7 Retirement Savings Tips for Women

Mary Randel—Retirement Benefits Officer, Wealth Management 

As a women, saving for retirement is a challenge. On average, a woman’s life expectancy is longer than a man’s, which requires her to accumulate a higher lifetime savings balance. But, what makes saving enough even more difficult, is that many women experience career interruptions to care for children and, later, elderly parents, which reduces their lifetime earnings. Complicating matters even further is a lingering perception that retirement savings supplement Social Security benefits, rather than the other way around.

Whatever the reasons, today, more than ever, saving for retirement is truly hard work.

What Women Can Do to Meet the Challenge

Many employers, regardless of their size, offer 401k plans to help their employees save for retirement. Even if you are just starting out—or have started your own company—participating in one of these tax-deferred plans is your first line of defense for achieving the type of retirement you deserve.

Other actions women can take to feel more confident they are doing enough for their “future self” include:

  • Make no excuses! When your employer offers to match the amount you’re saving, save at least the amount needed to earn the maximum amount being matched. An offer of matched savings is better than a free lunch, unlimited personal time or a snack drawer—it’s literally free money for you to spend in retirement.
  • Regardless of your current position, save. Don’t wait until you’re earning more or have fewer financial obligations. In the long run, how much you save isn’t as important as how early you start and how consistent you are.
  • Have something in reserve. The emergency cash reserve everyone is supposed to build in their 20s becomes even more important in retirement. Be sure to save not just for day-to-day expenses but also for the unexpected things, like replacing cars and furnaces or paying for homecare providers and rehabilitative services.
  • Redefine “old.” Approach retirement planning with the mindset that you will work at least until your age of full employment under Social Security. That’s not 62. For today’s workers, it’s actually between ages 66 and 67. Taking benefits at age 62 when they first become available will severely reduce your monthly benefit for the rest of your life.
  • Invest in yourself. The healthier you are, the more options you’re likely to have regarding your retirement. Preventable health issues can lead to retiring earlier than planned, reduce your quality of life in retirement and significantly erode savings. There is also another reason to invest in yourself: Many retirees find leisure isn’t as compelling as it once seemed. Maintaining your marketable skills, along with your health, makes doing work you find meaningful, as long as you choose to, an option.
  • Plan for both of you…and each of you. Many widowed spouses are surprised when they no longer have a second Social Security check coming in each month after the death of their spouse. Retirement planning should include savings arrangements that cover the needs of the couple but also incorporate the ongoing needs of the remaining spouse.
  • Invest to achieve your goals, not to appease your fears. Being overly cautious when investing can be detrimental to successfully saving for retirement. This is why many people opt to hire a professional. Whether this means having a wealth manager step in or investing in a diversified handful of mutual funds, outsourcing the decision-making can help get you closer to your goals.

Whether you want to supplement your employer’s retirement plan by saving on your own or are an employer who wants to make it easier for your staff to plan for their retirements as well, we can help. Contact me at 630-906-5500 or at mrandel@oldsecond.com. You can also learn more about our options here. However you choose to contact us, we look forward to talking to you about how we can help you plan for the future you deserve.

Treasury Management Options Customized to Each Company’s Needs

Sherry Pass, Vice President—Treasury Management Advisor 

In recent years, businesses have implemented several new high-tech methods of receiving customer payments. Even businesses who still utilize paper checks are clearing funds faster and putting them to work. Old Second Bank has already helped many of these businesses adapt to the needs in their local markets and industries.

Technology and Familiarity

For any type of business, Old Second retains our “second-to-none” approach. We strive to provide the latest receivables technology without sacrificing the unique familiarity we have with our customers. Our approach includes the delivery of transaction solutions in addition to firsthand knowledge of our customers’ markets. We do business in many of the same regions as our customers, which puts Old Second at an advantage over out-of-state providers.

