Grand Re-Opening in Tulsa, Okla.

Friday, March 27 at 06:30 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

It’s no joke! Stop by our branch at 4117 S. Peoria Ave., Tulsa, Okla., for a grand re-opening celebration April 1-4! Visit with the friendliest staff in town, and check out our new facility. Refreshments will be served daily 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., while supplies last.

We’re offering prizes as just one more way to celebrate! Register** to win one of the following three prizes: 
  • $200 Urban Outfitters gift card and basket
  • $150 Mondo’s gift card and basket
  • $100 Arvest Visa gift card and basket
It’s a pleasure serving the Tulsa community! We look forward to servicing the financial needs of new and existing customers at another convenient location.

**Alternate entry is available, no purchase is necessary. To submit an alternate entry, call (918) 382-4010 with your name, address, daytime and evening telephone numbers, and/or a valid email address, to be received no later than 4/4/15. You do not have to be present to win. Must be 18 years or older to register. Offer only valid at the 4117 S. Peoria Ave., Tulsa, OK location. Winners will be announced on 4/6/15.

Tags: Oklahoma, Tulsa

Friday Financial Forum March 27 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Thursday, March 26 at 05:40 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Join us Friday, March 27, 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 we have two speakers!

Teri Bowers, COO and executive director of the Oklahoma Aquarium, will be coming to update us on the happenings at the aquarium. The Oklahoma Aquarium provides educational, recreational, cultural and tourism opportunities for Oklahomans and out-of-state visitors. Through their partnerships with Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the State Department of Education, private foundations, and individual and corporate sponsors, the Oklahoma Aquarium is a premiere marine and aquatic science facility dedicated to "Conservation through Education."

Also coming to the forum is Mike Droese, Goldman Sachs, who will be giving the economic updates. Mike oversees the firm's relationships with banks, trust companies and wealth management firms with an emphasis on those located in the Midwestern United States. His responsibilities include conveying Goldman Sachs’ economic and market views to these institutions; sharing ideas regarding current trends in liquidity, asset and wealth management; educating clients about GSAM’s investment products; and broadly assisting them with executing on their value proposition. 

What you can expect at the event:

  • Information: Community leaders share topical, local and state information  
  • News: "The Scoop" about business and community happenings in Bartlesville 
  • Humorous Anecdotes: Jim Bohnsack, Arvest Bank

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Billie Roane at (918) 337-4358. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tags: Bartlesville, Community Support, Oklahoma

Send Mail Clutter Packing

Thursday, March 26 at 05:10 AM
Category: Personal Finance

The mail just keeps on coming. If you're not receiving bills, you're finding credit card solicitations, important tax documents, school notices, sales flyers and catalogs stuffed in your mailbox. If you don't stay on top of it all, you can end up losing important information, space on your kitchen table/desk or even worse — your mind! 

The good news is it doesn't take much work to deal with the ongoing problem of mail clutter. By following the simple steps below, you can send unnecessary mail and clutter packing: 

1. Reduce the flow.
If you purchase something from a retailer, chances are you're going to continually receive their catalogs. If you no longer order from these retailers or peruse their catalogs, ask to be taken off their mailing lists. Also when you sign up to buy something, be sure to check off that you do not wish to receive their catalogs.

If a company you continue to do business with sends you information, ask to have it sent electronically through email. For example, for a smart and easy way to reduce mail, ask your financial institution and billers to send statements electronically. You'll not only reduce mail pileup but also help save the planet.

Centralize your mail in one place. Designate a basket or inbox to hold your mail. So if you can't get to your mail right away, you can place your mail in the basket to ensure it doesn't get lost or scattered all around your table or desk. 

