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- Where's the separation between Washington and Wall St.?
- Keep identity thieves out of your pocket
- Community banks nourish small business
- Tulip Festival is a sure sign of spring!
- Events Calendar
Where's the separation between Washington and Wall St.?
As our economy gets back on its feet after one of the worst financial crises in its history, bankers like myself are concerned government does not repeat the mistakes that put us into the Great Recession in the first place.
One of the most serious issues was the "too-big-to-fail" banks bailed out by taxpayers, many of whom were left wondering, why? Why were these businesses different from smaller businesses which, when they cannot balance their budgets, face bankruptcy -- or Chapter 11 restructuring at the least?
The answer, in the opinion of many independent community bankers including myself, is what Andrew Ross Sorkin discusses in his book, "Too-Big-To-Fail." With many former employees of companies like Goldman Sachs and Citibank holding influential government positions, Sorkin says Washington, D.C. and Wall Street have been too closely integrated. The Dodd-Frank Act laid out procedures for handling any future crises of large financial institutions, however, it is uncertain these procedures will work.
Now, instead of ensuring our country is run by individuals who are completely separate from Wall Street and the banking industry, the Senate Finance Committee has approved the President's nomination of Jack Lew, a former Citibank employee, as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Let's not forget Citibank received three government bailouts during the crisis, and there is no evidence to reassure us it will not come to the government yet again with hat in hand.
The Wall St. Journal raised several questions about the Lew appointment but, truth be told, the public never gets the whole story when it comes to candidates nominated for cabinet positions. While the Secretary of the Treasury should certainly be a person knowledgeable about the finance industry and economy, it is questionable that it be a former associate of a bank that could be the test case for the new too-big-to-fail regulations. It seems to me that the concept of "separation between church and state" should now also apply to banks and state.
Mark L. Luderman
Keep identity thieves out of your pocket
By: Debbie Stemper -- BSA/Operations Officer
Pickpockets used to actually have physical contact with their "marks." No longer. Thieves can now steal from you by getting your Social Security Number and applying for and using credit card accounts which they opened and have no intention of paying. It's called identity theft, account-takeover fraud, or true-name fraud.
"Identity theft affects people in more ways than just having bills for credit card accounts they don't know about suddenly show up," said Debbie Stemper, BSA/Operations Officer. "It can ruin your credit record, and it can take up huge amounts of your time trying to straighten out the mess."
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself:
I. Get a copy of your credit report each year and check it for accuracy. Contact the three credit reporting agencies noted in the box below, or the Annual Credit Report Service. You are entitled to one free report a year.
II. Read your monthly or periodic statements and make sure you recognize all of the activity listed.
III. Get a shredder or become a habitual tearer -- don't put pre-approved credit offers, receipts, ATM receipts or anything linking your name to account numbers in the trash. Crooks are not shy about dumpster diving!
IV. If you receive bills or statements by mail and they are more than two weeks late: contact the Post Office to see if someone has forwarded your mail to another address, and contact the bank or vendor to see if the statements or bills have been mailed.
V. The red flag on your mailbox is also a red flag for crooks who will check the mail you're sending out to get the numbers of your credit and bank accounts. Use a locked mailbox or go to the post office.
VI. Don't carry a written list of PINs with you, and do not write a PIN on an ATM or debit card. Don't write your SSN or your credit card number on checks, and cover your hand when you put your PIN into an ATM machine.
VII. Unless you have called a merchant to place an order do not give out your credit card information on the phone. Anyone who contacts you saying you've won a prize but they need your credit card number is not legit.
"It's too bad that we have to be so cautious, however technology has changed the playing field," Stemper said. "We all have to learn the new rules and play by those new rules."
1-877-322-8228 or www.annualcreditreport.com
1-800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com
1-888-397-3742 or www.experian.com
1-800-916-8800 or www.transunion.com
Community banks nourish small business
By: Diane Curthoys -- Assistant Branch Manager, Holland
If small business is the backbone of the American economy, independent community banks are the nourishment that strengthens that backbone. Community banks, which are small businesses themselves, are often the first responders when small business owners need financing to help them expand their operations.
"We understand the needs and challenges of small business people," said Diane Curthoys, Assistant Branch Manager, Holland. "Our role is to take the deposits entrusted with us and reinvest in the community through loans to both individuals and businesses."
Community banks have become prolific lenders --holding just under $10 billion in deposits and providing almost 60 percent of loans to small business between the amounts of $100,000 and $1 million. This level of investment creates local jobs, and positions community banks as significant players in the American financial system.
"Across the country, more than 24,000 community bank locations employ more than 300,000 individuals," Curthoys said. "Overall, the members of the Independent Community Bankers Association hold more than $1.2 trillion in assets, $1 trillion in deposits, and $750 billion in loans."
Community banks have the advantage of knowing their marketplace intimately, providing superior personal service, and local decision-making regarding loans. They are major supporters of the agricultural industry and Main Street businesses.
Tulip Festival is a sure sign of spring!
by Betty Jane Whitaker -- New Accounts, Holland
You know spring is on the horizon when the Holland Tulip Festival comes into view. This year the 58th Annual Tulip Festival, featuring the 18th Annual 5K Run/Walk sponsored by Bank of Holland, is scheduled for May 9, 10, and 11, 2013.
Festivities start Thursday with the Senior Citizens Breakfast, Used Book Sale, and the Classic and Muscle Car Show. Kiddie Rides and Midway can be enjoyed by all in the town Parking Lot. The Kiddie Parade is scheduled for Friday at the Elementary School. Friday night the High School hosts the Queen's Pageant and Talent Show, with the Holland Garden Club Flower Show opening at the Community Center. Registration for the 5K Run/Walk starts at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, with the race beginning at 8:45. Find your special Mother's Day gift at the Arts and Crafts show which is held at the High School. The Tulip Festival parade begins at 2 p.m. Live broadcast on WXRL 1300am.
Other events include: Holland Historical Society Exhibit, a Wine Tasting at H&A Liquors, Krolick's Chicken Barbecue, and the Crowning of the Tulip Festival Queen at the High School Auditorium on Saturday night.
For more information or to register for the 5K Run/Walk contact the bank at 537-2264 or go to www.bankofhollandny.com, or www.townofhollandny.com. Put "Spring" in your step at the Holland Tulip Festival!
Arcade Area Chamber Community Trade Fair
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday, April 21, 2013, 10:00am – 3:00pm
Tractor Supply Plaza, Route 39, Arcade, NY 14009
Holland Tulip Festival
Annual 5K Run/Walk ~ May 11, 2013
Registration 8 am, Race Starts 8:45 am
For more information ~ 537-2264 or go to
www.bankofhollandny.com & download race application
East Aurora Kiwanis Chicken Barbecue
June 5, 2013
Hamblin Park, East Aurora
Greater East Aurora Chamber & East Aurora Kiwanis Golf Outing
June 10, 2013
Holland Hills Country Club