Rising Home Values Could Cause Spike in Home Equity Lending

Friday, January 30 at 09:10 AM
Category: Arvest News

Rising home values are causing an increase in home equity which some predict will drive more consumers to take out home equity loans and lines of credit in 2015.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Home values across the U.S. are trending upward (U.S. News & World Report, “The Best Reasons to Tap Your Home Equity”). Across Arvest Bank’s footprint, Zillow.com, an online real estate database, reports increases between 3.2 percent and 6.4 percent in home values. Because of this trend, homeowners are regaining equity in their properties and, in turn, home equity loans to finance home improvements and other major purchases are becoming more available and more attractive.

Earlier this year, The New York Times (The New York Times, “Home Equity Loans Make a Cautious Return”) reported that due to rising home values, improving consumer confidence and a backlog of home improvements that were put off during the recession, home equity-financed consumer loans are expected to grow in 2015. Additionally, consumers will be more inclined to borrow on their equity to improve their existing home rather than sell and move up in price range. 

Home equity loans and lines of credit can also be beneficial financing options for other big ticket items like education expenses, appliances, furniture and automobiles, because they are often tax-deductible as mortgage interest. 

U.S. News & World Report (U.S. News & World Report, “The Best Reasons to Tap Your Home Equity”) reported that Americans took out $23.4 billion in home-equity lines in the first quarter of 2014, up 15.5 percent from the same time period in the previous year.

Some things to consider before pursuing a home equity loan or line of credit include: Do you have enough equity built up in your home to qualify? What makes the most sense for your situation, a loan with a defined lump sum amount or a line of credit that can be used as needed?

It’s also recommended to limit your overall debt risk and avoid putting your family’s shelter at risk for nonessential purchases. Loan officers at a local bank can help consumers consider all the risks and benefits before applying for a home equity loan or line of credit.

A homeowner can tap up to 85 percent of the home’s value, minus the balance of the mortgage. So, if your home is worth $500,000 and you owe $250,000 on the mortgage, you could take out a $175,000 loan at a reasonably low interest rate.

For consumers, this means there will be more opportunities to make home improvements such as adding a room, building a deck or remodeling a kitchen. For the economy, this could mean an increase in small construction jobs. Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports this and states that nationwide construction employment increased 2.6 percent year-over-year and has been increasing annually since June 2011.

Tags: Home Loans, Press Release

Apple Pay Scheduled for Summer Release

Thursday, January 29 at 01:15 PM
Category: Arvest News

The Apple Pay availability date for Arvest customers has changed, and at this time we believe it will be ready this summer. We understand this is important to our customers and apologize for the delay. We are doing everything we can to expedite the implementation. More work needs to be completed by our processing partners in order to deliver the service. 

Once Apple Pay is available we’ll announce it on arvest.com, Arvest Bank on Facebook* and @ArvestBank on Twitter.* We’ll also email customers who use mobile banking on an Apple device. Make sure you have an up-to-date email address with Arvest so you will receive this update. Update your email address by calling Customer Service at (866) 952-9523 or through online banking. To update your email address online, log in to online banking, select the “Accounts” tab, select “Statements” and then “Change my primary email address.” Once you update your email address, click “Save.” 
Again, we apologize for the delay and are anxious to provide this sought after service to our customers. 

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

Working Out in a Winter Wonderland

Thursday, January 29 at 08:10 AM
Category: Personal Finance

With colder temperatures, icy roads and shorter days, winter can be a difficult time to exercise for even the most avid outdoorsmen and exercise fanatics. It can also be a time when energy and mood levels are low, and exercise is needed all the more. But, while winter certainly brings colder temperatures, it can also bring you opportunities for a different kind of fun and exercise. Consider taking part in these activities ideal for adults, children and families. 

