Monthly Archives: August 2017

The DO’s and DON’TS of Using Credit Cards

Using a credit card is a great stepping stone to help boost your personal credit history. By proactively managing your ongoing finances, you can showcase to potential lenders that you know how to fulfill your repayment promises. What many people don’t know, is that simply having a credit card does not automatically indicate an increase in your credit score. To help you succeed with your credit, Putnam Bank has put together our most commonly asked do’s and don’ts of using credit cards.

DO: Pay your balance in FULL every month or every two weeks.

DON’T: Keep a balance even if the interest rate is low

While keeping a balance less than 30 percent won’t drastically harm your credit score, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. We recommend never spending more than you can pay off each and every month. By keeping yourself to this standard you can make certain to never become a victim of expensive credit card debt.

DO: Choose a card that will compliment your lifestyle.

DON’T: Pick your credit card based of mail or TV offers.

There are countless websites and apps centered on helping you find the ideal credit card. Instead of signing up for a credit card through the mail, start perusing sites like NerdWallet to discover which card fits not only your spending, but your rewards preferences too! Before you start applying, remember to only apply for a credit card if you need one. If you plan on using more than one, wait six months (or more) before applying for a new line of credit. This will help you keep your credit score on track, and assist in preventing any unwanted dips.

DO: Use reward points to save money.

DON’T: Spend more just to get additional points.

While some credit card options certainly offer great sign-on rewards, remember that added debt and expenses are never worth the hike in points. The money you manage is yours, and it’s real! While the points are truly a great perk, never let them outweigh the tangible money you currently have in your individual accounts. If you allow this to happen you may find yourself with a mountain of debt, the equivalent of half the vacation you can no longer afford to take.

DO: Have more than one card when you can pay them all off on time.

DON’T: Cancel a credit card without researching its history.

There are certain cards that boast the best rewards when utilized for specific industries, and others that can add extra perks for those all-encompassing purchases. To make the most of these various benefits, we recommend using multiple credit cards for your household’s purchases, only once you’ve maintained a zero balance on one for more than six months. If you feel confident in managing multiple credit cards, you’ll find great advantages of using the rewards behind the various programs and their associated bonus structures. If you close a card, always check to see if that card holds your longest history of a credit line. Should that be the case, you may not want to cancel it, as it could create a slight dip in your credit score.

Did you know Putnam Bank offers credit cards? If you’re looking to boost your credit, or want to begin building your history with a local institution, our dedicated staff would love to help you get started. Simply stop by your nearest location, and we’ll help find the perfect fit for you.

Putnam Bank Supports The Last Green Valley

Putnam Bank through its Foundation donates $3,000 to support The Last Green Valley’s annual Walktober celebration. Walktober is TLGV’s premier event, designed to raise awareness of the significant cultural, natural, and scenic resources of The Last Green Valley and also promotes several fairs, festivals, and events occurring during the fall season.

Putnam Bank also donated $1,000 to sponsor Tastes of the Valley, a fundraising event which showcases locally grown products prepared by local chefs, and $1,000 to sponsor Acorn Adventures, a program for children and their families to get outside and explore.

Thomas A. Borner, President and CEO of Putnam Bank, stated, “We are all very fortunate to be able to live and work in this beautiful corner of Connecticut. As a community bank, Putnam Bank is dedicated to enriching the lives of the residents in our service area, and we are excited to continue our partnership with TLGV to preserve our heritage.”

“Putnam Bank has been a strong supporter of TLGV for many years and we are grateful for their continued support,” stated Lois Bruinooge, TLGV Executive Director. “Putnam Bank’s donations will help us care for, enjoy, and pass on The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor.”

Putnam Bank, chartered in 1862, is a $512 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. Stock is traded through NASDAQ under the symbol PSBH. For more information call (800) 377-4424 or visit our website at putnambank.com.

Pictured left to right: Bill Reid, TLGV Chief Ranger; Lois Bruinooge, TLGV Executive Director; Thomas A. Borner, Putnam Bank President & CEO; and Lynn K. Bourque, Putnam Bank SVP & Branch Administrator.

Communities Receive $59,000+ in Charitable Contributions

A juvenile mentoring outreach program gained resources for at risk children. Various organizations received funds to aid in the support of children’s programs aimed at developing a love of literacy and the arts. Funding was given to provide essential health and human services to the homeless and elderly. These are only a few examples of where Putnam Bank and the Putnam Bank Foundation contributed financially in 2016/2017 to help the needy, care for children and improve life in our local communities. For the last few years, the Putnam Bank Foundation has been a significant sponsor of the Town of Putnam Summer Al fresco and Fireworks and the River Fire Series. They have pledged commitments to Day Kimball Healthcare, Natchaug Hospital Joshua Center, Windham County 4-H, The Last Green Valley Walktober, and the Regional YMCA.

