Disposing of Old Computers

Thursday, October 23 at 10:10 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Getting rid of your old computer? You can ensure its hard drive doesn't become a treasure chest for identity thieves. Use a program that overwrites or wipes the hard drive many times. Or remove the hard drive, and physically destroy it.

Understand Your Hard Drive
Computers often hold personal and financial information, including: passwords, account numbers, license keys or registration numbers for software programs, addresses, phone numbers, medical and prescription information, tax returns, and files created automatically by browsers and operating systems.

When you save a file, especially a large one, it is scattered around the hard drive in bits and pieces. When you open a file, the hard drive gathers the bits and pieces and reconstructs them. When you delete a file, the links to reconstruct the file disappear. But, the bits and pieces of the deleted file stay on your computer until they're overwritten, and they can be retrieved with a data recovery program. To remove data from a hard drive permanently, the hard drive needs to be wiped clean.

How to Clean a Hard Drive
Before you clean a hard drive, save the files you want to keep to a USB drive, a CD-ROM, an external hard drive or a new computer. Check your owner's manual, the manufacturer's website, or its customer support service for information on how to save data and transfer it to a new computer.

Utility programs to wipe a hard drive are available both online and in stores where computers are sold. These programs generally are inexpensive; some are available on the internet for free. These programs vary. Some erase the entire disk, while others allow you to select files or folders to erase. Some overwrite or wipe the hard drive many times, while others overwrite it only once. Consider using a program that overwrites or wipes the hard drive many times; otherwise, the deleted information could be retrieved. Or remove the hard drive, and physically destroy it.

If you use your home or personal computer for business purposes, check with your employer about how to manage the information on your computer that's business-related. The law requires businesses to follow data security and disposal requirements for certain information that's related to customers.

How to Dispose of Your Computer

Recycle it. Many computer manufacturers have programs to recycle computers and components. Check their websites or call their toll-free numbers for more information. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has information about electronic product recycling programs. Your local community may have a recycling program, too. Check with your county or local government, including the local landfill office for regulations.

Donate it. Many organizations collect old computers and donate them to charities.

Resell it. Some people and organizations buy old computers. Check online.

Remember, most computer equipment contains hazardous materials that don't belong in a landfill. For example, many computers have heavy metals that can contaminate the earth. The EPA recommends that you check with your local health and sanitation agencies for ways to dispose of electronics safely.

Article courtesy of Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.

Tags: Consumer Protection, Privacy and Security, Technology
 

Friday Financial Forum Oct. 24 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Thursday, October 23 at 06:05 AM
Category: Arvest Community News
Join us Friday, Oct. 24, 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 Friday, we're pleased to welcome Clay Nickel, an Arvest Portfolio Manager from the Kansas City area, as our guest speaker.


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 Randoph, 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
 

Arvest Mortgage Company Reaches $1 Billion Mark

Wednesday, October 22 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

For the 12th consecutive year, Arvest Mortgage Company has originated $1 billion or more in mortgage loans.

LOWELL, Ark., — Arvest Mortgage Company announced today that it originated more than $1 billion in mortgage loans – both refinance loans and purchase money loans – through Sept. 30, 2014. As of Sept. 30, Arvest had closed a total of 6,853 loans with total loan value of $1,012,205,070. This marks the 12th consecutive year Arvest has originated $1 billion or more in mortgage loans.

Continuing the trend of the last two years, refinance loans continue to decline while purchase money loans grow as a percentage of total mortgage loan volume. The mix between purchase money and refinance loans at Arvest has inverted since 2012:

Year                                 % Purchase Loans        % Refi Loans
2012                                33%                                   67%
2014 (through 9/30)      68%                                  32%

“While the entire industry knew that refinances would continue to decline, we have been very pleased that our purchase money loans have remained strong and outpaced national projections. This indicates that consumers in our area are continuing to buy new homes and looking for local lenders to help them,” said Steven Plaisance, President and Chief Operating Officer of Arvest Mortgage Company.

The overall volume and dollar value of purchase money loans made at Arvest have declined slightly from the same period a year ago, but this decline is less than the drop forecasted in September by the Mortgage Bankers Association.* As of Sept. 30, 2014, Arvest has made 4,591 purchase money loans with total loan value of $686,165,920. At Sept. 30, 2013, the bank had made 5,006 purchase money loans with total loan value of $740,573,626 – an 8.3 percent decline in volume and a 7.3 percent decline in value. The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasted a 13 percent decline in purchase money loan values nationally.

The average loan value at Arvest increased over the same period last year, from $147,937 to $149,459, reflecting improving values in the real estate market.

“The continued shift from refinance loans to purchase money loans means that there are still plenty of opportunities for new home buyers, especially considering that rates remain very low,” Plaisance said.

