FCB&T Logo
Got a question? Contact us:
Beecher (708) 946-2246 | Peotone (708) 258-0530 | Secure email
Stay Connected. Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr
Header

April 2013 | Volume 10 | Issue 4

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We have lots of information to share! Join the conversation.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter to stay up-to-speed on customer appreciation updates, events happening around town, timely security subjects and much more! Click on the logos below to "Join the Conversation". Click Like in Facebook and Follow Us in Twitter.

Facebook Twitter

Back to Top

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender An Equal Housing Lender

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Know Where Your Money Goes

Charting expenses can make sticking to a budget easier

How often do you ask yourself "Where does all my money go?" Keeping track of expenses is an effective way to stick to a budget and it also allows you to identify those poor spending habits you didn't even know you had. First Community Bank and Trust customers who use our online banking service have a great tool at their disposal to help track expenses with the new Spending Chart feature in First eBanc.

Automatic Allocation: The Spending Chart feature automatically allocates expenditures according to assigned categories. Common categories include Automotive, Education, Entertainment, Food and Dining, Health and Fitness, Home, Personal Care, Pets, Shopping, Travel, and Utilities. Within each main category there are subcategories to further itemize your expenses. For example, under the Utilities category there are subcategories for Gas, Electric, Cell Phone, Trash, Water, etc. So payments made to the gas company will automatically be allocated to the Utilities category, under the Gas Bill subcategory. If certain expenditures do not get categorized as you wish, you are able to edit that transaction, designating to which category it should be allocated.

Read More

View Spending Chart Tutorial

Back to Top

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender An Equal Housing Lender

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

First Community Investment Center News

If Interest Rates Rise, What Happens to Bonds?

Investors in longer-term Treasuries could see some rocky road ahead.

Presented by Clint Squier & Jim Ulman, Registered Representatives - Prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc.

How long can it last?
The Federal Reserve has said that it will do what it can to keep interest rates low, but these efforts cannot stem the tide forever; it’s inevitable, at some point, that interest rates will rise and diminish bond prices. The only question is: when and how much? 1

A fifth year of easing has left some of the decision makers at the Fed thinking it’s time to reverse gears; the minutes of a December meeting cited “several” policymakers wanting to raise interest rates sooner rather than later. Considering how long and open-ended the easing period has been, this caused a slight decline in the stock market. 2

The Fed’s easing is tied to the unemployment rate. The U.S. has made great strides in improving the economy and helping people find jobs; the December 2012 reckoning has unemployment at 7.8%, down from October, 2009’s high water mark of 10.2%. The official Fed policy is to continue the easing until unemployment reaches a more comfortable 6.5%; this is roughly where we were in 2008, as the financial crisis emerged. While we’re getting closer to this goal all the time, 6.5% could take a year or more to reach. 2, 3

In the short term, meaning the next few months, the bond market climate may not change. The question is: what happens when it does?

Are bond investors going to pay for it?
At some point, interest rates will rise again; bond market values will fall. When that happens, how many bond owners are going to hang on to their 10-year or 30-year Treasuries until maturity? Who will want a 1.5% or 2.5% return for a decade? Looking at composite bond rates over at Yahoo’s Bond Center, even longer-term AAA corporate bonds offered a 2.5%-4.15% return in the first part of January. 4

What do you end up with when you sell a bond before its maturity? The market value; if the federal funds rate rises 3%, a longer-term Treasury might lose as much as a third of its market value as a consequence.

This risk aside, what if you want or need to stay in bonds?
One avenue may be to exploit short-term bonds with laddered maturity dates. The trade-off in that move is accepting lower interest rates in exchange for a potentially smaller drop in the market value of these securities if rates rise. If you are after higher rates of return from short-duration bonds, you may have to look to bonds that are investment-grade but without AAA or AA ratings.

If you think interest rates will rise in the near future (to the chagrin of many bond investors), exploiting short maturities could position you to get your principal back in the short term. That could give you cash that you could reinvest in response to climbing interest rates. If you really think bond owners are in for some pain in the coming years, you could limit yourself to small positions in bonds.

