Talking Turkey Safety

Friday, November 21 at 09:35 AM
Category: Personal Finance

That time of year is once again upon us. When Americans gather around the table with friends and family members to feast and give gratitude for the annual tradition that is Thanksgiving. But before you come to the table with your turkey platter and gravy, take a moment to read these turkey preparation and safety tips from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Turkey Thawing

When a turkey is frozen, it is safe from bacteria. However, once it begins to thaw, bacteria can start to grow. The good news is there are three relatively easy ways to thaw frozen turkeys — in your refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Whichever method you choose, it's important to note until you are ready to thaw your frozen turkey, it should be immediately placed in your freezer. A frozen turkey should also never be left outside or in your car, where the temperatures vary.

In the refrigerator:

  • A thawed turkey can remain in your refrigerator for up to 48 hours before cooking.
  • When thawing the turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
  • Place the turkey in a pan or other dish to ensure the juices from the thawed turkey don't drip in your refrigerator.

In cold water:

  • If you wish to thaw a turkey in cold water, soak 30 minutes per pound.
  • Ensure the turkey is in a waterproof bag to prevent leakage.
  • Submerge the entire turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes.
  • Once the turkey is completely thawed, cook it immediately.

In the microwave:

  • Since microwaves vary in size and power, it's important to refer to the microwave manufacturer's instructions before attempting to thaw your turkey.
  • Plan to cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed to prevent bacteria from growing.

Cooking a Turkey
Once you've completely thawed your turkey you're ready to cook it. Note these important tips about cooking:

  • Set your oven temperature to 325° F.
  • Do not preheat the oven; it's not necessary.
  • Insert a food thermometer in the turkey. An internal temperature of 165°F will prevent bacteria from growing.
  • Recognize that stuffed turkeys take longer to cook and dark roasting pans cook faster than shiny metals.
  • Speed cook by using the lid on the roasting pan or an oven cooking pan.
  • Use the following guide for cooking times:

Unstuffed turkeys (time in hours)

  • 4 to 6 lbs. breast – 1 1/2 to 2 1/4
  • 6 to 8 lbs. breast – 2 1/4 to 3 1/4
  • 8 to 12 lbs. – 2 3/4 to 3
  • 12 to 14 lbs. – 3 to 3 3/4
  • 14 to 18 lbs. – 3 3/4 to 4 1/4
  • 18 to 20 lbs. – 4 1/4 to 4 1/2
  • 20 to 24 lbs. – 4 1/2 to 5

Stuffed turkeys (time in hours)

  • 8 to 12 lbs. – 3 to 3 1/2
  • 12 to 14 lbs. – 3 1/2 to 4
  • 14 to 18 lbs. – 4 to 4 1/4
  • 18 to 20 lbs. – 4 1/4 to 4 3/4
  • 20 to 24 lbs. – 4 3/4 to 5 1/4

Once cooked, let the turkey sit for at least 20 minutes before carving.

These are just a few of many safety tips to ensure your turkey feast is safe and delicious. For a comprehensive list, visit the USDA.gov.* You'll be thankful you took the time to read them.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

 

Closed on Thanksgiving

Friday, November 21 at 09:10 AM
Category: Arvest News

In observance of Thanksgiving, all Arvest Bank branches will be closed Thursday, Nov. 27. We will be open normal hours on Wednesday, Nov. 26. We’ll resume normal hours on Friday, Nov. 28, when you’ve woken from your tryptophan-induced sleep! May your holiday be filled with an abundance of things and people you are most grateful for!

For your convenience, you can bank 24/7 with:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tags: Arkansas, Holiday Hours, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma
 

Regional Economic Sentiment on the Rise

Thursday, November 20 at 09:30 AM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest-backed survey shows consumers are feeling more confident about the economy.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Regional consumer opinion regarding the economy is on an uptick, according to the Fall 2014 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released today.

The current regional index is 72.6, up from June’s inaugural index of 71.4. That number, however, still trails the national index as reported by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan. The national index was 86.9 for October, up from 82.5 in June.

Of the three states included in the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, Missouri showed the biggest change, with its index jumping from 68.6 to 77.4. Arkansas showed a modest gain, from 67.4 to 68.1, while Oklahoma was the only state to show a decline, from 76.4 to 72.6.

“We’ve been eager since our initial survey was released a few months ago to learn how consumers’ opinions evolve,” Arvest Bank Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “These latest results seem to indicate consumers are gaining confidence not just in the regional economy, but their personal financial situations, too. Getting a glimpse of that optimism through these results helps us know how to help anticipate and facilitate the financial needs of consumers.”

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 phone surveys. CBER, Missouri State University and Oklahoma City University provided state data analysis.

The survey is conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in May 2015. With each study, the index score will be released first, followed by additional information regarding specifics of consumer outlook for the near future and plans for savings and spending.

Information about the survey, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at: www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

About Our Research Partners
The Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (CBER) provides excellence in applied economic and business research to federal, state and local government, as well as to businesses currently operating or those that desire to operate in the state of Arkansas. The center further works to improve the economic opportunities of all Arkansans by conducting policy research in the public interest.
 