Spanning three centuries, Old Second has worked with numerous industries in the very markets where your business does business. We know what tools have been effective for different industries or different-sized businesses. We know because we’ve worked with businesses facing many similar challenges as yours. We know because our own business faces many of the same market forces your business does.

Fitted Solutions

Included in Old Second’s familiarity with your markets of operation is knowledge that each business has unique needs as well. That’s why we equip our bankers with an array of solutions that can be fitted to your business.

Our bankers are experienced in examining each business with a focus on your bottom line and your customers’ satisfaction. Would it be best for your business to centralize receivables volume? Our Remote Deposit Capture product can help. Is your sales team on the go and in need of a portable merchant processing solution? Our point-of-sale technology may be the ideal solution. Do your customers prefer to make payments online? Our Customer Payment Portal can make this happen. How is your business protecting against fraud? Our Positive Pay fraud prevention solution could be what you’re looking for. Our bankers ask these kinds of questions with your bottom line in mind.

One of the ways we become “second to none” is when your business becomes “second to none.” That’s why our bankers are also empowered to take direction from your decision-makers. Together, we can reach very special results.

Get Started

Contact me at 815-361-6442 to discuss which solutions might be most effective for your business. You can even visit our website to gather information, watch Treasury Management demos and more.

Why Borrowing From Yourself Can Be a Smart Move

Terri Hanson, Vice President—Residential Lending  

With the recent appreciation in home values in our area, it’s likely your home equity has risen to a point where you’re living inside a literal nest egg. Accessing that equity to finance some of the other expenses in your life could be a smart financial move, given the current level of interest rates.

Be at Home With Your Loan: Borrowing Options

One option homeowners have for accessing the savings they’ve accumulated in their home is to refinance with a cash-out mortgage. This involves replacing your current mortgage with one that has a higher outstanding balance. It’s typically more beneficial when interest rates are below the rate of your existing mortgage.

When interest rates are rising, as they are expected to do, using a home equity loan is often more cost-effective than refinancing. Home equity loans are secured by residential real estate, which is typically your largest asset and tends to appreciate over time. So, they often have more attractive terms than unsecured personal loans or those secured by another asset, such as a car.

Home equity loans come in two “flavors”: fixed-rate home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Here’s what you need to know about each type.

Fixed-rate home equity loans are like having second mortgages. When you borrow, you receive a lump sum and begin repaying the loan immediately, with fixed monthly payments of principal and interest. The loans have a set maturity and are closed after you repay them.

As mentioned above, when rates are rising, home equity loans are helpful in minimizing borrowing costs. For instance, customers who don’t qualify for the best terms at auto dealerships or who buy used cars on a person-to-person basis may find using a home equity loan to buy a car could lower their cost of borrowing.

HELOCs are also secured by your home equity, but they offer greater flexibility. This is why many homeowners prefer them to fixed-rate home equity loans. They work like credit cards in that you only receive a bill when you have an outstanding balance. You can also borrow, repay and borrow again. When you borrow against a HELOC, only the interest on your current balance is due each month for a number of years before principal payments are expected. This enables you to decide how much you want to repay on the principal amount and when to do it.

Prior to retiring, many older homeowners will open a HELOC so they have access to emergency funds for unexpected repairs and medical expenses. There are no restrictions for how the money may be used. However, the interest rate charged on outstanding balances will fluctuate. At Old Second, HELOCs adjust with the U.S. Prime Rate (plus a margin). As interest rates go up or down, so will the interest due each month.

Is It the Right Thing to Do?

Building home equity creates options as you move through your financial life. In addition to the wealth you have in individual savings and investment and retirement accounts, it makes sense to manage the money you accumulate in your home as well. Whether it helps you afford college expenses, pay for a wedding, prepare your current home for sale or is a source of funds for your new home’s down payment, borrowing against your home equity can be a smart financial move. However, before taking out any loan, make sure you know your options and the terms and costs associated with each one. You can check our current rates and incentives here.

