Diversity and Inclusion Comes From Within

Damaris Abella, Vice President—Support Centers 

The sense of belonging is one of the perks of coming to work at Old Second Bank each day. It’s like being part of a family, a very large family. Like most families, ours spans generations—from our call center representatives with decades of banking experience to our newly hired tellers.

The feeling also extends beyond the people who work here. Many of our customers are members of families who have banked with us through several generations. Then, there are customers we just know so well; they seem like family.

What is particularly gratifying, especially for me, is that our Old Second family is as culturally diverse as the communities and businesses we serve. It’s a reflection of the people we see, where we go and how we live our daily lives.

At Our Core

What I believe helps us achieve and sustain this highly inclusive and personal environment, for both our customers and ourselves, is that our staff members have gone “all in,” so to speak, in adopting the core values at the heart of Old Second. Normally, core values are an inward facing thing. However, they’re reflected in the encounters we have with our customers.

We Are Here to Serve

As a member of Old Second’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and a longtime member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for Oswego School District 308, I thrive on being responsible to and for people. As the head of Old Second’s call center, I have a unique view of how well we as a banking family reflect our values and how our customers react and benefit from them.

From working with staff members across the management structure and different divisions of Old Second, I’ve noticed a common driver: Each of us wants to make a difference, for you, for the bank and for our families.

Making that difference takes teamwork. Like a family, we need to be there for one another. That means when a customer raises a concern, we work together as quickly and efficiently as possible to address the issue to everyone’s satisfaction.

Empowered Ownership

When you work in a call center, the reality is that your job is to get every caller a quick resolution. Whether it is an issue with an ATM, a lost wallet, or opening a new account, we are in a position that empowers us to take ownership of finding the quickest way to a resolution. Regardless of where an issue originates—with us, with you, with some source beyond our respective control—you can trust us to do what needs to be done to get things right—and also to be professional about it. Then, we look for ways the next caller’s experience can be improved. We do this for a living, after all, and we want to be the best we can be at it.

Customized to You

When you treat everyone the way you would like to be treated, it creates a pleasant environment. It also becomes quite personal. Maintaining this level of personalization cuts to the core of what Old Second is all about. For instance, in the call center, it’s the reason we keep our upfront phone menu to a few clicks. We want to get you to a person as quickly as possible. While we support self-service, we’re all about customization and personal attention. We want you to receive the advice and products that are right for you and your particular situation.

Whether you are looking for a more meaningful banking experience or a career opportunity where your work will have meaning—or you just want to talk to a banker who will take the time to listen—give us a call at 1-877-866-0202. We can’t wait to talk to you!

To learn more about our efforts regarding diversity and inclusion, visit us here.

Borrower Assets: How Much Is Enough When Buying Real Estate?

Jeri Ott, Vice President/Mortgage Loan Originator 

While most discussions about purchasing real estate focus on having sufficient funds to make a down payment, there is more to save for than just this amount. Borrowers are required to show proof that they have sufficient additional funds saved to cover any closing costs and an amount equal to at least two months of future loan payments. This is true whether the purchase involves a primary residence or a vacation home.

Joint Ownership

Buying a property in partnership with someone else can make it more affordable. However, the reserve requirement will be the same as it would be if either individual alone made the purchase. For instance, in the case of a vacation home owned by two families, each may agree to split all expenses and payments evenly. However, the underwriting standards necessary to approve the mortgage will view each owner from the perspective of whether they could carry the entire debt on their own. Each will also be required to have sufficient reserve assets to cover two months of full payments.

A Higher Standard for Income-Producing Properties

When it comes to being approved for a mortgage against investment properties, the liquid asset reserve requirement rises to the amount needed to cover six months of mortgage and tax payments. Even though this type of property typically has rental income that will help cover the mortgage expenses, lenders are required to verify that assets exist to cover the loan should an interruption in occupancy occur.

This need to demonstrate a more substantial cash reserve—which can include bank and brokerage accounts, as well as retirement savings—can also impact homebuyers who aren’t purchasing a home for investment purposes but who are buying a property that is considered income producing. This is a common occurrence in the areas served by Old Second.

Many of our borrowers purchase homes situated on farmable land with acreage rented out to farmers. Others may be looking to acquire a horse farm with the intent of renting out the stalls they won’t be using. More recently, some of our home-buying clients have applied for mortgages on properties that have cell towers on them.

