What’s the SBA 504 Loan Program?

sba-loansAs a small business owner you may have heard about SBA Small Business Association) loans, but didn’t really know what they were or how they relate to your financing needs.  There are many different kinds of SBA options.  The SBA 504 loan program is one that can help small business owners purchase real estate, equipment, or expand their current facility with low down payment and at a fixed rate.

The SBA 504 program allows small business‘s to purchase fixed assets with a down payment of 10 to 15% (compared to a standard minimum of 20% using conventional bank financing).  The program structures this type of loan the following way:  The bank portion equals 50% of the project, the SBA portion equals 35-40%, and there is a 10-15% down payment required depending on the type of collateral and whether or not it is a start up business.

In addition to the lower down payment requirements, this program also offers fixed rate financing of up to 20 years for the SBA portion of the loan.  As of February 2013, the rate was 4.29%.

The closing costs for the SBA 504 program are higher than traditional bank financing, so it is not appropriate for all situations.  We sit down with prospective borrowers before submitting the SBA loan application to see if it makes sense to pursue.  Feel free to contact me, Patrick France (715.241.0400) or my colleague Sean Strahota (715.359.4231) with any questions regarding the SBA program.

The Polar Plunge – Another Successful Year!

adam-domino-checkThank you to our customers and employees for raising $600 in sponsorship of Adam Domino!  And way to go, Adam for doing the frigid jump.  Together, we all make a difference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 ways to save $100 for America Saves Week

america-saves-weekMoney is like a cake. When you get that delicious dessert, it can be tempting to eat it all at once. But if you do, you’ll end up with a stomachache, that sugarcoated feeling on your teeth, and perhaps most importantly – no cake for later.

Similarly, if you spend all of your money, you’ll probably end up regretting your splurges – and wishing you had some funds sitting in the bank.

Often, savings strategies are obvious – you set a big piece of cake aside, and it’s there waiting for you. But sometimes, it’s the little things that make that cake disappear. I’m reminded of the time my childhood friend Mike held a cake on his lap while we were driving home. He took fingerful after fingerful of frosting – and when we got home, Mike discovered that he had completely defrosted the cake without realizing it.

The following list features both kinds of savings strategies – big ones that work all at once, and little ones that add up over time. All of them can be put into action during America Saves Week, and every single one ensures that you can have your cake and eat it too.

1. Track Your Spending, and Make a Budget

Understanding where your money is going is the best way to start saving, which is why your first step is to make a budget. It might be that, once you make your budget and realize how much you’re spending in certain categories, you can immediately save $100 by making little trims here and there.

2. Pack Your Lunch

One of the keys to saving is developing long-term habits – such as bringing your own lunch to work instead of eating out. If you’re worried you don’t have time, cook something on Sunday and put it in individual Tupperware containers. Start this week, and over the course of a month, you can easily save $100.

3. Check If You’re Being Over-Serviced

It’s easy to “set it and forget it,” paying the same bills every month. This week, take a look at your regular services – are you using all of your cell phone minutes? Do you have more coverage than you need on your car insurance? Are you utilizing any extra cable channels you pay for? If your answer is no to any of these, call your provider, and change your plan.

4. Negotiate Your Bills

Checking for over-servicing isn’t the only way to lower your regular bills. If you’re not paying a promotional rate for services like cable and Internet, you’re paying too much. Call your service provider, and ask if there is any way you can lower your bill. If they don’t automatically say yes, suggest that you’re going to find another provider. Be patient, nice, and firm, and you can get a better rate.

5. Vow to Reuse, Repair, and Repurpose Instead of Buying New

Every time you think about buying something new, ask yourself – do you really need it, or can you make do with something you already have or that you can borrow from a friend?

6. Get to Know Your Credit Card

Visit your credit card company’s website and read the fine print. Many credit cards offer free benefits that are not well publicized. These benefits may include extended warranties, free tickets, price drop protection, extra discounts, concierge services, and cash giveaways. Of course, you should not use a credit card at all if you carry a balance every month. If you can’t control your spending, consider switching over to a cash-only system.

7. Change Your Living Situation

Yes, this is a big change – but it also has big financial rewards. If you have extra space in your house, try renting out a room, either permanently or to travelers using a service like Airbnb. Or, if you live alone, it might be time to get a roommate.

8. Clean Out Your Pantry

Empty your cupboards, see what you have, and plan meals around the ingredients you want to use up. You’ll slash your next grocery bill, and you’ll help ensure that food doesn’t go stale.

9. Create a “Cheap Fun Club” With Friends

If you’re trying to save money, it can be disheartening when friends invite you to things that you don’t want to spend money on. Instead, be proactive, and invite your friends to share in frugal activities with you, such as potlucks, watching movies at home, and board game nights.

10. Sell Your Stuff

Taking the time to declutter your house and sell your extra stuff has multiple benefits. Not only can you make money getting rid of your old items, but you might also discover other useful things you had forgotten about.

How are you planning to save money for America Saves Week?

By Meg Favreau, Senior Editor of personal finance blog Wise Bread.