The Next Move Is Yours

To access a collection of home equity calculators that will help you understand how borrowing against your home would affect your budget, click here or contact us about your home equity loan options at 630-466-4843 (thanson@oldsecond.com). We can’t wait to talk to you about what we can do for you today.

If you are ready to start an online application, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: TransUnion HELOC Study

Are You Ready for Prime Time?

Denise Rogers, Assistant Vice President—Senior Director

Being a community bank, we’re able to offer services that are just more personal. Offering our customers membership into our Prime Time Club is one of them. The membership not only provides access to a variety of free or discounted services, it can be your ticket to some truly memorable experiences.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

We try to keep a balance in our group travel experiences. In addition to the trips that involve relying on coach services and flying, we accommodate members who are only interested in day trips and those who want to drive places on their own.

The Prime Time Club brings you together with others in the community who share similar financial, social and travel interests. We’re able to buy tickets and arrange transportation at group discount rates to and from a variety of local venues: Broadway show performances at the Paramount Theatre here in Aurora to baseball games in Chicago, Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo.

Among our more popular events are the FREE Rules of Road refresher courses, which help members prepare for their written driver’s test, and our two-day, AARP Smart Driver program. This longer course leads to a certificate you can present to your insurance company in exchange for a discount on your premiums.

Where many of our members see the greatest value, however, is in the longer trips we plan. For instance, in 2019, we will be heading East for a weeklong “Chesapeake Bay Getaway” (April 24–May 1, 2019). The Prime Time Club will also be traveling to Iceland next summer (July 27–August 2, 2019) and in the fall experience a “Pacific Coastal Cruise” (October 12–21, 2019). As with the day trips, we make all the arrangements, including booking the transportation, accommodations and day tours. For members, it’s a worry-free way of seeing the best of what the world has to offer.

Fellow Travelers

For me, one rewarding aspect of being the director of the program goes beyond interacting with the travelers; also watching everyone enjoying themselves is fulfilling. It’s seeing those who’ve joined us for the first time without knowing anyone return home having made new acquaintances and connections within the community. Traveling beyond their daily routines literally makes the world a little smaller.

Whether you would benefit from the discounted banking services, are transitioning toward a life of increased leisure time or find yourself at a time in your life where you would like to meet new people, consider joining the Prime Time Club. The Club has been offered to customers for 36+ years. Currently, we are 6,200 members strong, and there is always room for one more.

Membership Details

  • Membership is open to any Old Second customer who:
    • Is 55 years or better.
    • Has a checking or Money Manager account
    • Has combined balances of $10,000 in Old Second Bank or trust accounts.
  • Prime Time checking with interest.
  • Debit card with rewards.
  • Free services include:
    • Money orders and cashier’s checks.
    • Signature guarantees and notary services.
    • A financial counseling session.
    • ATM withdrawals at all O2 ATMs and MoneyPass® ATMs (up to three free withdrawals at non-O2 and non-MoneyPass® ATMs).
    • No fee on gift cards.
    • Newsletter regarding upcoming events.
    • Annual member luncheon.
  • Discounts include:
    • Safe deposit box rental.
    • Extended tours and one-day trips.

To learn more about how Prime Time Club membership would benefit you, visit our website or give me a call at 630-365-5193. For an idea of what we’ve been up to and to review upcoming performances, seminars and road trips, check out our calendar.

Why Volunteering Matters to Us

Old Second’s Carrie Niesman receiving the Oswego Chamber of Commerce 2017 Volunteer of the Year award from Cory Holstead- Chairman of Board – Oswego Chamber

Carrie Niesman, Vice President—Regional Manager

Recently, I had the honor of being recognized by both the Oswego Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois State Senate as a 2017 Volunteer of the Year. It’s the third time I’ve received this distinction, which just further motivates me to keep contributing toward the enhancement our communities.