The University of Oklahoma Public Opinion Learning Laboratory (POLL) serves two functions: to provide a learning environment for the teaching of survey design, public opinion research and data analysis for the purpose of developing student capabilities to conduct academic and professional research and analysis; and to conduct research on public opinion, in order to foster knowledge about public affairs and to assist in the conduct of research on public policy of import to state and local governments, media organizations, other public and private entities, and the general public.
 
The Meinders School of Business (MSB) at Oklahoma City University, which includes the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. MSB prepares graduate and undergraduate students to be socially responsible leaders in a global economy through teaching excellence and faculty scholarship in business practice and the disciplines. Faculty and students engage with the business community, local government and regulatory agencies as part of the teaching-learning process.
 
The Bureau of Economic Research, housed within the Economics Department at Missouri State University, serves as a clearinghouse for data and publications on economic conditions within the region, state and nation. The staff has a wide variety of experience and is able to provide consulting services, produce detailed GIS maps, economic and industry forecasts and other relevant reports.

Data released as part of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, summary and news releases is free for broadcast, publication or use in presentations. Please cite “Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey” as the source each time information is referenced.

Tags: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release
 

Friday Financial Forum Nov. 21 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Thursday, November 20 at 05:05 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Join us Friday, Nov. 21, at 10 a.m. for our Friday Financial Forum. We’ll meet in the Friday Forum Room at Arvest's Eastside Branch located at 4225 Southeast Adams Rd., Bartlesville, Okla. Every Friday we invite customers like you to attend our one-hour Financial Forum. This week, we welcome Clay Nickel, CPM. Clay is a Portfolio Manager and Director of Investment Strategy for Arvest Asset Management.

What you can expect at the event:

  • News: "The Scoop" about businesses coming, going and expanding in Bartlesville (Amelya Wilmott, Arvest Bank)
  • Information: Community leaders share topical, local and state information (Sen. John Ford, Rep. Earl Sears and city councilman Mike McGrew)
  • Updates: Arvest provides current economy and stock market trends (Josh Randolph, Arvest Bank)
  • Hilarious Anecdotes: Jim Bohnsack, Arvest Bank

We look forward to having you join us! There is no need to R.S.V.P.; just join us if you can! If you have any questions about the event, please contact Amelya Wilmott at (918) 337-4358.

Tags: Bartlesville, Community Support, Oklahoma
 

Mistake to Avoid -- Not Monitoring Your Competitors

Wednesday, November 19 at 06:40 AM
Category: Business Banking

Along with your customers and employees, your competitors are critical people to know and understand. Often, competitors are just thought of as the "enemy." These individuals or companies keep you from getting more business.

However, competitors can be more than the "enemy." They can:

  1. Help you better understand your current and future markets.
  2. Be the source of additional business.
  3. Be the source of growth through acquisition.
  4. Potentially, provide an exit strategy for you.

Most business owners know their competitors and generally how they compare with the owners' own company. Having a greater understanding of competitors can provide clues for making enhancements to business owners’ own activities.

Understanding your markets
Market leaders get to be leaders by doing things right. What is it they are doing that is leading to their success? Often, it is not lower prices, but better marketing, better customer service, more efficient operations or more innovative products. By identifying their strengths, you can also identify your weaknesses and begin taking steps to improve in those areas.

Getting competitive information on others in your industry is easy. Visit their website or walk through their store. Either way, you will probably learn a great deal. If you attend or exhibit at trade shows or conferences, be sure to pick up some competitive materials or talk to their representatives. You learn about the company and you may meet a prospective hire.

If your competitors are publicly held, be sure to review their annual reports. The CEO letter at the beginning of an annual report is often where the CEO tells the world about his plans, brags about the company's strengths/accomplishments and addresses the critical issues facing his company.

You can also talk to your customers and prospects about the competition. Getting their insights will give you an idea of why they do business with your company or what it would take to make them a customer. Most customers and prospects will be relatively frank in those types of discussions.

Understanding your strongest competitors can identify areas where you can improve and potentially some niches the strong competitors are ignoring. Knowing more about your weak competitors can help you identify your strengths that you can take advantage of. You may even be able to identify a competitor's customers that would be your best prospects. Customers usually know their vendors' strengths and weaknesses.

Getting additional business from competitors
The business world is becoming more interconnected and interwoven every day. Joint ventures are commonplace. The common characteristic of most joint ventures is that both parties receive a benefit. Most companies have strengths in only a few areas and weaknesses in others. Their weaknesses may be capacity limitations, product limitations, financial constraints or something else. If their customers want something they don't have and you do have, it may be beneficial to "share" that customer. Consider working with your competitors on a subcontract or joint venture basis.

Acquiring your competitors or parts of them
Staying abreast of your competitors may enable you to identify if they may wish to sell their business or part of it. Every business goes through an ownership cycle. If a competitor is closely held, pay attention to the owner's age, especially if there are no younger family members involved in the business. Most owners of successful businesses recognize that ultimately they will sell the business. Without a family member present, the logical sources of buyers are key management employees or competitors (namely you).

An exit strategy for you
When it time for you to consider selling your business, a competitor may be the most logical buyer. They understand the business, probably understand your operation and they can evaluate whether there are economies of scale if they acquire your business.

With this better insight into your competitors, you’re likely to find ideas to improve your own business.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking

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