Regional Consumers Earnest About Saving

Thursday, December 18 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest released the third part of its Fall 2014 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey which looked at spending, savings and debt.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Consumers in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma are saving at a higher rate, and about a fifth of them plan to increase their saving even further.

Those are among the more noticeable findings from the third phase of the Fall 2014 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released today. This phase is the final piece of the survey, conducted in October, and focuses on consumers’ attitudes concerning spending, saving and debt.

Regional respondents’ saving rate increased from 11.6 percent in June’s survey to 12.1 percent in October. The change was bolstered primarily by Arkansas consumers, whose rate grew from 9.5 percent to 11.9 percent. The rate among Missourians remained at 11.7 percent, while Oklahomans’ rate took a slight dip, from 13.1 percent to 12.8 percent.

When it came to plans to increase saving over the next six months, meanwhile, 20 percent of those polled regionally said they plan to do just that. That compares to 17 percent in June. The biggest jumps were in Oklahoma (15 percent to 23 percent) and Missouri (15 percent to 21 percent), while the number of Arkansans planning to increase their savings rate fell from 23 percent to 18 percent.

“Saving when possible is generally a good idea, and we’re pleased to see that consumers across our footprint are doing that,” Arvest Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “This round of results also shows that a good number of consumers are prepared to flex their purchasing power in the coming months, too. We’re always happy to help people prepare for their financial future, whether that means saving money or making the kinds of purchases that improve their quality of life.”

While 36 percent of regional respondents said they have made a major household purchase in the last six months – down from 39 percent in June – 24 percent of those polled plan to make such a purchase in the next six months. Major household purchases include items like furniture, televisions and refrigerators.

Respondents in Missouri (27 percent) led the way in that regard, followed by Arkansas (25 percent) and Oklahoma (22 percent). Of those in the region not planning to make a major purchase, 19 percent said they were waiting for the right time to buy.

The questions concerning consumers’ plan to make a major household purchase in the next six months and whether they’re waiting for the right time to buy are two of four new questions not included in the June survey due to incomplete data.

The other new questions asked if respondents planned to acquire credit – whether it is mortgage, home equity, auto loan, credit card or student loan – in the next six months, and if respondents anticipated difficulty acquiring credit. The categories with the highest expected credit acquisition were auto loan, credit card and student loans, with 4 percent each. Of those who planned to acquire any type of credit, only 5 percent expected difficulty.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas, which also evaluates the Arkansas data. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted 1,200 phone surveys.

The survey will be conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in May 2015. With each study, the Consumer Sentiment Survey Index score will be released first, followed by a second release on consumer outlook including the Current Conditions Index and the Consumer Expectations Index, which are sub-indexes of the Consumer Sentiment Survey Index. The third release will focus on spending, savings and debt expectations.

Arvest Bank’s sponsorship of this survey, which follows the model of the national Survey of Consumers produced by the University of Michigan, is due to its desire to provide beneficial data for its customers and communities. The data provides a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where the bank operates. Additionally, with future results, consumers, as well as the business community, will be able to see how sentiment is trending.

The Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University provides state analysis of the Missouri data. The Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, evaluates the data for Oklahoma.

Information about the survey and research partners, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at

About Our Research Partners

The Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville 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 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 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.

The Meinders School of Business 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.

Tags: Arkansas, Debt, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release, Savings

Friday Financial Forum Dec. 19 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Thursday, December 18 at 05:15 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Join us Friday, Dec. 19, 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.

This week is our Annual Christmas Party with the Ad Lib Singers providing music. Chief Holland is bringing an update and pictures from last Saturday's "Santa" project, and the first annual Friday Financial Forum beautiful sweater contest will take place!

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 and Rep. Earl Sears)
  • 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 Billie Roane at (918) 337-4358.
Tags: Bartlesville, Community Support, Oklahoma

10 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Wednesday, December 17 at 10:20 AM
Category: Arvest News

With Christmas only one week away and New Year's two weeks away, it's hard not to stress about what still needs to get done buy and wrap last-minute presents, fill stockings, send out Christmas cards, make cookies for the neighbors, plan/shop/cook gourmet meals, the list goes on…

Here are 10 tips to make the next couple of weeks more enjoyable.