How We Pay It Forward

Being an agent for positive change is important to me. I grew up here, I live and work here, and I’m raising my family here. Volunteering is my way of ensuring that everything my family and I have received from and enjoy about our area remains available to help future generations flourish. I believe in paying it all forward.

As important as community involvement is to me, I appreciate that it is also a priority to my employer. Being involved in the communities we serve is part of what makes us Old Second bankers—and an aspect of the job I thoroughly embrace.

Old Second has deep roots in this area. It has been instrumental in the development of the neighborhoods and businesses that make up our communities. The bank sponsors a number of events, supports fundraising for organizations and accommodates employees like me so we can donate our time and energy to causes and activities that benefit customers and community members. This commitment lies at the heart of our company’s core values.

It’s the bank’s support that enables me to hold a variety of board positions in the areas served by the branch offices I manage. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Oswego, for instance, I’m able to meet regularly with many area business owners. These relationships help me understand the current challenges and opportunities local businesses face, which enables me to customize solutions to meet their needs and be a better banker.

Passion Gets Things Done

I am as passionate about being a representative of a community bank as I am about fulfilling the missions of the organizations on whose boards I serve to make positive impacts on our communities.

To learn more about what Old Second can do for you, and how we are involved in your community, contact me at 630-385-6697. I can’t wait to discuss what we can do together.

Carrie Niesman is currently:

  • 2017–2016 Past President/Club Advisor of the Oswego Junior Women’s Club  
  • Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Oswego Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-chair for the Ambassador Committee for the Oswego Chamber of Commerce
  • Ambassador for the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Committee Member for the W2W (Women in Business) group of the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Secretary on the Board of Directors for Oswego Panther Youth Basketball Association
  • Member of the Oswego Police Commission

 

4 Things You Need to Know About Cryptocurrencies and Block Chain

Brad Johnson, CFA, CFP®, Vice President/Senior Investment Officer

Thanks to the surge in the stock prices of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin—and the technology companies that allow for its use—conversations around this topic often get emotional. Some are gripped by the fear of missing out on an opportunity to “get in on the ground floor,” while others quickly dismiss the volatile stock prices as evidence of a growing bubble, much like the dotcom era of the early 2000s.

The reality, however, can be found somewhere in between, and the conversation is far from over. To help inform the discussion, here’s what you need to know about cryptocurrencies and the technology—block chain—that makes them possible.

#1: The Technology Is Legit.

Block chain, is both legitimate and of real significance. It has the potential to change how business is transacted and information exchanged, resulting in an instantaneous and verified transfer.

It also creates a decentralized payment system that cuts out the middleman, the Federal Reserve system, in particular. This is the inverse of the current financial system in which the central bank makes decisions regarding monetary policy. This efficiency will have many applications, including reducing opportunities for fraud and lowering cash management costs. However, the technology and its use are years away from being able to support widespread adoption of block chain transmissions. That said, it’s well worth keeping an eye on the companies that are at the forefront of making block chain an eventual reality in day-to-day payment systems.

#2: Bitcoin Is Not the Only Cryptocurrency in Town.

There are thousands of cryptocurrencies, but Bitcoin is the most well known in its rapidly expanding universe. Cryptocurrencies are not on equal footing with currencies like the dollar, however. They are issued in fixed amounts—like trading cards. Their value rises and falls with demand for their limited supply. That undermines their use as a store of value. Currently, there are no regulatory bodies in charge of cryptocurrencies and no exchanges on which they trade. This creates a “wild west” of sorts—similar to the U.S. banking system prior to the 1900s, when individual banks, as well as the U.S. Treasury, issued currency. It will be a while before standards are in place enabling cryptocurrencies to function on equal footing with country currencies and “winners” emerge among the thousands of options.

Also important to note is that because of the outsized attention that speculation in the coins has caused, the public has a misperception about the influence this payment option has on the economy and world markets as a whole. It is still in its infancy and much too small to move global markets at this point.

