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Rent or Buy? 5 Questions Consumers Should Ask First.

house2As a part of American Housing Month this June, the American Bankers Association reminded consumers that their local banker can help navigate challenges associated with choosing a home, including deciding what is affordable and whether to rent or buy.

“Bankers understand the dynamics of their local housing markets in a way that can benefit their customers,” said Frank Keating, ABA president and CEO. “They can help customers understand available housing options in the context of their individual financial situations and long-term financial goals.”

Before pursuing a rental or homeownership opportunity, ABA recommended consumers consider the following questions:

How much money do you have saved up?
Start with an evaluation of your financial health. Figure out how much money you have for a down payment or deposit on a rental. Down payments are typically 5 to 20 percent of the price of the home. Security deposits on rentals are usually about one month of rent and more if you have a pet. But be sure to keep enough in savings for an emergency fund. It’s a good idea to have three to six months of living expenses to cover unexpected costs.

How much debt do you have?
Consider all of your current and expected financial obligations like your car payment and insurance, credit card debt and student loans. Make sure you will be able to make all the payments in addition to the cost of your new home. Aim to keep total rent or mortgage payments plus utilities to less than 25 to 30 percent of your gross monthly income. Recent regulatory changes limit debt to income (DTI) ratio on most mortgage loans to 43 percent.

What is your credit score?
A high credit score indicates strong creditworthiness. Both renters and homebuyers can expect to have their credit history examined. A low credit score can keep you from qualifying for the rental you want or a low interest rate on your mortgage loan. If your credit score is low, you may want to delay moving and take steps to raise your score. For tips on improving your credit score, visit aba.com/consumers.

Have you factored in all the costs?
Create a hypothetical budget for your new home. Find the average cost of utilities in your area, factor in gas, electricity, water and cable. Find out if you will have to pay for parking or trash pickup. Consider the cost of yard maintenance and other basic maintenance costs like replacing the air filter every three months. If you are planning to buy a home, factor in real estate taxes, mortgage insurance and possibly a home owner association fee. Renters should consider the cost of rental insurance.

How long will you stay?
Generally, the longer you plan to live someplace, the more it makes sense to buy. Over time, you can build equity in your home. On the other hand, renters have greater flexibility to move and fewer maintenance costs. Carefully consider your current life and work situation and think about how long you want to stay in your new home.

For more consumer tips, visit aba.com/consumers.

Make it a movie night!

movienightThe weather is warm and the summer blockbusters are hitting at a theater near you! Before you go, be sure to enter our prize drawing to win a night at the movies.

Each week in June we’ll be giving away $40 gift cards to use at Digiplex Destinations at Lisbon Landing. A drawing for each branch will be held every Friday with the last drawing on June 27th.

Download an entry form and return it to any of our branch locations.

Winners will be notified by phone. Limit one pack per household. Employees of Jewett City Savings Bank and members of their immediate family or household are not eligible. No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win this drawing. The winner does not have to be a Jewett City Savings Bank customer. Visit www.jcsbank.com/drawingrules for complete rules and additional important information.

Blocked ATM and Debit Card Transactions

We may block or limit the types of transactions processed using debit cards in response to alerts of excessive fraudulent activity.  We take these precautions to protect our customers and the funds in their accounts from potential fraud.  Information regarding these transaction limitations is provided below.

If you are traveling abroad, please be advised that we block all ATM and debit card transactions initiated in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, CubaFrance, IndiaLibya, Malta, Nigeria, North Korea, and Romania.  In Great Britain and Saudi Arabia, we are currently blocking signature-based and Internet debit card transactions. You will be able to process PIN-based transactions with your ATM or debit card.

We also block signature-based debit card transactions in the states of California, Illinois, Nevada and Tennessee.  In California and Illinois, we are also blocking PIN-based transactions initiated in discount stores, grocery stores and supermarkets.

You will be unable to use your debit card for Internet-based transactions in Albania, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Philippines, Singapore, Slovenia, and Vietnam.

If you suspect there may be fraudulent activity on your account, you must notify the bank immediately.

To report a lost or stolen ATM or debit card, contact the bank as soon as you become aware that your card is missing.  You may contact any branch office during business hours or call HOT CARD Lost & Stolen Services at 1-800-264-5578 after business hours.

You can learn more about protecting your card or reporting fraudulent transactions by visiting the Federal Trade Commission website.

You could win $1,000!

worries-landing-page-hdr-960x230

 

During June and July, you’ll be entered to WIN $1,000 every time you make 3 online bill payments.

worries-sign-up-buttonSign up or login to your online account, pay your bills, and you’ll receive one entry into the sweepstakes with every 3 online bill payments that you make.

worries-login-buttonBy paying your bills online, you never have to worry about paying your bills on time again.

  • Set up individual and business payees easily and quickly.
  • Simply and securely track and manage your finances all in one place through your Online Banking account.
  • View and schedule your online bill payments in advance or on a recurring schedule for added convenience.
  • Set up payment reminders to help keep track of when your payments are due.

