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#2017_June_Ag_FinancialFocus

HIRING  - HOW DO YOU FIND THE BEST FIT FOR YOUR OPERATION?

Financial Focus  |  June 20th, 2017

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We hope planting season went well, and wish you a productive summer as you transition into spraying, haying, keeping irrigation running, and moving grain! 

Just because planting is done doesn’t mean there is a shortage of things to do yet. As we have talked to producers over the years, one common issue we hear is the ability to find quality hired help to get those things done. For this month, the accompanying article was recently published on DTN and gives some handy tips when it comes to looking for hired help.

Best Regards, 


AVOID HIRING PITFALLS ON YOUR FARM

by Lori Culler  |  DTN Business Adviser

Whether you have two employees or 20, you probably share the same ill feeling when it comes to hiring people. As farmers we are innovative, determined, hardworking and we pride ourselves on our family values, and we are simply looking for individuals like us. So why is hiring so painful? Working closely with farms across the states from Washington to Florida and all the Corn Belt states in-between, we have identified the most common hiring mistakes farms make. 

TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS
Yes, it would be great if your new all-star employee came walking through the door with five-plus years of combine operating experience, strong mechanical ability and lived within a few miles of the farm. Unfortunately, that scenario is rarely reality. The best farms look at transferrable skills, hiring from within other areas of agriculture and outside of the industry. We've seen excellent hires with military, construction and forestry backgrounds coming to the table with heavy equipment operation, mechanical ability and the right work ethic. 

When it comes to job postings, we often see companies making the job qualifications too restrictive. If you are open to other backgrounds that are relatable, let it be known in your job advertisement. We don't want high quality candidates not applying because they don't meet one of the qualifications listed that was really only a wish list item in your mind.

Some ag companies have taken transferrable skills to a whole new level. We've seen Budweiser reps become sales agronomists and sergeants in the military become farm managers. Be open to what traits you are looking for and what types of individuals might be able to bring those traits. 

LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
Early on in my human resources career, I relied too heavily on the experience and skills listed on a resume. Now, 15 years later, I'm relying heavily on personality traits, demeanor and behavioral tendencies along with prior experience to screen potential hires. Because most farms do not hire all the time, often they don't trust their own gut when interviewing.

From your own human interactions over your lifetime you have developed an instinct in reading people. If you're interviewing a guy in the shop and his responses are a little slower and his movements are a little slower, he is not going to start on the farm and all of a sudden pick up the pace.

Have your eyes wide open when hiring and watch for how they word responses and what their body language says. It's the minor details and one-line comments that show the full picture. Make sure to ask plenty of follow-up questions and explore all areas with each candidate. If you're hesitant on someone, there is typically a reason, even if you don't know it yet. Explore until you do.
 
BE TRANSPARENT
A friend of ours recently took a new position. He was told they typically don't work on Saturdays. His first week on the job he was asked to work Saturday, which is not a big deal until he spoke with a few others that said they have been working Saturdays every weekend for the past six weeks.

That doesn't start off the employment relationship well. You need to work hard to be transparent with candidates on what to expect when working on your farm.

Walk them through the hours required by season. Discuss what your work culture is and what values the team shares. If it makes sense, give your final candidate some time with one or two of your current employees so they can ask questions and get to know the team.

It's worth the time investment to ensure there is full transparency before an offer is made. This will significantly improve the chances the new hire will be a long-term employee.

MORE CANDIDATES
In order to be selective, we need to have a pool to be selective from when you hire. Word-of-mouth recruitment may bring you one or two candidates at best. That's not enough candidates for you to be picky on your hire. If your candidate pool isn't at least five or more people, then more effort is needed to build up that pool. With today's technology, job advertising and social media are great tools to build your pool. 

If you only leave this article with one take-away, interview your top candidate at least twice. During the second interview, you will confirm how strongly you feel that person is a great fit or be pleasantly pleased you dodged a bullet you almost didn't see coming. Candidates are typically much more comfortable during the second interview and their true personality will show.

Contact our lenders at any of our five locations to learn more about how Security Bank can help your operation!

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#2017_May_Business_FinancialFocus

YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR FOCUS  - How Can We Help?

Financial Focus  |  May 30th, 2017

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Happy Spring from Security Bank!  We hope the first quarter of 2017 has gone well for you and your business! 

We received feedback from some of you on topics that you would like to see addressed in future months. One such topic that is pertinent to many businesses in our communities is how a “brick and mortar” business competes with online retailers such as Amazon. This month’s article, while a couple years old, has some handy pointers for business owners to consider that are still  true today.

Remember, if you have a topic that you would like us to research for future mailings that would help your business, don’t hesitate to contact one of our loan officers!

Best Regards, 


HOW DO YOU COMPETE WITH AMAZON

www.kabbage.com/blog   |  August 22, 2014

Whether you’re an online retailer, the owner of a brick and mortar retail store, or a combination of the two, Amazon is almost certainly your most formidable competitor.

Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon has become the world’s largest online retailer. It first started as an online bookstore, but the company soon began offering everything from electronics and apparel to toys, jewelry, furniture, and even food.

To put Amazon’s size into perspective, it’s bigger than the next dozen largest e-retailers combined. Amazon’s customer base exceeds 30 million people, and it made nearly $75 billion in revenue in 2013. This is no small-time operation!

For those who pride themselves on being small business owners, Amazon is an ever-present behemoth that is next to impossible to compete with on many levels. In almost all cases, Amazon offers the lowest online prices on the products they sell, and with fast, inexpensive shipping, they offer a bargain that’s hard for consumers to resist. With their latest plans to invest in high tech drones to drop packages on customer doorsteps in 30 minutes or less, ordering a new sofa could soon be as quick as pizza delivery.

Still, there is a place for small retailers, and many are continuing to find success despite the near omnipotence of Amazon. Those that are making it happen realize that they might not be able to compete with the company when it comes to price, shipping costs, or speed. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways a retailer can offer value to customers in ways that Amazon cannot.

If you’re facing the challenge of competing with Amazon, take a deep breath and keep reading. You may just find that you actually have the competitive edge.
 
What Makes You Unique?
Before you begin slashing your prices to undercut Amazon, start with an assessment of what makes your business unique. Do you cater to a specific market segment? Do you sell one-of-a-kind products? Are you known for going the extra mile for a customer to locate a hard-to-find product?

Amazon can’t compete with your business based upon your differentiators. They are focused on price and the speed in which they can get products into your hands. Bringing your uniqueness to the forefront for customers to see is the start of making your business relevant in the age of Amazon.

Sell Something Different
Take a look at what Amazon sells. You’ll primarily see lots of “hard line” products like electronics, home and garden merchandise, toys, and media. With these types of products, price is the primary differentiator, and nobody is more effective at selling them than Amazon. So it makes sense to sell products in categories where Amazon isn’t as dominant. Soft line goods and one-of-a-kind items are all options that a small retailer can get a competitive edge.

Create Your Own Products
Some of the most recognizable brands have taken the strategy of creating their own products to compete with Amazon. Victoria’s Secret and Lands’ End both sell their own products without them being sold by other online retailers.

For a small online or offline store, it can definitely be a challenge to either create or source unique products that can’t be found elsewhere. However, it often pays by offering the ability to achieve higher gross margins and avoiding direct competition on pricing.

Merchandise Specifically to Your Customer Base
Take a close look at Amazon’s website. With its stark white background and floating images of products, its design is akin to the aisles of a club store. The pages are void of personality for a specific reason. They have stripped down the online shopping experience to its simplest form because of the large number of products they sell.  In the most basic of terms, Amazon is a search engine that enables you to find products quickly. It’s not designed for browsing or online “window shopping.”

With a small retail business, you have carte blanche to design your online and offline spaces to display your products in a way that’s engaging for your specific market.  In other words, you can compete against Amazon by creating a fantastic browsing experience.

Images that jump off the page, descriptions that resonate for readers, and navigation that’s intuitive and fun can all make the online shopping experience pleasurable. For brick and mortar retailers, it’s often about creating great window displays and in-store end caps to effectively showcase products.

Build an Online and Offline Community
Hand-in-hand with great merchandising is community building. Amazon is very aware that their customers are there for one very specific reason – great prices. Thus, community building is not a necessary strategy for them. Yet a small business can build a community of loyal customers both online and offline that return again and again to make purchases and provide great word-of-mouth marketing to others.

To develop a community online, unique content is essential. This means having a blog that people actually want to read, videos, and active social media channels. Make it aligned with your brand, geared to your audience, and interesting to achieve the best results.

Offline communities can be developed through events that cater to the specific interests of your customers. For example, Lululemon offers complimentary, in-store yoga classes each week. These events are not only a way to get customers into the store on a regular basis but they also build a community of influencers who tell their own networks about the classes.

Smaller retailers can leverage events with similar results. The Doll House and Toy Store in Scottsdale, Arizona, has regular events for kids and their parents. While they can’t compete with Amazon’s prices on most toys, they still get plenty of customers who will pay a premium for their products because they’re getting added value with what they buy.

Offer Alternative Distribution
Online sites like One Kings Lane and Gilt are competing against Amazon by offering “flash sales” that deliver merchandise at very affordable prices. With usually 24 hours or less to purchase, customers know they either buy now or they won’t get it.

Another distribution strategy is the subscription model. Could you launch a “product a month” club that would offer a highly curated selection of your products? These can be very successful for some retailers, especially those that cater to upscale markets.

Focus on Your Local-ness
A growing number of consumers are tired of big box retailers and mega e-retailers because they are not specifically tied to their local area. In many areas, local business organizations are popping up to support retailers that cater to their communities. By promoting your commitment to where you live and run a business, you will definitely differentiate yourself from Amazon. You may just be surprised how many people will actually go out of their way to specifically shop in a locally-owned store. Be proud of where you hang your “open” sign, and let your customers know you’re focused on supporting their community.

As Amazon continues to gain market share, it can definitely seem overwhelming to try and compete. The secret to your success is to not compete. Rather, differentiate your business so that you’re on an entirely different playing field. By doing so, you’ll get customers. And you’ll also get the comfort that they’re choosing to buy from you because you’re offering something other than just the lowest prices.

Contact our lenders at any of our five locations to learn more about how Security Bank can help your businesss!

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#2017_05_KorthPressRelease

KORTH GRADUATES FROM ADVANCED AGRICULTURAL LENDING SCHOOL

Press Release  |  May 16th, 2017

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Laurel -  Teri Korth, Loan Officer with Security Bank, recently completed the 2017 Advanced Agricultural Lending School. This three-day School was held May 9-11, in Manhattan, Kansas. The Advanced Agricultural Lending School is sponsored by the Kansas and Nebraska Bankers Associations and is endorsed by the Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wyoming Bankers Associations. 

Particularly unique to this School is the learning environment. Two active producer families were on-site for the School to interact with the students and share their own perspectives on everything from future trends in agriculture to growth in lender relationships. Continual peer interaction and analysis of real-life case studies were also unique elements of the School.

Teri began her career with Security Bank in June of 2007 as a Customer Service Representative, then transitioned to Administrative Assistant in 2008, and transitioned once again in 2013 to Personal Banker. Then in the spring of 2015, Teri made her most recent move to her current position as loan officer.

Prior to joining Security Bank, Teri obtained an accounting degree from Northeast Community College in 2004 while working at an accounting firm. She has since returned to Northeast Community College and completed a degree in rural Ag Banking in the Spring of 2015.

Teri was raised in Randolph. Teri and her husband, Travis, have three boys, Carter, Connor, and Dayton. Outside of banking she enjoys baking, helping her husband farm, and spending time with friends and family.

#2017_May_Ag_FinancialFocus

TOP 10 FARM PRODUCER QUESTIONS

Financial Focus  :  Issue May 2017

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Here we are already in the middle of May. We hope #plant2017 has gone well so far! Let’s hope more cooperative weather is here to stay! 

In April, some of our lending staff attended a banking conference and came back with a lot of good information regarding weather, markets, and the economy. One particular piece of information that stood out came from our long-time friend, Dr. Dave Kohl. By now you have either read some of his information from past articles we have forwarded, or you have attended one of his producer seminars in person. 

The Sixth "C" Questions  

This month, we present some important questions that every producer should ask themselves. Dr. Kohl calls these his “Sixth C Questions.” The sixth “C” is added to what is often referred to in bank lending as the “Five C’s of credit.” The sixth C stands for Cranium, or in other words, critical thinking in regard to various issues directly affecting the well-being and financial future of the farm operation.   