#3: Cryptocurrencies and Block Chain Are Not Able to Replace the Current Financial System.

While the technology is exciting and has a role to play in the future, we think it’s more likely that cryptocurrencies and block chain will be a payment tool that resides within the current monetary system. Consider that because the coins are finite, the payment and its receipt are immediate—and it occurs on a one-to-one basis—there is no opportunity for lending.

The current global financial system operates with an infinite amount of currency. Central banks, like the U.S. Federal Reserve, have mechanisms for expanding and contracting the money supply to support the economy through borrowing and lending activities. Loans—whether between banks, countries, or banks and their individual and corporate borrowers—are a key part of the system. Without lending, there are no mortgages or car loans—credit that creates the liquidity necessary to increasing economic wealth. That, in turn, would not be good for economic growth.

#4: Participation in Cryptocurrencies Is Limited.

Regulated wealth management firms like ours are prohibited from acquiring and holding cryptocurrency positions for clients. There just is no mechanism for us to do to so as a fiduciary. Also, the cryptocurrency world is currently plagued by fraud and confusion since anyone can issue coins. Pyramid schemes have also been increasing. What we can do for our clients is monitor and suggest investment—where prudent—in the companies involved in developing block chain technology and the applications that will eventually emerge.

It’s Too Soon

There is little doubt that, at some future point, cryptocurrencies and block chain will become part of the mainstream financial world. However, adoption of block chain and cryptocurrencies is not imminent. The technology and its use are years away from being able to support widespread use. How the system will work, who will use it, which currency or currencies will be adopted, and the opportunities they will give rise to, however, are something we continue to monitor closely.

To stay current on the latest developments impacting the investment world, consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter. Our Wealth Management representatives are also eager to answer your questions about opportunities to grow your invested assets. To reach us, call 630-906-2000 or visit us online.

Attracting and Retaining Skilled Employees

Sean O’Connor, First Vice President/Retirement Benefits 

With the current robust economy comes a tight job market. While that may be great for revenues, it also brings the added pressure of attracting and retaining skilled staff members. Whether you are trying to entice good workers to leave the jobs they have to join your firm or want current employees to stay, it takes a more than salary and a pleasant workplace. Having a good employee benefit plan helps make your case.

The Thing About Millennials

Millennials, the generation that is currently flooding workplaces as the pace of Baby Boomer retirements starts to percolate, may have a reputation for being swayed by the promise of an office foosball table and Taco Tuesdays, but that is not all they want. A key characteristic for this demographic is that they are savers, and many have already begun saving for retirement. As self-guided learners, they are already looking for more sophisticated strategies and advice on retiring. They want to be prepared to “win” retirement—and a potentially early retirement at that.

As an employer, this makes your plan, and its attractiveness in meeting your staff members’ long-term goals, even more critical to your company’s continued growth and expansion.

Closing the Gaps

As a wealth management firm, we have been creating and administering employee retirement plans for decades. That includes establishing, monitoring and administering defined contribution plans, or 401ks and 403Bs, for our business and municipal clients.

With a highly “seasoned” staff—some of us started our careers with larger global consulting firms and research groups—we have an unexpectedly deep bench when it comes to our in-house capability for structuring customized new employer plans for clients. We can also provide consultative services that lead to recommendations for strengthening the retirement plan you already have in place to make it more appealing to participants of all ages.

Easy Access to Answers

Recently, we’ve been making the biggest difference for our plan sponsor clients by bringing their plans up to the technological standards workers expect, especially those that are younger and tech savvy. Millennials, in particular, are information miners. They expect to find the answers they need to questions as they occur to them, online and through a mobile device. Then, they want to be able to contact a person for a one-on-one conversation. We accommodate that.

Through a variety of vendor relationships, we strive to create a seamless and intuitive experience for your plan participants. This enables them to trade online and access research on their own. It also provides the tools and apps that help them focus on achieving their financial wellness goals. Given our own community banking heritage, we are also available to take calls and meet on-site to address their questions and provide the educational assistance that enables participants to get the most out of their employer plan.

