Three Things to Look for in a Starter Home

Mortgage

If you’re in the market for your first home, congratulations! Becoming a homeowner is an exciting step on your financial journey. At Putnam Bank, our dedicated mortgage lenders are here to help you find the best financing option for your new home. Remember to stop in and secure a pre-approval letter before you start your home search.

After speaking with a mortgage lender to help determine your family’s ideal price point, it’s time to start viewing potential homes. During this process you’re bound to find a home you’ll fall in love with, and others that may send you running for the hills. As you ride this rollercoaster of an experience, we recommend searching for the following three things in your family’s ideal new house:

  1. Good Bones. Starter homes are a great option to find a great house within an affordable budget. To ensure your investment lasts for the long-term, we recommend taking a hard look at any foundational cracks, leans, or other structural ailments. While the rest of the house could look fantastic, these three issues should be instant red flags signaling you to continue looking at other homes.
  2. Cohesive Neighborhood. The people you surround yourself could be the individuals you see at 6:00 AM taking the trash out, or the partiers you have to ask to turn down the music at 11:00 PM. As you tour properties, don’t be afraid to chat with any potential neighbors and see if there is any information they can give on families you’ll be living alongside.
  3. Suitable Layout. While some renovations are certainly possible when purchasing a starter home, obstacles such as load-bearing walls could limit your expectations. Consider the overall layout of the home at the showing, and see if you could picture yourself the ways it is. If the answer is no, then you may want to find a few backup options should the renovations not be available within your budget.

The perfect home will look different to everyone. If you’re ready to start searching for your family’s new house, our experienced mortgage lenders are here to help. We work with many successful local realtors, and we would be happy to refer you to the one that fits your needs best. Give us a call or stop by to begin the search for your home today.

10 Ways to Shop Local

Small Business

Supporting our community is one of the most impactful ways we can help it grow. By shopping with local vendors and utilizing area service providers you and your family can help ensure that our community prospers and grows each year. If you want to shop local, but don’t know where to start, our team at Putnam Bank has come up with some creative ideas you may not have considered yet.

  1. Get produce at your local farmers market.
  2. Purchase floral arrangements from your neighborhood florist instead of online vendors.
  3. Work with local providers for your insurance and wealth management.
  4. Venture out for the night and tour area dining and entertainment establishments.
  5. Bank with a community bank.
  6. Buy groceries from a regional company compared to the large national chains.
  7. Like your favorite area businesses on Facebook and other social media.
  8. Shop for birthdays and holidays at your community’s downtown storefront.
  9. If you have received great service or products from a local business, recommend them to a friend or relative.
  10. Stay local when planning weddings or other milestone events and avoid online alternatives.

Owning and managing a small business may be more difficult than you think. We believe that opportunity is everywhere. Whether you’d like to open a business of your own, or simply want to support the ones you enjoy, it’s great to learn what small businesses are all about. That’s why Putnam Bank is excited to share some compelling and surprising facts surrounding the small businesses in our neck of the woods.

  • A company is considered a small business if they have less than 500 employees according to the Small Business Administration.
  • 99.7 percent of all active companies in the United States are classified as small businesses.
  • If your favorite retailer has been in business over ten years, they have officially beat the odds. According to the Bureau of Labor, two out of three small businesses are still operating after two years in business, and only half of small businesses have survived after being open for five years.  Approximately one-third of small businesses last ten years or longer.
  • Cash flow is cited as the more common issue regarding a business’s failure. Associated tasks such as invoicing, timed billing, and record keeping are often the most commonly linked culprits.

If your business needs to gain capital for an expansion or start-up, Putnam Bank is here to help. Our experienced commercial lenders can help you determine your ideal capital amount while also setting up valuable cash flow services Send us your information or stop in today to learn more about this convenient and affordable service.

 

Putnam Bank Joins ICBA for Meeting with President Trump

Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2017)Thomas A. Borner, President & CEO, Putnam Bank, Putnam, CT., joined more than 100 community bankers and the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) for a meeting with President Donald Trump and other top administration officials at the White House as part of the 2017 ICBA Capital Summit. In the meeting with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, NEC Director Gary Cohn and Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon, Trump said the administration is focused on addressing regulatory burdens to help community banks lend to small businesses.

