Spring 2014 Newsletter

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Small banks -- one of the U.S.'s biggest assets

Every once in awhile some "expert" complains that America has too many banks, many of them too small. While it's true we have more banks in the U.S. than in any other country -- a number of those holding only between $1 billion and $10 billion in assets -- small banks are far from being a "problem." In fact, they are an asset.

The heart of business for small banks is lending. We take in deposits and lend the money out to creditworthy customers, thus supporting our communities. Big banks are complex institutions that deal in derivatives, have Central Investment Offices, leveraged super-senior tranches (bundles of loans such as mortgages) of synthetic collateralized debt obligations and more. If that sounds complicated, it is.

Additionally, the upper level financiers who handle these complex matters have a way of awarding themselves multi-million-dollar bonuses, well before their schemes ever come to maturity. This is the stuff that country-wide financial crises are made of -- not the responsible loans made by small local banks to support small local businesses.

There is also criticism that small banks are not as regulated as large banks because they are excluded from compliance with certain laws due to their size. This is just not true. Small banks are backed by the FDIC, and we are regulated by the FDIC. If a small bank gets into trouble, the dues paid to the FDIC by other small banks are used to rescue the bank that's struggling. The Federal government doesn't have to step in with taxpayer money.

Small banks are typically more profitable than the mega-banks, with an average return on equity of 9.9 percent. Big, international bankers do tend to know a lot about banking, more than small bankers -- but small bankers know about agriculture or manufacturing -- whatever makes their particular community thrive. Community banking loan officers have the discretion to make loans based on the customer's entire situation, not just his or her credit score.

And now that offering web-based products and services is equally available to small banks as to the large ones, community banks are bound to increase market share. Ultimately, our richly diversified banking system is one of our country's strengths.

Mark L. Luderman


College grads need a plan for stepping into the real world of personal finance

by Betty Jane Whittaker, New Accounts, Holland Branch

As college grads enter the workforce this spring and summer, they are bound to have some questions about managing their finances, now that they are in the "real world." Financial independence is an exciting prospect, but new grads need to take some time to think about credit, savings and even retirement.

The first step is to set short-term and long-term financial goals, then come up with a monthly budget that puts the graduate on the path toward reaching those goals. Next, open individual bank accounts that are not co-signed by parents. Bank of Holland has a variety of options for checking and savings, including a new checking account that offers cash rewards. Often -- even though an individual has obtained a college degree -- he or she has not had the time or opportunity to learn about financial literacy. These are a few things to think about:

• Educate yourself about money matters such as credit and saving for retirement (there are many online programs such as FDIC Money Smart).

• Understand how to build credit and what can damage credit.

• Set up online banking so you can manage your finances from anywhere.

• Retirement may seem a distant dream -- but start saving now, particularly if your employer matches the funds you save.

• Set up automatic savings so money from your paycheck goes directly to savings each pay period. You'll sleep better at night if you know you've got an emergency fund set aside in case of a temporary loss of income, or large expense such as a car repair.

• Stay on top of student loans, don't miss payments and consolidate when possible.

• Review banking, credit card and loan statements regularly.

• Work with the financial planners at your bank. They can help you create a financial road map.

Being financially independent is empowering -- it may take a little work, but it's work that's well worthwhile. Congratulations to our graduates! The staff at the Bank of Holland wishes you a prosperous financial future, and reminds you that we're here to serve you in whatever way we can.

Time for the Tulip Festival!

by Linda Moore, Branch Manager, Holland

Preparations are underway for the 59th Annual Tulip Festival, featuring the 19th Annual 5K Run/Walk sponsored by Bank of Holland. Events are scheduled for May 8, 9 and 10, 2014.

The Festival kicks off on Thursday with the Senior Citizens Breakfast, and the Classic and Muscle Car Show. On Friday, May 9, the Used Book Sale will be hosted at the Holland Methodist Church on Partridge Road from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kiddie Rides and the Midway, sponsored by Hammerl Amusements, will be in the Town Parking Lot for all to enjoy. Friday will feature the Kiddie Parade at the Elementary School, the Queen's Pageant and Talent Show at the High School, and the Holland Garden Club Flower Show opening at the Community Center.

Get your Mom a special gift for Mother's Day at the Huge Arts & Crafts Show

on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the High School. Ramblin' Lou will broadcast live at the WXRL remote unit at the High School. Registration for the 5K Run/Walk starts at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, with the race beginning at 8:45 at Holland Speedway. The Tulip Festival parade begins at 2 p.m., with marching bands and floats traveling from Vermont St. to Main, to Pearl St. to Park, and finally to Garfield.

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, or Put "Spring" in your step at the Holland Tulip Festival!

New CashBack Checking is a 'rewarding' experience

Bank of Holland is offering a new and exciting product -- CashBack Checking -- which earns customers rewards on their debit card purchases.

"CashBack checking will be appealing to young people who are just starting on the road to financial independence," said Laurie Monin, New Accounts, East Aurora. "It's easy to qualify each month -- in fact, most customers will meet the qualifications without even trying."

Some of the benefits of CashBack are: 1 percent cash back on debit card purchases with no restrictions on those purchases; earned cash back on up to $1,000 in purchases each month up to $10 per month; no monthly service charge and no minimum balance to earn rewards.

"There's also free online and mobile banking, including bill pay and free eStatements," Monin said. "Customers can receive a MasterMoney debit card, they'll get unlimited checking, and there's no minimum deposit to open an account."

To earn rewards simply complete the following activities and transactions in your CashBack Checking account each monthly qualification cycle:

• 12 signature-based debit card purchases post and settle to the account;

• Be enrolled in and receive eStatements;

• Enroll in and utilize online banking;

• Have at least one direct deposit or automatic payment post to your account.

"If you don't meet the qualifications one month, it's not a problem -- you still have free checking and are eligible for cash back the next month," Monin said. "I think this is going to be pretty attractive for our younger customers who like to use their computers and mobile phones for everything. They'll be getting paid for doing what comes naturally -- for them, that is!"

Events Calendar

Holland Tulip Festival

Annual 5K Run/Walk – May 10, 2014

Registration 8 am, Race Starts 8:45 am

For more information ~ 537-2264

Or go to

East Aurora Kiwanis Chicken Barbecue

June, 4, 2014

Hamblin Park, East Aurora


Gold Rush – Holland International Speedway

Sponsored by the Bank of Holland

11586 Holland-Glenwood, Holland NY

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Grandstand Gates open at 4:45

Bank of Holland Discount Night

Holland International Speedway

11586 Holland-Glenwood, Holland NY

July 12, 2014

Grandstand Gates open at 4:45