As a community bank with a vested interest in the local communities, Putnam Bank and its Foundation supported many local agencies and community groups with grants and contributions totaling over $59,000. The contributions consisted of: Area Youth Baseball Leagues, Boy Scouts of America, Tackle the Trail Sponsorship, Celebrate Cultural Diverisity Title Sponsorship, Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group, Daily Bread, Project Northeast, Empowering Women, Putnam Holiday Giving, Make-a-Wish, Sassy Chapeau, and the Turkey Trot.

Why the emphasis on charitable causes? “We’re not just in the community; we are community to the core. We feel we have a responsibility to not only provide products and services but also to help to enhance the quality of life in the communities where we live and work,” explains Thomas A. Borner, Putnam Bank’s President and CEO. “We see giving back to the community as part of our mission, and our responsibility.”

Putnam Bank, chartered in 1862, is a $512 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. Stock is traded through NASDAQ under the symbol PSBH. For more information call (800) 377-4424 or visit our website at putnambank.com.

Money Advice from the Movies

Occasionally, even the best movies hold fantastic financial advice. We love these classic films and their timeless tales. At Putnam Bank we’re excited to share their hidden financial advice, and help you make the most of your money-management, (while cluing you into some great movies to watch along the way!)

“You… you said… what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait to save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home? Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them?” – It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946

Just like this movie’s protagonist, our lenders at Putnam Bank believe you should enjoy your home as soon as you can instead of waiting to pay for it in full. Our dedicated team of mortgage professionals is here to help you find the ideal lending solution to purchase the perfect home for your growing family. Instead of waiting ten, fifteen, or twenty years down the line to purchase your first house, stop in today and discover your homeownership potential.

“One more thing, they don’t want to pay taxes again, ever.” -Armageddon, 1998

Just like the heroic men of this movie, we understand you don’t want to pay any more taxes than you have to. While we can’t help you eliminate having to pay taxes, helpful savings accounts like an educational 529, or options such as a Roth IRA, can assist you in legally avoiding extra taxation later in life. If you’re curious and would like to learn more about our savings account options, stop by your nearest branch today!

“You know why the Yankees always win Frank?” “cause they have Mickey Mantle.” “No, it’s ‘cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those… pinstripes!”  -Catch Me If You Can, 2002

Instead of choosing your personal loans or mortgages based on flashy deals or specials, choose a reliable lineup with our team of community focused professionals. Our goal is to help you have the best experience possible alongside our local lenders, without the need for door-buster deals. Before you start your search for financing, ask yourself if you’re searching for the ideal teammate, or if you’re just staring at those darn pinstripes.

“The moment you become embarrassed of who you are, you lose yourself. I changed the house, the way I dressed, the way I ate – and for what?” -Oceans 13, 2007

If you haven’t heard already, keeping up with the Joneses is overrated. A high amount of debt, low savings, and never feeling like you have enough; there aren’t many upsides to this eternally competitive contest of who has what. Instead of trying to compare and contrast your belongings, try focusing on the experiences and essential items that mean the most to you and your family. These fundamentals can help you structure your financial well-being and focus your earnings on things that mean the most to you, not your neighbors next door.

We love the movies showcased above! Are there any movies you find yourself watching time and time again? Comment and let us know! At Putnam Bank we’re always searching for new and exciting ways to help our customers save!

Putnam Bank Announces Lauren LaBelle as new Personal Banking Account Executive

Putnam Bank has named Preston resident Lauren LaBelle as the Bank’s new Personal Banking Account Executive serving New London County in the Bank’s Norwich and Gales Ferry branches.

Lauren, a graduate of the University of Connecticut, has many years of banking experience, having been employed with Putnam Bank as a Branch Manager. She is also an Affiliate Member of the Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors. Lauren has a long history of community involvement and is currently an active Board Member for the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce, lead Chairman for the Business and Education Committee for the GNACC and participates as a member on the Finance Committee for Bethsaida Community Inc.

At Putnam Bank, Lauren assists prospective homebuyers and individuals who own their homes in New London County with their purchasing and refinancing needs.  Lauren LaBelle can be reached at Putnam Bank by calling 800-377-4424 ext. 7081.

“We’re excited to have Lauren on our lending team in New London County”, said Putnam Bank CEO Thomas A. Borner.  “Putnam Bank is working hard to be a top mortgage lender in Eastern Connecticut, and Lauren is a critical component to achieving that goal. We know that Lauren will be an invaluable resource to those looking to buy a home in the area.”

Putnam Bank, in existence for over 155 years, is a $514 million state chartered and insured stock 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 putnambank.com.