Appetite for risk may displace anxiety faster than we think.
Why would people put their money into an investment offering a 1.5% return for 10 years? In a word, fear. The fear of volatility and a global downturn is so prevalent this spring that many investors are playing “not to lose.” Should interest rates rise sooner than the conventional wisdom suggests, owners of long-term bonds might find themselves losing out in terms of their portfolio’s potential.

Jim and Clint

Clint Squier and Jim Ulman may be reached at First Community Investment Center located at First Community Bank and Trust, (708) 946-2246.

Back to Top

Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGIS Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC. Cetera is not affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. Investments are: * Not FDIC/NCUSIF insured * May lose value * Not financial institution guaranteed * Not a deposit * Not insured by any federal government agency.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Neither the publisher, nor Cetera Investment Services or its representatives are engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations:
1 – money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-smarter-mutual-fund-investor/2012/09/19/rough-waters-ahead-for-bond-funds [9/19/12]
2 - usnews.com/news/blogs/rick-newman/2013/01/04/interest-rates-wont-rise-as-much-as-wall-street-fears [1/4/13]
3 - ncsl.org/issues-research/labor/national-employment-monthly-update.aspx [1/4/13]
4 - finance.yahoo.com/bonds/composite_bond_rates [1/28/13]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2013 Customer Appreciation

Reusable Tumbler Giveaway

As much as we love our customers, we also love to do what we can to protect and preserve the environment. One way is to reduce the amount of disposable drinkware! In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, we are giving away double-walled insulated tumblers to bank lobby customers. Stop by either location on Saturday, April 20th or Monday, April 22nd for your reusable tumbler and join our efforts to make a difference!

Document Disposal Day

Start Spring Cleaning with your file cabinets! If you've been saving documents with personal information for years and no longer need them, let us help you dispose of them safely. Bring them to the parking lot of our Beecher Financial Centre on Saturday, May 18, between 9 AM and 11 AM, and have them shredded on site for free! All kinds of office paper are accepted (no newspaper please) and there is no need to remove staples or paper clips. We do ask that paper be removed from binders with metal rings or clasps. Questions? Call (708) 946-2246 and ask to speak with Chris Bowden.

Can't make it in May? No worries, we will have another shredding day at our Peotone facility on September 14!

View Images from last year's Document Disposal Days

View the entire 2013 Customer Appreciation Calendar

Back to Top

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender An Equal Housing Lender

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

First Community Gold Club News

What a Glorious Feeling

Thursday, May 16, 2013 | Theatre at the Center, Munster, IN

Inspired by true events, this dance musical brings to life the tempestuous, behind-the-scenes love triangle during the filming of the beloved movie musical, Singin' in the Rain. The star and co-director (Gene Kelley) is in love with his assistant, who happens to be the ex-wife of his co-director. The show features songs and dance routines from the film. Important real-life figures are also part of the fun - young Debbie Reynolds and producer/songwriter Arthur Freed. Cost is $65 per person and includes transportation, lunch (Roast loin of pork or lemon chicken breast) and snacks on the bus ride home. Bus departs from Beecher at 11:30 AM. Reservations and payment must be made by April 15th.

First Community Gold Club Dinner

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 | Beecher Amvets Hall, Beecher, IL

The Spring Gold Club Dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22. We will have a Memorial Day theme, with an all-American menu featuring Irene Brothers’ delicious sloppy joes and tasty sides. Call to reserve your seat today… (708) 946-2246 or (708) 258-0530.

Upcoming Casino Trip

Thursday, June 27, 2013 | Four Winds Casino

Although this month's trip is full, we have another one planned for June 27th. Enjoy a day on Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast and experience the excitement of gaming, shopping and dining at Four Winds Casino. We will have two pick-up/drop-off locations: departing from our Peotone facility at 9:00 AM and returning at 4:00 PM, and departing from our Beecher location at 9:30 AM and returning at 4:30 PM. The cost is $30 and includes transportation, refreshments on the bus, a $10 food voucher and a $15 instant slot credit. (FCB&T customers receive a $2 discount). Call (708) 946-2246 to reserve your seat.  Reservations not paid by June 6th will be removed from list.

Note: Because transportation arrangements are not changeable after the confirmation date, cancellations after the June 6th deadline cannot be refunded.

