The perks of going local with your bank account | BiS | Business in …

Sarah Gillis switched from a national bank to a local one in New Jersey as a matter of principle.

“I feel like my voice matters more in a smaller bank,” says Gillis, who closed her account at a national bank because she disagreed, she says, with some of its corporate investments. She opened an account at Peapack-Gladstone Bank by her home in Warren, New Jersey, about a year ago.

But when asked her thoughts on her new bank, it’s the perks and lack of fees she applauds. Her out-of-network ATM fees are reimbursed by Peapack-Gladstone and she gets $8 back if she uses her debit card at least ten times a month. “I just think it’s a great bank,” she says.

For consumers like Gillis, switching to a community bank — typically defined as a smaller bank that is locally owned and operated — is an action rooted as much in practicality as it is in ideology. Lower and fewer fees, and the allure of keeping money local can be compelling reasons to switch.

Downsides persist

Community banks still won’t be as convenient for many people as national banks. ATM access, for example, can be a challenge without the large networks enjoyed by national bank customers. Some 48 percent of community banks belong to a fee-free ATM network, a 2013 survey by the Independent Community Bankers of America found, but that leaves a large swath of community bank customers paying additional fees when using out-of-network ATMs.

Limited availability of cutting-edge technology continues to be an issue. The number of community banks offering mobile banking services was 81 percent last year, up from 71 percent the year before, according to a report by the Federal Reserve. But that’s still a sizeable number of banks without services many customers consider essential, such as the ability to check account balances by smartphone.

The report noted mobile banking was “difficult to implement for small and mid-size banks due to cost and expertise.”

Keeping it in the neighborhood

Fans of community banks point to the advantages, starting with a generally more favorable fee structure. These banks are more likely to have fewer checking account fees and lower overdraft fees than big national banks, according to a recent survey by Pew Charitable Trusts.

Only about 10 percent of small banks surveyed reported charging monthly service fees on checking accounts; such fees are common at large banks, though they can sometimes be avoided. The median overdraft fee for small banks was $32, compared to $35 for large banks.

And for many, the chance to keep money local is a reward in itself.

“People feel that there is an authenticity to a locally owned business,” says Terry Jorde, senior executive vice president at the Independent Community Bankers of America. “That’s true whether it’s a hardware store, a locally owned restaurant, a flower store or a community bank.”

Community banks can also play an integral role in local economies, especially in supporting small businesses.

More than 50 percent of small-business loans came from community banks, researchers at Harvard Kennedy School reported in 2015, as did 77 percent of agricultural loans.

Small businesses were also more likely to be approved for some form of a loan from community banks — 76 percent, compared to 58 percent at national banks, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Community banks aren’t for everyone. Those who move frequently from one city to another may find it inconvenient to change community banks each time, something that’s not an issue for those who bank big.

Gillis, for one, believes the advantages of going local outweigh the drawbacks. “I’ve realized it’s not that hard to open a new account at a different bank or close an account,” she says.

How Do I Get a Business Loan to Start My Business?

For many budding entrepreneurs, a traditional business loan may seem like the best option for getting your endeavor off the ground. However, most banks and lenders require criteria that a newly launched business won’t be able to meet.

What are those requirements, and what are your alternatives if you can’t meet them? Here’s what you need to know.

Requirements for Traditional Business Loans

When you apply for a traditional business loan, a lender will look at your personal and business’ credit profile and financial information. Additionally, lenders are likely to require a meaningful paper history of your business revenue, income and expenses.

If you’re just launching your business the problem becomes immediately clear, since you’re unlikely to have a business credit profile OR an extensive history of revenue and expenses. For that reason, new entrepreneurs usually need to find funds through alternative means, and most will rely heavily on your personal credit profile, personal income, and may require personal guarantees.

Checking YourPersonal Credit History

Since you’re just starting your company, you don’t have a business credit profile (although you should start to establish one, which you can learn how to do here). But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

The first step is to check your personal credit scores. Like bank loans, alternative business loans generally have credit requirements as well, so knowing your scores and what’s on your report will give you a better idea of what financing options you’re likely to qualify for. (You can check your personal credit score and summary report with a free Nav account.)

Objectway ships new version of Illumas digital investment management platform

Two years after its launch, this new version of ILLUMAS is designed to answer to the new challenges and increasing complexity currently facing the Private Wealth Management Industry.

ILLUMAS 1.1 is immediately available to the market, as it has already successfully gone live at one of our major customers.

The new version implements an innovative concept of integrated platform supporting the complete front-to-back digital investment management process, from onboarding to ongoing client servicing through six components.

ILLUMAS Digital experience, based on a customised version of Conectus, enables a coherent and functionally rich user experience for clients, agents or advisors.

The Portfolio manager component relies on a customised version of eXimius to provide portfolio management features, extended to connect to several new execution platforms, to enhance the compliance module and increase the processing of big orders volumes.