Risk Ratings

Those that are familiar with Dr. Kohl will recall his “green light,” “yellow light,” and “red light” categories for various metrics in terms of risk to a farm operation. With the following Top 10 Farm Producer Questions, producers who can answer “Yes” to seven or more of the following questions are considered in the “green light” or low risk category in terms of being proactive. Three to seven “Yes” answers would be considered “yellow light.” Finally, three or less “Yes” answers would be considered “red light.” 

Are You Asking the Right Questions?


1.    Do you know your cost of production?                                                                                   
2.    Do you know your cost of production by enterprise?
3.    Do you have modest family living expense?                                                                          
4.    Have you shed non-productive or non-economical assets?
5.    Do you have a written improvement plan?                                                                            
6.    Do you practice four corners of business success? (Plan, Strategize, Execute, Monitor)
7.    Do you execute a written marketing plan?                                                                             
8.    Do you have a handle on record keeping?
9.    Do you sweat the small stuff?                                                                                                
10.    Are you preparing for the next generation?


Addressing The Concerns 

We encourage you to take a few minutes to give these some deep thought and jot down your answer to each question, yes or no. If doing this exercise either raises some concerns about an aspect of your operation, or you want to find out how you can better manage your risk in any of these areas, don’t hesitate to contact one of our lenders to help address those concerns. We have various tools to help, and stand ready to help you take additional steps toward success!


 

Curious What Security Bank Can Do For Your Operation?

Call one of our ag lenders at any of our five locations and they will be happy to visit with you!

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Monitoring Area Grain Bids?  Trucking costs add up - is the distance really worth the return?

Monitoring Area Grain Bids? Trucking costs add up - is the distance really worth the return?

by Keith Knudsen | April 10, 2017

#Financial_Focus_2017_04_11_HaulSellGrain

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Here we are already—spring planting time! All of us at Security Bank wish you a safe and timely planting season! Hopefully we can get sufficient moisture to maximize the bushels for 2017 and get them into the bin. 

Speaking of bushels, obviously in addition to getting the crop planted, you are likely thinking about the bushels from 2016 crop that will still need to go to market between now and harvest. It is a constant process of monitoring area grain bids and determining which destination will give the best price and is most cost-effective in terms of trucking. This month, we put together some helpful considerations and reminders to think about regarding trucking costs and choosing the best market as you go back and forth across the field with tillage and planting. 


Best Regards,


#2017_April_AG_FinancialFocus

 

Top 4 Considerations When Deciding Where to Haul/Sell Your Grain

A producer can spend significant time evaluating which markets will net the best grain price. There are many variables to consider. Price, basis, distance, fuel prices, labor cost, repairs, depreciation, and transport/wait time all factor into a decision of which location is best to choose. As we all know, this year it will be more important than ever to enhance income and reduce expense where possible with low prices and high costs.
 
Here are four considerations to help determine the best choice of where to sell grain. 

A producer can spend significant time evaluating which markets will net the best grain price. There are many variables to consider. Price, basis, distance, fuel prices, labor cost, repairs, depreciation, and transport/wait time all factor into a decision of which location is best to choose. As we all know, this year it will be more important than ever to enhance income and reduce expense where possible with low prices and high costs.

Here are four considerations to help determine the best choice of where to sell grain. 

1. Come up with your costs to haul to various locations.   For example, by considering the mileage your truck gets, current fuel prices, round trip miles to/from each selected destination, labor cost per hour, hours per trip to each respective location, and bushels per load, do the math to figure out a per bushel cost of fuel and labor for each destination.

2. Estimate repair and replacement costs.  In addition to fuel and labor, there is a cost associated with continued wear on your truck and trailer. This one will be a bit more difficult to determine. If you know what repairs have run on the truck and trailer the last few years, you can use an average, assuming there will be certain repairs to do annually, tires, servicing, etc. If figuring what these annual costs are, average it out over the total bushels you have to haul in the given year. Then add this per bushel cost to the fuel and labor cost already outlined. Some people also figure a percentage of the purchase cost of the truck and trailer to cover the cost of replacing with a different truck and trailer after so many years. 

3. Monitor each desired location’s bids. Many local elevators and processors will text you their daily bids. Otherwise a person can find the information readily available on the internet. Bids obviously change based on futures price, basis, and the need for that location to acquire more grain (or not).

4. Take the time to periodically determine which location could result in best net price. Subtract the respective cost you arrived at for each location from that location’s current bid.  Once you arrive at the cost to truck to each location, you might only need to update your information periodically depending on changes in fuel or other costs. There may be times where the further location still nets you a better price than somewhere closer, but there are times during the year where using a location closer to home may net a better cash price. For each location, you can develop a “rule of thumb” to know that when certain locations’ prices are within a certain spread, it might make more sense to choose one location over the other regardless of who happens to have a higher bid at the time. It comes back to which has the higher net price, and in general, the closer the location, the less cost to get the grain there. 


Remember that what it might cost your neighbor to haul to a given location is likely different from what it might cost you to go to that same location. The bottom line with these points is simply to give consideration to all options, especially in years where managing marketing and costs can have huge impacts in your operation.

 


Ready to speak with and experienced and qualified lender?

If you would like to employ this tool in your operation, call one of our ag lenders at any of our five locations, and they will be happy to visit with you about it more!

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What Challenges Could Your Small Business Be Facing?

What Challenges Could Your Small Business Be Facing?

by Keith Knudsen | March 10, 2017

#FinancialFocus_2017_03_TenSmallBusinessTips

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We are well into 2017, and hopefully you have seen a great start to the year in your business!

It is no secret that there remains a lot of uncertainty in the economy. The local economy, being significantly dependent on agriculture, is seeing its challenges. The national economy has some interesting things going on with a new president, all-time high stock market, and the Fed talking about rate hikes, just to name a few.

The article we are sharing this month is a top-ten list of reminders to help your business deal with some of these challenges successfully. The information comes from the American Bankers Association, of which Security Bank is a member. The ABA helps promote community banking on the national level, and is a big advocate for small businesses all over the nation.

Best Regards,


Ten Tips For Small Business Owners During Tough Financial Times

Published by American Bankers Association  |   www.aba.com  |   #TenTipsForSmallBusinessOwners

As the US economy slows small business owners are facing tough financial times, many for the first time. Financial problems are difficult; they consume time and valuable business resources, but must be dealt with proactively in order to be resolved. Many small business owners do not utilize all of the resources provided to them by their banker; no one has more financial training and more time invested in the financial health of your business than your banker. If, after you review these ten tips, you think that you need help, do not hesitate to call you banker for a financial check-up.

1. In tough times cash is king. Carefully examine every capital purchase that will require additional debt. Ask yourself if the expenditure will generate the cash flow needed to pay for itself. If the new item can't create enough new cash to pay for itself over a reasonable period of time, defer the purchase.
 
2. Let a budget be your financial road map. You are flying in the dark financially if you don't have a budget for all income and expenses. A budget helps you maintain the direction of the business and must be updated frequently. What about a budget for personal expenses as well? Many small business owners do not track personal expenses and as a result they can become an invisible cash drain.
 
3. Objectively look at your businesses financial position and performance. Are you getting the maximum return from your investment? If not, why not? Are your non-business assets generating a maximum return? Is it possible to sell any assets that are not contributing to the financial health of your business? Remember: in tough times, survival is the goal.
 
4. Examine how your debt is structured. Do you have an imbalance between long- term and short-term debt? Is it possible to increase your long-term debt to pay down your short-term debt? You may be able to increase your monthly cash flow by spreading out your short-term debt over a longer period of time. Be cautious when taking a loan against long-term assets such as your real estate; it's like drawing against your "life" savings account. If you're going to use your long-term equity, make sure the need is critical to your business.
 
5. Prepare for your financial review with your banker. Have current inventories, cash flows and balance sheets ready for your review with your banker. Provide the information needed. Often bankers spend time with customers looking for misplaced information instead of concentrating on resolving important issues. If you are having financial problems, put your thoughts about how to resolve them on paper so your banker can review them with you.
 
6. Ask your banker about the Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loan programs. Your banker may be able to restructure your business debt over a longer period if the SBA is willing to provide a credit guarantee on your loan to the bank. If your business is located in a qualifying rural area, your business may qualify for a Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan offered by the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Agency. Many states also offer financial and technical assistance to small businesses. Your banker is a good source of information about additional financial resources available to your small businesses.
 
7. Review your hazard and fire insurance coverage. Increasing your deductibles can lower your premium. Carefully review every item on your inventory list and consider eliminating coverage on obsolete or low-risk items.
 
8. Carefully examine your life insurance policies.  Many whole life policies contain provisions that allow you to borrow against the cash surrender value at low rates or allow you to deduct the premium costs from the cash surrender value. What type of life insurance do you have? Is it worthwhile to maintain a costly whole life policy when you could get similar coverage from a less expensive term policy? Of course, you should never be without life insurance. All key personnel in the business should be covered so that the business can continue in the absence of any specific member of the management team.
 
9. Deal with financial problems immediately.  When an issue arises that impacts your cash flow, be proactive. Talk to your banker early and often. A good way to avoid serious financial problems is to identify and resolve them early. Though discussing financial difficulties may be uncomfortable, many problems are best resolved by a team. Create a personal "board of directors", comprised of people you know and respect, who can be your sounding board. Make sure your banker is a member.
 
10. Maintain a clear perspective. One of the best ways to think through business problems is to get away from them. For example, take a weekend off--and not just to attend a trade show -- or resolve to see at least one movie before it comes out on video. However you do it, it is important for you to put your concerns aside temporarily and shift your focus to other activities--it will make your home team and business stronger.


The ABA brings together all categories of banking institutions to best represent the interests of this rapidly changing industry. Its membership – which includes community, regional and money center banks and holding companies, as well as savings associations, trust companies and savings banks – makes ABA the largest banking trade association in the country. Visit their website at www. aba.com.

Ready to speak with and experienced and qualified lender?

If you would like to employ this tool in your operation, call one of our ag lenders at any of our five locations, and they will be happy to visit with you about it more!

Meet Our Team

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WHAT POTENTIAL ISSUES ARE ON YOUR HORIZON?    PLAN AHEAD AND IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES FOR SUCCESS!

WHAT POTENTIAL ISSUES ARE ON YOUR HORIZON? PLAN AHEAD AND IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES FOR SUCCESS!

By Keith Knudsen | March 8th, 2017

#FinancialFocus_2017_03_EarlyDetection

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It is hard to believe that we will see seed going into the ground next month!

Spring is always an exciting time of year. We all know there are going to be some challenges in 2017 with current grain/livestock markets and input costs. The article below is a good reminder of some ideas from our friend Dr. David Kohl to determine any early warning signs of potential financial issues or challenges as producers look ahead to the year.

We are all about helping to identify potential issues - even months in advance - in order for producers to plan ahead, and improve chances of success.

Best Regards,


EARLY DETECTION

by Dr. David Kohl |  Published February 7, 2017


The time period from December 2016 to April 2017 has been defined as “ground zero” in the agricultural lending industry. Why?  Well, in several cases, producers have not examined their financials since the last renewal season.  Of course, variables have changed and in general, economic outcomes are less positive than last season.
 
Recently, while in North Dakota, I was asked to facilitate a panel of agricultural lenders at the Agricultural Bankers Conference. One question asked of these lenders was what early detection system is in place for the renewal season that determines whether the loan is restructured or denied.   As loan renewal season is upon us, let’s examine some of the responses. 

One lender emphatically stated that he was paying close attention to the price at which his producers marketed their corn crop. Early last year, some weather experts forecasted dry weather through El Niño that would create a temporary bump in prices to $6 per bushel corn at some point in 2016.   Of course, corn’s highest price in 2016 was just over $4.50 per bushel.  As a result, many grain bins are overflowing with an inflated expectation.

Another lender said he plans to scrutinize carefully the accuracy of financial records.  During the commodity super cycle, many producers and even some lenders became complacent in record-keeping. Often, financials were not accurate and several debts and obligations were left unrecorded. In fact, all of the panel participants agreed that the quality of financial balance sheets and income statements, preferably accrual adjusted statements, were imperative in deciding who stays and who goes, so to speak.