View First Community Gold Club Web Page

Back to Top

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender An Equal Housing Lender

Our Gold Club is for those customers who are 55 years of age or better and have at least $1,000 in any combination of accounts with our bank. Members receive increased rates on CDs, free check offers, two free dinners per year, and much more. First Community Caravan is open to anyone and can be enjoyed by customers and non-customers alike. If you are interested in signing up for our Gold Club or for one or more of our trips, contact Irene Brothers today at 708.946.2246

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

FHA Loans a Viable Alternative to Conventional Loans

Lower Down-Payment Makes Home Purchases More Affordable

In a little over three years, FHA Loans have experienced a dramatic increase due to higher loan limits, lower home prices and low down-payment requirements. Comprising about 3 percent of the home loan market in 2009, FHA Loans now comprise almost 50 percent of the entire home loan market according to former FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens. These government-backed loans have made home buying affordable for moderate-income buyers who can't afford the typical 20% down payment required with conventional loans. Because the FHA insures the mortgage, lenders may be willing to offer loan terms that make it easier to qualify.

Read More

Back to Top

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender An Equal Housing Lender | Financing Subject to Credit Approval

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Accept Credit Cards and Watch Sales Increase

Customers appreciate the convenience of easy payment methods

Small businesses may wonder what incentive there is to accept credit cards for payment of goods or services. Consider this: according to The Credit Examiner, there are approximately 181 million credit cards in the U.S. Also, industry research indicates that the ability to accept credit cards can increase revenue by as much as 23% and that customers typically spend about 20% more when using a credit card as opposed to cash or check. Who wouldn’t like their customers to purchase more? And from the merchant's point of view, accepting credit cards guarantees payment and provides a convenience to customers.

Here are a few more reasons why businesses of all sizes should consider accepting credit cards:

Read More

View Merchant Card Processing Page

Back to Top

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender An Equal Housing Lender

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Eco Challenge #31

Earth Day Activities for the Whole Family

This April 22 marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day, what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. After witnessing the devastating effects of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin began a campaign to infuse the energy of the student anti-war movement with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution. He introduced the idea for a day of action that would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

The first Earth Day in 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, literally all walks of life. It also led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. Now, 43 years later, the significance of Earth Day is more important than ever as the fight for a clean environment continues. There is perhaps no better way to continue this fight than to educate and inform our children - the future stewards of our planet. Listed below are several activities for families to enjoy, all of which may be a great tradition in the making:


1) Plant a tree in your backyard. It will serve as a reminder that, just as the tree grows stronger, so too will the surrounding environment. It will lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide a habitat for a variety of other plants and animals.
2) Make pinecone birdfeeders to attract birds to your yard. This is a fun and easy activity for kids of any age. Keep a log of the different birds that visit.
3) Visit a recycling facility. Recycling processes are fascinating and fun to watch. To find a facility near you visit recyclingcenters.org.
4) Sit down with your family and discuss ways each of you can do your part. Make it fun for the little ones by assigning creative names and tasks, such as Sergeant Switcheroo who is in charge of turning off all lights, or Lieutenant Leak-proof who makes sure there are no dripping faucets in the house. The awareness created by these seemingly small tasks will carry on and become even greater as they get older.
5) Plant a garden or flowers at a local non-profit or church. Because of limited budgets, these groups usually are very appreciative when someone offers beautification efforts.
6) Take a hike! Nature hikes, whether at a park or nearby trail, are a great way to appreciate the natural resources around us. Pick a new place each year.
7) Organize a Clean-Up Day at a local park. Enlist the help of other families to pick up litter and other unsightly debris that detracts from the park's beauty and can be dangerous to people and animals. Bring bags and wear gloves!
8) Attend an Earth Day event. Many events are held across the nation, which are full of fun activities for the whole family. Find one near you at http://www.earthday.net.
9) Stop by First Community Bank and Trust on Saturday, April 20 or Monday, April 22 for your reusable tumbler! Stop wasting disposable cups and use this double-wall insulated tumbler for your cold drinks.

Earth Day reminds us all that we need to take action everyday to care for our environment and preserve its resources for generations to come.

Back to Top

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -