• What Is an SBA Loan? How Can I Get One for My Business?

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  • How to Identify, Prevent and Report Elder Abuse

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  • Transitioning Your Business Relationship to a New Financial Institution

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  • Small Business Scams and How to Avoid Them

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  • 5 Ways to Make Your Meetings More Effective in 2019

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Financial Education

What Is an SBA Loan? How Can I Get One for My Business?

Jun 17
2019
Two woman holding an open sign in front of a store.

Are you looking for a loan for your small business? The Small Business Administration has programs for qualifying small-business owners that might make securing a loan a lot easier.

Are you looking for a loan for your small business? The Small Business Administration has programs for qualifying small-business owners that might make securing a loan a lot easier. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans are business loans guaranteed, to the lender, by the Small Business Administration. With multiple SBA funding programs, this government agency provides SBA Loan guarantees of up to 85% of the loan amount provided through an SBA-approved lender. Idaho Central Credit Union is proud to offer SBA Loans and is an SBA Preferred Lender.

The SBA 7(a) Loan is particularly fitting. While the SBA 504 Loan focuses on real estate and construction needs, the SBA 7(a) Loan serves many different needs for most for-profit businesses. So why is the SBA 7(a) Loan one of the best out there?

Loan limit
The SBA 7(a) Loan has a maximum loan limit of $5,000,000. Unlike some other loans, the generous loan amount makes it great for many business needs. Here’s a list of some of things an SBA 7(a) Loan can do:

  • Buy equipment
  • Purchase new land (including construction costs)
  • Repair existing capital
  • Purchase or expand an existing business
  • Refinance existing debt
  • Purchase machinery, furniture, fixtures, supplies or materials

Based on use of proceeds, not collateral
The SBA 7(a) Loan is perfect for newer businesses as well as businesses that might have little history. The SBA 7(a) Loan’s term is based on use of proceeds and not collateral. Meaning, you don’t need a long history or a lot of collateral to get the loan.

Comparable rates
With all the perks, the SBA 7(a) Loan still has comparable rates compared to conventional loans. The maximum interest rates are established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The rate can also be fixed or variable. The SBA 7(a) Loan offers flexible, longer terms and potentially lower down payments compared to other financing options. There are also specialized programs for individuals interested in exporting, those located in underserved communities, members of the military community, and small business owners looking to meet their short-term and cyclical working capital needs. Because of the comparable rates, SBA Loans have become a favorite for many businesses across different industries.

No prepayment penalty
One of the best perks of SBA Loans is there is no prepayment penalty. Businesses like to borrow when they need it, and sometimes they are able to have the expected return sooner. For example, a business gets an SBA 7(a) Loan for the demanding need to buy more inventory. They sell all of their products within a year instead of 10 years, so they are able to pay off their SBA Loan without penalty.

At Idaho Central Credit Union, we have a wide variety of services to offer our business members. From business checking accounts, savings accounts, Certificates of Deposit (CDs), to loans and lines of credit, we understand what it takes to run a business. The SBA 7(a) Loan is a great resource for businesses’ lending needs. Whether you are ready to grow your inventory, buy another business, or buy brand new equipment, the SBA 7(a) Loan can help you reach your goal. Contact an SBA Loan expert today to take your business to the next level.

Financial Education

How to Identify, Prevent and Report Elder Abuse

Jun 10
2019
elderly man sitting in chair with cane

Let’s talk about Elder Abuse, particularly Elder Financial Abuse. Though not a commonly talked about subject, it is sadly commonly occurring. The NCOA (Nation Council on Aging) estimates that approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse, and one study estimates that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to the authorities.

Imagine this:

One day, you go to your neighbor’s home to drop off some homemade bread. She’s an older woman, and when you arrive, you notice her usually pristine home is a little unkempt, and she seems more withdrawn than normal. Her usual happy demeanor is gone, and your attempts to talk to her seem to go unmet. You notice on the table a stack of letters, one near the top that is clearly a collections notice. You’ve lived by her for a while, though, and this doesn’t seem to match up. Her daughter, and caretaker, comes home shortly after, and the feeling in the room is tense. Your neighbor withdraws a little more, and you decide that maybe it’s time to go home. They clearly have some things to work out, and it’s better if you leave them alone to do it. It’s not your place. Right?

But maybe it is your place.

Let’s talk about Elder Abuse, particularly Elder Financial Abuse.

Though not a commonly talked about subject, it is sadly commonly occurring. The NCOA (Nation Council on Aging) estimates that approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of Elder Abuse, and one study estimates that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to the authorities.

So what exactly is it?

Elder Abuse can take many forms, but the top 6 forms of Elder Abuse are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.

Let’s focus in on the financial side of it.

