Getting the Most from Holiday Shopping

Jodi McKinley, Branch Manager—Oswego 

Spending during the holidays can be both freeing and terrifying at the same time. It’s nice being preoccupied with thoughts of what others might enjoy and need, but it tends to feel like money is leaking from your wallet. To help you maintain a sense of control, here are seven tips to keep your spending and holiday enjoyment on track.

  1. Have a total figure in mind. When you know how many gifts you need to get and how much you want to spend on each one, it’s easier to afford your own generosity.
  2. Work those discounts and promos. Study the Black Friday promo flyers, which many stores release weeks in advance, and check for promo codes and in-store coupons either before shopping or while you wait in the register line. Researching purchases before you leave home can pay in another way in that many stores will price match.
  3. Remember to redeem. The holidays are also a good time to see if any of your loyalty programs allow you to turn points into gift cards. You can redeem the cards at stores you’ll be shopping at or give them as gifts.
  4. Stay safe. You may want to rely more heavily on your credit card during the shopping season and carry less cash than usual. With a credit card, if something were to go wrong, such as your wallet being stolen, your liability would be zero, provided you report the occurrence to the issuer promptly. With cash, there is no recourse.
  5. Freeze right there! Old Second debit cardholders can also download the SecurLOCK™ Equip app. At the first sign of trouble, you can lock your debit card down while you determine if it is misplaced, stolen or comprised. If you find it later, you have the option of unlocking it again.
  6. Add up the “damage.” When the bills come in, take a moment to add up what you spent and use this total to help budget for the 2018 holiday season. Options like the Old Second Club Savings Account can help. This is a limited-duration account that pays out your accumulated balance once a year in time for holiday spending. It is available through our branches and enables you to use automatic transfers to put aside money for use next year.
  7. Be careful about your credit limits. Spending up to your limit on a credit card may make sense to you, but it can lower your credit score. It’s best not to use more than 35%–50% of your available credit in any one month, especially prior to an anticipated big purchase like a car or a home that will involve a loan request.

Whether today finds you in a spending or saving mode, we have the strategies and services that can help you do both well! Give us a call at 1-877-866-0202 or visit any Old Second Bank branch to talk about what we can do to help you achieve your spending and savings goals.

 Holiday Shopping Stats

Consumers expect to spend as much or more in 2017 as they did in 2016, when they spent an average of $1,189 each.Source: PwC 2017 Holiday Outlook Report, page 6, Viewed 10/09/2017 https://www.pwc.com/us/en/consumer-markets/2017-holiday-outlook.html

Is a Home Equity Line of Credit Right for You?

Jackie Link, Branch Manager—Sugar Grove (NMLS# 996284)

Unless you’ve bought or sold your home recently or know someone in your area who has, you may be pleasantly surprised by its current market value. In fact, selling prices have been on a multiyear rise.

While the added appreciation in home equity is nice, it also means you may have additional borrowing power. That’s something you may want to gain access to through a home equity line of credit. (HELOC).

How a HELOC Works

A HELOC is a tool that allows homeowners to borrow a percentage (typically 70%- 90%) of the difference between the amount they have outstanding on their mortgage—if they have one—and the current market value of their home. As a revolving line of credit, it bears resemblance to a credit card but with a much higher borrowing limit.

Unlike most credit cards, the interest rate you are charged on a HELOC is lower since the line is secured by a home. For most homeowners, the interest is typically tax deductible, making it even more cost effective. However, you will want to verify with your own tax professional to make sure you qualify to take this deduction.

The rate on a HELOC will vary with the general level of interest rates. At Old Second, we use the U.S. Prime Rate as our benchmark and then add a fixed-margin rate to that, based on your financial information. We make the process easy and walk you through every step.

Although HELOCs are offered on a variable-rate basis, our clients can always switch to a fixed-rate option if they are concerned interest rates will rise. Instead of having the flexibility of paying only interest each month, payments under the fixed-rate option will include a specific amount of principal as well.

While different lenders offer different structures, Old Second’s HELOC provides 10 years of access. You can borrow and repay as often as you want during that time. If the line isn’t renewed after 10 years, it converts into a loan with a 20-year repayment plan, behaving like a second mortgage.

Qualifying for a HELOC is like qualifying for a mortgage, though a little less intense. There are no upfront fees and we charge a $50 annual fee (with the first year waived) as long as it remains open along with a pre-payment fee when applicable.