FDIC Notice of Expiration: Full Insurance Coverage for Noninterest-Bearing Transaction Accounts

By federal law, beginning January 1, 2013, funds deposited in a noninterest-bearing transaction account (including an Interest on Lawyer Trust Account) no longer will receive unlimited deposit insurance coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Beginning January 1, 2013, all of a depositor’s accounts at an insured depository institution, including all noninterest-bearing transaction accounts, will be insured by the FDIC up to the standard maximum deposit insurance amount ($250,000), for each deposit insurance ownership category.

 

For more information about FDIC insurance coverage of noninterest-bearing transaction accounts, visit http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/unlimited/expiration.html

Help stock area food pantries

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to reflect on how fortunate many of us are to have a warm home, food on the table and ample clothing on those cold winter days.  Sadly, there are many people in our community in need of these most basic of necessities. 

In the spirit of “It is better to give than to receive” Intercity will be making and accepting donations for the Women’s Community and Neighbor’s Place food pantries.  You can drop off your canned or non-perishable items at any of our three locations during the month of November and December. Please help us help those in need.  

 

Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce Small Business Week is April 23 – 27, 2012

This is an exciting week of activities for the Chamber of Commerce.  I encourage all of you that are involved in a local business to take part and enjoy the programming offered.  Between the Small Business of the Year Awards Breakfast and Luncheon, the Business EXPO at the Patriot Center followed by the largest PM get together of the year, a Legislators Lunch and a quality panel discussion about Innovation, there is plenty of opportunity to meet new people through networking opportunities, learn and tell the story of your particular company.  As this year’s Chamber Board Chairman, I am proud of the work the staff has done to prepare for these events and look forward to seeing you there. 

If you have never been to the Small Business EXPO (boasting around 200 exhibitors in 2011), you may find yourself a bit overwhelmed upon arrival.  Here are a few tips to maximize your Small Business EXPO experience:

1. Make sure to bring 50 business cards.  Exhibitors often collect them for giveaways and you will likely meet at least 10 new people while walking around the booths.  

2. Upon your arrival, take a look at the exhibitor map and circle any businesses that could be potential clients, customers or partners.  Be sure to visit those booths first.

3. Follow-up with new contacts at the Business PM (social hour following the EXPO) and introduce yourself to as many people as possible.  The people in the “red coats” are Chamber Ambassadors and they want to help you connect.  So, find one of them, explain who you’d like to meet and see who you meet!

4. After the EXPO is over, take 20 minutes to make a list of new contacts you’d like to follow-up with.  Invite them to connect via LinkedIn, or an old-fashioned cup of coffee. Then, be sure to follow-through in the coming weeks.

For more details regarding Small Business Week, go to the Chamber website www.wausauchamber.com or call the office at 715-845-6231.

Refinancing – what’s involved?

Many of you have probably heard through the media or through friends and family that mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. While refinancing may not be an option for everyone, you may be asking yourself if it would be worthwhile to refinance your mortgage and wondering what steps need to be taken.

The general rule of thumb has been that if you can lower your interest rate by 1% it makes sense to refinance. When deciding whether or not to refinance, you should consider how many months of lower payments it will take to recoup the closing costs. If you’re not sure, you can contact any of the lenders at Intercity and we would be happy to review your options with you.

If you decide you want to refinance, here are the pieces of information your lender will need to start the process:

1. New loan application: Even though you already have a mortgage, you will need to complete a totally new loan application for the refinancing. You can get this form from your lender.

2. Verify income: To verify income, we will need one month of current paystubs and the last two years of your W-2s and Federal tax returns. (If you are self-employed, we will need the last three years of tax returns.)

3. Property Appraisal: As the real estate market has been fluctuating, a new appraisal of your property will need to be done to determine the current market value of your home.

Once the appraisal is completed and the income information has been documented, the refinance is ready to be approved (provided you have approved credit). There are many factors that are taken into consideration when approving a fixed-rate mortgage. Your credit score, loan-to-value and debt-to-income ratios are all factors that will determine eligibility.

Once the underwriter has received all the required information, it is reviewed and deemed eligible for a fixed-rate mortgage. Currently, refinancing a mortgage takes 2-3 weeks to complete. The bottom line is that if you qualify for refinancing, the savings on your mortgage can be significant!

What’s the value of a community bank?

Most Americans choose to bank at either a large national bank or at a local community bank. But, what’s the difference? Although the large national banks can offer a lot, community banks offer you just as many great products and services, plus the personalized local touch. When you choose a community bank like Intercity State Bank, it’s a win-win for you and the community, and here are five reasons why:

    Reason #1. We are a safe and financially sound home for your deposits. Our long-standing history of stability and integrity can be told through generations of families in our area.

    Reason #2. We are your neighbors, friends, and business associates, and we care about our quality of life and what happens here in north central Wisconsin. That’s why we put our money to work in the form of local loans, helping to create area jobs and grow our home towns.

    Reason #3. When you do business with us, you begin a lifelong relationship with bankers looking out for your best interests. We help people reach their goals, from buying your first home or car, to launching a new business into reality. If you’ve ever applied for a loan, you know that it’s easier to work with someone you know.

    Reason #4. We share the same values and concerns as the community members we serve. When we aren’t at the bank, we are serving in our schools, churches and other community organizations.

    Reason #5. We are generally very responsive, experienced, flexible and competent. When you are working face-to-face with real people versus automated phone receptionists, it’s easy to get things done.

If you’ve never experienced the value of a community bank, we’d love to introduce you to Intercity. Give us a call or stop in to learn more.