ILLUMAS CRM leverages on Client Engage to manage the whole on-boarding process through a compliant set of defined stages, such as gathering data, suitability review and mandate setting.

Furthermore, the Investment Operations component sunsets and replaces the rhymeSIGHT product with a fully integrated, seamless accounting and administration system supporting middle and back-office investments operations. A set of new features improves the navigation and user experience thanks to the opportunity to ‘favorite’ many different items and through simultaneous and multiple application access.

Two brand-new components enrich the solution.
ILLUMAS Business Reporting retrieves information directly from production data, enabling investment managers to make decisions based on real-time analysis, customisable according to specific requirements.

The Expat platform is designed for offshore investments administration firms that want to provide a digital platform to Expat IFAs, to onboard a new client and manage new business applications on a diverse range of offshore services with a paperless digital process. The multi-currency, 24/7 online access platform supports the business for expats from any country in the world.

“With ILLUMAS 1.1 we allow our customers to make substantial improvements in operation processes and efficiencies, while providing a certified and fast information flow throughout the key front, middle and back office functions enabling their digital transformation,” affirmed Alberto Cuccu, Chief Client Solution Officer of Objectway. “The new version of ILLUMAS offers a very intuitive user experience and a user-friendly navigation. The seamless real-time flow of information between the different components enables all stakeholders – clients, advisors, portfolio managers and operations – to run their business and digitally collaborate with the others, downsizing the increasing complexity of the industry.”

Harrisburg, IL woman pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud


A Harrisburg, Illinois woman pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud.

Charges were filed against 51-year-old Rietta M. Miller on January 30 as part of the US Attorneys Offices effort to crackdown on those who commit fraud in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Miller was charged with concealing assets in her bankruptcy case.

In pleading guilty on Friday, February 17, Miller admitted that she concealed from the Bankruptcy Court a $47,736.12 workers compensation settlement she received approximately one month before she filed bankruptcy.

Miller acknowledged that she tried to conceal this money from the Bankruptcy Court by moving the funds in and our of her bank accounts. She also admitted that she lied on the bankruptcy petition and schedules she filed with the Bankruptcy Court, and again when she was asked questions under oath at a Meeting of Creditors held in your bankruptcy case.

Millers chapter 7 bankruptcy case was filed and litigated in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Benton, Ill.

Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 18 at 10:30 am at the federal courthouse in Benton, Ill. The crime of concealing assets in a bankruptcy case is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment, and/or a $250,000 fine, not more than three years of supervised release and restitution.

The charges resulted from a referral by the US Trustee for Indiana and Southern and Central Illinois to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

The investigation was conducted by agents from the Springfield Division, Fairview Heights Resident Agency, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in collaboration with the Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Fraud Working Group coordinated by the US Trustee.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Scott A. Verseman.

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Australia’s Seek in talks to buy out James Packer’s stake in Chinese jobs site

Seek didnt offer an explanation for the move, but said it and private equity firms Hillhouse Capital Group and FountainVest Partners are in advanced discussions with a special committee of the board of Zhaopin about taking the company private.

While Seek has been expanding overseas, Mr Packer has been cutting back his offshore investments, in China in particular, since the authorities there arrested 18 of his Crown Resorts casino staff in October amid a gambling crackdown.

In December, Crown cancelled a spin-off listing of its offshore casinos and said it was instead selling down its stake in the Chinese gambling hub Macau.

Zhaopin, which Seek partially sold in a listing in 2013, said in a separate statement that it was discussing the potential deal but was uncertain if the parties would reach an agreement.

MC Sports begins merchandise sell-off after bankruptcy

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Customers showed up at MC Sports stores across Michigan to cash in on deals offered as the company closes up shop.

A judge approved a bankruptcy plan for MC Sports on Thursday and the well-known sports retailer has begun to sell off merchandise at 68 stores in seven states.

The plan is to sell off all of the merchandise by the end of April or early May.

Five key differences between real and fake investments

As with anything that involves money and risk, investing has never been a straightforward matter – if it were, everyone would be richer.

It is a skill. It takes know-how to get to grips with the detail and the pitfalls. Only time and experience teaches you how to tell the difference between a great opportunity and a massive gamble; when its worth pursuing despite the odds, and when to cut your losses and quit.

You might be one of the savvy ones. Perhaps you know your Pyramid from your Ponzi scheme, Forex from Binary Trading, Pump and Dump from Offshore Investments. The bad news is, financial fraudsters are trained to take whatever knowledge you have and build on it.

After all, this is why you pay a legitimate investment advisor to sift through the small print and pinpoint the opportunity that is ideal for you.

So here are five key differences between real and fake investment opportunities.

The website lacks a certain authenticity
It is professionally put together, you can call the number and reach a receptionist, but there may still be warning signs.

Perform a Who Is search. If the owner, address or registration details dont match the details on the website (or theyve paid to keep them hidden), something fishy is going on. A legitimate company is happy to let you know where they are based.