In these cases, not only are higher reserves required, the mortgages themselves may have different requirements, including a need for higher down payments and nonconventional loan structures.

Understanding Before Making an Offer

Whether the property you want to buy is your first home, an investment property or offers the potential for a steady stream of income that will help offset your mortgage payment, talking through the nuances of underwriting requirements with a lender as experienced in nonconforming home loans as they are with conventional requests is beneficial. Higher reserves, different expectations regarding debt-to-income ratios and other considerations—including how much of a down payment you need to gain access to a better interest rate—ultimately affect the amount of liquid assets you will need to have on hand and the interest rate you may be charged.

To discuss your best options for borrowing to fund your real estate purchases, call me at 630-365-5190. Let’s sit down and talk about the best loan structure for your situation.

Five Reasons You Should Look Into the HARP® Refinancing Program Today

Terri Hanson, Vice President—Residential Lending

Terri HansonThe Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) may be easy to brush off, given all the flashing Internet ads that use it as clickbait. But, HARP is a real government program. Better yet, it can result in lower monthly payments—and/or a shorter maturity—for those who qualify.

Don’t Assume This Doesn’t Apply to You
If your current conventional mortgage closed prior to May 29, 2009, and is held by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, it pays to see if you qualify for this program. If you checked several years ago, it’s time to check again. The restrictions on HARP loans have changed since the program was first introduced.

To find out the closing date of your loan and to verify which agency holds it, you can use the Loan Lookup tool. Or, you can just call us. We’re happy to look it up for you, whether you originated your current mortgage with us or not.

In addition to the loan date and holder criteria, you qualify for HARP if the following statements are also true:

  • Your home is your primary residence, a second home or an investment property.
  • Your home value has declined, and your loan-to-market value is greater than 80 percent.
  • You’ve had no late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the six months prior to that.

Qualification is the first step, and determining if it makes dollar sense is the next. That’s also something we can help you with. We’ll do the calculation to make sure that after factoring in closing costs, HARP offers a sufficient benefit. We’ll also check to see if there are other programs available that might be better for your situation.

Five Reasons to Refinance Under HARP Now
If you are weighing the hassle of refinancing with just staying with the mortgage you have, here are five reasons why you should take action, now.

  1. Interest rates have fallen since May 29, 2009, which may mean you can refinance at a lower rate and reduce your monthly payments. Remember, even if your mortgage is at a 4 percent level now, with rates currently in the 3 percent area, that could significantly reduce your interest costs over the life of your loan.
  2. Refinancings don’t have to be apples to apples. If you are currently in an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) and want to refinance into a 30-year mortgage under this program, you have that option. You can even switch from a 30-year term to a 15-year term. Changing the term may also lower your payment or help you pay the mortgage off sooner.
  3. The program is very forgiving of changed circumstances. If your income is lower than it was when you borrowed, your credit score has fallen, you no longer have any equity in your home, or even if you’ve declared bankruptcy, you may still be able to reduce your monthly payments under this program.
  4. PMI won’t be triggered by a HARP refinancing, even if your current loan-to-value ratio is below 20 percent. If you don’t have to pay PMI currently, you won’t have to under a new HARP mortgage.
  5. The window of opportunity is closing. HARP ends December 31, 2016, and this time it is not going to be extended.

For more information about HARP online or on any of the other types of home loans we offer, click here. To have us determine your qualification and to discuss which financing structure is right for your situation, contact us at 630-466-4843 or email thanson@oldsecond.com. We can’t wait to talk to you about what we can do for you today.

What May Surprise You About Treasury Management at Old Second Bank

Juwana Zanayed, First Vice President/Director—Treasury Management

Juwana ZanayedIn today’s world, access to treasury management tools is beneficial to companies of all sizes. But, how you gain access to those tools, their level of sophistication and the support you receive once you sign up for them can vary greatly. At Old Second, we offer all the same big bank products, on a local level and with personal hands-on service.

At their most basic, treasury management products and services help your business in at least one of three ways:

  1. Increase cash flow through remote deposit or lockbox services
  2. Tailor treasury management services to reduce accounts receivables
  3. Streamline operations through improved efficiencies

As technological innovations have enabled more banks to offer these products to companies of all sizes, there has been a tendency for some of the larger banks to package these services into off-the-shelf solutions. There are some efficiencies to be gained from doing this—at least from a bank’s perspective. But, taking a one-size-fits-all approach to bringing treasury management products to mid- to small-sized companies isn’t always a more efficient option for each client.