“Putnam Bank was deeply honored to be invited to attend today’s historic meeting, where the president reiterated his support for community banking,” said Mr. Borner. “Putnam Bank is proud to be in Washington this week to advocate on behalf of our industry so we can continue to serve our community and be a powerful job creator and economic engine right here in Eastern CT.”

During the meeting community bankers presented President Trump with a red “Make Community Banking Great Again” cap. In attendance at the meeting were community bankers from ICBA’s Executive Committee, board of directors, Federal Delegate Board, and policy committees.

More than 1,000 community bankers visited Washington for ICBA’s Capital Summit to discuss critical issues facing community banks and their communities, such as excessive regulatory burdens that affect their ability to serve their customers, make loans and create jobs. The industry’s solution to the regulatory burden problem—ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity—is a pro-growth platform to eliminate onerous and unnecessary regulatory burdens that inhibit lending and innovation.

The summit featured meetings with policymakers, remarks from speakers such as Secretary Mnuchin and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), and the first-ever ICBA Future of Banking Symposium, which offered insights into the future of the rapidly changing community banking industry.

“The nation’s community banks are dedicated to fostering local economic and job growth by serving the consumers and small businesses in their communities,” said ICBA Chairman Scott Heitkamp, president and CEO of ValueBank Texas in Corpus Christi, Texas. “Unfortunately, one-size-fits-all regulations are preventing community banks from lending and promoting prosperity at the local level. ICBA looks forward to continuing to work with President Trump, his administration and Congress to advance common-sense reforms that will help unleash the economic power of community banks.”

More information about ICBA’s Capital Summit, Future of Banking Symposium, and Plan for Prosperity is available on the ICBA website.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 5,800 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.

About Putnam Bank

Putnam Bank, chartered in 1862, is a $504 million Connecticut-chartered bank. Putnam Bank has branch offices in Putnam, Pomfret Center, Danielson, Plainfield, Griswold, Gales Ferry, and Norwich. It also operates a full-service loan center in Putnam. For more information call (800) 377-4424 or visit our website at putnambank.com.

The Basics Behind New Business

New Business

A mouthwatering dish your grandmother made you, a leaf falling across the park, or one of the endless questions your preschooler has begun to ask you; the truth is great ideas can come from anywhere. If you have a concept you are itching to turn into a reality, there are some key components you’ll need to make it happen. At Putnam Bank, we were founded upon our commitment to small and medium sized business, and we are thrilled to help you transform your inspiration into a live entity.

To complete the process from conceptualization to implementation, there are ten key components to ensure your business has all the legal qualifications necessary. Simply follow these helpful prompts, and if there are any components you’d like further clarification on, never hesitate to reach out! Our experienced team of commercial lenders is here to answer any questions or inquiries you or your business partners may have.

  1. Write a business plan. Your company’s business plan should detail the purpose and differentiators associated with your business. SBA.gov is an informative resource to help you determine all the required components for your proposed document.
  2. Register as an LLC or Corporation. An LLC is the most common choice for new business because the Corporation classification does mandate a $10,000,000 revenue requirement.
  3. Finance your new business. There are a variety of ways to finance your business. Whether debt or equity based, our dedicated team can help you determine which route is best suited for your business.
  4. Determine your business location.  Keeping your budget in mind, purchase or lease the space you’ll be using for your location. If you’ll be working from home be sure to take advantage of the associated tax benefits.
  5. Register for EIN and determine payroll structure. Before you hire any employees,  you’ll need to register for your Employer Identification Number for federal taxation purposes.
  6. Register your business name. You can choose to register your business as a DBA, or Doing Business As, or you can choose to register your company name and/or logo as a trademark. Both options will allow you to operate under your desired business name.
  7. Open a designated banking and credit card account. Separating your personal finances from your business is imperative in keeping accurate accounting records. Additional tools such as Quickbooks Self Employed can help you manage all aspects of your finances at home or on the go.
  8. Complete registration for state and local taxes. Business taxes are set up differently than your personal taxes. Be sure you’re accounting for all the variables before you open the doors.
  9. Receive business licenses and applicable permits. If you plan to sell alcohol or firearms, you may need federal licenses in addition to the various state requirements.
  10. Structure and start a marketing campaign. Marketing is an ongoing effort, but to get customers in the door, they’ll need to know you’re an option. Get the word out with a strategic marketing initiative, and make a yearly plan on to keep new clients coming in.