3. Establish a daily mail management routine. Set aside a time each day to go through the mail. As you do that, organize your mail as follows: 
  • Actionable mail: If you need to take action on a piece of mail, such as make a bill payment, write and attach a sticky note about what you have do and when, and place the mail in a file marked "action."
  • Recycled mail: If you have identified something as junk mail, which is mail that doesn't interest you or doesn't contain confidential information, place it in a file marked "recycle." To reduce recycled mail, consider calling the company that sent the mail and ask to be taken off their mailing list. 
  • Destroyed mail: If you receive a piece of mail, such as a credit card solicitation that contains personal information, put it in a file to be shredded.
Set a time each week to act on the items in your action, recycle and shred files. 

4. Decide what to do with personal mail. If you receive personal mail, such as birthday cards and other keepsakes, make a decision on how long you will keep it. You may, for example, want to display birthday cards for a week and then store them away in a permanent place with other keepsakes. Or, you may want to throw them away. Whatever you decide, stick to the same system. 

As with any type of organization, the important thing is to stay on top of your mail and stick to an organizing schedule. Try it; you just might take back control of your life and your tabletops! 


Trade Show Marketing

Wednesday, March 25 at 07:50 AM
Category: Business Banking

Industry gatherings and conferences can be an ideal way to meet prospective customers. Almost every industry has at least one trade association that has an annual conference with exhibits. There are few other venues that bring together as many people from a single industry. If your product or service is attractive to those in that industry, you should consider exhibiting at a trade show. While trade shows bring together potential customers, being effective in marketing to those people requires some thought ahead of time and hard work at the show. Here are some tips to consider. 

Choose the right trade show 
Before deciding to exhibit, make sure the audience is the one you want to reach. Show sponsors target their efforts to get attendees at the show. Look at their material and decide whether it would be interesting to your audience. Try to choose shows that attract decision-makers. Even if you would end up selling to a lower level person, the CEO or decision-maker will probably be involved in the process. 

Make sure there will be a large enough number of attendees to justify your costs. If a show sponsor says there will be 500 attendees, ask how many of that group will be other exhibitors. Sponsors are trying to sell you on exhibiting and may try to pump up the numbers. 

Get a list of attendees before the show
Most sponsors will make lists of attendees available but often at some cost. Getting the list is usually worth the cost. You can identify existing customers and likely prospects. You may even want to make special arrangements with a good customer for dinner or at least a discussion. You may want to mail a letter or brochure to attendees before the show. Most attendees go to trade shows to learn and if you can get their attention before the show they will be more likely to search out your exhibit. 

Make sure your exhibit tells your story 
At almost any trade show there will be exhibits that are extravagant (and expensive). Unless you have a very large budget just for your exhibit, you are unlikely to attract attendees just because your exhibit is appealing. The key is to make sure as people walk past your exhibit they understand what you are offering. There may be dozens or hundreds of exhibits and your message should be clear. Simple graphics with minimal text can work very well if it conveys your message. 

Meet your most likely prospects 
Another challenge is getting your most likely prospects who visit your exhibit to have a conversation. Many exhibitors use drawings for prizes or trinket give-aways. If you are having a drawing, make sure your prize would be well received. Electronics, food baskets and golf equipment are common prizes. To initiate conversations with those registering for a drawing, you may want to have some type of "challenge" associated with the prize. Ask how many golf balls are in a bucket or the value of a jar of coins. This will get attendees to spend a few more minutes at your exhibit and you may be better able to start a conversation. 

Materials to have 
Most exhibitors will have a supply of brochures and written materials for attendees to take. Avoid the temptation to overspend on large packets of materials for everyone. A lot of trade show materials get tossed in hotel wastebaskets without ever being read. A better idea is to have a simple handout for most people that just appear to be looking while having a more complete packet for serious prospects. 

Follow up, follow up and follow up
Just like any sales process, following up is critical. Be sure to keep good notes about which prospects deserve special attention. Remembering which prospect said what could be difficult especially if the show lasts for several days. Most attendees are relatively free with their business cards and you may want to make notes on the back of them. Be sure to ask good prospects how they would like you to follow up. Then do it. 