Financial abuse is best seen in sudden changes in the person’s financial situation. Refer back to our previous example, how does someone you have lived near for years, someone you have always known to be very financially responsible, suddenly have a collections notice laying out? Many things may have caused this change in their financial situation, but paired with the strange interaction, state of her home, and tension with her caretaker, this should raise some concerns.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always so visible, and can range from the simple mismanagement of the older person’s funds, to being denied access to the funds completely. This can also take the form of theft, fraud, forgery, identity theft, and street and internet scams. The list of potential abusers is also long, including family, caretakers, neighbors, professionals, and con artists.

So how can I help prevent this?

First, be aware of the threat, and know the signs. Be on the lookout for any signs of physical abuse (bruises, marks, refusal to seek medical help for injuries, weight loss, lack of basic  hygiene), emotional abuse (changes in behavior, unresponsive, suspicious or fearful, loss of interest, isolation), and financial abuse (unusual financial activity, strange signature on checks, life circumstances don’t match with his or her financial assets).

To stay on the lookout for these, keep in contact with the elders in your life. Building and maintaining a relationship with them will allow you to notice if things change, and will help them to trust and feel comfortable enough to ask for help when needed. Remember to also inform them of any scams you may be aware of. Keeping them informed on best practices to keep their identity and money safe can help prevent this abuse from occurring.

How do I protect myself?

There are many simple but effective way to take your care into your own hands whenever possible. Stay educated on any scams, and what to look out for. Remember to check your accounts regularly, even if your son, daughter, or caretaker is handling your finances for you.

Open your own mail, so you are always first to receive any communication about your accounts or bills that you may need to know. Don’t hesitate to contact your financial institution; they can help you identify any scams or fraud, and help you with the next steps needed to protect yourself.  Just adding these simple tasks to your life may help you prevent unforeseen loss.

What do I do if I think this may be occurring?

Don’t ignore it; there are resources for you. Contact your state’s Adult Protect Services agency, or the Eldercare Locator hotline at 1-800-677-1116. They can help walk you through the entire process, and coordinate efforts with social services, law enforcement, and other agencies to investigate the allegation. Reporting abuse can be intimidating and uncomfortable, but if you suspect abuse, contact them as soon as possible.

Where can I find information?

Great question! Below are a list of some great resources to learn more about Elder Abuse, and how you can help prevent it.

https://www.moneycrashers.com/identify-elder-financial-abuse/

https://www.ncoa.org/public-policy-action/elder-justice/elder-abuse-facts/

https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/scams-security/protection-from-scams/

Financial Education

Transitioning Your Business Relationship to a New Financial Institution

May 06
2019
Businessmen shaking hands

You know breaking ties with your current financial institution is the best decision, but the choice to move can be daunting. Making the switch is easier than you think. Here are some quick tips to get you started on a fresh start.

The writing is on the wall, you know it’s time to leave. The interest rates don’t compete, the customer service has taken a turn for the worse, or your company’s needs have simply changed. You know breaking ties with your current financial institution is the best decision, but the choice to move can be daunting. Making the switch is easier than you think. Here are some quick tips to get you started on a fresh start.

Open new business accounts.
At ICCU, we know a good business needs a flexible checking account, a strong savings account, and CD options to make your money work for you. ICCU offers many different types of accounts to fit your needs. We also offer a personal experience. Our business specialists guide you from start to finish and are always there to answer any questions you may have.

Notify customers of updated information.
If you have any customers who make automatic payments to your business, make sure they get your new routing and account numbers.

Switch your automatic payments.
Changing payroll and other payments at ICCU is simple. You won’t need to take multiple trips to your closest branch. Enjoy fast, convenient, electronic access, and originate ACH entries with Business eBranch and Business Bill Payment. Switching your automatic payments have never been easier.

Stop using your old business account.
Keep the old account open until all outstanding payments have cleared and you have moved everything over to your new ICCU accounts.

Close your old business account.
Once you verify that all your transactions have cleared, close your old account. If you need assistance, an ICCU business specialist can help you write a Letter of Closure to your previous financial institution.

Have financial expertise at your fingertips.
At ICCU, it’s a whole new experience. We work together with you as a team. Our specialists know your business and are available for you to contact directly.  Our team is here to answer any questions and help execute and plan the financial needs of your business.

We have an entire team dedicated to the service and support of our business members at ICCU. Don’t wait to get in touch with one of our business specialists to see how we can serve you.

Financial Education

Small Business Scams and How to Avoid Them

Apr 02
2019
worried woman looking at cell phone

Scammers are always looking for new and inventive ways to take advantage of businesses like yours. It is your responsibility as a business owner to be informed and to make sure your employees are informed, too.