Other lenders are maintaining close contact with agribusinesses and even competitors to monitor new credit requests.  At one time in the not-so-distant past, producers who were turned down for financing or re-financing could simply move onto a lending competitor. Today, especially in agricultural lending, risk interrelated.  For example, if one large producer has loans with three different entities and fails financially, they are each impacted negatively. 
The old saying, “Trust, but verify” will ring true in agricultural lending this renewal season. Producers should expect lenders to request verification such as, serial numbers on equipment and identification for livestock. Sometimes, fraudulent activity increases during an economic downturn, but despite any temptation, remember that fraud only makes bad situations worse. Poor financials can be turned around, but a poor reputation sticks around for quite some time.
   
Renewals that boast a good chance are those where open communication is maintained; with the lender and within the business.  Businesses and families that are willing to cut expenses and living costs to maintain profitability and production are in a stronger position than others.  Each lender on the panel recommended a one-page written plan of corrective action for all accounts seeking renewal.  This plan can be used as a discussion point, but also as something concrete to monitor and adjust throughout the year.  

In production, if your crop begins to fail, you consult an expert and implement any corrective strategies possible to save it or at least minimize loss.  Financial issues are no different.  Regardless of your financial situation, accurate financial records, good character and a commitment to marketing and risk management are elements that can only improve your business.

Ready to speak with and experienced and qualified lender?

If you would like to employ this tool in your operation, call one of our ag lenders at any of our five locations, and they will be happy to visit with you about it more!

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Security Bank Shows Support for the Future of Ag with $1250 Donation

Security Bank Shows Support for the Future of Ag with $1250 Donation

By Alissa L. Bartling, Marketing Coordinator | February 22, 2017

#FFAWeek2017

Northeast Nebraska – Security Bank showed support for the local FFA Chapters this week, presenting a total of $1000 to four of the area programs in the communities that we service. The Laurel-Concord-Coleridge FFA, Hartington-Newcastle FFA, Osmond-Randolph FFA, and the Allen FFA Programs each were presented with a check for $250 to help their program.


These donations were presented this past week in conjunction with National FFA Week, February 18th  - 25th.

 

Tax Season is Upon Us: Learn Some Helpful Tips to Keep Stress Levels Low

Tax Season is Upon Us: Learn Some Helpful Tips to Keep Stress Levels Low

Keith Knudsen | President/ CEO, Security Bank | Published January 31, 2017

#FinancialFocus_2017TaxTips

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Welcome to 2017! It appears this year may again be an interesting year with the possible changes a new presidency could bring. While there has been no word yet on changes to the tax code, you are likely in the process of getting your taxes finished for 2016. This month’s article might be of interest to you as to work on your taxes with some helpful tips.

Until next time, wishing you a prosperous 2017!   

Best Regards,

Tax Season 2017 Approaching: Tips for Small Business Owners

Tax Laws Often Change, Here’s How to Keep Up

by Joyce M. Rosenberg  |  Published January 25, 2017

NEW YORK -  With the start of tax season, stress levels are rising at many small businesses.

"It's very hard to stay on top of all the information," Bravo says. "The average business owner is more worried about their day-to-day operations."

Even owners who are organized, keep good books and stay in touch with their accountants can find compiling returns to be a painful process. One reason is that tax laws change often, says Rosamaria Bravo, a certified public accountant with the firm MBAF in Miami. One of this year's big differences: Partnership returns must be filed by March 15, a month earlier than in the past. And companies known as C corporations have a filing deadline of mid-April, after having a March due date in past years.

Here's a look at some lessons small business owners learned:

USING SOFTWARE WISELY

When Christina Divigard started an advertising agency, she bought accounting software and began keeping the company's books herself. When tax season arrived, she discovered that out of inexperience, she'd incorrectly entered some information and misclassified some types of deductions. It took two weeks to get her books in order.

"If I had to do it all over again, I would have put more effort and budget behind setting up systems properly from the get-go," says Divigard, managing director of New York-based Valvespring.

Divigard subsequently hired a bookkeeper to help set up accounts and understand how to input income and expenses. She also learned more about the need to put expenses into different accounting categories — for example, meals during a business trip are different from meals to entertain customers under the tax law.

Having a system that is correctly set up has reduced the chance of errors, and even if Divigard has to do repair work, "now it takes me a day rather than two weeks."

KEEPING UP WITH THE CHANGES

Complying with tax law revisions can be hard even with a bookkeeper and accountant, Barbara Karpf has learned. As of this year, businesses must file W-2 forms and 1099 forms with the IRS by Jan. 31. While companies were previously required to give those forms to workers by the end of January, they didn't have to get them to the government until the end of February. The government can charge a penalty if it gets the forms late.

That created extra pressure for Karpf. Her home decor company, DecoratorsBest, moved offices in New York right after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of its busiest sales days. After she hired movers and a painter for the new space, she realized she needed to get information like Social Security numbers and addresses from eight people. Well into January she was still getting all the information together so 1099 forms for freelancers and other contract workers could get to the government, as well as the workers, on time.

"It's more work in a shorter period of time," Karpf says.

KEEPING TRACK OF EXPENSES

When an owner is running a business day by day and also trying to do long-term strategic planning, details like tax-deductible expenses can get lost in the shuffle, creating a headache later. Deborah Sweeney has learned to look at her books monthly to be sure expenses like charitable donations and the costs of employee meetings are entered properly.

"That way, we don't have to scramble at the end of the year," says Sweeney, owner of MyCorporation.com, a Calabasas, California-based company that helps businesses incorporate online.

Sweeney recalls errors of past years, such as not taking a deduction for a service contract on a printer. She has also learned to take her questions to her accountant to be sure she's not missing some of the finer points of rules about deductions. For example: "How do we categorize new furniture — do we write it off or depreciate it? What amount of an owner's health care costs is deductible?"

FINDING THE BEST HELP

Diane Hamilton, though, has struggled to find an accountant who's a good fit for her company, which makes computer and phone apps. She has worked with large accounting firms in the Richmond, Virginia, area where her Binary Formations business is located. But the bills climbed as she called with questions.

"You look at how much they charge and the amount of revenue you bring in, and it isn't working," she says.

When Hamilton switched to a much smaller accounting firm, she found herself doing as much work as when she tried to handle her taxes herself. She's still hoping to find the right tax professional for her company.

TRYING TO HOLD COSTS DOWN

Brad Chandler estimates it costs his real estate company $70,000 a year to compile returns for the federal government and for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. That's a five-fold increase in five years.

"A lot of it is the sheer complexity of the laws, which are changing so much," says Chandler, CEO of Springfield, Virginia-based Express Homebuyers.

For example, Chandler says, depreciation laws are shifting annually, and the health care law brought more paperwork. Occasionally, the company gets additional tax bills, which raise a question for Chandler and his chief financial officer.

"Do we send it to our CPA (to handle) for $200 or $300 an hour, or just pay the bill?" he says.

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Don't Let the Threat of Unexpected Costs Sneak Up On You

Don't Let the Threat of Unexpected Costs Sneak Up On You

Keith Knudsen | President/ CEO, Security Bank | Published January 27, 2017

#Jan17_Financial_Focus

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Welcome to 2017! March 1st is fast approaching and as you plan for the upcoming year, cash rents are a hot topic.  We receive many calls regarding cash rents and our common answer is, “it depends”.

One tool in determining the cash rent ranges by land type in our region is to access the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Highlights from UNL. Table 10 shows the average, high, low, and percent change for the Northeast Region, comprised of 13 counties. This annual report is published early spring.

While the UNL report is a great tool, it may not provide insight for the coming year. Fortunately, there are more tools available!

View Entire UNL Report

Step 1: Figuring Cost

The first step in determining an affordable level of rent is to estimate costs. The obvious costs are seed, chemical, fertilizer, insurance, and of course knowing what the rent currently is. Other costs can be figured either from using custom rates for all field operations and trucking, or those costs can be figured from estimates for the year such as fuel, labor, repairs, and replacement costs. Finally, use accurate yield projections using the APH from your crop insurance, or some other basis. All of the costs mentioned would be considered variable costs because they vary directly with production of the crop.

Sometimes the less obvious costs can sneak up on a producer. As a producer, ask yourself the following questions:
•    What are my equipment payments per acre?
•    On owned land, what is my payment per acre plus real estate taxes?
•    What percent of my family living costs need to be paid by the operation? What does that equate to per acre?
•    What is my profit objective per acre for this year? Is that or any profit objective realistic?

These questions represent fixed costs because they, in total, do not change in the operation regardless of number of acres farmed.

Step 2: Figuring Breakeven

When one has arrived at this point, decisions can be made as to what changes should occur to arrive at a realistic per bushel breakeven figure.

Once a producer has finished these steps, they know what the cash rent needs to be in order to be profitable or break even. From the process being described, one can “back into” the number for cash rent, and then use the result as a negotiation tool. Our Security Bank lending team has such a tool available. If you would like to employ this tool in your operation, call one of our ag lenders at any of our five locations, and they will be happy to visit with you about it more!

Ready to speak with and experienced and qualified lender?

If you would like to employ this tool in your operation, call one of our ag lenders at any of our five locations, and they will be happy to visit with you about it more!

Meet Our Team

Locations & Hours

Best Regards,

What Kind of Impact Can a Detailed Breakeven Analysis Make on Your Bottom Line?

Watch a short testimonial featuring a local agri-business producer, Bill Huss of Hartington.

#BillHuss_Breakeven

What Are You Doing to Manage Your Success in a Turbulent Environment?

See what Dr. Gloy and your local lenders have to say on the issue.

#2016AgConference_DrGloy

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First Time Homeower Cuts Ribbon to Home

First Time Homeower Cuts Ribbon to Home

December 30, 2016

Allen, Nebraska — Crystal Fuoss cut the ribbon yesterday in front of the home in Allen, Nebraska that officially made her a first time homeowner.  USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul, Security Bank Branch President Rob Bock and housing partners joined in the event.
 
Moul said, "It is exciting to see how Rural Development’s Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan program helps to bring homeownership to rural Nebraska.  Security Bank and many housing partners were involved in the loan process and I wish to thank everyone for their assistance.”

Bock said, “It is great to see young people buying homes in our communities. They will be our leaders tomorrow.”

Crystal and Brian moved to Allen, Nebraska about a year ago.  Tired of paying rent Crystal opted for a change.  To buy a home.  As of today, Crystal will be writing a monthly check that will go towards her mortgage, building equity with each payment.  Being a homeowner makes her free to make any changes she wants.  Crystal is excited about the garage where she can do her woodworking, making everything from plaques to benches.

Housing partners involved are the West Gate Bank, Northeast Housing Initiative, Federal Home Loan Bank, and Nebraska Housing Developers Association.

USDA Rural Development provides guaranteed financing, private lending institutions provide the loans which are guaranteed by the federal government.  The program features no down payment to eligible income households and no maximum mortgage limits.  Homes must be located in rural areas. All communities in Nebraska are eligible for USDA Rural Development housing programs with the exceptions of Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Kearney, Lincoln, North Platte, Omaha and South Sioux City/Dakota City. See http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/ for eligible areas.

For additional information on becoming an approved lender contact Krista Mettscher at USDA Rural Development, 100 Centennial Mall North, Suite 308 Lincoln, NE 68508, (402) 437-5518 or at krista.mettscher@ne.usda.gov.  Visit www.rd.usda.gov/ne/.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Security Bank Attends Dakota Farm Show

Security Bank Attends Dakota Farm Show

January 17, 2017

Vermillion, SD -  If you were able to attend the 2017 Dakota Farm Show, which ran from January 4th - 6th, you may have recognized some familiar faces in the Security Bank booth!   Our lending staff was excited to attend and host a booth for the second year in a row.

With 70% of our current loan portfolio being made up of agricultural and agri-business clients and we strive to provide our lenders with the education, tools, and resources neccessary to keep a competitive edge in our industry. Over the past several years we have been dedicated to implementing revolutionary banking practices that have been proven to add value to our customers.

We were happy to meet and visit with so many producers and agri-business professionals in, and extending far past, our trade area.

Congratulations to our YETI Hopper 20 Giveaway Winner!

Rob Bock, Branch President, presents Rusty Dickens, Allen NE, with the YETI Hopper 20 cooler.

A Letter from the President : Time to Negotiate Your Cash Rent?

A Letter from the President : Time to Negotiate Your Cash Rent?

Keith Knudsen | President/ CEO, Security Bank

As Dr. Brent Gloy points out in the article below, now that harvest is over, many farm tenants and landowners will turn their attention to cash rent negotiations for 2017. Dr.Gloy, an Ag Economic Professor turned farmer, has had his research quoted and referenced in media ranging from the Farm Press , to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Economist, among others.  In addition, he founded and served as the first Director of Purdue's Center for Commercial Acriculture.  Dr. Gloy's current writings, along with the article below, can be found on his website, Agricultural Economic Insights, which he co-founded with David Widmar.

