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September , 2013 - Come Join Kids Club!

Kids Club Savings is a fun way to teach kids the value of saving money at an early age. Benefits of a Kids Club Savings account include:

  • An ID card and Coin bag will be provided when the account is opened.
  • A Birthday card with a $.50 piece will be sent every year.
  • Semi-annual newsletter.
  • A stamp card will be provided. Kids will receive a punch with every $10 deposit. Once the card is filled, the card can be turned in for prizes.

Want to know more - click here!

Your Back-to-School Shopping Game Plan
August 2012

August has arrived, and with it, the start of another school year. Start your back-to-school shopping with a game plan to save at the checkout line, and use the opportunity to teach your children about the importance of saving.

Make a list and get your child involved. Use the recommended or required supplies from your child's school or teacher as a starting point. Sit down with your child and go over your list together. You'll be teaching your child how to get organized, a skill that applies to more than shopping.

Take inventory. Once your list is complete, take some time to search your home office for items you already have. Take an inventory of the supplies you have on hand, and plan to reuse items that are still in good condition. Check those items off your list.

Determine a budget and separate wants from needs. Most school supplies don't go out of style -- but as any parent with last year's superhero notebook knows, beware of the power of trends. Rather than just trying to talk your child out of the more expensive items, set an overall budget for supplies and help your child figure out how to fit items in. It will help him or her set priorities, learn how to manage money and start saving allowance for the items your budget won't allow.

Buy basics in bulk. Basic items such as paper, pencils, glue sticks and notebooks are often sold in bulk at discounted prices. Consider going in with a group of other parents to split the cost and divide up the items. Or, if you have items left over, set up a supply shelf or storage container at home that can be used all year to avoid late-night shopping trips to buy notebook paper when your child runs out. Plus, you'll know where to find unused items when it comes time to shop for supplies next year.

Search for quality used items. You may be able to find great deals on clothing items, backpacks and other supplies at consignment stores or garage sales. Taking time to find quality used items can pay off when you find the items you need at a fraction of the price.

Watch for savings. Some discount office supply stores offer free shipping on online orders. Scour the weekly ads to find the best prices on supplies. If the store where you're shopping charges more, ask the sales clerks to match its competitor. Some stores that don't advertise price matching will still do it.

Shop end-of-summer sales. Kids wear some clothes, such as short-sleeve polo shirts, all year long. Hit the big end-of-summer sales, and snatch up discounted items that can be worn well into fall.

Figure out when quality counts. Leaky pens will cost you more in ruined clothes than some more expensive varieties. In the event that a strap or zipper breaks, a backpack with a warranty might be a good investment, even if it costs more. Read online reviews to determine when it's worth paying a little extra.

Plan now for next year. Some schools send a back-to-school list home with kids on the last day of school so parents can shop for the best bargains. If your school doesn't do this, get together with other parents or your parent organization and talk to administrators about how you can help your school put together a list earlier next year.

Five Money Tips for the Graduate
May 15, 2012

Graduation season is here, and whether you're graduating from high school or college, there has never been a better time to prepare for your financial future. To get the class of 2012 started on the right foot, here are five tips every graduate should consider.
1. Save now. As you prepare to enter college or the workforce, saving is more important than ever. If you receive some extra cash as graduation gifts, stash it away in an interest-bearing savings account or CD at your local bank. Start by saving enough money to create an emergency fund for unexpected expenses such as major auto repairs. If you have a job, have a portion of your paycheck automatically deducted to a retirement plan or savings account so you won't be tempted to spend that amount. Many employers offer retirement savings plans -- and some will even match a portion of the dollars you contribute. This is free money you won't want to pass up!
2. Create a spending plan. Creating your own spending plan -- commonly known as a budget -- is the best way to make sure you don't spend more than you earn. Track your expenses and compare the total to your income; then develop a realistic spending plan that works for you. Your spending plan will include fixed costs that are the same each month (rent, utilities, student loan payments and saving for retirement). The rest of your income is considered discretionary, and you control how that money is spent. After a few months of tracking your spending, you may discover that you need to cut back on things such as magazine subscriptions, fitness memberships, fast food, cable television, pizza delivery or dining out at restaurants.
3. Understand student loans. If you have student loans or plan to take them out, be aware that they come with a variety of features and repayment options. It's smart to understand the details of your loan agreements so you know when you have to start making payments, how much your interest rate and payment rates will be, what consolidation options exist and what to do if you get in a bind and can't make your payments.
4. Maintain a good credit history. Your credit history is important to obtaining future credit to buy a house, car or other major purchase. To maintain a positive credit history, be sure to pay all of your bills on time -- this includes your student loans, credit cards, utilities, cell phone and other bills. Curious about your credit history? Federal law allows you to obtain free copies of your credit reports every 12 months by visiting the official website at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. Review you credit reports carefully, and if you find errors or notice any suspicious activity, be sure to contact the credit reporting agency immediately.
5. Share living expenses longer. College students and those just out of college often get the itch to find an apartment and live on their own. But once the utility bills start rolling in along with monthly rent, many find themselves stretched too thin. Instead, consider finding a roommate or two to help share monthly living expenses. If living at home is an option for you, it can also be a great way to save money. You don't want to overstay your welcome, but even living at home for a year after graduation can help you save enough money to buy a car, make a down payment on a house or build an emergency fund.

