffee run every day and putting the extra toward debt. For example, if you spend an average of $3.00 on your coffee every weekday morning, that's $60 every month that you could put toward paying down debt. That's $720 in a year!  If you need help in setting up a budget and tracking your expenses, check out Money Management, our free financial management tool built into our online banking service. You can find it under the “Manage Money” tab in your online banking account. 

2: Increase Your Monthly Payments

The most effective plan for paying down credit card debt is to pay more than the minimum balance every month, even if it's only few dollars.  And, always pay on time. In doing so you will decrease the amount of interest on your next statement. If possible, increase the amount you pay each month to cover more than what you owe. For example, if your total credit card bill is $1,000 and you spent $500 during the month, pay $750 even if the minimum required payment is only $25. 

3: Tackle the Highest Interest Rate Debt First

If you're carrying debt on multiple credit cards, a great plan is to focus on paying down the one with the highest interest rate first. This approach is effective because it gives you the most bang for your buck. The higher the interest rate, the more expensive the debt is and the more it will cost you in the long run. For example, if you owe $3,000 on a credit card that has a 20% interest rate and $4,000 on a card with a 15% rate, this strategy advises paying off the highest rate first because it will have a bigger long-term impact than paying the higher balance debt.

4: Sort Debts by Principal Size

Another possible strategy is to sort your debt by highest to lowest account balance (the amount you owe not including interest). One school of thought says to pay off the largest balances first because they typically have the largest monthly payment. Therefore, once that debt is paid off, you'll have more money left each month to apply to other debts. On the other hand, some think that paying off the smallest principal amounts first works better. That strategy is most effective if you've experienced a financial windfall, such as a higher-than-expected tax refund, and are able to completely eliminate one of your debts. For example, if you've been carrying $2,500 on a credit card that you don't use anymore, using your tax return to completely pay off the card and canceling the card will be more beneficial than spreading that money around to all of your debts and continuing to make only the minimum payment on that card.

5: Consolidate

Finally, a plan that works very well for many people is to consolidate your debts into a single payment. Sometimes done by taking out a home equity loan or refinancing a mortgage, consolidation is an effective way to combine all of your individual debts into one loan with one payment, ideally at a better interest rate than what you were paying. This is a common tactic for credit card debt held on multiple cards with higher interest rates. If you are able to consolidate, it may feel like you've just eliminated a lot of debt but be sure to control your future spending to avoid piling more debt on top of what you already owe.