Best Regards,

 

Cash Rent Adjustment Continues

by Brent Gloy

Now that harvest is rapidly winding its way way to completion, many farm tenants and landowners will quickly turn their attention to cash rental rates for 2017.  Cash rental rate decisions and discussions can often be challenging, especially in times of rapid commodity price changes. It is no surprise that cash rent and farmland values probably account for largest number of questions that we receive from readers and seminar participants.

Since David and I started writing these articles, we have written extensively about cash rental rates.  For instance, David recently addressed how rental rates changed at the county level in this post.   I was recently reflecting on the articles and topics that we have addressed in the last two years and came across the second post that we published on this site.  It provided a perspective on changes in cash rental rates from mid-2014.

I have copied it below since many of our current readers may not have had a chance to read it. I think much of the content and topic is quite relevant today and I think readers will find the discussion of the cash rental adjustment process interesting.

Just to set the stage, in 2014 commodity prices had just started their decline and there was a lot of discussion about whether rental rates would quickly adjust lower.  At the time it was not clear that commodity prices would remain at depressed levels.  In the post we talked about how expectations would influence cash rental adjustments.  We noted that we had rarely seen cash rental rates decline by more than 5 percent in any single year.  In analyzing the situation we plotted cash rental rate changes for Indiana farmland. I have updated that chart which is shown below.
 
Figure 1.  Percent Change in Cash Rental Rates for Average Quality Indiana Farmland, 1976-2016.  Source: Purdue Farmland Value Survey.

The data in Figure1 show that the declines have now begun to accelerate as the likelihood of sustained low commodity prices has taken hold.  In 2016 cash rental rates declined by 10.9% the second largest decline seen in the data. The only larger decline occurred in 1986 when rates fell by 11.2%.

Clearly, cash rents are working lower. This is in line with our thinking then and perhaps best expressed by the quote that we used to introduce the post.  Simply put, farm economics drive cash rental rates.  If farm economics undergo a sustained period of decline one should expect rents to follow.  However, I think that at the time we did not expect the prolonged downturn in farm economics that we are now experiencing.

It appears that rents may have indeed overshot to the upside in the great commodity boom.  As we noted in 2014, the cash rental rate adjustment can be significant in such situations.  A number of factors will determine where things go from here.  They include  how long commodity prices remain depressed and whether the declines continue.  As we noted in 2014, government program payments will also play an important role. With payments set to start declining for the crop to be planted in 2017, one might expect that this too will work against cash rental rates.  Time will tell.
 
Here is the original post:
 
How Much Might Cash Rents Change in the Coming Years?

By Brent A. Gloy
 
“Corn is not high because a rent is paid, but a rent is paid because corn is high”  ~David Ricardo
 
As commodity prices have fallen there has been considerable speculation about how cash rents for farmland in the U.S. Cornbelt might adjust in the coming years. Cash rental rates are the amount that farmers are willing to pay land owners for having the opportunity to farm their land. Cash rents typically adjust to reflect the economics of farm production, rising when returns over variable cost increase and falling when returns over variable costs decline. However, the increases and decreases do not generally occur simultaneously with changes in returns over variable costs, with rents usually rising and falling more slowly than returns over variable costs.
 
In the following discussion it is important to understand that I am talking about changes in the statewide average cash rents. Individual rents can be much more variable depending on the specific situation. Additionally, there is some evidence that rents on professionally managed farms may adjust by greater magnitudes (up and down) and more frequently (see Gary Schnitkey’s article for a discussion of how rents on professionally managed Illinois farmland have changed in recent times).
 
In order to better understand how rents might adjust it is useful to look at the historical experience. Below are the percentage changes in cash rents and farmland values for average quality Indiana farmland reported by the Purdue land value survey from 1976 to 2013. One can quickly see that the statewide average rents rarely change by more than 10% per year.
 
It is also obvious that rents do go down, but usually not very much or very often. Over these 38 observations, there has been 9 instances when cash rents declined. Of those declines 5 were greater than 5% and only 1 was greater than 10% (1986). It is important to note that when rents overshoot the adjustment period can take several years to correct and can be substantial. This is the case for the declines that occurred in succession from 1982 to 1987. Together, from 1981 to 1987, a period widely regarded as the U.S. farm financial crisis, cash rent fell by 32%.

 
Figure 1. Annual Percentage Change in Cash Rental Rates for Average Quality Indiana Farmland, 1976-2013.
 
The next chart shows the percentage change in budgeted return over variable plus expected government farm program payments for average quality IN farmland alongside changes in cash rental rates over the shorter period of 1992-2013. It is important to understand that the budgeted return is the return that a farmer might expect prior planting a 50/50 corn soybean rotation on average quality Indiana farmland. The actual returns achieved differed depending on the yields and prices ultimately received.
 
One can see that expected contribution margins are much, much more variable than cash rental rates.  Even with several years where expected contribution margins declined, cash rents only adjusted downward in 2 years. This graph does not include the substantial declines that occurred in the 1980’s because there is no historical budgets for this period. One is also able to see the larger increases in rents that have been associated with the substantial increases in contribution margins of recent times, but in percentage terms rents have not increased as much as they did in the mid to late 70’s.
 
Figure 2. Annual Percentage Change in Cash Rental Rates and Budgeted Contribution Margin for Average Quality Indiana Farmland 1992-2013.
 
For a longer comparison period, the annual percentage change in the average marketing year corn price was compared to the annual percentage changes in cash rental rates from 1975-2013 and are shown below. This chart again shows that, like contribution margins, commodity prices are much more variable than cash rental rates.
 
When several years of large negative price changes occurred in the 1980s rents made their major downward adjustment. However, several years of fairly large downward corn price changes in the 1990’s did not bring about the same change in rents. Why not? First, the government made substantial payments to farmers in this time period. Second, rents had just been through the large decline of the mid-80’s and likely overshot on the downside. In fact, after hitting $106 per acre in 1981 cash rents did not reach $100 per acre again for 15 years!
 
Figure 3. Annual Percentage Change in Market Year Average Corn Prices and Cash Rental Rates for Average Quality Indiana Farmland, 1976-2013.
 
So what does this mean for the cash rental adjustment process? In the last 38 years the largest single year decline in cash rental rates was 11 percent in 1986. This occurred at the depths of the farm financial crisis during which rents ultimately declined by 32%. During the remaining 32 years statewide average cash rents declined in only 3 years.
 
That brings us to today (2014). In percentage terms, the most recent decline in corn prices is substantial and bigger than any that occurred in the 1980’s. One must also realize that this decline is from the drought induced high prices of 2012, which were at a level that few market participants likely thought sustainable. One might expect to see some declines in rents going forward, but changes in statewide averages of more than 5% would be large in the context of history. Observation would suggest that when rents decline substantially, it will take a period of years for them to work lower.
 
Were corn prices and contribution margins to show another decline like the one from 2012 to 2013 then perhaps one might question whether rents have overshot as they did in the 1980’s. If that happens expect rents to decline over a period of years. However, given the new farm bill one would expect that corn price declines of that magnitude will again result in substantial government payments to farmers, buttressing rents against an outright collapse.
 
If corn prices remain at current (2014) levels on should not expect to see large changes in statewide average cash rents. However, keep in mind that individual cash rent agreements signed at prices well above the state average will likely see the possibility of much more substantial price declines if the margins above variable costs continue to contract.

Interested in learning more? Follow the Agricultural Economic Insights Blog as we track and monitor these trends throughout the years.  Also, follow AEI on Twitter and Facebook.
 

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Financial Focus  :  December Issue

 

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Koranda Selected for Outstanding Women in Banking Honors

Koranda Selected for Outstanding Women in Banking Honors

By Mara Gawarecki | Northwestern Financial Review | Original Publication: November 2016

 


Based on nominations submitted by readers, NorthWestern Financial Review honors six outstanding bankers who have made significant contributions to their communities and the industry. The awards are sponsored by CliftonLarsonAllen. This year’s selections are: Karen Gregerson The Farmers Bank, Frankfort, Ind.; Tirzah Wedewer F&M Bank, Manchester, Iowa; Susan Koranda Security Bank, Laurel, Neb.; Nichol Beckstrand Sunrise Banks, St. Paul, Minn.; Jan Odin Unison Bank, Jamestown, N.D.; and Leann Stessman Park State Bank, Minneapolis.
LAUREL - Teaching and coaching skills are key ingredients in Susan Koranda’s work at Security Bank, Laurel, Neb., where she has fostered a team of banking standouts.

Koranda is a 2016 selection for Outstanding Women in Banking honors. The recognition, sponsored by CliftonLarsonAllen, is presented by NorthWestern Financial Review magazine.

The executive vice president got her start in banking almost as a second career. She received a degree in education from Midland University, Fremont, Neb., and spent three years teaching business and computer education in Prague, Neb. In 1997, she began working part-time as a teller at Security Bank while substitute teaching. “I’d always wanted to be a banker, although I couldn’t tell you why,” she said. “I wanted to get into education to help people and guide people, and it’s the same thing in banking.”

That background in education has transferred to her role at the bank, where she also serves on the executive loan committee. “I understand people work in different ways,” Koranda said. “It’s been nice to take some of those skills you use as an educator and continue to use them in this banking career.”

Teaching wasn’t the only non-banking background Koranda drew upon to contribute to Security Bank’s team. She served as head coach for the Laurel-Concord Public Schools’ varsity girls’ basketball team from 1996-2003. “The ability to pull ideas from different places and also mold the culture of the bank internally came from both teaching and coaching,” she said.

Koranda has been a team player since the beginning, said Security Bank President/CEO Keith Knudsen, and her role has only grown more crucial with time.

“There aren’t many times you can work with people that long and keep that good of a relationship, but I can’t think of somebody I’d rather work with than Susie,” Knudsen said. “I saw her superiority from the beginning, but working so closely with each other in a small community bank – and it was even smaller back then – you really get to know people and see what each one is capable of.”

That dedication to building and leading a great team has been recognized externally as well. Security Bank recently was honored for its high level of employee engagement and cutting-edge practices by the Institute for Extraordinary Banking, an organization founded by Minneapolis-based consultant Roxanne Emmerich. “Susie’s really been one of the driving forces, implementing processes, leading weekly meetings, the practice, practice, practice aspects of it,” Knudsen said. “It was a team effort, but I attribute it in particular to Susie’s efforts.”

Over the years, she had more than one opportunity to return to education. “But I didn’t want to leave the bank, and the rest is history,” she said. Soon after becoming a full-time employee, Koranda started working with the bank’s HR department, which she oversees to this day. When Security Bank switched platforms for opening new accounts and added online banking, Koranda worked hand-in-hand to develop those platforms with employees and customers. Soon, she was overseeing all operations and added IT and compliance to her list of responsibilities.

Since she joined Security Bank, it has grown to $200 million in assets from about $75 million. It has also added two branches, one de novo in Hartington in 2002 and one purchased from another bank in Coleridge in 2005. Koranda helped oversee both, and continues to be deeply involved in branch management.

Koranda sits on the board of directors of the Nebraska Bankers Association and serves as a bank training advisor to the NBA education advisory committee. She is also a past chair of the marketing committee and a graduate of the NBA leadership program.

“Susie is involved with a family-owned bank that’s really involved in the industry and really believes in investing in their people,” said NBA President Richard Baier. “She reflects Security Bank’s belief in being a problem solver both in their community and also their wider industry. Simply based on her experience and her involvement, I see her remaining a key contact and resource for the organization going forward.”

Koranda worked as a part-time EMT for 13 years out of the Laurel office while at the bank, resigning a few years ago when her day-to-day branch management responsibilities increased. “Like banking, being an EMT was intriguing to me because of the ability to be there and help people in a time of need,” Koranda said. “As I look back at my career, I still have a passion for coming to work every day, and I have that passion because I’m helping coworkers and customers achieve their goals, helping put people in a position to be successful.”

By Mara Gawarecki  |  Northwestern Financial Review  | Original Publication: November 2016
 

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A Letter From The President - Could the Value-Added Producer Grant Program Benefit your Business?

A Letter From The President - Could the Value-Added Producer Grant Program Benefit your Business?

by Keith Knudsen | President/Ceo | November 10, 2016

We would like to pass along some information regarding a program that is available to certain businesses called the Value-Added Producer Grant Program. Below is a link to the highlights of the program.

