Planning a Successful Book Club

Thursday, February 04 at 01:10 PM
Category: Personal Finance

Step aside knitting circles, bunko parties and bridge groups, there's a new leisure activity that's become an increasingly popular way to bring people together — book clubs. Why not? Book clubs offer great benefits. They provide intellectual stimulation, foster community and help people escape the everyday stresses of life.

If you're thinking about starting a book club of your own, you can be assured it costs very little and is relatively easy to get started. Here are some steps you can take to get your book club together and ensure you are on the same page with the friends, family members, neighbors or colleagues who may want to join.
  • Establish your theme. What types of books will you read? Will your book club be made up of serious, scholarly readers or casual readers? It's important you determine this upfront so the expectations of the book club are clear to all. 
  • Get your "characters" to join. You can't have a book club without people, so invite friends, neighbors and work colleagues to join. 
  • Find the setting. Will you meet at someone's house, the local library or a coffee shop? Talk to members of your book club to determine their preferences. If you decide to have it a house, think about alternating houses each session. 
  • Outline book club rules. It's important to set the expectations of the group. Work with members to establish rules of the book club, including:

- How often will you meet?
- How will books be selected?
- Who will select them?
- What are the rules for expressing differing opinions?
- How will discussion questions be created?
- Who will moderate each session?
- What's the maximum number of members the book club should have?

  • Prepare your discussion questions. To facilitate your discussions at book club, it's a good idea to prepare some discussion questions. Some authors provide sample discussion questions on their websites or in their books. You may also want to research the author and their backgrounds to help educate other members of the club.
Once you’ve established a group, enjoy yourself! 


Continued Growth in SBA Activity

Wednesday, February 03 at 07:45 AM
Category: Business Banking

Arvest Bank is experiencing the highest SBA loan volume since 2012. 

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arvest Bank reported a spike in Small Business Administration (SBA) loan activity for the second consecutive year in 2015, with a 23 percent increase in loan approvals and a 45 percent jump in loan volume.

Arvest’s 7(a) loan approvals for the SBA fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015, was 187. That’s up from 152 in 2014. These loans are the SBA’s primary means for helping startup and existing small businesses deal with a variety of general business purposes.

The bank’s SBA 7(a) loan volume, meanwhile, was $49.7 million in 2015, up from $34.2 million in 2014. The 2015 volume is Arvest’s highest since it had $41 million in 2012.

Arvest understands the importance of small businesses not just in the communities we serve, but to the national economy as well. That’s why Arvest is committed to helping such businesses in our markets whenever possible.

Arvest’s SBA growth is similar to what has transpired on a national scale. According to the SBA, more than 63,000 7(a) loans were made in its fiscal year 2015 totaling $23.6 billion. Those are increases of 22 percent and 23 percent, respectively, over fiscal year 2014 .

Arvest also remains an SBA-preferred lender, meaning that the process is streamlined for applicants. Small business owners who need to explore financing options should talk to an SBA-approved lender who can offer them a complete range of available options.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking, Press Release

Friday Financial Forum Feb. 5 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Tuesday, February 02 at 04:40 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Join us Friday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. for our Friday Financial Forum. We will meet at the Friday Forum Room at Arvest's East Side Branch, located at 4225 S.E. Adams Rd. in Bartlesville, Okla.*

This week Chuck McCauley, executive director of Bartlesville Public Schools Secondary Instruction, will give an update from the secondary schools construction project and activities.

What you can expect at the event:

  • Information: Community leaders share topical, local and state information (Sen. John Ford, Rep. Earl Sears & Rep. Travis Dunlap)
  • News: "The Scoop" – all about business and community happenings in Bartlesville (Billie Roane, Arvest Bank)
  • Stock Report & Economic Update: Josh Randolph**, Arvest Wealth Management
  • Hilarious Anecdotes: Jim Bohnsack, Arvest Bank

Each week is different with a few surprises! Invite a friend and come enjoy delicious homemade cookies and hear about what’s going on in the Bartlesville area! 

If you have any questions or would like to add someone to the email invitation list, please contact Billie Roane at (918) 337-4358. We look forward to seeing you there!