Trade shows can be effective marketing tools. However, they can also be hard work and frustrating. Be sure to be prepared, use your best sales techniques and be well rested.
Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking

Part 2: Overcoming Financial Myths Your Parents Taught You

Monday, March 23 at 10:15 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Last week we saw we do not always get what we pay for. How much were you able to save buying generic? This week let’s look at a common myth about credit ratings. 

Myth #2 – “Carrying a balance on my credit card will improve my credit rating.” 

First, let’s start with an explanation of why a credit rating or credit score is important. When you apply for a credit card, a car loan, a mortgage loan or any other type of personal loan, lenders want to understand the likelihood of you paying back the loan on time. This is known as “credit risk.” To help lenders understand the credit risk, most will rely, in part, on a credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies. This report gives a credit rating or credit score that helps the lender understand if you are a good credit risk and will pay the debt back on time. This makes your credit score very important.

Your total debt owed, including the balances you carry on your credit cards, does affect your credit score. However, in addition, your credit report contains a variety of information about the debt you own. It includes both positive and negative information.  

Your credit rating takes into consideration:
  • Amounts owed 
  • Payment history
  • Length of credit history
  • New credit
  • Types of credit in use
All of this information is used to calculate a credit rating. Which category is most important depends on the overall information included in each person’s credit report. Therefore, we really can’t measure the importance just one category has on any one person’s credit score. However, the total amount owed, not just on credit cards, will tend to have a strong impact to your credit score.  

So then, should you carry a balance on your credit card? Do what’s best for you and your family, at the time.  

My husband and I have a credit card that earns rewards points. I love getting things for free. That’s how my husband and I think of our rewards points. They’re free! We use this credit card for all of the things we would normally pay cash for each month. As we’re using the card, we’re earning our rewards points. At the end of the month, when we get our credit card bill, we pay it off in full. That’s right! All of it! Since we only use this card for things we would normally have paid for in cash, it doesn’t create a financial strain on our family. The advantages of paying it off in full each month are we never pay any interest on this credit card, and we earn all of those fantastic rewards points every month!   
For larger items we’re not able to pay for in cash, it’s important to not bite off more than we can chew, to “live within our means,” so to speak. Most of us carry a balance on our credit card(s) periodically, if not all the time. What tends to have a greater impact to the overall strength of your credit is the total amount you owe not just what you owe on your credit cards. If the total amount you owe is reasonable for your income, your overall credit will strengthen and have a positive impact on your credit rating. However, if the total amount you owe is not reasonable for the amount of your income, it tends to create a strain on your overall credit position and could ultimately cause your credit rating to go down.  

When my youngest son was in third grade he got a fortune cookie that read, “Live within your means.” He asked me to explain what it meant to him. I told him it meant that he should only buy the things he can afford. In a typical third grader response, he rolled his eyes at me and said, “Well, how am I going to buy something if I can’t afford it?”   

My response is, “WOW! Great fortunes make great fortunes!” Live within your means!  
Although we can’t always pay cash for everything and will periodically need to carry a balance on our credit cards and get a loan to buy those larger ticket items, it’s important to keep your total amount owed within an amount you can afford, to live within your means.  

For items my husband and I aren’t able to pay for in cash, we use another card with a lower interest rate. Since the interest rate is lower on this card, we feel we’re able to carry a balance while we pay off the debt over time. Using the lower interest rate credit card for the larger items saves us money and helps us to better, “Live within our means.”

So, whether you carry a balance on your credit card or pay your balance off in full each month, it’s also important to remember to “live within your means” and “pay your debt on time.” All of these things have an important impact to your credit strength and your overall financial well-being.

Arvest has a variety of credit cards offering generous credit lines and competitive rates, valuable benefits and rewards, and local friendly customer service.  

Next week we will wrap up our series on financial myths with myth # 3, “I’m young – I really don’t need to start saving for retirement.” And, “I’m old – it’s too late for me to start saving for retirement.”
Tags: Credit Cards, Credit History, Financial Education

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