Saving for Tuition 18 Years in Advance

After you get to see those little eyes open, it’s like a whole new world has unfolded before you. When you’re elbow deep in changing diapers, cleaning up messes, and trying to sleep more than four hours a night, the last thing on your mind is college savings. At Putnam Bank we understand the chaos that ensues with each new addition to your family. To help you prepare for this upcoming transition, we’d like to help you find the best educational savings account for your little bundle of joy before he or she arrives!

 

There are two primary types of accounts when it comes to saving for your child’s ongoing education. Similar to retirement savings accounts, both of these options do require various stipulations when it comes to distributing the saved funds. Here we’ll show you the pro’s and con’s to each option, to help you better determine which option will suit you and your needs best.

 

The Coverdell Savings Account: This account option utilizes after tax dollars, which means there are no taxes on distributions when the funds are used for education. The account has a nationwide $2,000 a year contribution limit, in addition to various income restrictions. While you and your spouse may manage and contribute to the fund, once the child turns eighteen, he or she will own the account and all the funds within it.  Once the child is of age, he or she may only use the funds for education related expenses without incurring an additional distribution tax.

 

The 529 Savings Account: This account option also utilizes after tax dollars, which again indicates no future taxes on distributions if the funds are used for education. The account does not have income limitations; however, each state stipulates their own yearly contribution limit. The limit typically ranges from $100,000 to $350,000 per year.  For this account type, the physical savings account, and the funds within it remain yours, only designated toward a specific beneficiary (which you can change up to once per year.)   

 

Let’s compare the two when looking at national average college costs across the U.S.

 

If you choose to save using the Coverdell account option, suppose you save $2,000 per year for eighteen years, yielding a total of $36,000 of total out-of-pocket contributions. Add in the compound interest of those eighteen years, and you’ll find yourself with approximately $80,983 in total educational savings. Fun Fact: The national average for a year of in-state public college in the U.S. is $20,090 or $80,360 for a four-year degree.

 

Alternatively, if you choose to save with a 529 account, you can save more than $2,000 per year, say $3,500 per year instead. Multiply those contributions by eighteen years, and you’ll have $63,000 in total out-of-pocket contributions. After calculating your compound interest into the equation, you’ve grown up to $141,562 in total educational savings. Fun Fact: The national average for a year of any college in the U.S. is $35,370, or $141,480 for a four-year degree.

 

As you can see, both of these accounts allow you to make much more through the benefit of time and compound interest. Just like your retirement savings, the sooner you start contributing, the more interest you can earn. While the Coverdell allows you to give the account to your child, the 529 shows better savings opportunities, allowing you to maximize your potential interest.

 

If you’d like to learn how you can start saving for your upcoming chick-a-doo, stop by and speak with one of our dedicated personal bankers at Putnam Bank today! We’d love to help your family continue to grow!

3 Sure Fire Ways to Save on Travel

Still planning that next family vacation, or you and your sweetheart’s upcoming getaway? Putnam Bank is here to help you save as much as possible! We know the internet is flooded with travel savings hacks and hints; however, these three strategies have proven their value time and time again!

Before we jump into these smart savings strategies, we want to offer some affordable inspiration for your next getaway! For example, did you know there are various destinations where your dollar can go further or other getaways which are less expensive during the holidays? Vacations like these aren’t always the easiest to find, but they’re well worth looking for! Once you know where you want to go, it’s time to implement these supportive saving systems.

  1. Costco Travel – Save MONEY when booking. In our searches for an affordable and fulfilling vacation, we stumbled across this great article detailing the incredible savings offered through Costco Travel. After looking into many of these packages and adventures, we found the savings were almost too good to be true. While you do need to purchase a membership, the savings from your vacation alone far offsets the expense of the annual cost. (Not to mention the countless savings you can find in store or online!)
  2. TSA Precheck – Save TIME when traveling. After you’ve saved your money during the booking process, you’ll want to enjoy every minute of your hard earned vacation, even those few minutes (or hours!) at the airport. Instead of waiting in security lines for what seems like an eternity, enjoy a quick and speedy process through the Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck program! After doing one extensive background check and identification you, and those traveling with you, can enjoy the ease of transit for the next 5 years for only $85.00 dollars. If you could miss one flight due to security lines, this membership would pay for itself in saved ticketing fees alone.
  3. FLIO Airport App – Save your SANITY in transit. Sometimes when you’re traveling you end up in an airport you may not have traveled through, but fear not! Before you start searching for your next departure gate, or walking to find the best bite to eat, open up this all encompassing airport app. Filled with airport layouts, restaurant ratings, and flight tracking capabilities, you can manage all your in-route activities with this one helpful hack.

We hope you and your fellow travelers enjoy these tips as much as we do! If you need to setup a designated savings account for your next adventure, Putnam Bank has the perfect solution! Stop by your nearest location, and start saving today!