  • Ice skating. Freezing cold weather brings one great benefit — frozen lakes and ponds for ice skating. One of the most popular and inexpensive exercises, ice skating is a fun way to get your heart pumping.
  • Ice fishing. Just because it's winter, doesn't mean you can't take part in one of the most relaxing and stress-free activities — fishing. Ice fishers drill holes in the middle of lakes and ponds and experience the thrill of bringing in fish.
  • Sledding. Looking to feel young again? Then why not take part in a trusted childhood tradition — sledding? Sledding is great exercise and can be a fun, no-cost activity for your entire family. 
  • Snowshoeing. If you're looking for a great cardio workout and a chance to be outdoors, try snowshoeing. You can strap on your snowshoes and go just about anywhere — trails, playgrounds, golf courses, etc. 
  • Skiing. Whether you're an adventurer looking for the thrill of racing down mountains or a novice looking for a great way to get outdoors and get exercise, there's no shortage of skiing options. Downhill or cross country, you're sure to have fun, burn calories and get some fresh air. 
  • Snowmobiling. If you're really looking for a snow adventure, you can visit places that offer snowmobiling. You can experience the beauty and joy of nature and experience the adventure of cruising on miles of mountain trails.
Of course, once you do all these activities, you can take advantage of one of the greatest winter activities — sitting by the fire and resting your tired muscles. 

Friday Financial Forum Jan. 30 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Thursday, January 29 at 04:30 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Join us Friday, Jan. 30, 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 S.E. Adams Rd., Bartlesville, Okla. Every Friday we invite customers like you to attend our one-hour Financial Forum. Each week is different with a few surprises!

This week's featured speaker will be Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, CEO for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. Chancellor Johnson leads a state system comprised of 25 state colleges and universities, 10 constituent agencies, one higher education center, and independent colleges and universities coordinated with the state system.

He provides leadership on matters relating to standards for Oklahoma higher education, courses and programs of study, budget allocations for institutions, fees and tuition, and strategic planning. Dr. Johnson is the son of former U.S. Congressman Glen D. Johnson Sr. and resides in Oklahoma City with is wife, Melinda.

What you can expect at the event:

  • News: "The Scoop" about businesses coming, going and expanding in Bartlesville (Billie Roane, Arvest Bank)
  • Information: Community leaders share topical, local and state information 
  • Updates: Arvest provides current economy and stock market trends (Josh Randolph/Sonya Reed, Arvest Bank)

We will be in for a real treat at this week's forum with Sen. John Ford and Rep. Earl Sears stepping into Jim Bohnsack's spot, while Jim sits back and participates from the audience. It should be an informative, fun and exciting hour, and we will be serving delicious refreshments, as usual! If you have any questions about the event, please contact Billie Roane at (918) 337-4358.

Tags: Bartlesville, Community Support, Oklahoma

Guideline for Creating an Employee Benefits Program - Part 2: Benefits with Little to No Cost

Wednesday, January 28 at 08:45 AM
Category: Business Banking

The benefits you provide your employees must serve to attract, retain and motivate them. In addition to wages and other benefits that cost your company money, you can provide additional perks for your employees that cost little to no money.

Benefits that cost little or no money
The work environment and the personal satisfaction an employee gets are also important parts of the total compensation an employee receives.

  1. Make sure the work is meaningful. Even if it is boring and repetitive, make sure the employees know their efforts are needed and appreciated. No one likes to think they just spent eight hours doing something useless that no one cares about.
  2. Provide ways for employees to learn. This doesn't have to be paying for a class. Perhaps, there are tasks that can be switched with other employees. Such a switch will give two people the opportunity to learn something, and you will have some backup if someone is sick or quits. 
  3. Empower employees to make decisions. Most individuals will make the right decisions if they have an understanding of the issues and have some guidelines. Also, by letting employees make decisions, managers’ time is available for other tasks.
  4. Let employees know what is expected of them and how they are doing. Performance reviews are essential. Every employee should receive a formal review at least annually.
  5. Make it a point to recognize employees when they have done an especially good job. Bonuses are nice, but compliments are meaningful. Have you ever noticed plaques for "Employees of the Month" in many businesses? Some businesses even provide special parking spots for "Employees of the Month."
  6. Provide some flexibility. Everyone is busy and unexpected things do arise. If you can do a little extra to allow employees to tend to important personal matters. It may come back to you many times over when you need something extra from them.

Savings programs and direct deposit
Many employees are interested in accumulating funds and yet have a very difficult time actually saving money on a month-to-month basis. You may be able to help them without any cost. Most payroll services offer employees the ability to direct a portion of their wages into an account at their financial institution.  Be sure your employees are aware of this option and also direct deposit. These conveniences make it easier for employees to handle their finances and the company may save some of the costs of payroll processing.

Employee benefits are important. Creating a program doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Together with the work environment, your benefit program may be the difference between having an effective, steady work force or a group of dissatisfied employees you are constantly replacing.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking

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