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News and Articles of Interest
Visit us at the area Home Shows
The Home Shows in Onalaska and La Crosse are a great time to visit with our loan experts to talk about your upcoming projects.
Will you be buying a new home for the first time or looking for a different home that suits your family’s needs better? Maybe you need to do some remodeling to your current home to make it perfect. We can answer questions about:
- Refinancing to give you a better mortgage
- New home buyer benefits
- Low down payment options
- Second mortgages
- Construction loans
- And more...
We can answer your questions and set up a time to discuss more details at your convenience.
Our two area Home Shows are coming up in March. Here is the information for each. Mark your calendars!
La Crosse Area’s Builders Association Home Show
March 10-12, 2017
Omni Center, Onalaska, WI
Greater La Crosse Home and Builders Show
March 24-26, 2017
La Crosse Center, La Crosse, WI
See you there!
An Important Message
On November 24th, we launched a redesign of our site. This new layout, called responsive, is made to re-format for any size screen. You will see how the site looks different and much more readable on your smartphone or tablet. We have also added more content to make the site more useful.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: Anytime your bank or other financial website changes, you should be very cautious. If you have any questions, call the bank or business on a number you know to verify you are on a legitimate site.
What every new homeowner needs to know
If you are in the market for a new home, here are some very important steps to follow before taking the plunge.
- Don’t make any sudden moves. Don’t create any substantial changes with your credit profile by making large purchases, opening new credit cards, or taking out any other loans. Lenders need to see that you’re reliable and they want a complete paper trail so that they can get you the best loan possible.
- Getting Pre-Approved is “where it’s at!” There is a big difference between a buyer being pre-qualified and a buyer who has a pre-approved mortgage. Being pre-qualified only means that a banker has discussed a buyer’s credit, income and assets and has advised them on a budget. This does not mean they will actually receive a loan. A pre-approved buyer has had their financial information verified and is approved for a mortgage based on this information. This is important so you aren’t wasting time looking at homes you will not be approved for and it can also give you negotiating tools with a seller when they know you are a serious buyer. “Your first step in buying your new home should start with talking to one of Park Bank’s experienced loan officers. We can provide you with a free, customized pre-approval letter so that your home purchase can go smoothly.” – Jennifer Westlie, Assistant Vice President
- Don’t ask what you can afford, KNOW what YOU can afford. Understand there are more costs to homeownership than just the mortgage payment. Other expenses such as property taxes, utilities, maintenance and homeowner-association dues also need to be budgeted so you will never be at risk of financial hardships. No matter what the loan officer or website states you can afford, YOU need to know what you will be able to spend without stretching yourself too thin.
- Rate is important, but it’s not the only thing. Getting the best rate will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. But you also need to look at the quality and character of the banker and bank you will be dealing with for the life of that loan. Community banks, like Park Bank, offer local decisions, local commitment and local investments. And with Park Bank, your loan starts here and stays here! Our customers have always made their loan payments at their local Park Bank branch. If you have ever had your loan sold to a huge mortgage servicer, you know why this is important. You get that in addition to competitive rates and low closing fees.
Our customers have always made their loan payments at their local Park Bank branch. If you have ever had your loan sold to a huge mortgage servicer, you know why this is important.
Secrets of success for your small business
Starting up your own small business can be exciting and overwhelming. Having the right support system in place, starting with the right lender and financial advisor, is a good place to start.
Here is another place to start…the SBA (Small business Administration) has compiled a list of 20 questions to ask yourself before you start down this path. You can read those questions here.
After answering the 20 questions, determining the type of business you will own and who your customer will be, it is important to understand your financial needs.
You will need to determine your start-up costs and what it will take to operate your business. The right lender will help you develop a business plan and cash flow analysis. And, the right type of loan is also extremely important.
Park Bank is a SBA lender. What does that mean? “The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.”
With the SBA’s help, Park Bank is able to offer loans with longer term loans, lower injection costs and no balloon payments. With the experience of the Park Bank staff any new small business is off to the right start.
“The SBA is a great partner,” says Dave Justus. “Together we have been able to work with hundreds of small businesses.”
Read more about the benefits Park Bank can offer with a SBA loan.
Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclimation
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Straight Talk: A blurring of the lines
November 1st, 2015
NorthWestern Financial Review, November 2015 Edition
By Tom Bengtson
How many times have you heard a politician or regulator say they use data to make decisions? That sounds great until you look a little deeper. Three trendy approaches to data analysis — disparate impact theory, proxy data and behavioral economics — completely destroy the credibility of any government official who claims to use data to drive objective decision making.
Disparate impact, a theory affirmed by the Supreme Court in June, says judgments can be made according to the results of particular practices, regardless of the intent of those instituting those practices. So if lenders turn down a disproportionate number of mortgage applications from potential borrowers of a particular ethnic background, the lenders are guilty of discrimination even if they treat all applications in the same color blind manner.
Proxy data is used by some analysts to make educated guesses about the ethnic backgrounds of customers based on their addresses and surnames. This approach is used when no formal data is collected about the ethnicity of particular loan applicants. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has used proxy data to target auto lenders. Proxy data is an extremely weak analytical approach; I think of my own home where our adopted Hispanic children would surely be miss-categorized based on their Swedish last name.
While traditional economics are based on rational decisions leading to predictable outcomes, behavioral economics dispenses with the traditional connections between concepts such as pricing and demand. Behavioral economists will argue that people often act irrationally, giving economists license to predict economic outcomes on a random basis. The result is usually a syllogism supporting a pre-conceived theory advocated by the economist long before beginning the research. President Obama signed an executive order in September directing federal agencies to use insights from behavioral science.
Daniel Moynihan said we are entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts. Since his Senate days in the 1970s and 1980s, it seems we have embraced methodologies that blur the line between facts and opinions.
It is hard enough to do anything when we all agree on the facts but when those facts can be manipulated to mean whatever the most powerful player in the group wants, we have a problem. This is manifesting itself in banking in a number of ways, particularly with respect to rules around loan loss reserve provisioning and UDAAP compliance, not to mention the housing and auto lending examples cited above.