If you or someone you know would have an interest in this program, do not hesitate to contact us and we can put you in contact with the gentleman in this area of Nebraska that can answer your questions and help you through the process.
 

Read the VAPG Program Highlights

Helpful Resources: Applications Must Meet ALL Program Requirements

USDA : VAPG Program

 Agricultural Marketing Resource Center

Rural Development State Offices

 You may also call the Rural Development State Offices:  1-800-670-6553 , then press "1".

See more Biobased Projects across Agriculture Sectors

USDA Energy Investment Map

Have Built Up Equity in Your Home? Put Your Home to Work for You

Have Built Up Equity in Your Home? Put Your Home to Work for You

By Brandon Baller | Chief Credit Officer | November 2, 2016

#HELOC

Have you ever needed to make a significant purchase and didn’t have enough in savings or want to part with what you did have in savings to make it happen?  If you have equity in your home, a Home Equity Line of Credit could be the answer.  While your credit card may be an option, paying interest at a rate of 16.31%  doesn’t sound like much fun and could make it difficult to maintain a reasonable payment while still reducing principal quickly.  Because Home Equity Lines of Credit are secured by your home, you can enjoy the flexibility of a credit card, but with lower rates.  In fact, the more equity you have in your home, often times the lower your interest rate will be.


Home Equity Lines of Credit, or HELOCs as they are sometimes referred to as, can be used for any purpose you choose, up to an established credit limit.  It works similar to a credit card in that you can advance multiple times, for multiple reasons.  A kitchen remodel, a new roof for the house, a new car, a vacation for the family, college tuition or even help paying for a child’s wedding can all be common examples of some uses of a HELOC.


The payment on your HELOC is determined by the amount outstanding at the end of each month, much like a credit card.   With a Security Bank HELOC, your monthly payment consists of 2% of the outstanding principal balance plus any interest that had accrued during the month.  Let’s use this example:  You have a home valued at $100,000 and still owe $40,000 on your first mortgage.  You could establish a HELOC with a $20,000 credit limit at an interest rate of 4.99% APR2 .  If the balance at the end of the month on your HELOC was $10,000, your payment would be calculated as follows:

1.  Principal Portion of Payment   =

$200 ( $10,000 x 2% )

2.  Interest Portion of Payment     =

$41

Total Payment =

$241

In addition to the regular payments that are scheduled each month, you have the flexibility to pay additional principal only payments as you’re able, without penalty.  As you pay down your loan, you’ll have the opportunity to borrow back up to the credit limit without the need to apply for additional credit.  Simply make the transfer online, through the mobile app or by contacting your local branch.  All Security Bank HELOC’s are set up for 5 years at a time with a fixed interest rate.  Contact your local mortgage lender for more details or to apply!

Watch a short video about a Home Equity Line of Credit:

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Learn More About the Author:

Brandon Baller  |  Chief Credit Officer

Helpful Resources:

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The average interest rate on credit cards as reported by bankrate.com as of 10/12/16.
2 Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is based on a $20,000 line of credit.  Standard fees of $264 apply.  Rates and terms subject to change at any time.  Rates accurate as of 10/31/2016.

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Security Bank Named Among Top 8 Extraordinary Banks in U.S.A for the 2nd Year Running

Security Bank Named Among Top 8 Extraordinary Banks in U.S.A for the 2nd Year Running

October 17, 2016

#2016BankyAward

Laurel, NE – Security Bank, with offices in Laurel, Osmond, Allen, Hartington and Coleridge was just named one of the top 8 extraordinary banks in the United States by The Institute for Extraordinary Banking™.


Security Bank was recognized with the Institute’s Thank God It’s Monday!® Banky® Category Excellence Award and Thought Leader Category Excellence Award.  They earned their awards for Extraordinary Internal Culture as a result of their high levels of employee engagement, and excellence in unique and cutting-edge practices that produce exemplary financial results.


“We are honored to receive these awards and I am very proud of our entire team” said Keith Knudsen, President/CEO of Security Bank.  “To be recognized for our internal culture is really a tribute to each staff member and the passion and energy that they bring to the bank every day.  The Thought Leader Award is the result of our ongoing commitment to agriculture, in both good times and challenging times, and the financial tools that we continue to develop that help our ag customers analyze their operations and improve their bottom line.”


The Extraordinary Banking™ Awards exist to highlight the vital, yet often overlooked, role that local, community banks play in our economy. Consumers use the Grammys to guide their music purchases, the Emmys lead them to the best of television, and the Tonys highlight outstanding live theater…And now, consumers have the Banky Awards as their guide to discovering the very best, most extraordinary banks in their communities, and in the country.


This year, the Bankys recognized the top 1 percent, just 60 of the 6000 community banks in America. The Banky is the Mark of Excellence for Community Bank.

Brandon Baller, Keith Knudsen, and Susie Koranda are shown accepting the Extraordinary Banking Awards presented to Security Bank by Roxanne Emmerich (right) in Chicago on September, 21st, 2016.   This is the 2nd year Security Bank has accepted the award for Thought Leadership and was the only bank to win in two overall categories this year!


 

Cracking the Mysterious Credit Score Formula - 5 Easy Ways to Gain and Maintain Good Credit

Cracking the Mysterious Credit Score Formula - 5 Easy Ways to Gain and Maintain Good Credit

By Lee Potts | Vice President/Loan Officer | August 15, 2016

No one, other than some really smart people that work for the three credit bureaus, really know for sure what the magic and mysterious formula is that calculates one’s credit score. It apparently must be some super-secret formula written on a chalkboard as large as a movie screen guarded by big Rambo dudes and we would have to lower ourselves down from an air vent like Mission Impossible to get our hands on it. Ok, not really, but in fact, it really isn’t one formula. The exact same credit history will often result in three different scores from the three different credit reporting bureaus. Also, some creditors may only report to one, two, or all three of the bureaus. The three credit bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. It is these three that keep a mind-boggling database of everyone’s credit history and information. Scores range from 350 to 850. National average is around 700, and anything below 640 (depending on who you talk to) is usually associated with problems and can more drastically and negatively impact loan approval decisions.


Most people know the importance of maintaining a good credit history profile. The better the history, the better the ability to borrow money for buying a house, car, credit accounts and a list of other similar ways to “buy stuff.” Whether you have good credit now, or whether you have had some credit history trouble in the past, it is never too late to take the following five easy steps to gaining and maintaining good credit. So, let’s get to the list!


1. Make your payments on time!  The single biggest “credit killer” is late payments. If you have a “hiccup” or two over a period of years where a payment got sent late on accident, this isn’t the end of the world, as sometimes a creditor will see that there was a single isolated incident as long as there is no pattern of such things and may only require a written explanation. However, try to avoid these hiccups if at all possible. Whereas if there is a pattern of late pays, especially recently, as in the past 24 months, your credit rating will suffer and so will your chances of getting loan approval. If late pays are left too long, they can also result in collections or judgments.


2. Avoid over-utilizing your credit limit!  The appearance of being “maxed out” on your credit limits such as on credit cards or store charge accounts can affect your score and cause the “formula” to think you are running up against hard times. Some experts recommend utilizing only30% of your total limit. That may or may not be a “magic number,” but the point is simply don’t let it get out of hand. That might mean leaving older, unused accounts open, but for sure not crowding up against the limit you do have. Staying within the ability to pay credit card balances off monthly usually results in the most “bang” in helping one’s score.


3. Use time to your advantage!  One of the determinants of credit score is the length of time accounts have been open (and show good payment history), and the overall amount of time your credit profile spans. The longer the history, the better assessment the credit bureau can make for scoring and the better determination a lender can make as to your financial habits.


4. Be careful when car shopping or opening store cards!  Every store you go to any more asks if you want to save money on your purchase by opening a credit account. While this in itself is not a bad thing, doing so too often can paint the potentially false picture that you are suddenly strapped and are desperate for more credit. This can ding your score. Likewise, car dealers will often send out your application to several lenders at once, all of whom will immediately pull a credit report and it will show several inquiries on one day. Nothing wrong with this in itself either, but just don’t get carried away, as it can also hinder your score if done too much.  Only apply for what you need and stay within your limits.

5. Keep tabs on your credit report! Each year, you are entitled to pull one free credit report on yourself to review. While most of these do not give you your actual score, they do show your whole history. Make sure there are no fraudulent accounts. Make sure something didn’t “sneak up” on you in terms of late pay or collections that may have slipped through the cracks. If it shows good history, then you probably have a good score, too! There are several websites that help you with this. One that comes to mind is www.annualcreditreport.com. If you need help, stop by the bank, and we’ll help you get this done!


As you can see, while we still don’t know the exact “E=mc2” of the credit reporting world, these elements we know for sure influence scores greatly. You can at least use these easy methods to your advantage with very little time and effort, which will help you big time in the long run.  If you have questions regarding this, stop by or call any Security Bank location and we’ll walk through it with you.

Want to learn more about how to improve your credit score?

Call or stop by your local branch to learn more.

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Learn More About the Author:

Lee Potts  |  Vice President/Loan Officer

Helpful Resources:

www.annualcreditreport.com

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Is Your College Student Prepared for Financial Independence?

Is Your College Student Prepared for Financial Independence?

By Alissa L. Bartling , Marketing Coordinator | August 3, 2016

The car is packed up, the class list is printed, and you’ve even thrown in a few homemade cookies for the trip.  You’re ready to send your college student off into the world. But how prepared is your young adult for financial independence? 
Regardless of if you are a parent, new college student, or young adult looking for advice - this list of Important Financial Tips for Young Adults is worth your time to read and understand.

Important Financial Tips for Young Adults

#1: Keep an Eye on Your Money:
Through great banking features such as online banking & mobile banking, you have the ability to keep tabs on your account at any moment of the day. “Real-time” banks offer you the convenience of having quick access to your money as soon as it is put into your bank account.  This is especially important for young adults looking for financial independence but may still desire the security of being under their parent’s umbrella.

For example: Your student calls you in a panic while waiting in line at the campus bookstore.  Their next class starts in 20 minutes and their books are adding up to more than they expected.   Before they even get to the checkout, you can transfer money from your account to theirs right from your phone.  In a matter of seconds, they have the money they need to make the purchase and make it to class on time.

2. Make it Painless: 
Take advantage of the banking features available. If you are a student working through college, setting up automatic transfers from each paycheck to a separate account will keep you from the temptation of spending it. Additionally, did you know that you can deposit checks right into your bank account by simply taking a picture of your check with a smartphone?!   Any tech savvy young adult will find this fancy feature a pretty slick way to get your money where you need it and quick.  And when it comes to needing cash, keep an eye on those ATM fees.  There are ways of utilizing ATMs across the country for FREE regardless of which bank owns them.  Want to save the hassle of writing checks back & forth between friends & family? Eliminate the need and expense of a checkbook and take advantage of banking products which allow you to text or email money to the people you need. (Yes, that is possible!)

3. Live within your means.
Learning the strategies to manage your own money now, will help avoid others from finding ways to (mis)manage it for you.   Peer pressure in purchasing decisions is real and even the best of intentions from a friend or family member - encouraging you to buy that shirt, car, house, etc.… can find you living outside your means in a hurry.

That’s why the development of a personal budget or personal spending plan is often the best solution to tracking and managing spending.   In addition, learning how to keep any recurring monthly expenses as low as possible and eliminating items that slowly siphon away at your bank account will save you big bucks over time.  Netflix might be awesome, but is it needed?

4. Determine Wants Vs Needs: 
A personal spending plan can help to navigate spending and help to quickly realize which expenses are truly fixed and necessary and which expenses are just slowly chipping away at the bottom line.  Plain and simple, you must learn self-control.  A credit card can be a win or lose scenario. It can be a great tool to help you build credit or lose credit in a hurry.  It’s all in how you manage it.  You might really want those expensive jeans. But do you really want to put it on a credit card? If you aren’t one to stay on top of your payments, a $100 purchase can turn into $120 in a hurry. Credit card companies are a for-profit business and are more than happy to gobble up your money. If you want to give your money away, find a charity or cause to give your money to.  The result is much more fulfilling.

5. Pay Yourself First and Create That Emergency Fund: 
This is a tough concept for a young college student. I can remember being in college with $.11 in my bank account, one package of noodles in my cupboard, and being 10 days from payday.  I found myself regretting the purchase of quite a few “wants” from my previous paychecks.  The earlier you adopt the idea of saving being your 1st priority rather than saving from what is left over, the better off you will be at making sure you are doing everything possible to set yourself up to succeed.  Even at a $1.00 a day, week, or month – start simple, but simply start!  There is no getting that dollar back once it’s gone. Save what you can, when you can.