Avoid a Tax Scheme Targeting Senior Citizens
March 6, 2012

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently warned senior citizens and other taxpayers to beware of an emerging scheme tempting them to file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds.

The scheme carries a common theme of promising refunds to people who have little or no income and normally don’t have a tax-filing requirement. Promoters claim they can obtain for their victims a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus payment based on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, even if the victim was not enrolled in or paying for college.

Typically, con artists falsely claim that refunds are available even if the victim went to school decades ago. In many cases, scammers are targeting seniors, people with very low incomes and members of church congregations with bogus promises of free money. The IRS has also seen a variation of this scheme that incorrectly claims the college credit is available to compensate people for paying taxes on groceries.

The IRS has already detected and stopped thousands of these fraudulent claims. Nevertheless, the scheme can still be quite costly for victims. Promoters may charge exorbitant upfront fees to file these claims and are often long gone when victims discover they’ve been scammed. The IRS is reminding people to be careful because all taxpayers, including those who use paid tax preparers, are legally responsible for the accuracy of their returns and must repay any refunds received in error.

To avoid falling victim to this scheme, the IRS says taxpayers should beware of any of the following:
• Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on false statements of entitlement to tax credits.
• Unfamiliar for-profit tax services selling refund and credit schemes to the membership of local churches.
• Internet solicitations that direct individuals to toll-free numbers and then solicit social security numbers.
• Homemade flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility.
• Offers of free money with no documentation required.
• Promises of refunds for “Low Income – No Documents Tax Returns.”
• Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or for economic stimulus payments.
• Unsolicited offers to prepare a return and split the refund.
• Unfamiliar return preparation firms soliciting business from cities outside of the normal business or commuting area.



Aug 17, 2010 - Security Alert

First Bank has learned that criminals have launched a major e-mail campaign to deploy the infamous ZeuS Trojan e-mail, which will send spam messages disguised as fraud alerts from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Twitter account hijack warnings, or salacious Youtube.com videos. The fraudulent IRS e-mail message uses the verbiage "Notice of Underreported Income" as the Subject Line and encourages the recipient to click a hyperlink to review their tax statement. All of the latest e-mails use a variety of URL shortening services.

As the internet grows and used more for business and banking activities, the attempts to gain customer information will also grow.

During First Bank's website renovation we added a Customer Security section that will help keep you informed of such attacks. Feel free to visit our Ways To Protect Yourself page on our website. It is full of useful tips on how you can decrease the risk of your information being compromised.

We also strongly recommend that you use an up-to-date antivirus, antispam, and antispyware program.

Feel free to contact us with any comments or questions by emailing us at contactus@firstbankdm.com or giving us a call at (515) 225-2641.

Aug 29, 2007 - First Bank introduces E-Statements

First Bank has expanded its banking services and is excited to introduce Electronic Statements (E-Statements). Customers can now utilize the convenience and efficiency of the internet by using E-Statements in their own home. Once enrolled, customers will receive an email notification when their statements are ready. By simply accessing First Bank’s online banking customers will be able to view their E-Statement. For more information and to sign up, download the Electronic Bank Statement Consent and Agreement Form and return it to First Bank to begin receiving E-Statements! For the form, click here.

June 20, 2007 - HSA's Now Available

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a tax-deferred investment account used in conjunction with a qualified high deductible health plan. It is an arrangement that allows earnings and deductible contributions to grow tax-deferred.

You are an eligible individual and may make or receive an HSA regular contribution if, with respect to any month, you:

  • Are covered under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) on the first day of such month;
  • Are not covered by any other type of health plan that is not an HDHP (with certain exceptions for plans providing preventative care and limited types of permitted insurance and permitted coverage);
  • Are not enrolled in Medicare Part A or Part B; and
  • May not be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.

If you want more information about HSA's, please click here.