Pay bills through your Online Banking account 6/1 – 7/31/14 and you are automatically entered to win $1,000. The more bills you pay, the more chances you have to win!

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Click here for complete rules and additional important information, including how to enter without using online bill payment.

Fraud Alert: Telephone Scam Reported 5/16/2014

We have learned of a telephone scam that is being directed at bank customers.  The automated call informs the person that their debit card has been “suspended” and to enter their 16-digit card number to reactivate the card.  If you receive a call like this, you should hang up immediately.  Do not provide any information.  If you received a call and provided your debit card number or other identifying account information, IMMEDIATELY call a branch office near you for assistance during business hours.  After business hours, notify our HOT CARD Lost & Stolen Service at 1-800-264-5578.

We want to take this opportunity to remind consumers that a bank will never ask you to provide your account information using automated telephone messages, text messages, or email messages.  If you receive a telephone call, text, or email message claiming to be from your bank and asking you to provide personal or account information, do not respond to the text message, do not call any telephone number provided, and do not click on any website link provided in an email.

Criminals use telephone scams (pretexting), text messages (SMiShing), and email messages (phishing) to attempt to get consumers to divulge account numbers, debit and credit card numbers, and other personal confidential information. They use scare tactics to convince consumers that their bank account, credit card or debit card have been frozen or suspended and they must provide the information to reactivate their account or card.  Never respond to the messages or use the telephone numbers or website links provided in the messages. When there is a question about your account information, you should always contact the bank directly at a telephone number or website that you know to be legitimate (from a statement or receipt).

You can learn more about pretexting and phishing from the Federal Trade Commission. If you received a telephone call or text message, you can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTCcomplaintassistant.gov.

Couture Joins Lending Team at Jewett City Savings Bank

Bill_CoutureWilliam “Bill” R. Couture has joined the commercial lending team at Jewett City Savings Bank as a small business lender. In his new position, Couture will be responsible for developing and maintaining banking relationships with existing and emerging businesses in communities served by the Bank.

Couture brings more than 10 years of financial services experience to his new position. Before joining Jewett City Savings Bank, he served as a commercial credit analyst with Savings Institute Bank & Trust in Willimantic. Prior to that, Couture was a financial services manager with various commercial lending and business development responsibilities for People’s United Bank. He also managed several branch locations in both Windham and New London counties while in that position.

A native of Jewett City, Couture is a graduate of Griswold High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Central Connecticut State University and an MBA from the University of New Haven, where he was also in the Emerging Leaders Program. He is a Notary Public and holds a Series 6/63 investment license and a State of Connecticut life insurance license.

Active in the industry and in the community, Couture is a member of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, the Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, the Putnam Business Association, the Plainfield Business Association, and the Norwich Property Owner’s Association.

He has also held membership with Business Networking International and the New London Rotary Club. He has served as a market coordinator for United Way and as a volunteer with CT TRIAD and The Last Green Valley.

Couture’s other interests include property management, snowboarding, golfing, the New England Patriots, and drumming. He resides in Moosup with his wife, Kim, a Canterbury native.

He is located at the Bank’s main office in Jewett City.

Faulise, Desaulnier are new Corporators at Jewett City Savings Bank

CorporatorsJohn U. Faulise, Jr. of Griswold and Matthew S. Desaulnier of Danielson were elected as corporators of Jewett City Savings Bank at the 141st Annual Meeting of Corporators held on March 25.

“John and Matt each share Jewett City Savings Bank’s commitment to the community, and they have each devoted considerable time and talent to organizations that help local businesses, residents and neighborhoods enjoy a better quality of life,” said Kevin Merchant, the Bank’s president and CEO.

“We know they will represent us well as our ambassadors out in the community.”

John U. Faulise, Jr.
Faulise is a licensed land surveyor and owner and principal of Boundaries L.L.C., a professional land surveying and civil engineering firm located in Griswold.

A Griswold native, Faulise served as an MP in the U.S. Army Reserves and is a former member and officer of the Griswold Volunteer Fire Department. He has been an active member of the community throughout his career, from coaching Little League, football and basketball youth sports programs to volunteer service with numerous civic organizations.

He is a long-standing member of the Griswold School Building Committee and was recently named the Griswold Public Schools Volunteer of the Year. He also serves as a member of the Uncas Health District board of directors, as a firm member of the Connecticut Association of Land Surveyors, and as a member of the Sheldon Road Recreational Field Committee and the Democratic Town Committee.

Matthew S. Desaulnier
Desaulnier is president of Gerardi Insurance Services in Putnam. He joined the company in 1996 as an account executive of insurance sales, and rose through positions including vice president and sales manager to become president of the firm in 2008.

Following his graduation from Killingly High School, Desaulnier earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Bryant University in Smithfield, RI. He holds designations as a Certified Insurance Counselor and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter.