The success of your business isn’t something you take lightly. You pour your blood, sweat, and tears into your business every single day, so if there’s something out there trying to take your business down, you’d want to know about it, right? Scammers are always looking for new and inventive ways to take advantage of businesses like yours. It is your responsibility as a business owner to be informed and to make sure your employees are informed, too. While these aren’t the only ways scammers will target your business, these are some of the most common. The best practice is just to stay vigilant and make sure that your employees do the same.

  1. Tax Season Targeting

Around this time of year many fraudsters go for the low-hanging fruit of tax returns. Some scammers will steal information from the servers of tax professionals in order to file false tax returns or make phone calls claiming to be debt collectors. These callers will insist the return was incorrectly filed and that they need direct payment right away. A good way to avoid falling victim to these types of calls is to hang up and call the company being impersonated directly.  Scammers are able to make phone calls look like they’re coming from somewhere authentic, so don’t simply redial the number. Once you’re sure you’re talking to the right people, ask them to verify if the call or email you received is authentic.

  1. Phishing Emails

Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information by disguising as a trustworthy entity. Phishing emails are one of the most common channels used by fraudsters; and they become more and more convincing all the time. Some examples may include a cybercriminal making an email look like it is coming from your Human Resources department asking employees to update their banking information to ensure their checks come through correctly or making an email look like it’s coming from a trusted coworker with a link to what appears to be a good recipe but that instead contains a virus. Look out for emails that ask for your personal information, contain unfamiliar links and attachments, or have slight changes or misspellings in the email address or body copy. Train your staff to look for these signs, and let them know what you will never ask for over email such as banking information and passwords.

  1. Fake Invoices

Sometimes scammers will bet on you having too many invoices passing over your desk and send some through that aren’t legitimate. They’ll make them look like products or services you use, and will often make them for things that are crucial to keeping your business running like bills to keep your website’s domain name or an important supply order.  If you jump to get things paid without taking a closer look, your business could be out the cash in no time.

  1. Business Promotion Scams

These can be especially tricky to navigate as a small business owner. You receive a call or an email promising to boost your business overnight and bring you success you never could have imagined for an unbeatable price. Scammers may even go to the trouble of creating fake websites with made-up reviews singing the praises of this “company.” It seems like an offer you can’t refuse, right? Not so fast. Take some time to do your research. Does this company exist outside of this website?  And be sure to read the fine print of any agreement they try to push you into. You may find that low introductory fee you’ve been promised will skyrocket and leave you with nothing to show for it but a lot of debt.

Financial Education

5 Ways to Make Your Meetings More Effective in 2019

Feb 22
2019
Business people looking at documents

You know the feeling. You walk out of an hour-long meeting shaking your head and thinking to yourself “this should have been an email.” Luckily, there are ways to prevent meetings like this. Check out these tips for ways to get your meetings on track.

You know the feeling. You walk out of an hour-long meeting shaking your head and thinking to yourself “this should have been an email.” A chunk of your day is gone forever, and as a business owner there are few things more valuable than your time. In fact, Salary.com ranked meetings as the number one office productivity killer. Luckily, there are ways to prevent meetings like this. Check out these tips for ways to get your meetings on track.

  1. Send out an agenda beforehand

Your meeting prep shouldn’t start when you walk into the conference room. This goes for not only the organizer but the attendees as well. Too often we wait until we’ve gathered to get into detail about the meeting’s subject matter. Sending an agenda out in advance allows all those involved to consider the topics to be discussed. Not only will this cut down on time at the beginning of the meeting explaining to the attendees what you’ll be discussing, you’ll probably find your meetings coming to deeper, more thoughtful conclusions.

  1. Take notes

Scheduling key players can be a nightmare. It’s likely that you’ll often find yourself missing at least one person from your meeting. Even if everyone is present, it’s good practice to designate someone to take notes at every meeting. At the end of every meeting, have them send a summary of what was covered to all those involved. Keeping notes is a good way to make sure you’re not reworking a problem you’ve already found a solution to. Additionally, it makes it much easier to fill in those who were unable to attend.

  1. Be timely

Marathon meetings kill focus. Don’t set meetings for longer than an hour and avoid going over your allotted time. That means starting your meetings on time and ending them on time, too. Set the expectation with your team that there will be no waiting an extra five minutes for stragglers or going over because of a tangent you weren’t expecting. Your time is valuable and should be respected. Their time is equally important. Showing people that you respect and value their time will get you far.

  1. Leave time for Q&A

Oftentimes question and answer sessions are slated for any time left over at the end of the meeting. If there are several questions this can result in your meeting running longer than scheduled. Set aside time specifically for questions to keep your meeting on track.

  1. Don’t just have a meeting to have a meeting

Sometimes a meeting is the way to go, but don’t rely on a meeting as a knee-jerk reaction. In today’s digital world, you can often communicate effectively without a face-to-face meeting. Can’t decide if an email will suffice? Check out this decision tree from the Harvard Business Review to help you decide if a meeting is the way to go.