Seven Steps to Spring Clean Your Finances

Wednesday, April 23 at 09:30 AM
Category: Personal Finance

The season for spring cleaning has arrived and while many may be focused on organizing closets or scrubbing floors, Arvest Bank encourages consumers to clean up their finances, as well.

Here are tips to help our customers cut back on financial clutter this spring:

  • Evaluate and pay down debt. Take a look at how much you owe and what you are paying in interest. If there are better rates available now, consider requesting a lower credit card interest rate or refinancing your mortgage. Begin paying off existing debt, whether that’s by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Review your budget. A lot can change in a year. If you’ve been promoted, had a child, or become a single income household, be sure to update your budget. Determine what expenses demand the most money and identify areas where you can realistically cut back. Develop a strategy for spending and saving and stick to it. 
  • Check your credit report. Every year, you are guaranteed one free credit report from each of the three bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports and check them for any possible errors. Mistakes can drag down your score and prevent you from getting a loan, or cause you to pay a higher than necessary interest rate. 
  • Sign up for e.statements and paperless billing. Converting to paperless billing will help keep your house, physical and financial, more clean and organized.
  • Set up automatic bill pay. By signing up for automatic bill pay, you’ll never have to worry about a missed payment impacting your credit score. You can set it so that money is withdrawn from your checking account on the same day each month.
  • Consolidate your accounts. Managing several accounts can be challenging. If you have open accounts that you rarely use, then consider closing them. It’s important to note cancelling accounts may come with a fee or impact your credit score. Other options include streamlining all your accounts under a single bank, or using a bill management service that allows you to view all of your financial accounts, bills, subscriptions and travel rewards in one place with a single password.
  • Download our mobile app. We now offer mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices that allow consumers to manage their finances from the palm of their hand. With the click of a button, you can make a deposit or access a record of all your recent transactions.

Spring is a great time to take a hard look at your finances and identify ways to manage them more efficiently. By getting your financial house in order, you can set the stage for a stronger, more successful future.

Article courtesy of the American Bankers Association.*

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

Tags: Cash Management
 

Considering an SBA Loan? — Questions to Ask Yourself

Wednesday, April 23 at 06:50 AM
Category: Business Banking

While the Small Business Administration (SBA) itself does not make loans, it does guarantee loans made to small businesses by banks, credit unions and other lenders who partner with SBA. SBA lenders are approved by the Small Business Administration to lend your business money. The SBA guarantees the loans that SBA lenders give to your business.

There are many benefits to an SBA loan. They include the following:

  • Lower capital requirements
  • No points or balloon payments
  • Longer amortization periods (up to 25 years on real estate 7(a) SBA loans)
  • Increased loan-to-value financing

The funds from an SBA loan can be used for nearly any need your business may have. This includes marketing expenses, machine upgrades, purchasing of inventory, regular operating expenses like salaries and utilities, debt refinancing, and facility renovations to name a few options.

The majority of for-profit businesses potentially qualify for an SBA loan. As a business owner, you should have money invested in your business.  Also having excellent personal credit scores will go a long way in helping you get approved. The SBA lenders want to see you have good character and will pay the loan back. Finally, make sure you have a quality business plan prepared for the lenders. In the plan explain the amount of capital you are requesting, show step-by-step how that money will be spent, and have a plan for how you plan to pay the loan back.

Before seeking financial assistance, here are some questions to ask yourself in order to evaluate your business’s financing needs:

  • Do you need more capital, or can you manage existing cash flow more effectively?
  • How do you define your need? Do you need money to expand or as a cushion against risk?
  • How urgent is your need? You can obtain the best terms when you anticipate your needs rather than looking for money under pressure.
  • How great are your risks? All businesses carry risks, and the degree of risk will affect cost and available financing alternatives.
  • In what state of development is your business? Needs are most critical during transitional stages.
  • For what purposes will the capital be used? Any lender will require that capital be requested for very specific needs.
  • What is the state of your industry? Depressed, stable, or growth conditions require different approaches to money needs and sources. Businesses that prosper while others are in decline will often receive better funding terms.
  • Is your business seasonal or cyclical? Seasonal needs for financing generally are short term. Loans advanced for cyclical industries, such as construction, are designed to support a business through depressed periods.
  • How strong is your management team? Management is an important element assessed by lenders.
  • How does your need for financing mesh with your business plan? If you don't have a business plan, make writing one your first priority. All lenders will want to see your business plan for the start-up and growth of your business.

For more information, contact your financial institution, or visit sba.gov.*

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, SBA.gov
 

Arvest Bank Names Huffman President in Eureka Springs, Ark.

Wednesday, April 23 at 06:40 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

It's our pleasure to have Allen Huffman rise to the position of Community Bank President in Eureka Springs, Ark. As a native to the town, Huffman will be able to service the local needs of the residents in a natural manner.

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. — Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that Allen Huffman has been named as Community Bank President for Arvest Bank in Eureka Springs. He takes over for Richard Kimberlin, who announced his retirement from Arvest Bank in March.

Huffman has worked for Arvest Bank in Eureka Springs as an Assistant Vice President and Commercial Lender since 2010. Prior to that, he was a sales manager for Best Western Inn of the Ozarks in Eureka Springs.

“Allen is a hometown boy from Eureka Springs and an exciting choice to help lead our team,” said Arvest Bank Regional Director of Community Banks Chad Evans. “His experience and background in the local market has made him a successful commercial lender and gives him a great background for success as president.”

