On Our Minds

Growth Poised to Follow Re-opening of the Economy

Investors reconsidered the emotionally-oversold market in the month of April and bravely pushed the market higher by 12.7% even before news about the virus infection curve flattening. Since the “shelter-at-home” policies have reduced the infection rate, government policymakers are announcing dates for re-opening the economy. After an economic full-stop and 26 million Americans losing jobs, an economic restart will be a slow process.  By staging a deliberately slow ramp-up in economic activity, the government hopes to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed. While Wall Street and the markets are anticipating a “V-shaped” economic recovery, Main Street may experience more of a Nike “swoosh-shaped” recovery. 

More

Fraud Alert: Scammers are identifying themselves as bank employees

Criminals often take advantage of uncertain times, leading to an increase in fraudulent activity. Please remember, we will never call you to ask you to provide or verify your full account number, username, password, debit card number, unique PIN or Social Security number. If you receive a call from someone requesting this information, even if the caller ID looks like it is coming from the bank, immediately hang up and report it to Englewood Bank & Trust Customer Service at 941-475-6771. Representative are available Monday-Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

More

How should I spend my stimulus cash?

Back in the day, when your father or mother would give you a dollar, they might offer this cautionary advice: “Don’t spend it all at once,” or “don’t spend it all in one place.”

More

Investment Market Update, Q1 2020

I wanted to write a note to you about the tremendous first quarter market volatility and the 20% S&P 500 Index decline. This “waterfall” decline was the worst since the 2008 Great Recession and was particularly unusual since the market was trading at an all-time high on Feb. 19. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event elevating fear and uncertainty, but it is a transitory event for the markets and the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, we hope you please practice social distancing and stay safe.  

More

COVID-19 Brings Out the Scammers

To paraphrase a famous expression: When the going gets tough, the scammers get going. Scammers are even identifying themselves as bank employees to steal information and cash. With COVID-19, the fraudsters are out in force, seeking to take advantage of the widespread anxiety generated by the global pandemic.

More

COVID-19: Investment Update

The equity and fixed income markets are experiencing unprecedented volatility and fear about the coronavirus. This is a health crisis that has evolved into a financial challenge for policy makers as they attempt to suppress the spread of the virus while not closing down the economy entirely. Unfortunately, the only way to deter the spread of the virus is to reduce or close transportation and impose a quarantine. Since the only way we know to limit the number of infections is to reduce social interaction, we expect more states will join California, Illinois and New York in a “lock down.” For a historical comparison in 2009-2010 the H1N1 “Swine-Flu” virus infected 60 million Americans and killed 12,500, and yet the panic was not as prevalent. 

More

Staying in because of the virus? Consider these online and mobile banking solutions.

With cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) confirmed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, “social distancing” has become one of the tactics designed to slow the spread of the global pandemic. Businesses across the country are taking precautionary steps in accordance with their emergency preparedness plans, and banks are no exception.

More

Tax Season Means Scam Season

Although scam artists are working year-round to steal your identify and compromise your personal information, tax season seems to bring out the worst. Scammers are looking to steal tax documents, file fraudulent returns in victims’ names, and extort payment with false threats of IRS action due to outstanding tax bills.

More

Has Your Email Account Been Hacked?

Unfortunately, email hacking is one of the most common instances of cybercrime these days and something that probably has affected all of us at one point or another. Fraudsters are becoming increasingly virulent in their ability to hack into your email.

More

Happy (SECURE Act) 2020!

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, better known as the SECURE Act, is so new that estate planners and accountants are still learning ways to plan around it to minimize the impact on existing and future clients. Following are some items to ponder as you review your estate plans through the year.

More