When to HELOC

As a personal cash management tool, you can access your line pretty much whenever you want by writing a check or calling to arrange a transfer. We see our clients using them to:

  • Spend before receiving, such as taking a vacation before receiving a year-end bonus.
  • Fund remodeling and home repair expenses.
  • Repay higher interest loans or credit card balances.
  • Cover large or unexpected expenses, from weddings and college tuition to replacing a car or paying medical bills.
  • Make a down payment on a vacation property.

Because HELOCs are both flexible and reusable, many homeowners take them out before they have an actual need. That way, they have a ready source of funding whenever the need arises.

To talk about how you might benefit from adding a HELOC to your financial toolkit, give us a call at 1-877-866-0202 or visit any Old Second Bank branch. Let’s talk about what we can do to help you achieve your goals.

Mortgage Tips for the Self-Employed

David Kozuh, First Vice President—Residential Lending David Kozuh, Vice President—Residential Lending   Things have changed. But, not in the way many potential borrowers think. Many still think it’s harder to get a mortgage than it used to be. Not necessarily. Despite the Financial Crisis of 2007–2008, banks have been helping homebuyers and owners take advantage of the low interest-rate environment all along. Even Millennials, despite their student debt loads, have been getting approved for mortgages. It’s also still possible to get a mortgage with a down payment of less than 20%. And, first-time homebuyer programs that provide money for down payments may even make it a little easier to afford a new home than in 2008. What Has Changed Since the crisis, the process of applying for a loan has improved. Many lenders, Old Second included, have made initiating a loan request even easier, leveraging online and mobile technology for applications, document gathering and communication. But, the biggest change involves the way an application is now processed. It takes longer…much longer. What could be done inside of 30 days in 2008, may now take longer. No home loan lender is immune—we are all subject to the same regulations. And, it’s about to get a little worse. It’s Not You, It’s the New Federal Regulations Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or an experienced homeowner, in the aftermath of the financial crisis there has been a return to the kind of lending standards—operational checks and balances—that most of us have used to apply to loans for decades. Those standards require time to analyze and verify that each mortgage applicant is qualified for and entering into the right type of loan for their financial circumstances. As of Oct. 3, a new rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “Know Before You Owe,” will take effect. It is intended to offer additional protection by ensuring you understand the terms and consequences of your loan agreement at closing. This new rule will add a few more days to the closing process for all mortgage lenders no matter how automated their internal processes are. While a degree of patience has re-entered the mortgage process, we believe it ultimately ensures that you’ll gain full advantage of our expertise. Whether it’s a 30-year fixed mortgage, an adjustable rate, a line of credit for remodeling or a refinancing into a 15-year loan that will help you retire mortgage-free, our goal is—as it’s always been—to make sure you enter into the right financing structure.

Being self-employed and in control of your professional life is empowering. However, when it comes to borrowing money to purchase a personal residence, it can also put you at a disadvantage, if you are not properly prepared.

The Challenge

The main issues for self-employed mortgage applicants arise from proving income is sufficient and consistent enough to support a mortgage payment and supplying the “correct” version of income on the application.

When you are an employee, reporting your earned income is straightforward. You state your salary and bonuses and back up the amounts for verification purposes with W-2 forms and tax returns. The lender can easily call your employer as a final check.

When you work for yourself, you may have an accumulation of 1099s and invoices if you have a variety of clients or gigs. Some self-employed borrowers may own and run multiple businesses, which means the only way a lender can verify income is to pour through dense tax return schedules. It is a much messier and time-consuming process.

Even then, the income many self-employed individuals report on their tax returns may differ from their actual take-home pay. One of the advantages of being self-employed is taking more expenses as business deductions to minimize tax bills. This is great at tax time, but it can diminish your borrowing power.

When Income Isn’t Income

Some self-employed borrowers report gross receipts as income. However, this is business revenue. Income is found on line 38 of the federal tax return. It is a much lower number.

Working With You

While income qualification is essentially a standard requirement, it can help to work with a lender that has the flexibility to customize a mortgage to your circumstances. For instance, Old Second doesn’t package all of its mortgages for resale, the way many larger banks and online mortgage firms do. We hold a collection of mortgages for our own portfolio. This gives us the flexibility to customize more of our mortgages to our clients’ circumstances. We can take the time to understand your situation and even talk to your accountant to develop a more accurate assessment of your household’s cash flow.