**Josh Randolph - Oklahoma Insurance License #122041

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

Tags: Bartlesville, Community Support, Oklahoma

Refinancing Auto Loans a Lesser-Known Money-Saving Option

Monday, February 01 at 08:30 AM
Category: Personal Finance

We advise how to determine whether refinancing is a viable move.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – While homeowners are aware of the benefits of refinancing, many consumers are not aware they can refinance their automobiles.

For most consumers, an automobile loan is the second-largest note they incur. Kelley Blue Book (KBB), one of the most trusted industry and consumer sources for new and used automobile pricing, estimated the average cost of a new vehicle in 2015 at $34,500. With rising automobile prices, the option to refinance automobile loans can be appealing, saving consumers hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the remainder of their loan.  

In contrast to refinancing a home mortgage, auto loan refinancing is easier and requires minimal fees. How do consumers determine if it’s the right option? 

They should begin by reviewing the terms, interest rate, balance, payoff amount and the payoff date of the current loan agreement. Refinancing could be a good option if:

-- The loan interest rate is significantly higher than current interest rates. Refinancing can reduce monthly payments, the total loan amount or the length of the loan. For example, an individual in the second year of paying off a six-year car note of $35,000 at 8.5 percent interest who refinances the loan at 5.5 percent could save $35 a month, reducing the total loan cost by $1,680.

-- The current loan is a long-term loan. Because many new cars and trucks now cost upward of $50,000 and more, many car companies are offering car loans of six or more years to keep monthly payments affordable. Taking advantage of lower interest rates that many banks offer during promotion periods can reduce the length of a longer loan while keeping payments reasonable. While the monthly payments may remain the same, slightly increase or slightly decrease, depending on the lower interest rate, the borrower will save money in the long run because the length of the loan is reduced.

-- The borrower’s credit score has improved. Qualifications for lower-interest loans improve with a higher credit score, so refinancing is worth exploring.

-- The borrower’s financial situation has changed. Borrowers who need more monthly cash on hand or who are in danger of defaulting on a loan may consider refinancing to extend the life of their loan for the purpose of reducing monthly payments. This option will not save money, and may increase the total cost of the loan, but it is an option for lowering monthly payments.

-- Making a large payment against the principal amount is possible. When someone receives a bonus, a tax refund or an inheritance, they may have a lump sum available to pay down their note. This can be a great way to refinance because a lower rate might be possible and a shorter-term loan can save significant money and get the car paid off sooner.

The majority of auto loans are structured to pay off interest at the beginning of the loan, so the first few years of paying on the loan are the best time to consider refinancing; however, borrowers may refinance at any time during the payment period.

Tags: Credit Score, Financial Education, Lending and Financing, Press Release

Arvest Donates $37,000+ to Northwest Arkansas Charities

Friday, January 29 at 05:50 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

"Jeans Days" in Northwest Arkansas raised more than $37,000 for local non-profits.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arvest Bank associates in Northwest Arkansas raised $37,707.62 through participation in “Jeans Days” in 2015 for various charities.

Arvest Bank branches participate in the “Jeans Days” program, either weekly, monthly or periodically throughout the year. Each associate gives a donation, usually between $2 and $5, to wear jeans to work on the designated days. Those funds are collected and donated throughout the year to more than 40 charities.

“Arvest Bank is a community-focused bank and our associates are always happy when their small donations, multiplied across Northwest Arkansas and accumulated throughout the year, can assist local organizations,” said Karen Gray, vice president of marketing and public relations for Arvest Bank in Fayetteville. “Participating in the Jeans Days donations allows us to have a casual business day at the office while helping our neighbors.”

Charities are selected based on associate and customer nominations. Among the many local charities receiving donations for 2015 were the Miracle League of NWA, Children’s Advocacy Center, Medi-Home Christmas gifts, HOPE Cancer Resources, Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, American Heart Association, and Siloam Springs Adult Development Center.

Arvest Bank associates have been participating in the “Jeans Days” donations since 1992.

Tags: Arkansas, Charitable Giving, Community Support, Press Release

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