ePioneer                                                                                                                                                          WINTER
 2016

letterGREETINGS
 


 
Merry Christmas from all of us at Pioneer Bank of Wisconsin!
James E. Loe, President

Please join us for cookies and coffee
Monday, December 19th and Tuesday, December 20th!!  
HAT & MITTEN TREE
We are accepting donations for hats and mittens until January 15, 2017. Let's fill our tree to help keep Rusk County warm!! A BIG THANK YOU FOR THE DONATIONS THIS YEAR SO FAR AND THE DONATIONS YET TO COME!!!
ALL donations will be given to Rusk County Human Services. 
  

TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS

 

 

In many areas, the housing market is still going strong from the active summer months, interest rates are still at historic lows, and real estate prices are competitive. You might be wondering if it's time to take the plunge into homeownership. If you decide that now is the right time for you, here are four tips for first-time home buyers that will help your transition from renter to owner go smoothly:
 
#1: Do the prep work. Before you even start looking at listings, you should get your finances in order. The housing market is fiercely competitive, and buyers who have been pre-approved for financing have the edge. First, review your credit score and clear up any errors you find. Then, go to your bank and get pre-approved for the largest mortgage loan you can (many banks allow you to do this online). A free service at most banks, loan pre-approval will boost your credibility with real estate agents and sellers because it shows you're able to get financing and are serious about buying a house. It will also make the process of applying for your mortgage faster, especially if you obtain the loan from the same bank that pre-approved you for credit.
 
#2: Stick to your budget. Buying a house is likely to be the largest purchase you ever make, so making and sticking to an accurate, realistic budget is essential. The first step is to look at the amount of cash you have in your checking and/or savings account and determining how much of that you're comfortable parting with as a down payment (keeping some savings in reserve for emergencies, of course!). Next, get as much information about how much the houses you're looking at will cost, being sure to factor in all of the expenses, including closing costs, principal and interest mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, utilities, commuting, etc.
 
#3: Build a team you trust. The next key to buying your first house is to assemble a team that you trust. The real estate purchase process is complex, and you need experts on your side who will work with your best interests in mind. Find a real estate agent and a mortgage lender you get along with and trust to give you good advice. Often, if you find one, they'll recommend the other, since professionals in these fields work with one another frequently.
 
#4: Read before you sign. Closing on a house can be an emotional, nerve-wracking process, but it is critical that you take the time to understand the document you're signing your name to. Read everything, and if you don't understand something, ask your lender or real estate agent to explain it. Buyers have many different options for mortgages, from the standard fixed-rate 30-year loan to a 10- or 15-year variable rate, and other more complex options. No matter what your financial situation is, the key is to ask as many questions as you need to in order to understand what you're committing to. After all, it's probably the biggest financial commitment you're ever going to make.

 


DID YOU KNOW??

The threat to your personal information continues to grow. Learn how to better protect yourself. The number one protection against cybercrime is to be informed.
 
#1: Use More Than One Password. Many people use the same password for multiple accounts, which means that if your credentials are stolen for one account all your accounts are in jeopardy. Do you really want to give criminals access to your bank account because you used the same credentials for your free online music account?
 
#2: Use Stronger Passwords. No matter how secure a financial institution or shopping website may be, if your password is easy to guess you are still at risk of fraud. Do not use your name, birthday or pet's name, as this information is readily available to many people, especially if you post it on social media. The best passwords are often derived from an entire phrase, rather than a single word, and incorporate letters, numbers and special characters. For example, the song lyric "Don't worry; be happy" can be transformed into this password: d0ntwry_Bhpy.
 
#3: Beware of phishing scams. The dangerous thing about phishing scams is they don't rely on weak website or network security. Instead, they attempt to crack the human firewall: you. Phishing scams attempt to obtain personal information or plant a virus or malware on your device by sending a fake email requesting that information, or instructing the recipient to click a link in order to reset their account.
 
Never give out your personal information over the Internet, phone, or via text message unless you know exactly who you are dealing with. If you receive a suspicious email from a business or charity and you're not sure if it's legitimate, close the email, open a new browser, visit their official website and contact them through their customer service. There is often an increase in phishing scam attempts after heavily publicized security breaches (pretending to offer account security) or natural disasters (fake charities), so be especially on guard in those situations.
 
#4: Avoid using public Wi-Fi to Buy. If you frequently shop online, keep in mind that any purchases made via the web require transmitting your credit card and/or bank account information over the Internet. Using a public Wi-Fi connection to do so puts that sensitive information at risk. Hackers can tap into unsecured Wi-Fi connections at hotspots like coffee shops and airport terminals to capture that information. If you're using a wireless connection to shop, be sure that it requires a password or WEP key. Websites that have additional security protections have https:// instead of http:// on all pages of the site.
 