Huffman graduated with a Bachelor of Science of Business Administration in management and marketing from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Ark., in 2007. He is also a graduate of the American Bankers Association Commercial Lending School at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Shockproof! Credit College for Commercial Business at Rex Beach & Associates in Tulsa, Okla.

Huffman is the treasurer and second vice chair of the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce and a board member for the Mercy Health Foundation and the Eureka Springs Historical Museum. He is a member of the Eureka Springs High School Alumni Association Scholarship Committee and the Carroll County Community Foundation Future Fund. He served previously as president of the Eureka Springs High School Alumni Association and on the boards of the Holiday Island Rotary Club and the Northwest Arkansas Tourism Association.

He and his wife, Paige Huffman, live in Holiday Island, Ark.

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Benton County, Associates, Press Release
 

Arvest Bank Names Gregson President in Berryville, Ark.

Wednesday, April 23 at 06:10 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

We're excited to have John Gregson step up from his position as Community Banker Lender in Gravette, Ark., to serve as the Community Bank President in Berryville, Ark.

BERRYVILLE, Ark. — Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that John E. Gregson has been named as Community Bank President for Arvest Bank in Berryville. He takes over for Richard Kimberlin, who announced his retirement from Arvest Bank earlier this month.

Gregson has more than 18 years’ banking experience, most recently as a Community Bank Lender for Arvest Bank in Gravette. He began his career with Union Planters Bank in Jonesboro, Ark., in 1993 and, since then, has worked for Heartland Community Bank in Sheridan, Union Planters Bank in Earle, First National Bank of Eastern Arkansas and National Bank of Arkansas.

“We are thrilled that John is able to step into the role that Richard filled so admirably over the past 14 years,” said Arvest Bank Regional Director of Community Banks Chad Evans. “John is more than up to the task and we are sure that he will fit in well with the team and community in Berryville.”

A native of Earle, Ark., Gregson earned a Bachelor of Science in finance from Arkansas State University in 1992. He has completed several financial industry training schools, including the Bankers Training and Consulting Course, Omega Performance Course and Arvest Bank Supervisor School.

Gregson has served two terms as president of the Greater Gravette Chamber of Commerce and is a board member for the Arkansas Self Storage Association.

He and his wife, Gina Gregson, have a daughter, Mia, and a son, John.

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Benton County, Associates, Press Release
 

Earth Day — Past, Present and Future

Tuesday, April 22 at 08:45 AM
Category: Arvest News

For over 40 years, Earth Day has been celebrated in April as a way to raise awareness and promote action toward environmental issues. From global concerns to grassroots efforts, this event has had a profound effect on our environment. Learn about the history of Earth Day, how you can celebrate Mother Earth every day, and what the future holds.

Origins of Earth Day
The first Earth Day in 1970 was organized by Senator Gaylord Nelson during a time of heavy pollution, to draw environmental issues into the news, and therefore into the interest of legislators. That initial event, attended by 20 million people nationwide, spurred 28 major legislative enactments over the next 10 years, including the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency* and implementation of the Clean Water Act.* More than 40 years later, Earth Day continues to inspire us to take action.

Celebrating Earth Day Today
While legislative actions have greatly improved the health of our environment, individuals continue to have a significant influence on the future well being of our planet. Here are some small ways we can make a big impact.

Conservation at home
We've all heard these tips before, but putting them into action really adds up. Turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Wait for a full load before running the dishwasher or washing machine. Be sure all vents and filters in heating and cooling systems, appliances, etc. are clean for maximum efficiency. Insulate around doors and windows and use shades or drapes to keep hot sun out in summer and cool air out in winter. Run appliances at off hours to allow replenishment of resources for peak-hours. The key is changing small habits to work toward big improvements.

Reduction of waste
Cutting our contribution to landfills is good for the environment. Use dishes and silverware at home, rather than paper plates and plastic utensils. Plan meals you can make ahead of time to cut down on the amount of takeout you order. This not only reduces packaging in landfills but also promotes a healthier diet. Switch to Online BillPay and electronic statements with your bank, utility companies and credit cards. You'll save on checks, stamps, and the need to file.

Reuse and recycle
Think twice before buying anything. Consider how often you'll use the product, where you'll store it, if something else will be tossed because of it, and if you'll be adding the product to a landfill anytime soon. Can you find a similar one that is used or recycled? That not only reduces waste but will probably save you money as well.

Rethink transportation
We live in a world of constant motion. Transporting yourself and your family to and from work and school, running errands, and taking vacations all use fuel that must be generated and creates waste for the environment. Try alternative transportation to work once in awhile — bike riding or carpooling, public transportation, or working from home occasionally. A small change in your commuting routine could inspire a long-term shift in habit.

And remember anything you buy — food, electronics, clothing, automobiles, etc. — must be transported to local stores or to your home. Buy local when possible and think about whether or not you really need all the stuff you're buying.

Sustaining the Environment
Making changes in our lifestyle is the first step in preserving our earth. The next step is to repair the damage we've already done. Consider planting a tree or creating a wildlife habitat to attract birds and small animals that may have been displaced by construction. Join an environmental organization to make positive changes in your community. Encourage others to join the Earth Day movement year round. Most importantly, get outside and enjoy the great green earth that Mother Nature celebrates!

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

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