Desaulnier is a member of the board of directors and past president of the Northeastern CT Chamber of Commerce and board member and past president of Westcott Wilcox Elderly Residential Housing.

He is head coach of Boys Varsity Basketball at St. James School and chair of the Killingly Holiday Lighting Committee.

ALERT: Blocked ATM and Debit Card Transactions

As of April 10, 2014 we are blocking all ATM and debit card transactions initiated in Malta due to reported fraudulent activity.

If you are traveling abroad, please be advised that we also block all ATM and debit card transactions initiated in India, France, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cuba, Libya, Nigeria, North KoreaRomania and Brazil.  In Great Britain and Saudi Arabia, we are currently blocking signature-based and Internet debit card transactions. You will be able to process PIN-based transactions with your ATM or debit card in Great Britain and Saudi Arabia.

We also block signature-based debit card transactions in the states of California, Illinois, Nevada and Tennessee.  In California and Illinois, we also block all transactions initiated in discount stores, grocery stores and supermarkets.

If you conduct web-based transactions, such as online purchases, please be advised that we are blocking all such transactions initiated in Albania, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Philippines, Singapore, Slovenia and Vietnam.

If you suspect there may be fraudulent activity on your account, you must notify the bank immediately.

To report a lost or stolen ATM or debit card, contact the bank as soon as you become aware that your card is missing.  You may contact any branch office during business hours or call HOT CARD Lost & Stolen Services at 1-800-264-5578 after business hours.

You can learn more about protecting your card or reporting fraudulent transactions by visiting the Federal Trade Commission website.

Burke retires, Thevenet elected to Board of Directors at Jewett City Savings Bank

At the 141st Annual Meeting of Corporators of Jewett City Savings Bank held on March 25, Robert James “Jim” Thevenet of Voluntown was elected to the Board of Directors, filling a vacancy left by the retirement of Vice Chairman John “Jack” Burke, who had served on the Board for the past 12 years.

Robert James Thevenet
Jim_ThevenetThevenet is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP) currently registered as an investment adviser representative and licensed agent through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. He also holds the designations of Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Life Underwriter, and Certified Insurance Consultant in the State of Connecticut.

He began his career in finance in 1986 with Marine Midland Bank in New York City, and was soon promoted to vice president and manager of off-balance sheet trading. In 1990, he joined MW Marshall as currency and interest rate specialist, working as an institutional broker of interest rates, currency swaps, and options in offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

To provide a more stable and traditional home life for his family, Thevenet relocated to his mother’s hometown of Voluntown in 1995. He accepted a position as a commission stock broker with Paine Webber in Norwich and later with UBS Financial Services, Inc. in New London, where he managed retail and business brokerage clients for eight years.

In 2005, he became an investment advisor representative and licensed agent through New York Life Insurance Company in Windsor until accepting his current position in 2011.

In establishing roots in the Voluntown community, Thevenet became a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with the Voluntown Community Ambulance service. He also served two terms on the Voluntown Board of Education. It was during his tenure that the plans for modernizing and expanding the school facility were completed, making the school a source of community pride.

“Jim Thevenet’s knowledge and experience in finance, capital markets, financial planning and business management make him uniquely qualified to serve as a director of Jewett City Savings Bank,” said Kevin Merchant, president and CEO.

“His level of expertise in the areas of finance and investments will reflect favorably on the Board of Directors and the Bank with respect to regulatory oversight. And, with his deep appreciation for the hometown environment, Jim will be a staunch supporter of the community bank model and a dedicated representative of Jewett City Savings Bank,” Merchant added.

John “Jack” Burke
With his election at the Annual Meeting, Thevenet replaces retiring Director John “Jack” Burke.

A Dayville resident, Burke joined Jewett City Savings Bank as a corporator in 1998, and was elected to the Board of Directors in March 2002. He has served as vice chairman of the Board since 2008.

During his 12 years of service as a director, he was a member of numerous committees, and had chaired the Salary & Benefits Committee and the Nominating Committee for several years.

He also enjoyed membership on committees including Bylaws, Community Reinvestment Act, Long Range Planning, Investment, Pension, Executive and Foundation Grants during his tenure.

“Jack played a significant role on our governance team for many years, and made valuable contributions to help ensure the continued success of our Bank,” said Merchant. “His presence will certainly be missed, and we thank him sincerely for his many years of service.”

Our 2013 Annual Report – A “yearbook” edition!

Layout 1The 2013 Jewett City Savings Bank Annual Report takes the form of a school yearbook — a fitting addition to the popular Lessons in Hometown Banking theme used throughout our recent marketing campaign.

The Annual Report also celebrates the Bank’s 140 years of service to local residents and businesses, as well as its commitment to the community throughout its long history.

The 2013 “yearbook” includes Milestones and Memories, a Letter from the Principal (President & CEO Kevin C. Merchant), Math (2013 financials), Clubs and Activities (community involvement), and, of course, our Classmates.

Copies of the report are free, and available at all Jewett City Savings Bank locations while supplies last. The report is also available online here.