Communities Receive $59,000+ in Charitable Contributions from Putnam Bank and its Foundation

A juvenile mentoring outreach program gained resources for at risk children. Various organizations received funds to aid in the support of children’s programs aimed at developing a love of literacy and the arts. Funding was given to provide essential health and human services to the homeless and elderly. These are only a few examples of where Putnam Bank and the Putnam Bank Foundation contributed financially in 2016/2017 to help the needy, care for children and improve life in our local communities. For the last few years, the Putnam Bank Foundation has been a significant sponsor of the Town of Putnam Summer Al fresco and Fireworks and the River Fire Series. They have pledged commitments to Day Kimball Healthcare, Natchaug Hospital Joshua Center, Windham County 4-H, The Last Green Valley Walktober, and the Regional YMCA.

As a community bank with a vested interest in the local communities, Putnam Bank and its Foundation supported many local agencies and community groups with grants and contributions totaling over $59,000. The contributions consisted of: Area Youth Baseball Leagues, Boy Scouts of America, Tackle the Trail Sponsorship, Celebrate Cultural Diverisity, Title Sponsorship, TEEG, Daily Bread, Project Northeast, Empowering Women, Putnam Holiday Giving, Make-a-Wish, Sassy Chapeau, and the Turkey Trot.

Why the emphasis on charitable causes? “We’re not just in the community; we are community to the core. We feel we have a responsibility to not only provide products and services but also to help to enhance the quality of life in the communities where we live and work,” explains Thomas A. Borner, Putnam Bank’s President and CEO. “We see giving back to the community as part of our mission and our responsibility.”

Putnam Bank, chartered in 1862, is a $512 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. Stock is traded through NASDAQ under the symbol PSBH. For more information call (800) 377-4424 or visit putnambank.com.

The 10 Best Things to Buy at the Farmers Market

Save Money

One of the things we enjoy most during produce season is the delicious and money-saving weekend Farmers Market. Just about every community has their own local growers, and no matter where you are there’s sure to be some delicious baked goods as well. This season, our team at Putnam Bank would like to share our favorite finds which brighten up our kitchen and keep a few extra dollars in our pockets.

The first thing you’ll want to do before shopping at any Farmers Market is to find a good reusable tote, or wagon if you plan on purchasing a lot, along with a predetermined amount of cash to help budget how much you spend with various vendors. Once at the market, it’s a good idea to do a quick lap around to see what items are being offered from each vendor. Then, you can go through and decide which produce you want to buy and where.

Here are the top 10 items we look for while shopping at our local Farmers Market:

  1. Honey: Did you know honey is one of the very limited products of nature that does not spoil? Its eternal shelf life not only gives you an endless amount of time to use it, but it’s delicious too! Find a local honey provider who can ensure you’re getting the best product your area can offer, and add it as a sweetener to numerous recipes.
  2. Heirloom Tomatoes: These delicious beauties aren’t commonly found in stores while out shopping for plants or seeds. When you find them at the market, they may be a bit pricier than the traditional varieties; however, their complexities and flavors will make your dishes come to life!
  3. Cucumbers: Did you know that it is cheaper to make your own pickles compared to buying them at the store? Grab up four or five decent-sized cukes, an onion, and some dill the next time you’re at the Farmers Market, and give it a try!
  4. Hot and Sweet Peppers: When these guys are in season, we love trying as many varieties as we can! Not only are they cheaper than their grocery store counterparts, but they taste significantly hotter and sweeter as well!
  5. Onions: Have you ever seen a green onion with a bulb bigger than a quarter? You’ll enjoy these and other delicious delicacies which give you a better bang for your buck! Be sure to take a look at all the varieties of onions available as you may find a new favorite. So long as they’re stored in a dry cool place, you can keep fresh onions for several months!
  6. Rhubarb: There’s something about this especially sour vegetable. Sweet and crunchy, it offers a fun twist to many fruit dishes, but grocery stores rarely seem to carry it. Be sure to stock up this season as this delicious vegetable can be frozen or canned easily.
  7. Lettuce: Cut and go varieties will be seen year round at Farmers Markets. With many varieties available, now is an affordable time to taste and tweak your favorite salad recipes.
  8. Berries: You name it! Strawberries, blueberries, huckleberries, whatever delicious morsels you can find are at your nearby Farmers Market are well worth the cost. These tasty treats are some of the region’s favorite sweet staples and are perfect for snacking.
  9. Baked Bread & Jams: Be sure to sample home-baked treats throughout the season, and enjoy the different flavors the market has to offer. Great products, such as buttermilk bread, offer mouth-watering twists on many timeless classics.
  10. Flowers: Compared to your area grocery store or box brand, these Farmers Market flowers are sure to stop you in your tracks. Not only do they last longer because they’re picked locally, but they tend to cost less, and offer a more regional variety.

We wish you luck on your next Farmers Market outing. Be sure to stick to your budget, and enjoy all the tastes and smells the market offers. Happy shopping!