What You Can Do

For some practical tips on how to improve your mortgage application’s appeal, click here for our infographic of suggestions. To learn more about how Old Second can help you qualify for a mortgage, give us a call at 1-877-866-0202 or start the application online at oldsecond.com.

Whether you are a serial entrepreneur or a member of the gig economy, knowing what to expect when applying for a mortgage and preparing accordingly can enable you to exercise more control over how lenders perceive and process your application.

Did Your Credit Score Get a Boost?

Roger Legner, Vice President—Residential Lending 

Recent changes in the information appearing on your credit report may give your score an added boost. It’s estimated that 12 million consumers can expect a 10- to 20-point gain once information on tax liens and civil judgements is removed by the three credit reporting bureaus. While modest, those gains could help mortgage borrowers with scores hovering near 610 or so earn a loan approval. For those with higher scores, it could mean access to a slightly better interest rate on their loan.

Why the Change Occurred

Credit scores are like a big cauldron filled with the factors of your financial life. They reflect your past use of credit as much as your lack of history and your timeliness in making payments. They are also an accounting of your current and previous debt levels. Until recently, any tax liens that you might have had, court judgements and unpaid medical expenses were also included in this financial stew.

Going forward, reports of those tax liens and court judgements will disappear from your record, and medical expenses will also be removed at a later date. Although you still owe the amounts, they will no longer be reported due to widespread inaccuracy in the outstanding balances and personal information. Often, information related to judgements and liens not only appeared with incomplete information, it was posted to the wrong records.

5 Tips for Improving and Maintaining Your Credit Score

Whether or not you are impacted by the changes, there are still many other ways to improve your credit score. Here are five of the best moves you can make.

Tip #1: Have credit outstanding. Even if you pay your credit card bills off each month, using your cards is a positive for scoring purposes.

Tip #2: Keep your utilization rate low. It’s actually better to have multiple credit cards with balances well below the maximum for each account than it is to use one card in a way that brings you close to its limit monthly. For instance, your utilization rate is better if you charge $300 to two cards, each having $1,000 ceilings than if you charge $600 to one card with a $1,000 limit.

Tip #3: Refrain from closing accounts. This is especially advisable when you intend to apply for a loan. Closing accounts increases your utilization rate over all your credit accounts. One of our clients recently closed all his accounts, deciding to go to an all-cash payment method. His score dropped from 812 to 708!

#4: Make timely payments. It isn’t about how much credit you have but how well you handle it. Lenders look at your score for reassurance that you will repay them and view late payments as a red flag that may signal financial issues.

#5: Check for accuracy. While the recent changes were made to improve the accuracy of credit records by removing the items most likely to contain errors, accuracy is not a given. This is especially important in light of recent cyberattacks that may have compromised personal credit information. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com at least once a year to review your records.*

There Isn’t Just One Score

While you can review and exert control over your credit record, different lenders use different scoring systems to interpret it. For instance, a residential mortgage report will look at and score your credit history differently than a retailer will. Similarly, different mortgage programs have different minimum scoring requirements.

To discuss your credit history and score, as well as how it might affect your chances for a loan approval, give us a call at 815.361.6469. One of our residential lenders would be happy to walk you through the different mortgage programs available to you and any additional steps you might want to take to help get you through the door of home ownership sooner.

*With the recent announcement of a cyberattack on consumer data housed at Equifax, you should visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to see if your information was compromised. If it was, you will have the option of enrolling in a year of credit-report monitoring.

T+2: What a Change in Settlement Dates Means to You

Brad Johnson, CFA CFP® Vice President—Investment Officer 

A seismic change hit the securities markets on Sept. 5, 2017, without causing so much as a ripple. That is the day financial companies, Old Second included, will figuratively flip a switch and begin settling stock, ETF, corporate and municipal bond, and some limited partnership transactions two business days after their trade dates. Previously, trades settled on a T+3 basis, or in three business days.

What This Means to You

With the change to T+2, when you sell exchange-traded securities you will receive your money one day sooner than in the past. As a buyer, you can expect to pay and take ownership of these securities one day earlier. Treasuries and most mutual funds are unaffected. They will continue to offer a faster settlement.