#5: Monitor Your Credit Report. Your credit score affects many aspects of your life, including interest rates on large purchases, obtaining loans, and even renting an apartment. Make sure you check your credit report three times per year (one for each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). You can do so for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com . Watch for unauthorized accounts, loans or purchases because they will damage your credit and signal that your identity may have been stolen. If you find inaccuracies in your report, you can dispute those errors online, by mail or over the phone by contacting the credit bureau where you found the inaccurate report (contact information will be on the report itself).
 
#6: Be careful what you throw away. Dumpster diving doesn't just apply to paper statements and discarded credit cards anymore. Before you recycle or donate old cellphones or computers, be sure to remove any personal and financial information. For computers, the best way to do this is to use a wipe utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive. For mobile devices, check the owner's manual, service provider website, or device manufacturer's website for information on how to permanently delete information. In addition, remove the SIM card from the device.

 

#7: Take Action. If you hear about a data breach or other fraud that might possibly affect your account, be proactive and change any related passwords. This is especially critical if you use the same password on multiple accounts (which you should avoid doing anyway). If you notice suspicious charges on your credit card or transfers from your banking account, contact your bank right away to notify them of the issue. They may put a freeze on the account to prevent further fraud, but this will keep the criminals from emptying your account.

 



Credit, Debit, & ATM Card Skimming

Micro-chip technology promises to provide unparalleled protection wherever and whenever cards equipped with the micro-chip. Security experts are reporting rising amounts of the old scam called "Skimming". Skimming is an illegal collection of personal data from the magnetic stripe of a credit, debit, or ATM card. The data is then used to withdraw monies or make purchases. Full implementation of credit, debit, and ATM cards with micro-chip technology promises to help end card skimming.
 
Protect yourself against the rebirth of an old scam by using the tips:
 
#1 Stick to what you know. Use ATM's that are familiar to you and use your card only with reputable merchants.

#2 Use common sense. Look at the machine. If it looks tampered with or loose to the touch, go to another machine.

#3 Check your balances regularly. Watching your account can stop the criminals sooner.

#4 Report any suspicious activity or unauthorized purchases immediately to your financial institution.

#5 Protect your PIN. Shield the keypad when entering your PIN and DO NOT give your PIN to anyone.
 
'Tis the season for holiday shopping. Creating a holiday budget and sticking to it can help keep you on track. Here are some budgeting tips for the busiest shopping season of the year.
  • Make a List and Check it Twice - Creating an effective holiday budget means including everything you plan to spend. Budget for decorating, new outfits you plan to buy, food estimates, and travel costs alongside the gifts on your expense list. Be sure to include any money you plan to receive, too. Does grandma give you $50 every year like clockwork? Include that in your calculations. Will you be buying a joint gift and then receiving cash from the others going in on it? Include that, too. The best budgets encompass all of the spending and saving you do throughout the holidays, not just how much you spend on gifts. If you're not sure where to start, look up what you spent last year as a good jumping-off point.
  • Keep Track - The most important key to remember with your budget is to not forget about it after you create it. Keep track of all the purchases you make, especially ones made with cash, and adjust your budget if need be. It is a good idea to hold a weekly "reckoning" meeting, especially if you're not the only one making the purchases for the year. Sit down and check your real spending against your planned spending (the budget). If you've gone over in one area, these meetings give you the chance to adjust by lowering the amount set aside for another area to make up the difference. That way you'll keep your overall spending on track.
  • Save your Budget - After the holidays, don't throw away this year's holiday budget. Save it and use it as a model for next year's shopping. Make notes of where you deviated from the original budget, so that next year's is more accurate. You can also use the gift lists from year to year. If you know well in advance what items you want to buy, you can shop for them during the season when they're cheapest, rather than during the holidays.

Setting and sticking with a holiday budget will help you enter the New Year without any added financial stress, making the holidays that much more enjoyable.

 

events PIONEER BANK: UPCOMING EVENTS & OBSERVANCES
Senior Momentum Christmas Party
 

When: Thursday, December 15th

           Lunch served at 12:00 p.m.

 

Where: JS Supper Club

 

Cost: $15.00 per person

 

Sign up with Ronda at the Main Bank 715-532-5551

 

 


  

Monday, December 26th
Bank will be closed


Monday, January 2, 2017
Bank will be closed


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Main Office

200 Miner Avenue West
P.O. Box 169
Ladysmith, WI 54848

 

715.532.5551

715.532.3728 FAX

 

Monday - Thursday

Lobby  |  8:30 - 4:00

Drive Up  |  8:30 - 5:00


Friday

Lobby  |  8:30 - 4:30

Drive Up  |  8:30 - 5:00

 

Saturday

Drive Up   |  8:30 - 12:00
  

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Branch

400 W 9th Street North 
P.O. Box 169
Ladysmith, WI 54848

 

715.532.9949

715.532.9946 FAX

 

Monday - Friday

10:00 - 6:00


Saturday

8:00 - 1:00



     
Remote Deposit Capture Anywhere Anytime
 
Contact us to learn more
 


Pioneer Bank of Wisconsin | 200 W Miner Ave | Ladysmith, WI 54848 | 715.532.5551