Tag Archives: Community Banks

The Midstate Bulletin Board Blog: Finances and Fiancees

It has been an exciting month for us at (what is now) Midstate Community Bank, with the most exciting being our recent name change. However, we aren’t the only ones that are going through a name change this time of year because it is also the season for weddings.

Anyone that has ever been married knows that decisions are the name of the game, from the time you decide to tie the knot, to where to hold the ceremony, to where the honeymoon will be. While this may involve some stress, there are other decisions that are often more difficult to have and can impact both the short-term and long-term success of a couple. For example, a discussion of finances.

A recent survey indicates that 53% of couples discuss the issue of money and debt before they get engaged, while 37% do it at some point after. However, an amazing 11% never have the conversation. For those that want and need to discuss their financial situation, the survey also suggests some initial questions for couples to start with in order to break the ice on the topic:

  • Should we combine assets or keep them separate?
  • Should we maintain a joint or separate bank account?
  • What are our joint financial goals?
  • What if an illness or injury prevents one of us from working?
  • What is our budget?

At Midstate, we have a number of couples that are customers, and are proud to assist them in way we can in making changes involving their accounts. However, we do suggest having an open and honest conversation prior to coming into the branch so everyone can be on the same page and we can help be a small part in what we hope will be a long-lasting relationship.

Customers of Midstate Community Bank all know about our famous bulletin board, where local and industry news is shared. This blog will serve as our virtual bulletin board, so you can keep up when you don’t have a chance to visit us at the bank. You can also visit us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Midstate Bulletin Board Blog: Teaching Financial Literacy During the Summer

School is out for summer, and on behalf of the entire Midstate staff, we wanted to congratulate all the students throughout Baltimore on the completion of another year of school (no matter which year it is).

Now, while children think that summer is the perfect time to try to forget everything they learned throughout the year, it is the parents’ job to not only prevent that, but maybe even try to teach them something new. As a community bank, we are always looking to help, so we suggest a topic that will offer real-world experience: Financial Literacy.

To start, here are some ideas on how you can implement in your house, broken down by different age groups:

Kindergarten-6th Grade: Teaching financial literacy can start before they know what either of those two words mean. During the school year, it may be tough to get kids this age to do chores consistently, but during the summer it is different. Make their allowance dependent on successfully and consistently completing required tasks, and perhaps add a summer-long project to the list as well (organizing the pantry, cleaning out a closet, etc.).

7th Grade-9th Grade: Once in middle school, it is key to incorporate a new level of responsibility, as well as communications component. Ask family, friends and neighbors if they need any extra help that “young legs” would be useful at. It may be easy for a young person to argue about work at home, but when it is someone else, the feeling of responsibility kicks in. However, you should not offer it as “free” labor. A key part of financial literacy is understanding worth, and therefore, they should be compensated relatively fairly for their work.

10th Grade-12th Grade: Once someone reaches the legal working age, a part-time job is the perfect next step to learning about finances, but additionally, working as a teenager can help determine the basic profile of the type of work your child might is good at (and may want to consider as a full-time job). Do they like to work inside or outside? With a team or alone? During the morning or evening? All of these can help put a path towards a career. Once they start getting an official paycheck, give them tips on how they should divide it up. Discuss a potential “goal” purchase they need to work towards and how they can save responsibility for it. This the part we can help with. Bring them with you to the bank to understand the different types of accounts they can explore.

College age: At this stage of their life, they have either been (or craved) independence, so on top of working at a job, give them more advanced responsibilities around they house that would help improve that skill set. Assign them the duty of buying and cooking dinner for the family one night or organizing a family event with a budget. This is the perfect method to have them implement everything they have learned.

These are just a few tips on how you can keep your son or daughter focused outside of the classroom. Not all are appropriate for every family, but one thing that should be universal is that managing money is a learned skill, and the sooner you can teach your child the essentials, the more prepared they will be to handle the responsibility.

Customers of the Midstate Federal Savings and Loan Association all know about our famous bulletin board, where local and industry news is shared. This blog will serve as our virtual bulletin board, so you can keep up when you don’t have a chance to visit us at the bank. You can also visit us on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Midstate Bulletin Board Blog: March 22, 1950

March 22, 1950. Why is that day so important?

Well, just a few days earlier, the Periodic Table’s 98th element was founded at University of California at Berkley (they named it Californium); the first Volkswagen Type 2 rolled off the assembly line (we know it better as the Volkswagen Bus); and the Diner’s Club Card was used for the first time (known in the credit card industry as the “first supper”).

But on that day, a young woman named Kitty Gerling first started at a community bank in Baltimore that had been around since 1884.

62 years later:

  • There are now 118 elements on the Periodic Table.
  • The Volkswagen Bus is considered a cult classic (to the point that if you see one – whether it is in a driveway or on a highway – you point it out to whomever you are with).
  • Diner’s Club International is now in 200 countries and 70 different currencies.

And, Kitty Gerling, affectionately called Miss Kitty by all that know her, is still with Midstate Federal (now in its 129th year), and celebrating her anniversary with a beautiful cake.

Miss Kitty’s anniversary brings up a larger point about the efforts of community banks. A bank like Midstate, which has been dedicated to linking itself to the Baltimore community since it first opened, doesn’t just talk about being part of the community. It is an institution that understands that being part of the community mandates certain responsibilities, such as continuity. Larger banks may do it through a mascot or spokesperson. Midstate chooses to do it via someone that has worked at every level of the bank and has first-hand stories to share of its history.

62 years. Things in the world have changed quite a bit, but at Midstate Federal, while the bank has evolved, there continues to be a level of consistency that very few organizations (much less banks) can offer its customers. We are proud that Miss Kitty continues to be part of our institution because she, in fact, is an institution herself.

Customers of the Midstate Federal Savings and Loan Association all know about our famous bulletin board, where local and industry news is shared. This blog will serve as our virtual bulletin board, so you can keep up when you don’t have a chance to visit us at the bank.

The Midstate Bulletin Board Blog: Turning America Saves Week into America Saves Year

February 19th kicked off America Saves Week for 2012, a national campaign to encourage individuals and families to save money and build personal wealth by providing free financial tools, savings services, advice and resources that help Americans from every income level take the steps needed to take charge of their finances and manage money more effectively.

The quote on the AmericaSaves.org website, the organization that is the catalyst for this annual event, that best states why this is such an important cause is:

“By inspiring a strong savings ethic in people, we can improve the financial health of our schools and businesses, our communities, and our nation.”

This initiative, and others like it such as the Feed the Pig initiative spurred by American Institute of CPAs (and their complementary Benjamin Bankes Facebook page), have the ability to educate on a broad level, but that alone can’t influence the change that needs to happen for Americans to be as prepared as they need to be financially.

Initiatives like this won’t be successful without participation from entities at the local level that individuals trust. For example, as a community bank, we see it as our goal to take the idea of teaching personal savings to the next level. Yes, we offer broad advice on saving and investing, both in person at our branch and our sites and pages online. However, because we have been located in Baltimore for more than 125 years, we know how to customize it for the residents of this great city. We know how our customers think as well as what makes sense and what doesn’t. We can give specific ideas that are practical based on everything from age to savings criteria to help you plan your savings strategy for the other 51 weeks of the year.

Customers of the Midstate Federal Savings and Loan Association all know about our famous bulletin board, where local and industry news is shared. This blog will serve as our virtual bulletin board, so you can keep up when you don’t have a chance to visit us at the bank.