On Our Minds

Cryptocurrency Becoming Less Cryptic

The creation of cryptocurrencies or digital currencies such as Bitcoin has bankers, financiers and governments pondering the long-term potential economic and political ramifications for the future. While the increasing use of digital currencies demonstrates the power of a secure, secretive payment transfer system, it also has created a loophole from government control.

More

Federal Spending Strengthens U.S. Dollar

The S&P 500 Index grew 5.8% in the first quarter in response to the massive fiscal stimulus and the anticipation of a significant economic rebound. The recent passage of the $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package added to the previous five major stimulus bills totaling over $5.2 trillion. Lawmakers as well as the Federal Reserve have responded dramatically to the COVID pandemic flooding the market with liquidity and the markets responded positively. The COVID-relief money flooding into depository institutions is being used for consumption and investment and helping corporate earnings rebound quickly.

More

Look Out for Scammers During Tax Season

When checking your inbox this time of year, you may receive an email purportedly from the Internal Revenue Service. The subject line gets your attention with words such as “coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and "Stimulus,” and the email seems real, with the IRS logo and other official-looking text and graphics.

More

“Funny Money” No Laughing Matter

iTestCash is a company dedicated to helping big and small businesses throughout the U.S. and abroad. Its CEO, Alex Reichmann, comes from a family that has spent their lives focused on the protection of people’s money. His grandfather’s company invented the counterfeit detector pen that many banks and retail businesses use to identify counterfeit bills.

More

Economic recovery is underway

With the completion of the fourth quarter of 2020 corporate earnings releases, investors are monitoring daily COVID headlines, rising interest rates, and the potential for a new stimulus program. Corporate earnings were mostly better than expected and guidance for the year ahead was surprisingly strong.

More

Avoid Corporate Account Takeover

Cybercriminals are targeting small businesses with increasingly sophisticated attacks. “Corporate account takeover” is a form of identity theft of a business. Criminals phony emails pretending to be someone you know to trick you into clicking on links or attachments that can lead to malicious software being installed on your computer. Once this happens, they will ask you to enter credentials where they will gain access to your email account. At that point, they will send emails to the bank appearing to be from you to initiate ACH and wire transactions.

More

Initial market in President Biden's first days

The S&P 500 Index was down 1% in January based on investors’ revised expectations of corporate revenue growth and earnings. First, the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and inoculation process is proceeding slowly while the virus is mutating. The new strains appear to be slightly more virulent and the vaccination timeline will take longer and delay economic normalization. Second, the peaceful installation of the Biden Administration with impactful policy changes have added uncertainty. New executive orders are being launched daily with an emphasis so far on changing carbon emissions, raising the minimum wage and bringing about social justice. Third, the expectation for further fiscal stimulus in the next 100 days is losing its enthusiasm. The passage of another $1.9 trillion relief package so soon after the recently passed $900-million package seems excessive even for the new Congress.

More

6 Ways to Protect Your Business from Business Email Compromise Scams

Companies of all sizes are being targeted by criminals through business email compromise scams. In these scams, cybercriminals gain access to an employee’s legitimate business email through social engineering or computer intrusion. The criminal then impersonates the employee often a senior executive or someone who can authorize payments and instructs others to transfer funds on their behalf. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, over $10 billion has been lost by victims in the U.S. due to these scams.

“Any business that conducts transactions overseas or regularly performs wire transfers should stay alert for these scams,” said Certified Information Security Manager Margo Leiter. “Companies can protect themselves and their employees by using alternative communication channels to verify any large transaction requests and by educating their employees on potential red flags of fraud.”

More

Why should I use my debit card?

One reason is our new “Use It. Love It. Win It.” Sweepstakes.* You can earn $500 just by using your Englewood Bank & Trust Visa® Debit Card for everyday purchases. Sound good? Check out the official rules and details.

The sweepstakes is not the only reason to use your debit card. You may already be using it for dining and entertainment, groceries, gas, shopping online, and monthly bills like utilities, cell phone plans, gym membership, auto insurance, and much more.

What are some of the other advantages of using a debit card?

  • Convenience. Regular debit card users appreciate how fast and easy transactions are made.
  • Reduced dependency on cash and checks. Writing checks is time consuming and antiquated. Many vendors no longer accept personal checks, and even if they do, you have to be careful and monitor your account balance to avoid overdraft fees. It only takes a moment to complete a purchase with a debit card.
  • No debt. With a credit card, it's easy to purchase anything you want, even if you don't have the funds, which can lead to enormous credit card debt. WalletHub.com reports that Americans began 2020 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt.
A debit card draws on money you already have. Retailers know people usually spend more when using plastic than if they were paying cash. By using debit cards, impulsive spenders can avoid the temptation of credit and the interest, late fees, and other charges paid by those who do not pay off their credit card balances each month. With debit cards, you don't have to remember to pay the credit card bill every month.

  • No approval necessary. If you have poor credit, it can be difficult to be approved for a credit card and the interest rate will likely be sky high. Debit cards require no application or minimum credit score, and most just require you to have a checking account.
  • Fraud protection. Insert your card rather than swiping it. The introduction of chip card technology for debit and credit cards has stopped a lot of point-of-sale fraud.
Downloading the bank’s MobiMoney app allows you to manage your Visa® Debit Card from the palm of your hand. You can receive instant card usage alerts, turn your card on or off, limit the use of your card based on location or merchant, and place spending limits. Learn more and download the app.

Why choose an Englewood Bank & Trust Visa® Debit Card? Visa’s industry leadership is your assurance of capability and quality at the highest level. Here’s what sets Visa apart:

  • The Visa Network – widely accepted around the world, with over 46 million merchant locations globally.
  • A commitment to uncovering debit potential and increasing usage.
  • Sophisticated risk and fraud detection techniques to safeguard transactions.
All this, PLUS the chance to win $500! That’s a real win-win for everybody.

*No Purchase Necessary | See Official Rules at http://www.uselovewin.com.

Click here to see some recent winners.

More

Investment Market Update: Positive Takeaways From 2020

2020 was an unusual and volatile one with the S&P 500 Index’s 34% decline in 30 days in March followed by a retracement and rise of over 16% by year-end. This proved once again that a longer-term outlook is required in successful equity investing.

More