While shortening the settlement cycle seems like a big deal, it mainly will affect mindsets. It also may require a bit more planning, at least initially, to ensure cash is available to accommodate the earlier payment date.

For corporate cash managers, the shortened cycle may also mean adjustments in their liquidity strategies. However, increased efficiency should be the end-result.

Why the Change?

The change reflects the electronic nature of securities transactions. Today, there is no need to accommodate paper-based delivery of securities, which is where the processing delay originated. It’s also a move that will align the United States and Canada (which will be making the switch to T+2 at the same time) with settlement procedures already in practice on other global market exchanges.

Also, T+2 will help reduce some market, counterparty and credit risk, specifically for firms that clear transactions. With less time to settle, there is less time for things to go wrong. When they do the response and resolution should similarly occur that much faster.

Once the markets and investors have had an opportunity to adjust to T+2, a move toward T+1 is expected to follow, which would improve efficiencies further. In addition, some experts suspect that the switch could eventually lead to lower collateral requirements when securities are pledged against loans. However, we are not there just yet.

Should you have any questions about how the change to T+2 affects your trading or cash management strategies, call me at 1-630-906-5545.

Guardianships: Someone to Watch Over Them

Michele Morgan, Vice President/Trust Officer MorganM_BUS003xqc

The one thing you should know about guardianships—also known as conservatorships—is that they protect individuals who are unable to make sound decisions for themselves. As court-ordered arrangements, they result in the appointment of an individual or corporation to handle that person’s care and/or financial matters.

The arrangement lasts as long as necessary. In the case of a minor, that may be until they reach the age of 18. For an adult, it could be a lifelong appointment or just until they sufficiently recover from a health issue.

Circumstances That Lead to the Need

Guardianships are subject to state laws, and established by a court proceeding in the individual’s home county. Where children are involved, there is typically a large sum of money—either an unexpected inheritance or a personal injury settlement. Adult guardianships generally arise due to a temporary or permanent disability or an injury.

When the need arises, there are two different roles created in a guardianship: one involving the “Guardian of the Person” where the named individual or corporation is appointed to oversee the needs and care of the individual. The second role is the “Guardian of the Estate” to oversee the individual’s financial matters.

Guardians can be family members, unrelated individuals or, as mentioned above, corporations. Where large sums are involved, judges often prefer to see a bank serve as the guardian of the estate or, at the very least, as a co-guardian to ensure the assets will remain in place to support the individual throughout their life. Regardless of who is appointed the court requires an annual report to ensure the current arrangements continue to serve the needs and best interests of the individual.

Guardianships for children end at the age of 18 with a proceeding that determines the individual is now capable of making rational and prompt decisions about their own care and finances. For adults, a physician typically supplies a statement verifying they’ve regained the capacity to assume responsibility for their own care and finances.

Guardianships versus Powers of Attorney or Estate Plans

The need for a guardianship arises from the lack of other legal documents, such as powers of attorney or an estate plan. Sometimes, family members are overwhelmed by the medical side of caring for a loved one or have trouble agreeing on a course of action. In such cases, they may petition the court to appoint an impartial corporate guardian, especially to oversee financial matters. This saves family members from having to account to the court for how money is spent and from having to reimburse the estate if any charges are deemed inappropriate later.

Compassion Is Part of the Arrangement

While having the court involved in the care and financial matters of a loved one may seem invasive, judges involved with cases like these typically act as extended family members, especially where juveniles are involved. They take a genuine interest in ensuring each person gets what they need to be the best they can be. Compassion carries the day.

To learn more about guardianships and how Old Second can be of assistance in this area, please call me at 630-844-3222. I’m here to help get you the answers you need as you consider your family’s options.

Understanding the Benefits of a Special Needs Trust

Michele Morgan, Vice President/Trust OfficerMorganM_BUS003xqc

When you or a family member has a disability, protecting financial assets becomes a priority, especially when qualification for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is involved. Fortunately, two types of special needs trusts (SNT) can help accomplish this.

Both trusts offer significant financial protection and can be used to pay for quality-of-life expenses, like wages for personal attendants and travel costs as well as for home furnishings, cars and even the therapeutic treatments not covered by Medicaid. The trusts differ in the degree to which these supplemental expenses are covered. This makes it essential to choose the right one for the job.