Everyone has those unexpected things that come up and mom and dad may not always be a phone call away to get them what they need.  If you get into the habit of treating savings as a non-negotiable monthly “expense”, you’ll find that you have more than just emergency money saved up.  When opportunity knocks, you’ll be able to open your own doors to that vacation, down payment, or comfortable retirement.

6. Save for Retirement NOW: 
Just like the first day of kindergarten, the investment into their educational future began. College seemed like eons away.  Every school year compounds and builds on the previous one, just like interest.  A dollar might not seem like much now, but give it 20 years.  If you learn to let your money work for you, you’ll find that you’ll be able to call work an “option” sooner in life.  A ROTH IRA or 401(k) are an essential piece to your financial picture, but might be a lot of information for a college student to digest.  If you are able to start contributing to either of these now, great! Otherwise, these are two things you’ll want to be sure to keep on your radar as you prepare to enter the work force full-time.

Bottom Line:
With the “get rich quick” mindset that seems to be the norm now-a-days, it may make all the information above seem irrelevant or unachievable.  However, the truth is that wealth doesn’t usually happen overnight.  And you don’t necessarily need a fancy degree or special background to become successful or a master at managing your finances.  Like any good habit, it takes time to get used to and develop. If you can start your adult life off on the right financial foot, your chances for a successful financial future will increase exponentially.

Even if you are a few years past your prime, it’s not too late to get back in line. Start simple. Start Now. But you must start. Small steps now can make a BIG difference in your financial future.
 

Are you a college student or parent looking for advice?

At Security Bank, we want to make sure everyone starts off on the right foot.  Call or stop in any of our five locations to learn more!

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Security Bank is pleased to announce the winner of our

Security Bank is pleased to announce the winner of our "Ready for a YETI" Facebook Contest

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | July 13th, 2016

On June 20th, 2016, Security Bank launced a Facebook Contest in which we gave away a YETI® 65 Cooler. Our Facebook followers were asked to tell us why they thought "Security Bank is the Coolest".  The responses to this contest were overwhelmingly postive and we want to thank everyone for all of their comments. (CLICK HERE to view some of the comments from this post.)

Congratulations to, Eric Lorenz, the winner of our "Ready for a YETI" Facebook contest.

Read Eric's comments below:

"Back in 1974 when I was born, my parents opened an account for me at the bank (now known as Security Bank).  I remember growing up and going into the bank with my dad and always getting candy of some sort or those little boxes of gum. The counter and drive up window tellers were ALWAYS nice. Then when I was old enough to get a car and drive the streets of Osmond, I remember getting cash out to pay for gas.

Now I have moved on to a different town and I am married and have kids. But I always kept my account with my "hometown" bank. (At first, mainly so my parents could easily deposit money in for me when I needed help in college.) But the biggest reason was because I knew they would always be there if I ever decided to move back to Osmond or move elsewhere. I use my account now for my savings. An easy place to keep my money safe, (sometimes out of site out of mind help my spending it). I have lived in Grand Island now for 23 years, but to this day I still can call or stop in and the smiling faces still remember who I am and are more than happy to help me with my needs. And that is the best part of Security Bank, everyone cares for you and makes a personal connection.

Osmond has been home to my family for years. Security Bank has helped them over the years with everything. I will always have an account there, and not just because I won this wonderful cooler, but because of the wonderful service they provide. Mobile Banking has made it easier to do everything I need.

Thank you for the cooler, my family and I will enjoy it!"

Security Bank Welcomes Customer Service Representative in Allen

Security Bank Welcomes Customer Service Representative in Allen

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | June 10, 2016

Allen, NE - Security Bank welcomed our new Customer Service Representative, Justin Heitman, to our Allen team on February 8th, 2016.

Justin grew up in South Sioux City, Nebraska and is a 2011 graduate of South Sioux City Senior High School and in May of 2015 he received his Bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.  While attending college, Justin also interned at American National Insurance in 2014 and 2015.  Prior to starting his career with Security Bank, he balanced school and work, obtaining a job as a designer/drafter with Wilson Trailer Company from 2013-2015.

Outside of banking, Justin enjoys playing basketball and tennis as well as spending time with family and friends. He loves anything related to cars and during his summers he keeps busy with car shows, working on vehicles, and drag racing with his family.

Over the past months, Justin has become a familiar face in our Allen location and we are happy to have him as a new member of our team!

Security Bank Welcomes Customer Service Representive in Laurel

Security Bank Welcomes Customer Service Representive in Laurel

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | May 20, 2016

Laurel, NE - Security Bank welcomed our new Customer Service Representative, Annie McCorkindale, to our Laurel team on February 29th, 2016.

Prior to her start with Security Bank, Annie was already an active business owner in the community and since her start has become a familiar face at our Laurel location.   She is the current owner of Tin Lizzie Boutique in Laurel and prior to her new career with Security Bank she owned and operated Imagine Photography LLC, also in Laurel.  Annie is originally from Elk-Point, SD and graduated from Elk-Point Jefferson High school in 1996.  She got her start in Northeast Nebraska in 1999 while attending Northeast Community College in Norfolk, majoring in Business Management/Marketing.  She has lived in Laurel since November of 2000 and her and her husband, Luke, along with their 3 daughters, currently live on a farm outside of Laurel. Her two oldest children, Berniece and Hattie, attend LCC schools in Laurel and Coleridge and her youngest, Myrtie, will start school in a few years.

Annie is currently a member of the Laurel Q125 Planning Committee.  In her free time, she enjoys riding horses and running barrels with her girls.  Every summer Annie looks forward to watching her daughters show at the Cedar County Fair. She loves the outdoors and life on the farm and she most enjoys time spent with family and friends.


Be sure to Welcome Annie to Security Bank’s Laurel Team!
 

 

Security Bank Dedicates Itself to Educating Youth on Developing Good Savings Habits

Security Bank Dedicates Itself to Educating Youth on Developing Good Savings Habits

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | May 18, 2016

Teach Children to Save Day is an annual awareness day when bankers demonstrate their community commitment by teaching young people about the value of saving. Visiting classrooms, giving bank tours, volunteering for after-school programs and more - our staff at Security Bank uses their real-world knowledge and professional skills to encourage young people to start young, and save more.

This year, National Teach Children to Save Day was on April 29. This day helps bring awareness and attention to a serious concern in our nation – one that threatens the economic stability of America – the lack of financial know-how.   At Security Bank we want to play an active part in building financial literacy for all ages by providing the knowledge, tools, and capability for everyone to make better informed decisions throughout their financial lives.    Plus, it’s a fun way to reach out to our youth and help set them on the right path for a successful financial future.

Want to see more of how we are giving back in our communities?

  

 

Security Bank Presents Osmond Senior Center with $1000 Donation

Security Bank Presents Osmond Senior Center with $1000 Donation

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | May 6, 2016

Osmond, Nebraska -    Bank Staff of Security Bank Osmond, recently presented a donation of $1,000 to the Osmond Senior Center with Alton Fuelberth, President; Wayne Blunck, Vice President; and Carleen Gutz, Treasurer accepting.  Joan Streich, Secretary  was unavailable for the photo.

A recent Open House was held in celebration of their new location at 334 N State Street.   The center is open daily.  Scheduled activities include the monthly birthday celebration on the first Wednesday of each month beginning at 1:30 p.m.  Cards (10-point pitch) and a carry-in lunch follow.  The Potluck is always well attended  and takes place on the third Wednesday of each month beginning at noon.  The center provides the meat and members bring potluck and enjoy cards following the meal.

The entire Security Bank Team congratulates the Osmond Senior Center on their new “home”.  Since 1978 your presence in downtown Osmond  has provided services, activities, and opportunities for its citizens.  Security Bank recognizes and supports your endeavors and we sincerely wish you many more years of providing people of all ages a warm and inviting place for gathering and socializing.

Pictured Above (from left to right): Paula Gutz, Chris Adamson, Wayne Blunck, Aaron Gutz, Alton Fuelberth, Jim Weber, Joan Steich, Heather Berg, and Alison Dennis.

 

Pictured Above (from left to right): Aaron Gutz, Paula Gutz, Vivian Manzer, Theresa Rice, and Chris Adamson.

5 Ways to Spot a Lottery Scam

5 Ways to Spot a Lottery Scam

March 25, 2016

Laurel, NE – According to the FBI, in 2014 consumers lost more than $8 million to solicitation scams promising instant wealth and grand prize earnings. These scams, commonly referred to as the “advance fee,” “lottery” or “sweepstake” scam, involve fraudsters issuing counterfeit checks and fake award letters to consumers who have allegedly won a lottery or sweepstake raffle. The consumer, who most likely never entered the alleged drawing, is issued a check worth more than the amount owed and instructed to pay taxes and fees before receiving their lump sum payment. Unfortunately, the check -- in addition to the raffle -- is bogus.

“Consumers fall victim to lottery and sweepstake scams at alarming rates,” said Jennifer Heine, Internal Auditor/Compliance Officer at Security Bank. “It’s extremely important for them to recognize the red flags associated with this type of fraud before they deposit any check they weren’t expecting or send money to an unknown recipient by check or electronic wire.”

Before you participate in any lottery or sweepstake, Security Bank encourages you to keep these tips in mind:

  1. Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the check. Scam artists are using sophisticated technology to create counterfeit checks that mirror the appearance of legitimate checks. Some are counterfeit money orders, some are phony cashier’s checks and others look like they are from legitimate business accounts. The companies whose names appear may be real, but someone has dummied up the checks without their knowledge.
  2. Never ‘pay to play.’ There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back or send you more than the exact amount —that’s a red flag that it’s a scam. If a stranger wants to pay you for something, insist on a cashier’s check for the exact amount, preferably from a local bank or one with a local branch.
  3. Verify the requestor before you wire or issue a check. It is important to know who you are sending money to before you send it. Just because someone contacted you doesn’t mean they are a trusted source.
  4. Ensure a check has “cleared” to be most safe. Under federal law, banks must make deposited funds available quickly, but just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good, even if it’s a cashier’s check or money order. Be sure to ask if the check has cleared, not merely if the funds are available before you decide to spend the money.
  5. Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately. Bank staff are experts in spotting fraudulent checks. If you think someone is trying to pull a fake check scam, don’t deposit it—report it. Contact your local bank or the National Consumers League’s Fraud Center, fraud.org.

Want to learn more information about fake check scams and how you can avoid them?

Go to fakechecks.org

Want to learn more about how Security Bank keeps your information safe?

Visit Our Security Center

Protect Your Identity from Online Theft

Protect Your Identity from Online Theft

March 24th, 2016

The FDIC has released a special edition of the agency’s quarterly FDIC Consumer News titled “A Bank Customer’s Guide to Cybersecurity.” The publication features several articles on cyber- related topics, including safety precautions for computers, smartphones, and tablets; tips for avoiding identity theft online; and the role of banks and the government in consumer protection. It also features a short quiz on the material covered in the issue, and a cybersecurity checklist for protecting personal data from online criminals.

View the FDIC link below to read the publication.

FDIC Guide to Cybersecurity

Want to learn more about what we are doing to keep your information safe?

View our Security Center

Security Bank Welcomes New Loan Officer to Hartington

Security Bank Welcomes New Loan Officer to Hartington

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | March 23rd, 2016

Security Bank in Hartington welcomed Justin Kerkman to our lending team on February 1, 2016.

Prior to starting his career with Security Bank, Justin worked as a grain manager at the Hartington Elevator. He also gained experience as a marketing intern at Sandhills Publishing based in Lincoln. His internship with Sandhills Publishing allowed him to travel across the United States, making contact with current and potential clients.  He also held a marketing internship with Hudl, a leading sports software company based in Lincoln.

Justin is originally from Wisner, Nebraska and graduated from Wisner-Pilger High school in 2010.  From there he went on to attend the University Of Nebraska in Lincoln.  In May of 2014 Justin graduated from UNL with a Business degree.  He recently completed the 2016 School of Lending Principles. The School was held February 29th – March 4th in Grand Island.  The School is designed to instruct students in the theory and process of basis lending.  Completion of this course assists students in developing skills, which allow them to better serve their customer’s multiple financial needs.  Over the course of the next year, Justin will be mentoring under Hartington Ag Loan Officer, Duane Hoesing.