 

Water Your Lawn & Your Wallet Too

Summer Lawncare

If you’d like to grow your landscape and your finances this season, then Putnam Bank has the perfect tips for you! To jumpstart this warmer weather, we’re excited to share our top tips and tricks to maintaining a healthy lawn and garden without digging too deep into your budget:

Seed your lawn early on. Get the growing season started right, and give your landscape some food to help it grow. By not only seeding your grass, but adding fertilizer as well, you can help ensure that your roots grow strong and healthy to fight off intermittent weather changes and pesky pets.

Automate your watering routine.  Keep your landscape looking green by maintaining a daily watering routine without all the fuss of hoses and watering cans. By setting up an automated system, you can make certain you’re not wasting water, while saving additional funds from no longer needing to replace malnourished plants.

Utilize alternative landscaping options. Reduce your overall recurring costs by taking advantage of helpful products such as landscape fabric, river rock, and various xeriscaping plants. By using these tools to grow foliage other than grass you can cut down on your time and expenses associated with mowing and upkeep.

Other Outdoor Savings Tips: While the above tips can aid you in keeping a green and healthy landscape, saving money isn’t about maintenance only. To help continue your savings in other areas of lawn care, we wanted to share some further tricks on how to reduce other outdoor expenditures associated with your growing landscape.

  • Choose colorful perennials over less-timely annuals when planting flowers. While annuals can have prominent blooms that catch your eye, these flora varieties will need to be re-planted every year. Avoid paying for new seedlings each spring by utilizing returning perennial plants instead. These recurring blooms will hibernate underground each winter, and emerge where they were originally planted year after year.
  • Plant prosperous fruit trees for added shade and earnings through plant production. By providing an escape from heated sunlight, shade producing trees can help decrease the cost of your home’s monthly cooling bill. If you choose a tree that also produces fruit you can typically accumulate $200 or more worth of produce that you have the potential to sell as well.

Make the most of this planting season, and create a garden that will give you both joy and savings. We can’t wait to see what you and your family create!

Teaching Your Children the Basics of Online Security

Financial Education

If you’re like many parents in the United States, your preteens and teenagers may be running circles around you when it comes to utilizing the latest technology. Whether that’s Facebook’s latest updates, new iPhone technology, or the latest app hitting the scene, the amount of new knowledge and innovation seems endless. For your growing adults, this may look more like an endless playground than a minefield, but at times it can be both. To help your children use technology while still remaining safe we have these simple suggestions:

Passwords are important. Instead of defaulting to the same password for every account, explain to your son or daughter why they should have a complex password for each separate account. Leary cyber criminals are able to gain access to all your accounts instead of only one when they discover the passwords are all the same. The strongest passwords contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Great apps like LastPass can help to store all current passwords in addition to creating stronger password options.

Privacy matters. On Facebook and most other social media outlets, there are options to make your profile private or public. For children, and adults, we strongly recommend keeping your personal online profile private. While you and your children can connect with friends and other known acquaintances, it can become dangerous to push your information out to anyone who wants to read it. For instance, if you post about leaving for a family vacation, and the profile is set to public, potential thieves could now view your home as an easy target while you’re away.

Don’t talk to strangers. Just as you had the “Stranger danger” discussion with your son or daughter when they were younger, this message follows a similar point, but within the chat rooms and friend requests online. While in an ideal world, we wouldn’t face issues like catfishing or cyberbullying, the truth is that these actions can cause real world issues and aren’t always left online. To promote in-person communication, remind them of the importance of speaking with friends and family outside of the web, and if they ever do need someone to talk to, then you and your family are always there to listen.

Only use secure wifi. After school, your teen may head to a part-time job or extracurricular. If they’ll be going away from your home or school, be sure to encourage them to steer clear of unsecure wifi. While many afterschool hotspots offer free wifi for customers, there may be potential cybercriminals broadcasting a false signal. These unsecure signals can give them access to your child’s computer if the wifi is accepted. The criminal could then access personal information, passwords, or hold the computer access for ransom. To avoid situations like this, instruct your teen or preteen to only use wifi at home and at school unless you have approved of an additional location such as the library.