  • First-Party-Funded SNTs are funded using the disabled person’s own financial assets.
  • Third-Party-Funded SNTs are created using someone else’s money, not the disabled person’s assets.

While both types of trusts are exempt for Medicaid-qualification purposes, different rules apply to the way distributions can be made. This means the situations for their best use also differ.

First-Party-Funded SNT Rules

This type of trust is used when the disabled person’s own assets are sufficient to pay for the expenses Medicaid doesn’t cover. The disabled person, or someone acting on their behalf, creates the trust. That person is a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or the court. Funds typically come from a personal injury settlement, or inheritance that did not take a disability into account.

These trusts are irrevocable—once established, no changes are permitted. They must also include language that declares Medicaid has a lien on the trust’s assets. Any balances due to Medicaid for services received during the disabled person’s lifetime will need to be repaid to Medicaid before any other distributions may be made per the wishes of the disabled person’s estate.

Because Medicaid has this claim against the trust, all distributions during the trust owner’s lifetime are subject to review by Medicaid. The rules regarding those distributions are restrictive. For instance, a disabled person who wants to give a birthday gift to a sibling is prevented from doing so under this type of trust. The penalty for an errant disbursement can be severe. The disabled person is disqualified from Medicaid, becomes a private payer and needs to spend down the trust. Once that person’s assets reach $2,000 they may reapply for Medicaid.

Third-Party-Funded SNT Rules

This SNT is also exempt for Medicaid purposes because the money is not the disabled person’s and there is not a Medicaid lien. However, with no payback provision, the allowed distributions are less restrictive and determined by the grantor of the trust. Third-party trusts are typically funded with inheritances and bequests from family members who planned ahead and created the trust.

However, there are still rules. Chief among these is that the disabled person may not have any control whatsoever over the funds.

Hiring a Professional

Because the administration and investment of these trusts requires deep knowledge of the disbursement rules, typically either a corporate trustee or a combination of both a family member and a corporate trustee is chosen to oversee them. While naming only a family member is also possible, it puts undue pressure on that person. One false disbursement could strip a loved one of Medicaid coverage.

When hiring a corporate trustee, it’s important to find one who is willing to spend the time needed to understand and accommodate not just the rules but the needs and preferences of the disabled person.

If you, a friend or a family member might benefit from establishing an SNT—or from having a corporate trustee assume more responsibility for administering an existing SNT—we would be happy to talk to you about the options.

Call me at 630-844-3222. I am happy to help in any way I can.

What You Need to Know When Starting Your Own Business

Jane Miller, Vice President—Business Banking

Miller, JaneWhen you’re ready to talk about making the leap from dreaming about starting your own business to the reality of having one, so are we. And, talking is exactly where we’ll start.

Because, this is about more than helping you open a checking account and advising you on how to get your documentation in order. It’s about really getting to know your business, your potential target market and your goals so we show you the right mix of products and services to help you grow.

Get Services Matched to Your Anticipated Needs
Unlike many banks, we make all of our services available to business customers, regardless of their size, as long as it makes sense. This means you don’t have to achieve certain revenue levels to gain access to what you need, when you need it. For instance, if your business is to be a one-person operation, we want to make sure you have access to all of our online and mobile services—from deposit to payment services. Because when you are doing it all, the last thing you need is to spend time away from serving your customers to do your banking.

Find Affordable Borrowing Options
The trickiest part about a small business owner is often financing—making sure you have sufficient funding and additional sources lined up to ensure ongoing liquidity. Many new business owners assume they’ll need to seek alternative online financing sources to do this. But, as a full-service bank, we will work with the business owner to provide options for them to make funds available at a lower interest rate and with more convenient repayment terms than many of the newer alternatives.

Also, unlike many larger banks that require business owners to take on personal loans to fund their businesses, we can structure nearly any size financing. We can even transition a business owner who has already borrowed elsewhere into a more stable lending structure to arrange a more affordable payment and ease stress on their liquidity.

Start Thinking Like an Owner
Once you become a small business owner, our full-service bank offerings can also help you by addressing more than your immediate cash management needs. We can also work with you to set up the type of employee benefits you’ll need to attract and retain quality workers and to secure your own future.

From retirement plans to payday services and cash management tips, we’re here to help you become the business you want to be.