During his free time, Justin enjoys volunteering as a coach for 5th & 6th grade basketball as well as refereeing little league basketball.  He also enjoys golfing, fitness, music, friends & family, and everything related to Husker football.

Be sure to welcome Justin to Security Bank’s Hartington Team!

Security Bank Shows Support of our Future Farmers with $1000 FFA Donation

Security Bank Shows Support of our Future Farmers with $1000 FFA Donation

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | March 2nd, 2016

Northeast Nebraska – Security Bank showed support for the local FFA Chapters this week, presenting a total of $1000 to four of the area programs in the communities that we service. The Laurel-Concord-Coleridge FFA, Hartington-Newcastle FFA, Osmond-Randolph FFA, and the Allen FFA Programs each were presented with a check for $250 to help their program.

These donations were presented this past week in conjunction with National FFA Week, February 20th  - 27th.

The area FFA programs were “Igniting a Passion for Agriculture”, doing a great job of promoting FFA in their schools and communities. Each program hosted a variety of events throughout National FFA week.  Some chapters held a teacher appreciation breakfast, others provided educational presentations for the young students, while others reached out to the community through service projects, and one school even hosted a teen dance.

Security Bank has supported the local FFA Organizations for years and firmly believes in the values learned through the program’s dedication to preparing and educating youth on agriculture, leadership, and personal and career success. Morgan Hansen, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge Officer informed us, “All of our graduating seniors are going into the ag field!” Students also learn skills related to public speaking, business, problem solving, and agricultural advocacy.

“FFA teaches me the skills and leadership necessary to become a contributing citizen in the agriculture industry.  From judging livestock to community service, FFA has taught me the importance of trying new things and stepping out of my comfort zone,” stated Bryce Lammers, Student Vice President of the Hartington-Newcastle FFA.

Our employees involved with presenting the donations were impressed with the FFA students/officers they were able to interact with.  “The students possessed a level of respect, poise, and professionalism that may not yet be developed at the high school level,” stated Alissa Bartling, Marketing Coordinator at Security Bank in Hartington.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth, and career-success training through agricultural education to more than 600,000 student members.  There are more than 7,500 local FFA chapters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  These FFA programs are funded through sponsorships and donations at the local, state, and national level.   While presenting these donations, our employees asked each of the program’s FFA officers & teachers how this donation would help their program.  This is how they responded:

Morgan Hansen and Jordan Jansen, Officers of the Laurel-Concord Coleridge FFA stated, “This donation will help us to attend contests, state convention, and help fund awards for our banquet." (Pictured above with Lee Potts (center):  Morgan Hansen, Isaac Hanson, Jordan Jansen, Lyndsey McCoy, Nicole Hanson, and FFA sponsor Dr. Irene Graves.)

Craig Flaming, Director of the Randolph-Osmond FFA stated, “The Randolph FFA Chapter will use this donation to help with expenses associated with the State FFA Convention in Lincoln to decrease the cost for Randolph and Osmond students." (Pictured above with Teri Korth (right):  Catie Lemmons and Mason Nordhues.)

Taylor Lammers, Officer of the Hartington-Newcastle FFA stated, “We wouldn’t be this successful if we didn’t have generous donors like this.  We can use this money to improve our recruitment programs and to lower costs for individuals to go to state and nationals.” (Pictured above with Duane Hoesing (left):  Bryce Lammers, Taylor Lammers, and Brianna Lammers.)

Megan Muller, Officer of the Allen FFA stated, “This donation will allow more members to compete at state with new items purchased for competition events." (Pictured above with Rob Bock (left):  Breanna Benstead, Megan Muller, Cole Roeber,  and FFA sponsor Mr. Billy Chase.)

 

Want to learn more about FFA?

Visit www.ffa.org

 

Want to see more of what's happening at Security Bank?

  

 

Coleridge Area Memorial Plaza Project is moving to the next stage

Coleridge Area Memorial Plaza Project is moving to the next stage

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | January 20th, 2016

Coleridge, Nebraska – Mary Biltoft, Branch President of Security Bank Coleridge, presented a donation of $5,000 to the American Legion “Project Camp” memorial project that has been ongoing since November 2015.  With the bank’s donation, they have now reached their goal of $90,000 to be able to begin construction.

The memorial is currently planned to be built just southeast of our Coleridge branch location on the corner of Broadway & Main Street. With a positive response to this project, construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016.  Click here to View the Memorial Plan

The memorial will list the name of each veteran, the branch of service, and years of service or war era.  Each block or brick area for this information will be offered to the veteran or their family. ( View Brick Info ) You also have the option to have a memorial photo tile included with your donation, which will be mounted on a separate monument. (View Memory Tile )

There are many of the deceased veterans who may not have families left to purchase these memorials, but in keeping the tradition of “No one left behind”, it is the hope that with generous donations the American Legion can still provide them with a memorial.

A donation board listing the donors will be maintained at the plaza.

If you would like to donate to the memorial project by purchasing a basic brick in memory of a veteran or fallen soldier, order forms can be found on the Coleridge website: http://www.coleridge-ne.com/ProjectCamp.htm or donations and veteran information can be mailed to:

American Legion Post 114
PO Box 114
Coleridge, NE 68727

(Checks can be made payable to A.L. Post 114 Camp.)

Schuster Celebrates Her Retirement After 50 Years with Security Bank

Schuster Celebrates Her Retirement After 50 Years with Security Bank

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | December 31, 2015

Laurel – After 50 years with Security Bank, Maureen Schuster has announced her retirement.  Just a few short months ago, Security Bank honored Maureen’s commitment to service with an open house in Laurel on October 7th, 2015.

Today marks the closing of  a chapter for Maureen.  We would like to thank Maureen for her 50 years of service to Security Bank and the Community!  Congratulations to her on all she has done over the years and we are wishing her the best in her new chapter of life!
 
Maureen began her career with Security [National] Bank as a bookkeeper on October 7th,  1965 and has been through many changes in the bank .
 
She began under the ownership of Bill Fahnestock.  In 1973, Security National Bank was purchased from the Fahnestock family, headed by Richard E. Adkins of Osmond, Nebraska. Upon the unexpected death of Richard "Dick" Adkins on September 6, 1980, the banking staff was reorganized and Richard "Rick" Adkins, Jr. became the president. In June 2012 Security National Bank changed the name to Security Bank.  In 2014, Rick Adkins passed duties of President to Keith Knudsen of Laurel.
 
Keith Knudsen, President/CEO of Security Bank has worked with Maureen in Laurel for the past 34 years.  "I want to congratulate and thank Maureen on behalf of Security Bank for 50 years of serving our customers and the bank." Said Knudsen
 
“Through all the internal changes, the values of the bank have always stayed the same.  Family and our customers - they will always come first.” Said Schuster.
 
Over the past 50 years, Maureen has seen many changes in the banking industry as well. Processes became more streamlined through the use of proofing machines, adding machines, fax machines, and especially computers.
 
When she began, everything was done using paper and pen and a filing drawer. “We actually hand-posted and filed the checks and there were no account numbers.  They were filed by name and two sets of books were kept and cross checked to see that debits and credits balanced,” said Maureen.
 
When the bank purchased a proof machine, she was the one who assigned the account numbers.   “Now every teller station is equipped with a scanning machine that can scan and post transactions before the customer even walks out of the door.”  Said Schuster
 
Maureen then spoke about the addition of online and mobile banking, “customers can even make transactions online without needing to come into the bank.”
 
“My fondest memory over the last 50 years has been the relationships I’ve developed with people – both customers and co-workers! “  Maureen stated that she has always loved helping customers with their finances.  “I can’t believe it’s been 50 years!”.

Maureen looks forward to spending her retirement enjoying the extra time with her family, her husband, Von, children, and grandchildren.

From all of us at Security Bank, "Thank you Maureen, for all you have done for us!  Enjoy!" 


 

STRIVENS CELEBRATES HER RETIREMENT FROM SECURITY BANK

STRIVENS CELEBRATES HER RETIREMENT FROM SECURITY BANK

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | December 21, 2015

Allen-  After 31 years of Service to Security Bank, Barb Strivens is celebrating her retirement!  In honor of her years of service, Security Bank is hosting an open house at Security Bank, Allen on December 21st from 9am- Noon.

Barb began her career in banking with Security State Bank in Allen, which was owned by First Laurel Security Co.,  as a Customer Service Representative in May of 1984. In April 1991, the Security State Bank of Allen was converted to a branch office of Security National Bank and in 2012 Security National Bank changed charters to the current name of Security Bank.

In addition to internal changes, she has seen many changes throughout the banking industry over the years. One of the greatest changes over the years,  according to Strivens, is the implementation of computer technology.  “Throughout the years computer technology has made banking processes easier,” said Strivens.

Barb’s day typically consists of teller duties, making deposits and withdrawal transactions for customers, opening new accounts,  and helping customers with account questions and computer technology questions on such things as internet banking.

Strivens has created a lot of great memories with the community, customers, and coworkers throughout the years with the bank.  When asked about her fondest memories with Security Bank over the years, Strivens replied, “ In my 31 years with the Bank I have enjoyed working with all my coworkers. I have loved meeting people and helping the customers!”

Barb has always lived in Allen, graduating from Allen high school in 1969.  She looks forward to spending her retirement traveling with her husband Dale and spending quality time with her two children (her son Rod and daughter Bobbi) and their spouces, and her 7 grandchildren.

Thank you Barb for your years of service to Security Bank! From all of us at Security Bank, we are wishing you the best!

Security Bank Named Among Top 8 Extraordinary Banks in the USA

Security Bank Named Among Top 8 Extraordinary Banks in the USA

December 9, 2015

Chicago, Illinois  –  Security Bank, along with hundreds of community bankers from across the United States descended on Chicago, IL and hit the red carpet to attended the 2015 Extraordinary Banking Awards®.

Security Bank was named one of the top 8 extraordinary banks in the United States by The Institute for Extraordinary Banking®.  Security Bank was recognized with the Institute’s Thought Leader Banky® Award for Extraordinary Bank Practices, raising the standards of banking practices, with excellence in unique and cutting-edge practices, and exemplary financial results. Roxanne Emmerich of the Emmerich Group, Inc. presented Keith Knudsen with the award.

In using information developed by the Farm Financial Standards Council, Security Bank developed comprehensive tools to help measure the performance of farm businesses. Security Bank's Annual Renewal Portfolio with Annual Farm Checkup™ gives farmers a detailed analysis and shows how each operation stacks up against various benchmarks as a basis for offering insights and recommending strategies.  According to President and CEO Keith Knudsen, “These tools have had a great impact on our customers and other area Ag producers.  This gives us the opportunity to enrich our customer relationships as we demonstrate our commitment to be their trusted financial advisors.”

The Extraordinary Banking™ Awards exist to highlight the vital, yet often overlooked, role that local, community banks play in our economy. Without a thriving local banking industry, our small businesses and families become nothing more than a number inside a “too big to fail” institution. The Extraordinary Banking™ Awards recognize the best of what community banks offer to our cities, towns and our nation.

 

 

 

Koranda Graduates from Executive Development Institute

Koranda Graduates from Executive Development Institute

December 9th, 2015

BOULDER, Colo. -  The Graduate School of Banking at Colorado recently announced Susan Koranda, executive vice president of Security Bank, Laurel, has graduated from the Executive Development Institute for Community Banks. Koranda was one of eight community bank executives from around the U.S. to be recognized for completing the rigorous 19-month program, which combined hands-on leadership development training with sophisticated financial management strategies to position community bank executives for long term success.  Participants experience coaching and mentoring by qualified experts, and completed a series of projects designed to improve their banks’ overall performance.

Koranda has been with Security Bank for 19 years, and was promoted to executive vice president in 2012.  She is a member of the bank’s board of directors. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business education and business management, and graduated from GSBC in 2003.

Koranda is a member of the Nebraska Bankers Association’s board of directors, and recently served on its Education Advisory Council.  In her community, she serves on the board of directors for Haven House, Church Board and Finance Committee and the Laurel Rec Board.  She has previously served on the Laurel Rescue Squad, Laurel Chamber Board and volunteers for numerous other projects within the community.

Koranda resided in Laurel with her husband, Larry, and their son, Brock.