For this reason, we customize the suite of services we offer to your firm’s needs and then scale those services to the size of your company, not the other way around. Taking a right-sized approach enables us to not only give more clients access to the latest innovations in treasury management as soon as they are available, it also ensures you only pay for the services that are right for you.

One-Stop Shop Thanks to a Team Approach

Each relationship manager has an in-depth understanding of and can suggest best practices in treasury management. This allows us to look at the customer relationship as a whole, drawing in experts from across different service areas of the bank as needed.

As a result of this approach, each client is assigned a dedicated team of experts—including a lender, treasury advisor and a wealth manager. Regardless of whom you reach out to on the team, each knows the history of your relationship and will take a hands-on approach to answering your questions and resolving any issues that may arise.

What You Need Today

In addition to treasury management and credit tools, including our BusinessManager® [DIRECT LINK to previous blog] product, we find what businesses are most in need of today is confidence that when they are transacting business online it’s secure.

Our commercial online banking platform allows you to manage your accounts twenty-four hours a day with secure access from any computer with Internet access.

For this reason, we provide our clients with access to multi-layered protection in a variety of ways. We use Trusteer Rapport, a security software, to protect online banking communication from being stolen by detecting malicious browser tampering. It can also remove existing financial malware from employee machines and prevent future infections.

Security Manager, is another software feature. It offers password authentication by generating single-use, text passcodes. Old Second also uses multi-layered security and encryption to keep bank and account information secure.

In addition, we offer two fraud prevention tools:

  • Positive Pay protects against fraud by validating each item on each check to ensure only authorized checks are cleared through your accounts.
  • ACH Fraud Protection blocks and filters information to protect against electronic fraud.

For more information our treasury management services click here. To determine which are appropriate for your firm—contact a commercial representative at 877-866-0202. We can’t wait to talk to you about what we can do for you today.


How to Navigate the Wealth Management Milestones in Your Life

Jacqueline Runnberg, CFP®

Jacqueline Runnberg, CFP®Everyone travels a different path through their financial life. But like any well-traveled road, there are milestones along the way. Here are the common life events you are likely to pass through—along with a few roadblocks and detours—and a checklist of what you should be considering as you reach each one.

First Job

  • Understand employee benefits and employer-sponsored (especially tax-advantaged) savings opportunities for health care expenses, retirement and student loan repayment
  • Create a will and set up powers of attorney

Career Changes

  • Review the impact a change will have on your insurance coverage
  • Rollover your retirement account to keep savings on track and tax deferred

How to Navigate the Wealth Management Milestones in Your LifeRelationship Commitments

  • Talk about money with your life partner—different attitudes can be reconciled but not if they are unknown to one another
  • Know each other’s debt load and credit scores
  • Determine how your assets and income will be pooled together, saved and spent
  • Decide the best way to obtain health insurance coverage
  • Review your named beneficiaries on your employee benefits and in your will and power-of-attorney documents

Home Ownership

  • Buy what you need, not the maximum you can afford—it’s likely going to be your biggest asset

Side Trips
These events can require that you immediately revisit your portfolio allocation, named beneficiaries, and state and local laws affecting personal property, liability and estate settlement:
➢ Moving to a new state
➢ Starting a business
➢ Receiving an inheritance


  • Review your budget for different spending needs
  • Initiate saving for future expenses
  • Revisit your will or trust documents and be sure to name a guardian
  • Start saving for college

To avoid unintended consequences, update documents that name beneficiaries and those for insurance coverage with these events:
➢ Divorce
➢ Unemployment

Retirement Planning

  • Determine what retirement means to you
  • Periodically reassess and gauge your progress
  • Plan for healthcare expenses
  • Understand your options and benefits under Social Security

Estate Planning

  • Consider that having more assets require more tax planning to ensure efficiency
  • Take into account beneficiary considerations
  • Preserve wealth as it grows and the process becomes more complex
  • Plan for your legacy

Be prepared to reroute for:
➢ Illness or disability
➢ Changes in laws


  • Test income plan before fully retiring
  • Determine the best withdrawal strategy for your circumstances

We’ve helped many generations of financial travelers plan for their journey and for any side trips, detours or roadblocks they might encounter along the way. Give us a call to meet with a wealth management representative today. We’ll help you determine the best route for realizing your financial goals.

Non-deposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC; not a deposit of, or guaranteed by, the bank; may lose value.