Start-Up Resources for Sole Proprietors
While we’re always ready to serve as a support and sounding board, here are some other resources you may want to take a look at to make sure you are in compliance with state and local regulations:

Old Second salutes our veterans on-staff

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Old Second would like to salute and thank several of our employees who are active or veteran military personnel. Read their bios below.

ALFRED VIDRIO

Alfred Vidrio

Currently I am a Second Lieutenant in charge of second Platoon in Joliet, Gold Company 634th BSB. I have been in the military for over three years. I have been in the Illinois Army National Guard since Aug. 9, 2012. In my entire time with the military, Old Second National Bank has been extremely supportive with me being stationed around the United States. Every time I come back, Old Second welcomes me with open arms and helps me find a position where I can use all my knowledge and military skills. Last year on October 5, 2014, I was activated for military training for several months. When I came back, Old Second welcomed me right away. Every time I have drill Old Second accommodates the dates I need so I can prepare and be there on time. While at Old Second, I have gone through OCS (Officer Candidate School), BOLC (Basic Officer Leadership Course) and a number of Annual Trainings. I feel extremely grateful that Old Second supports the military and does not hesitate to accommodate my military time.

 

TAMMY HANKINS

Tammy Hankins

Tammy Hankins

After graduating High School in 1984 I decided to join the United States Marine Corp.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that I wanted to be self-sufficient and be on my own.  I attended Boot Camp at Parris Island in South Carolina from November 1984 to January 1985. From there, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina while I attended school at Camp Johnson close by.  There I learned the details of the Admin Job I had posted for.  My Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) was 0121 Service Record Book clerk.  I remained at Camp Lejeune doing the various admin tasks assigned to me until a position opened up for someone with my MOS.  In February of 1986 I received orders to be transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC where I was assigned to H&HS 28.  My position required that I keep personnel records up to date for the service personnel in my squadron per the Marine Corp standards.  This required much attention to detail and has vastly helped me with the tasks under my responsibility here at Old Second.  While stationed at Cherry Point, I had the privilege and honor of meeting the now retired Commandant, General P.X. Kelly.  I left the service after my term expired in November 1988 as I was a single mother. I served during peace time and was not deployed overseas.  But since I was a single mother, at the time, I greatly appreciated that they allowed me to remain stateside.  I think serving in the Military was one of my greatest experiences.  I learned at a young age what it means to be a team.  When I was hired at Old Second in 1991, my manager told me that my military experience helped her to decide on me for the position.  Hard work, attention to detail and dedication is what I took away from the military and have applied to my position at Old Second.

 

KEITH MCINTOSH

Keith McIntosh

Keith McIntosh

On July 9, 1968, I had the proud honor of enlisting with the United States Air Force and 2 days after, I was in basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. I was 19 years young and eager to learn and wanted to help my country in any way that I could. After 6 weeks of basic training I was sent to Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois and learned to be a Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants Specialist, or more commonly known as a Fuels Specialist. I drove various ground refueling vehicles used for refueling the various aircraft the Air Force had in their arsenal. After receiving my training I was sent to the 126th Air Refueling Wing located at O’Hare Field in Chicago and remained there for 6 years performing my refueling duties as required in support of air refueling aircraft that flew various missions throughout the United States and into Western Europe. I was a part of the Illinois Air National Guard and periodically was sent to Rhein- Main Air Base in Frankfort, Germany for maneuvers sanctioned by NATO, and supporting all the free countries in Western Europe during the Cold War. If you asked me if I would do it over again, I would say in a heartbeat…  These were some of the best times of my life!

 

HECTOR ESPINO

Espino

Hector Espino

I went to basic training in October of 2011 and graduated in January 2012. I then proceeded to Marine Combat Training for a month. In March I attended Financial Management School in Camp Johnson, North Carolina for my MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) school. In June 2012, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California with Combat Logistics Regiment 17, while at CLR-17 I was as an auditor for travel claim and as customer service. In July 2014 I was deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan with Combat Logistics Battalion 1 (CLB-1). While in Afghanistan I was a UPA (Unit Paying Agent) Representative and trainer, in a nutshell I paid out any sort of debt we owed to Afghanistan nationals for causing any accident harm to civilians and/or property. On top of being a UPA agent I was the trainer, I worked with MARSOC (Marine Special Operations Command) and Army special forces as well to teach them all the regulations and the procedures to be a UPA Rep. I came back from Afghanistan in October 2015. I was one of the last Marines out of Camp Leatherneck before we handed over control to the Afghanistan Army. When I came back from Afghanistan I was assigned a special duty of being a member of the Inbound Platoon for CLR-17 now known as Headquarters Regiment 17. The inbound platoon was new program in charge of receiving new Marines into the Marine Corps Fleet and helping them settle into the fleet in regards to any questions with housing or their new way of life. The Marine Corps not only set me up to be able to be successful at Old Second National Bank, but be set for anything to come my way in life after the Corps. I believe Old Second hired me not only for my cash handling experience but just for the fact I was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and we Marines are known to be professional and give our all to whatever the mission may be.