  1. Make Christmas shopping a group activity with some friends/family. They can help give you ideas of gifts to buy for people on your list. You’ll kill two birds with one stone – get to spend quality time with friends/family and get your Christmas shopping done!
  2. Arrange a stocking stuffer blitz. Grab your significant other and $10 each and head to a discount store. You’ve each got 30 minutes to fill a stocking for the other person!
  3. Tie it with a bow. Give your gifts unwrapped with just a bow. You’ll save yourself time and money!
  4. Skip some events. Don't feel obligated to attend every party you're invited to. The neighborhood cookie exchange isn't necessary.
  5. Walk off your pecan pie. Instead of focusing on Jack Frost nipping at your nose while walking across a cold shopping center parking lot, think of it as your daily exercise so you don’t feel guilty about missing the gym.
  6. Make new friends. When you’re waiting in a long line at your local retailer, instead of getting frustrated at the seasonal cashier who doesn’t know how to handle returns, get to know the people in line next to you.
  7. Belt out holiday jingles when you’re stuck in traffic. After all, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” The other drivers may also cheer up just looking at you singing, especially if you do some shoulder sways and pretend to hold a microphone.
  8. Think of someone other than yourself. When you see others’ poverty, you’ll realize how much you have to be grateful for. Finding the perfect party dress just won’t seem so important when your neighbor doesn’t even have money for Christmas dinner. Look for opportunities to help others like serving dinner at a soup kitchen, buying presents for children in need or singing Christmas carols for your neighbors.
  9. Laugh. Choose to be jolly and bright even if the Christmas decorations don’t get put up, the presents you ordered online don’t show up in time or the Christmas cards you sent get returned because you forgot to put stamps on them. Laughter will help you keep it all in perspective.
  10. Catch some Zs. Don’t sacrifice your sleep for fun. If you do, you’ll end up being as grumpy as the Grinch and find Santa’s left coal in your stocking.

This year don’t let yourself get run over by the sleigh full of parties, presents, limited time and bad attitudes. Practice these stress reducing tips to help you feel like you’re gliding along a wintry fairy land!


Holiday Hours

Wednesday, December 17 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

We hope you’re just as excited to celebrate the holidays as we are! Arvest Bank branches and customer service close at 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve as we eagerly await sleigh bells. We’ll remain closed on Christmas Day and reopen Dec. 26 for normal business hours.

Arvest branches and customer service close on Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. as we prepare to ring in the New Year. We’ll remain closed on New Year’s Day and reopen Jan. 2 for normal business hours.

For your convenience you can bank 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using:

We thank you for your patronage and wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season! We look forward to serving you in 2015!

Tags: Holiday Hours, Hours

Maximize Your Retirement Plan Contribution

Wednesday, December 17 at 07:35 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Along with making money with their business, most small business owners also try to minimize income taxes and grow their wealth. Qualified retirement plans present an excellent opportunity to accomplish these last two objectives. While the rules for retirement plans can be confusing and you may want to consult qualified tax and investment advisors, here are some guidelines that can prepare you for those conversations.

Single Employee Businesses
This article focuses on the opportunities for sole proprietors and companies that employ only the owner (and a spouse). Individuals such as real estate brokers, consultants, outside board members, sole professional practitioners and other self-employed individuals can have a great deal of flexibility in choosing a plan that best fits their goals. Businesses that have other employees must cover those employees in most cases and should seek guidance for a more detailed explanation of the options.

The SEP-IRA is probably the easiest plan to have. The plan can be established and funded any time up to the due date or extended due date of your tax return. The employer can contribute up to 25 percent of your W-2 or self-employment income to a maximum of $52,000 for 2014. Contributions are deducted from the employer’s current taxable income.

These plans are relatively easy to have and are generally more attractive than SEP-IRAs if your income is less than about $40,000. Generally, the plan must be established by October to provide tax deductions for the current year. For 2014, employees can defer up to $12,000 of wages into the plan and employers can match the employee contribution up to 3 percent of the employee’s wages. The 2001 Tax Act also provided for an additional $2,500 “catch-up” contribution for 2014. The employee’s deferral reduces their taxable wages and the employer contributions are deducted from their current taxable income.

The One Person 401(k) Plan
Large companies have been using 401(k) plans for many years. Recent changes have resulted in these attractive plans now being attractive to single employee businesses. These plans are more complicated than SEP-IRAs and SIMPLE-IRAs but offer higher contribution limits and more flexibility. The plan must be established before year-end and contributions must be made by the due date or extended due date of your tax return.

For 2014, employees may defer up to $17,500 of their wages into the plan. In addition, the employer can contribute up to 25 percent of the employee’s income (maximum income considered is $260,000 for 2014). There is also an overall limit of $52,000 for employee and employer contributions. The 2001 Tax Act also provides for an additional $5,500 “catch-up” contribution for 2014. Employees can borrow from their 401(k) plans with certain restrictions and repayment schedules.

2014 Maximum Deductible Contributions for Incorporated Businesses

Very small business owners and sole proprietors have options and flexibility to reduce taxes and accumulate wealth through the use of qualified retirement plans. Be sure to get the qualified advice you need when making this important decision.

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert when specific advice is needed. Find articles like this and much more in the online Arvest Biz Center.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking

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