BALLER SPEAKS WITH WAYNE STATE COLLEGE BUSINESS STUDENTS

BALLER SPEAKS WITH WAYNE STATE COLLEGE BUSINESS STUDENTS

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | November 13th, 2015

Wayne, Nebraska -  Brandon Baller, Branch President of Security Bank in Hartington, took part in an educational speaking engagement at Wayne State College on Friday, November 13th in the Gardner Auditorium.

Every year, the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, puts on an event called, "Shirtsleeve Workshop," where they invite WSC business alumni to come speak about their careers.

The Eta Pi Chapter invited Brandon, a 2003 Wayne State graduate with a Masters Degree in Business, back to his alma mater to be one of three panel speakers. Brandon spoke to the students about his banking career, the business world, and was available to answer any questions the business students may have had.

When asked about the experience, Brandon said, "it was an honor to be able to give back to Wayne State College and to help the students prepare for life after college".

Learn More About Brandon

ALLEN BRANCH MAKES DONATION TO MARTINSBURG PARK BOARD

ALLEN BRANCH MAKES DONATION TO MARTINSBURG PARK BOARD

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | November 9th, 2015

Allen, Nebraska  - Rob Bock, Branch President of Security Bank in Allen, recently presented Bobbi Lamprecht , representative for the Martinsburg Park Association,  with a $500 equipment donation to aid in their park upgrade project.  There has been about $13,000 raised so far! 

NORDBY GRADUATES FROM GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BANKING AT COLORADO

NORDBY GRADUATES FROM GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BANKING AT COLORADO

October 26, 2015

BOULDER, COLO. – Kevin Nordby, Vice President of Security Bank, recently graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado (GSBC), a 25-month banking school which provides management and leadership training for community-banking professionals. Nordby was among 157 graduates of the 65th Annual School Session, hosted July 12-24 on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.

Nordby has been with Security Bank since September of 2005.  He has been a Loan Officer with Security Bank since he graduated with a Finance Degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln.  He specializes in Ag and Commercial loans and serves on Security Bank’s Executive Loan Committee. Nordby was raised in Coleridge, Nebraska and was very excited to be able to come back after college to live in a rural community.  Him & his wife, Laura, have two children. He has been involved in numerous community activities such as serving on the Laurel Community Chamber board, Cedar View Country Club board, and most recently being the Chairman of the Community Redevelopment Authority. Kevin’s hobbies outside of banking include, softball, golf, farming and spending time with family and friends.
Prior to his recent accomplishments, Nordby had completed numerous Nebraska Banking Association schools including: Agricultural Lending and Advanced Schools of Banking.

GSBC students are recognized by their bank’s executive team as rising stars in their organizations, and as graduates, often continue to become leaders in their respective organizations. A degree in banking is widely recognized by the banking industry at large, and is a marker of advanced education which hundreds of bank-industry professionals from around the country accomplish each year.

“Completing the coursework and projects associated with the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado is a great accomplishment for community bankers around the country,” said GSBC President Tim Koch, “Sponsoring organizations and communities should be very proud of the time and effort our graduates exhibit during their time as a student at GSBC.”

Graduates receive a diploma upon successfully completing six weeks of classroom training which focuses on the areas of general management, lending, leadership and human-resource management and financial management in banks. Requirements for graduation also include comprehensive examinations, intersession research projects and participation in a bank-management simulation course designed to provide students with experience managing a bank.

GSBC will host its 66th Annual School Session July 17-29, 2016, and offers other educational programs tailored toward topics concerning community banks. For more information, please contact GSBC at 800-272-5138 or GSBC@GSBColorado.org.

WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR CREDIT SCORE?

WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR CREDIT SCORE?

By Brandon Baller - Branch President, Security Bank | October 22, 2015

Below is an excellent article that appeared in the USA Today over the summer regarding the importance of keeping tabs on your credit score. In addition to the reasons listed in the article, insurance companies have been using credit scores for over 20 years to assist in determining the premiums you pay for your car insurance.

Certain employers will also obtain a copy of your credit report and review it in detail to determine eligibility for employment. With over 54% of credit reports containing some degree of inaccurate information, you owe it to yourself to check your credit report periodically.

For a free copy of your credit report, please call your nearest Security Bank location to make an appointment with a lending officer to make sure your credit information is accurately being reported. We will review your report to ensure there are no errors and provide recommendations on what actions you could take to improve your credit score.

Who Cares About Your Credit Score?
By Christine DiGangi, Credit.com | 8:02 am EDT July 4, 2015
 

Checking your credit score is a little bit like eating your vegetables: Some people genuinely love doing it, others force themselves to and the rest of us write it off as unimportant. After all, your physical and financial health is a personal thing.It may seem like your credit score and how you manage it is nobody else's business. You may think your credit score doesn't matter, because you don't have a huge need for accessing credit or you don't care much about the difference a credit score makes in the interest rates you qualify for in the event you need a loan. The truth is, your credit score can have a bigger impact on your life than you may think it does. Here are some examples of people who care about your credit score…

The Credit Card Company

Credit cards may be one of the most polarizing things in personal finance — many consumers love them, plenty of people avoid them, and a huge number of people go back and forth between enjoying cards' convenience and loathing the debt they fell into as a result.

As great as credit cards are for helping consumers and finance some expenses, they're not a necessity. Much of the convenience credit cards offer can be found on debit cards, so if you never want to deal with credit cards, you don't have to.

However, if you ever want to open a credit card, having a good credit score certainly helps. The better your credit score, the more options you'll have when trying to find a card, and the better the interest rates you're likely to qualify for. Consumers with bad or no credit scores may be able to get a credit card, but that can require paying a deposit to the credit card issuer, or an annual fee — not to mention higher interest charges if you don't pay off your bill every month.

Cars are expensive, and most people have to buy several vehicles in their lifetimes. Unless you're able to pay cash for every single one, you'll need an auto loan, and your ability to get one of those depends heavily on your credit score.

To finance a car purchase you need a loan, and a potential lender will want to know your credit history. Your credit score is a huge part of determining how much you can borrow, what interest rate you will be charged on that loan and how much your monthly payment for that car loan will be.

The Mortgage Lender

Buying a home without a mortgage is possible, but that requires a heck of a lot of cash. Considering how difficult many Americans find it to come up with even a 20% down payment, paying all-cash for a house is out of reach for most. Given that reality, if you want to buy a home, you're probably going to need a loan. Getting a mortgage is no simple task, even for people with stellar credit, so if your credit score isn't great, you're looking at further complicating one of the most complicated personal-finance tasks out there.

Your Future Self

Living without credit is doable, but if you take out a few loans here and there throughout your lifetime, you should know that your credit score could have a huge impact on your net worth. Because your credit score determines the interest rate on things like home, auto and some student loans, a lifetime of great credit could translate into a minimal interest burden and hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, when compared to what you could have paid because of a lower credit score. You can see the difference yourself if you play around with the numbers in our Lifetime Cost of Debt calculator.

The average person pays $279,002 in interest — yep, just interest — in his or her lifetime, and that number can shift significantly if you have a better- or worse-than-average credit score.

A good credit score means you may be able to put more money toward other goals like retirement, travel or debt-free education for your kids — even if you don't think much about your credit score, you should think of how it indirectly affects your family. In a few decades, you (or those close to you) can either be pleased or angry with you for how your credit score affected your cash flow, but the first step is to know where you stand today.

Want to learn more about how to improve your credit score?

Call or stop by your local branch to learn more.

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SCHUSTER CELEBRATES 50 YEARS WITH SECURITY BANK

SCHUSTER CELEBRATES 50 YEARS WITH SECURITY BANK

By Alissa L. Bartling | Marketing Coordinator | September 30, 2015

Laurel – Maureen Schuster is celebrating 50 years of employment with Security Bank! In honor of her years of service, Security Bank will host an open house at Security Bank, Laurel on October 7th, 2015 from 9am – 12:00  and 1:00 – 4:00 .
 
Maureen began her career with Security [National] Bank as a bookkeeper on October 7th,  1965 and has been through many changes in the bank .
 
She began under the ownership of Bill Fahnestock.  In 1973, Security National Bank was purchased from the Fahnestock family, headed by Richard E. Adkins of Osmond, Nebraska. Upon the unexpected death of Richard "Dick" Adkins on September 6, 1980, the banking staff was reorganized and Richard "Rick" Adkins, Jr. became the president. In June 2012 Security National Bank changed the name to Security Bank.  In 2014, Rick Adkins passed duties of President to Keith Knudsen of Laurel.
 
Keith Knudsen, President/CEO of Security Bank has worked with Maureen in Laurel for the past 34 years.  "I want to congratulate and thank Maureen on behalf of Security Bank for 50 years of serving our customers and the bank." Said Knudsen
 
“Through all the internal changes, the values of the bank have always stayed the same.  Family and our customers - they will always come first.” Said Schuster.
 
Over the past 50 years, Maureen has seen many changes in the banking industry as well. Processes became more streamlined through the use of proofing machines, adding machines, fax machines, and especially computers.
 
When she began, everything was done using paper and pen and a filing drawer. “We actually hand-posted and filed the checks and there were no account numbers.  They were filed by name and two sets of books were kept and cross checked to see that debits and credits balanced,” said Maureen.
 
When the bank purchased a proof machine, she was the one who assigned the account numbers.   “Now every teller station is equipped with a scanning machine that can scan and post transactions before the customer even walks out of the door.”  Said Schuster
 
Maureen then spoke about the addition of online and mobile banking, “customers can even make transactions online without needing to come into the bank.”
 
“My fondest memory over the last 50 years has been the relationships I’ve developed with people – both customers and co-workers! “  Maureen stated that she has always loved helping customers with their finances.  “I can’t believe it’s been 50 years!”.
 
Currently, Maureen serves as Assistant Vice President/Cashier, primarily handling the cash management for corresponding banks, processing money wires, as well as opening accounts for new and existing customers. Maureen served on the Summer Recreation Board for 15 years and has been the financial secretary for the United Lutheran Church for 25 years, a role she still serves.
 

KORTH COMPLETES AGRICULTURAL LENDING SCHOOL

KORTH COMPLETES AGRICULTURAL LENDING SCHOOL

August 25, 2015

Topeka, Kansas- Teri Korth, Loan Officer, at Security Bank in Laurel, NE recently completed the 2015 Agricultural Lending School.  This School was held July 20th- 24th, in Topeka Kansas and Nebraska Bankers Associations and is endorsed by the Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming Bankers Associations.

Course content is designed to instruct students in agricultural lending concepts and practices to enhance their effectiveness as agricultural loan officers. Completion of this intense course assists students in developing skills, which allow them to better serve their customer’s multiple financial needs.

Teri began her career with Security Bank in June of 2007 as a Customer Service Representative, then transitioned to Administrative Assistant in 2008, and transitioned once again in 2013 to Personal Banker. Then in the spring of 2015, Teri made her most recent move to her current position as  loan officer.

Prior to joining Security Bank, Teri obtained an accounting degree from Northeast Community College in 2004 while working at an accounting firm. She has since returned to Northeast Community College and completed a degree in rural Ag Banking in the Spring of 2015.

Teri was raised in Randolph and her and her husband, Travis, have three boys. Teri is also currently a member of the Laurel Chamber Community Club.

NEBRASKA BANKER NAMED CHAIR OF GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BANKING AT COLORADO

NEBRASKA BANKER NAMED CHAIR OF GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BANKING AT COLORADO

August 17, 2015

BOULDER, COLO. – Keith Knudsen has been appointed chair of the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado (GSBC) for its 2015-2016 academic year. He is chief executive officer and president of Security Bank, Laurel, Neb.

Knudsen is a native of Laurel, and is a career-long community banker, having joined Security Bank as a management trainee after college. His experience makes him well-suited to help guide GSBC in the next year, as it continues to develop educational programs for the nation’s community banks.

Knudsen has served in many industry and civic leadership roles throughout his career. He currently serves on the Government Relations Committee of the Nebraska Bankers Association, and is president of the Laurel City Council and chairman of the Fund Advisory Committee of the Laurel Community Foundation.

“We are very pleased to have Keith guide our board throughout the coming year,” said GSBC President Tim Koch. “He is a lifelong community banker, and knows well the challenges that community bankers face on a daily basis. This guidance will be vital as we continue to tailor our programs toward the challenging banking environment of today.”

Knudsen is a 1991 graduate of GSBC, and a 1981 graduate of Wayne State College. He is supported in his new role by his wife Karen. They have three children and one grandchild.

Knudsen succeeds outgoing GSBC chair Mike Stevens, chief executive officer and chairman of Centera Bank, Sublette, Kan.

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