Teach your children how to use the internet responsibly, and perhaps they can show you how to capitalize on the creative and efficiency tools it offers. At Putnam Bank, we think that family is one of the most valuable parts of life and we want to help your family grow. If you’d like to start a checking or saving account for your teen or preteen, then stop in today!

 

How to Save $1,000,000 for Retirement

Retirement Savings

Retirement, 401(k), stocks and bonds, the subject matter of saving for the long term isn’t often as appealing as saving for the short term. Perhaps that’s why nearly three-quarters of Americans are underestimating how much they’ll need for retirement. The United States is on the brink, if not already in, a retirement crisis. However, at Putnam Bank we believe retirement saving can still be easily accomplished, there are just a few steps to get started

  1. The first thing you’ll need to do is determine when and how you want to retire. There are an endless variety of retirement lifestyles, each of which entails a different budget and distribution structures. Some popular options include traveling by RV, retiring in a new location, downsizing your home in the same area, pursuing a new business or passion, and of course maintaining your current lifestyle without the need for work. By choosing your lifestyle goal we can begin to structure your savings plan around what you hope to achieve.
  2. Once you know what you want, start saving ASAP. As the old adage goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” This phrase is the epitome of retirement. If you save less but start earlier you will consistently save more than if you deposited higher amounts later in life. We recommend utilizing any 401(k) or retirement savings plans your employer offers. If you are self-employed or don’t have access to retirement benefits, an IRA is a great self-funded option to help you save and take advantage of valuable tax incentives.
  3. Create a goal for how much you need to save. Financial Mentor offers great calculators to help you plan your path to retirement. They can help you determine your strategy to become a millionaire or show you how much you may need beyond $1,000,000. Saving more than one million could be more pertinent than you think. Today’s research indicates that millennials may need to save more than their baby boomer or gen x counterparts.
  4. Add any available surplus funds to your retirement savings. Simple adjustments like changing grocery stores, carpooling, and bringing your lunch to work can save more than you think! If you are able to find some additional ways to save, put those funds to work by contributing to your retirement accounts.
  5. Diversify your retirement savings. Instead of putting all your funds in company stock, corporate shares, or your 401(k), we suggest diversifying your savings options to ensure your risk isn’t higher than you need. Speaking with a professional adviser could help you determine what type of risk you’re comfortable with, and how you would like your contributions to grow over time.

By continuing to save each and every month you can beat the odds and have a fulfilling and successful retirement. The most important thing to do is to start. If you’d like to open a dedicated savings account, IRA, or CD, our dedicated team is here to help. Stop by or drop us a line today to get started today.

Putnam Bank Annual Awards Banquet

President’s Award 2017

Leslie Poitras, Deposit Operations Manager of Putnam Bank, was awarded the President’s Award.

Thomas A. Borner, President and CEO of Putnam Bank, commented that the award is given to an employee who exemplifies unwavering commitment and dedication to the bank and community.

Ms. Poitras was selected this year to receive this honor. Borner said, “Lee is a valuable member of the Putnam Bank team and tonight we celebrate her 40 years of dedication to the bank and our customers. Lee began her career as a teller and moved to the Operations Department when checks and statements were processed and mailed in-house. She is always available to lend a helping hand to customers and staff when asked. Lee always volunteers for bank sponsored community events and has devoted her time and talent to the Relay for Life and the Northeast Connecticut Cancer Fund of Day Kimball Hospital”. Lee was happily surprised and thankful. When asked what this award meant to her, she stated, ” I was very honored to receive the President’s Award. I always feel that my co-workers and the management of the bank are here to support me in any way that they can. I have truly enjoyed my years working for Putnam Bank”.

Also on that evening the following individuals were recognized for their length of service to the bank:

5 Years of Service: Brandy Hapgood, Leslie Robbins, and Dawn St. Onge. 10 Years of Service: Denise Recko and Sandy Pellecchia. 15 Years of Service: Deborah Tavernier, RoseMary Place, Tara Perron, Alyson Davis, Leah Davis, Michelle DeMarco, and Patricia Kovacik. 20 Years of Service: LeeAnn Kieltyka. 25 Years of Service: Carrie Szymanski. 30 Years of Service: Barbara Rasmussen. 40 Years of Service: Leslie Poitras.