 

TIMOTHY VAUGHAN

vaughan

Timothy Vaughan

I have been in the US Army Reserves for nearly 27 years, since November 1988.  Prior to that, I was active duty from 1983-1988.  Old Second has supported my participation in the Army Reserve by consistently granting me time off to attend Battle Assemblies (previously known as Drills), Annual Training, Army schools attendance, and for deployments and mobilizations. My annual training ranges year to year from a few days spread out over the year to several weeks in one month.  Army schools attendance has ranged from one week to my culminating leadership training at the Sergeants Major Academy which was 11 months.  I have had 2 deployments, one each to Iraq in mid-2007 to mid-2008 and Afghanistan from mid-2009 to mid-2010.  The bank supported me again when I mobilized in support of overseas operations at Fort Bliss, Texas for just over 3 years from mid-2011 to mid-2014.  I have spent over 6 years on active duty as a reservist out of the last 8 years and have never had to worry about having a job to come home to as Old Second has always honored their pledge to me to return to my same position and salary.  This has helped me to focus on my mission as a Soldier and not having to worry about employment once I return back home. Old Second helped to provide comfort items for the troops that were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom by having their branches collect toiletries and other items for Project Santa which sent stockings stuffed with these items to units overseas.  I was the recipient of these items during both deployments (picture attached).  In one of the years in which I was not deployed, the bank let me deliver the supplies raised one fall to the group that packed and mailed the items to Soldiers during working hours.  The box truck used was packed with around 1,000 lbs of supplies which provided for well over 500 large stockings for troops overseas (picture attached). As my time left in the Army Reserve is drawing to a close, I look back over the last 26 years plus in which I have been able to perform my duty as a Soldier and have to give credit to Old Second National Bank for allowing me to pursue that passion while being a supported employee.

 

 

Scoring Credit: Play It Smart

Jackie Allison, First Vice President, Retail Services 

Jackie Allison, First Vice President, Retail ServicesWhether you are requesting credit in the form of a credit card, car loan, or a home mortgage, it literally pays to have a winning credit score. The higher your score, the less you will pay over the life of the loan.

Who’s Keeping Score?
There are three main credit reporting bureaus:

  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

Each collects information in a report that summarizes your financial history. The bureaus use this information to calculate your credit score. Those scores are used by potential lenders to see if you are a “good credit risk,” someone who will likely pay back what they borrow, as agreed.

What Affects a Score?
While each bureau uses a different formula, they look at the same factors:

  • Whether you pay your bills on time. A late payment once in a while may not be damaging, but a pattern of late or missed payments is.
  • The amount you have outstanding each month as a percentage of your available credit. A high percent outstanding actually can lower your score.
  • The number of new credit applications you’ve submitted recently. This can signal a concern to the potential lender that you are acquiring too much new debt too quickly.
  • Payment history. If you have been late on a payment, get the account current and stay current. This will help improve your credit score.
  • The extent of your borrowing history. To have a credit score, you need to have had credit and demonstrated you can repay it. A good way to start building your history may be to have a parent co-sign on a loan application when you start working or, if you are able to do so, apply for a CD-secured loan at OSNB.

Before you apply for credit, take a look at your reports. You may request a free report once every 12 months from each bureau. To request your free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.

Question any inaccurate information. And, if you are a joint borrower, exchange reports before applying. It may make more sense for the person with the higher score to apply for the loan on their own to lower its overall cost to you both.

If you do have a low score or a limited credit history, talk to us. Your banker can make suggestions that may help you raise it and lower your future borrowing costs. Because when it comes to your credit score, it’s never too late to improve it. For additional information, visit the FDIC’s consumer protection page.