Arvest is unique among most local lenders in that it services 99 percent of its mortgage loans, meaning that customers make their payments to Arvest and deal with Arvest for any needs after their loan closes.

*Mortgage Bankers Association. MBA Mortgage Finance Forecast. September, 2014. http://www.mortgagebankers.org/files/Bulletin/InternalResource/89480_.pdf

Tags: Home Loans, Mortgage, Press Release
 

How to Qualify for a Small Business Loan

Wednesday, October 22 at 07:45 AM
Category: Business Banking

Whether you're a new start-up or an established business, finding a small business loan to fund your business can seem daunting. Many financial institutions offer business loans, but in today's economic climate, lenders have tightened lending requirements and not everyone qualifies for a loan. It helps to know beforehand what lenders look for when considering a loan so you can take the necessary steps to increase your chances of qualifying.

Have a Plan. Both new and established businesses should have a solid business plan. Many lenders want to see a business plan which states the goals of your business and how you plan to achieve them. You must demonstrate you have the necessary expertise to run and grow your business. The plan should include a description of the business, the marketing strategy, finances (both current and projected), and details on management. Due to the potential influence of your plan, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer to assist you.

Have Good Credit. You must be able to demonstrate your company's ability and willingness to repay a loan. If you are an established business, be prepared to present copies of your business tax returns for the past two years. If just starting out, you will need your personal income documents such as tax returns, bank statements or W-2s. Lenders will also like to see that you and your business have paid past bills and loans as agreed and on time. Before applying for a loan check your history with the credit reporting bureaus and work to correct any problems. Ideally, your FICO* score should be close to, or above, 700.

Have Collateral. Secured business loans are easier to obtain because your collateral secures the loan. You will need to prepare an asset list to prove to financial institutions that you've got enough equity. Lenders look for assets that have resell values that meet or exceed the amount of the loan. Positive cash flow, purchase orders and signed contracts for upcoming jobs are additional considerations. Lenders may also turn to personal guarantees. If you have personally invested in your venture this shows the lender that you are willing to risk your own personal assets to grow your business.

Have Character. Remember that character, trustworthiness and personal history are important. When lenders look at applicants, they may find themselves on the fence. Your personal history and proven integrity might just tip the scales in your favor. If your credit or your business's credit has a blemish, explain the situation up front. Being honest with your lender will go a long way in building trust and credibility. Always remember, you may be turned down by one or more lenders before finally getting approved. Don't ever take rejection personally. Learn from the experience and take the necessary measures to improve your likelihood for success the next time.

The Small Business Administration. Research the Small Business Administration,* a government organization that offers guidance and assistance to small business owners. The SBA offers a loan guarantee program that guarantees business loans provided by participating financial institutions. This program is designed to help small businesses, which would otherwise not qualify for traditional business loans, gain financing. SBA-backed loans provide more flexible terms such as extended repayment periods and low, fixed interest rates.

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

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking
 

Small Business Education Series in Kansas City on Nov. 7

Wednesday, October 22 at 05:05 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Calling small business owners and entrepreneurs in Greater Kansas City! You are invited to attend a session in Arvest’s Small Business Education Series targeted to businesses that have been in business one to five years.

This is the third class in a four-part series and will provide education on obtaining bank and SBA financing. We will be discussing the process to apply for a loan, what banks look for, as well as information on obtaining SBA guarantees. This will be a classroom-style session and will allow for questions at the end of each speaker’s presentation.

The session will be held on Nov. 7, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Central Exchange* located at 6201 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan. Please register* for the event online. This event is free to the public.

Here’s a preview of the guest speakers.

Ron Martino
Ron Martino has more than 30 years commercial & SBA lending experience. He is currently with Arvest Bank as a SBA Business Development Specialist. His SBA experience includes 7A and 504 lending, including export trade finance.

Monica Dahl
Monica is a native of Olathe, Kan., where she still resides with her family. Monica has 15 years of sales and management experience in the areas of retail banking, investments, real-estate, private banking and small business banking. She currently is the Manager of the Small Business Banking department at Arvest Bank in Greater Kansas City. She is a participant at several local chambers of commerce as well as Central Exchange. She is a 2011 graduate of the Olathe leadership program.

Monica manages six Business Bankers who are dedicated to working with and supporting businesses that have $2.5 million and below in annual sales. They specialize in providing an unmatched level of customer service and knowledge in the area of small business. Arvest Business Bankers are dedicated to the success of their business customers. They focus on the customer and what each customer’s specific business needs are. They are here for today and for the future. With the wide variety of products and services, the team is well equipped to match the solution with the needs of your small business.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking, Community Support, Kansas City

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