Putnam Bank, in existence for over 155 years, is a state-chartered and insured stock bank, with assets, including the holding company of approximately $517 million dollars. Putnam Bank has branch offices in Putnam, Pomfret Center, Danielson, Plainfield, Griswold, Gales Ferry, and Norwich. It also operates a full-service loan center in Putnam. For more information call (800) 377-4424, or visit our website at putnambank.com.

Putnam Bank Announces Ray De La Cruz as new Commercial Loan Officer

Thomas A. Borner, President and CEO of Putnam Bank, recently announced the hiring of Ray De La Cruz as the new Commercial Loan Officer. Mr. Borner commented, “As we build on our recent commercial lending successes throughout Eastern Connecticut, I’m confident that Ray’s experience and enthusiasm will serve the bank well.”

Ray graduated from RI College with a degree in International Business Management. He spent the first 10 years of his banking career with Citizens Bank in the Providence, RI Metro Area and Northern RI. Ray held positions there including Assistant Branch Manager and Business Relationship Manager. He is passionate about helping small business owners protect, and grow their business.

Ray was born in the Dominican Republic and is fluent in Spanish. Last year he, his wife Genesis, and their 4-year-old daughter moved to Danielson from Providence, RI. Ray enjoys volunteering his time with the Ronald McDonald House of Providence, bike riding in the summertime, and spending time with his family.

Ray commented, “I’m very excited to work at Putnam Bank, helping individuals, and businesses reach their financial goals.”

Putnam Bank, in existence for over 155 years, is a state-chartered and insured stock bank, with assets, including the holding company of approximately $517 million dollars. Putnam Bank has branch offices in Putnam, Pomfret Center, Danielson, Plainfield, Griswold, Gales Ferry, and Norwich. It also operates a full-service loan center in Putnam. For more information call (800) 377-4424, or visit our website at putnambank.com.

7 Items Worth the Splurge

Saving Money

When you make your savings plan, you often don’t think about the things you should spend extra money on. While scrimping on other items such as groceries or kids clothes could help you in the long run, there are some expenditures that could cost you in the future if you don’t pony up for the better option. At Putnam Bank we suggest taking a second look at these seven products, and seeing if you need to upgrade the next time you buy:

Toilet Paper: You may not think it’s necessary, but let’s be honest; when you’re staying at a hotel that doesn’t have the good stuff, you notice. Many household items are purchased to complete a task, and if they don’t complete it well, or comfortably, then it’s time to reconsider your options. We believe this product is worth the extra couple bucks, but we do recommend saving by buying in bulk!

Office Chair: If you’re like many Americans, you may spend a majority of your day sitting down. To avoid chronic back pain, and a slew of other ailments, we recommend investing in a comfortable and reliable office chair. If your employer is willing to pay for all or a portion of the chair, be sure to offer your measurements to be sure their options fit your height and weight specifications.

Mattress: Did you know you spend 33 percent of your life sleeping? For such a large portion of your time, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the best sleep possible. Avoid those box store less costly options, and test out a few of the higher end options available in your budget. Not only can you sleep better, but you may find yourself spending less on coffee or energy drinks as well.

Pillows & Bed Sheets: While the mattress will make the biggest impact on the quality of your sleep, upgrading your thread count and purchasing the proper pillows can make a world of difference as well. Something as simple as changing the firmness of your pillow could help you sleep through the night more soundly.

Work Clothes: Sweats, shorts, and other home attire may not require the added expense, but the clothing that you wear to portray yourself at work should come across as professional while also remaining intact over time. We suggest finding one or two brands that fit both your budget and your style and selecting key basic pieces to compile a wardrobe of endless combinations.

Garbage Bags: Do you enjoy it when you take the trash out in the early morning and just as you reach the bin, the bag breaks across your feet? Neither do we! We agree that it is more than worth the extra dollar or two for the name brand bags that won’t break. After all, if the bag breaks, that means you’ll need to take a shower too!

Data Plan: Every cell phone provider seems to come out with a brand new plan option as soon as a new phone is released. While the choice of phone is completely up to you, we think that the data plan should cover not only what you think you’ll use, but some buffer room too. Instead of paying the expensive overage fees every time to go over your data limit, we recommend purchasing a more comprehensive plan to ensure you have a little extra space when you need it.

These seven things will prove their worth in the long run, and many items only require a one-time investment. If you have any other items you think we should add to our list, let us know on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!