Investment Guidance

As a division within a commercial bank’s trust department, we also offer two more advantages. Fiduciary duty is part of our DNA. We are required by law to operate with fiduciary responsibility at every level of our business. This isn’t something new for us; it has always been part of our service.

Secondly, being a wealth management provider, we are also able to leverage the market research and investment knowledge of in-house experts to the advantage of your plan. That expertise can help in structuring the plan and choosing the most cost-effective investment options for you to offer. Beyond fund selection, the fact that we monitor markets and investments daily can lead to a quicker reaction to shifts in market and economic fundamentals. Many of our plan sponsor clients find that added responsiveness and proactive involvement relieves them of the extra responsibility and pressure to conduct their own monitoring and investment reviews.

We Simplify Plan Sponsors’ Lives

We also help keep compliance testing in line with ERISA compliance and monitor costs related to the investments and to the plan’s operation. After all, controlling costs creates more of a growth opportunity for participants. Although, we also recognize it isn’t always about the price. It’s about being able to deliver participants to their goals and providing plan sponsors with the services and support they need—from access to the best investment platforms to on-site education and consultations.

Whether you want to ensure your current plan remains competitive in today’s battle for workers or you think it’s time to add a plan, visit us here or, better yet, give us a call at 630-844-8655. We can help you stay competitive and keep your employees on track to achieve the retirement goals.

A Wealth of Experience

Jacqueline A. Runnberg, CFP®, First Vice President/Wealth Advisor 

When it takes a lifetime to build a legacy, it’s only natural to want it to last for generations, along with the advisor you entrust with it. What many people don’t realize about Old Second Bank is that we are that advisor. Not only are we the largest provider of personal fiduciary, investment management, wealth management, and trust and custody services in the western suburbs, we were also the first. We are literally second to none, having been in the trust business since 1919. In fact, we currently have $1.16 billion in assets under management for our clients (as of 12/31/2017).

Expertise You Can Trust Close to Home

For nearly a century, Old Second has consistently delivered wealth management solutions to the families that formed the communities we all now call home. While we’ve consistently provided a full range of highly personalized solutions, many of our competitors in this area have exited the business over the decades. Many others consolidated into larger banks and, in the process, shifted their services to central locations outside our area. Meanwhile, at Old Second we have continued to pursue our strategy of providing personalized, well-informed and comprehensive wealth management services close to home.

Our wealth managers and investment professionals average more than 20 years of trust and investment experience. We have the depth and breadth of knowledge to provide all the wealth management solutions and services you need while maintaining the balance of personalized services you expect from a bank in your community.

A Common Sense Approach

When it comes to wealth management, it’s a matter of trust, and you can trust us to take a common sense approach that rests on a comprehensive process for delivering services. These services include:

  • Using a financial planning-based approach, we Identify your specific life goals and financial objectives and assessing your current circumstances.
  • Communicating with you every step of the way and listening to what you have to say rather than talking at you.
  • Involving you, your family members, your beneficiaries and your other financial professionals when appropriate and according to your wishes.
  • Investing the time to build a lasting relationship with you and each generation of your family.

Sound Advice

With a seasoned staff of professional wealth managers, we provide advice regardless of where you are in your financial life—from young families just starting to build wealth to those who are planning for their wealth’s transition. Our distinct and comprehensive approach brings a team of credentialed specialists together to provide advanced financial planning, investment and money management, tax planning, estate planning and administration, charitable giving and wealth transfer. Over the decades, individuals and families like yours have placed their trust in our consistently sound advice as they’ve built and shaped their legacies.

Whether you’re in the early stages of building wealth or looking to preserve the wealth you have, visit us here  or, better yet, give us a call at 630-966-2462 so we can start proving to you that we truly are second to none.

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.