American Federal in Crookston Donates to RiverView Health Building Project

American Federal Bank in Crookston is celebrating “Giving Hearts Day 2020” in a big way.

American Federal has donated its first installment in a series of cash gifts over five years to the RiverView Foundation’s Capital Campaign for the health care facility’s hospital and clinic replacement building project set for completion this fall.

“In 2019, Giving Hearts Day launched RiverView’s $2-million capital campaign to support a meditation room, inpatient unit patient rooms, labor and delivery rooms, and family suites in a new 80,000-square-foot building,” said Bill Anderson, Crookston Market President, American Federal Bank.  “American Federal’s donation is a great kick off to “Giving Hearts Day 2020.”

Giving Hearts Day is February 13

Giving Hearts Day, celebrated this year on Thursday, February 13, is a 24-hour give-a-thon for non-profits like the RiverView Foundation. Each year, Giving Hearts Day provides a platform for local charities to fund their missions through an ever-increasing community of donors, many of whom get to experience the joy of giving for the first time.

American Federal employees in Crookston joined Kent Bruun, Director of the RiverView Health Foundation, for a photo after presenting the Foundation with a check earmarked for the capital campaign. In the photo, from left, are Ag and Business Banker Kyle Page, Senior Associate Stephanie Overgaard, Associate Banker Brooke Hassel, Associate Nancy Vakoch, Market President Bill Anderson, Bruun, Associate Banker and Associate Manager Dan Erdman, Associate Stacy Montalvo, Ag and Business Banker Taylor Sannes and Associate Jenessa Kelley.

Photo by RiverView

Imposter Scams – the Most Prevalent Fraud of 2019

Scam warningEvery year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) examines all the complaint reports it receives to determine which types of fraud are most prevalent. Of the more than three million reports the public sent the FTC in 2019, it found that imposter scams are the most common.

While there are different types of imposter scams, the basic commonality is that a scammer pretends to be someone you trust in order to get you to send them money.

Americans reportedly lost more than $667 million to scammers through imposter scams in 2019, with the perpetrators often pretending to be from a government agency (Social Security tops the list), well-known companies, love interests, tech support agencies or even family members. Most of those who sent in complaints report that the scammers contacted them via telephone.

The FTC has a series of short videos available detailing the different types of imposter scams and how you can recognize them. Check out the videos.

How to File a Complaint

If you have spotted a scam or have lost money to a scammer, consider filing a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.  Though not all scammers are found and prosecuted, in 2019 alone, the FTC was able to take legal actions that led to more than $232 million being returned to people who lost money.

 

 

 

Farmers Invited: American Federal Bank ‘Ag Day 2020’

“Ag Day 2020” with guest speakers of special interest to farm owners and operators is taking place in Fargo.

Hosted by American Federal Bank, the “Ag Day 2020 Program” is set for:

  • Thursday, February 6 – Hilton Garden Inn, Fargo, North Dakota

Scheduled Speakers

Registration check-in with coffee kicks off events at 9:30 am, following by guest presenters, beginning at 10 am:

  • Ed Usset – Grain Marketing Specialist, Center for Farm Financial Management, University of Minnesota
  • Tommy Grisafi – Commodity Risk Management Advisor, Advance Trading
  • Luke Swenson – Investment Services Managing Partner, Bushel

American Federal will serve a complimentary lunch at the event.

The afternoon program will conclude with a 4 pm social.

To Register

Registration is required for the Fargo program.

  • To register by Monday, February 3 for the Fargo Ag Day 2020, contact your local American Federal Banker in Fargo, Moorhead or Wahpeton or go online to amfedagday.eventbrite.com.

How the SECURE Act is Impacting Retirement

Man and woman standing next to planeOn December 20, 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (know as the SECURE Act) was signed into law. Though the Act covers a lot of ground, it contains provisions intended to give older Americans more options to help keep them from outliving their assets.

One of the major components of the Act is raising the age for required minimum distributions from 70.5 to 72. Along with this, another important change is that the traditional IRA maximum contribution age limit has been removed, which allows people to continue making contributions after age 70.5.

Together, these two changes essentially allow individuals the choice to defer taking distributions for an additional 18 months, and grants them the ability to continue saving. As life expectancies have gradually increased and many people wind up working later into life, these changes should give people more flexibility.

As with any financial regulation changes, you need to know and understand how they can impact you as you plan for and head into retirement. It’s a good time to ask yourself:

– If you plan to continue saving, have you budgeted for these additonal contributions?

– Are you aware of the tax implications of both options – continuing to contribute vs. taking distributions?

– Have you conducted a recent review of your portfolio with these changes in mind to ensure you are still on-target?

Talk to your American Federal Banker for further details about the SECURE Act. They can help determine what it means for you, and how you can use it to plan for now and the future.

 

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers on Saving for a Down Payment

piggy bank next to houseOne of the biggest concerns first-time homebuyers often face is the question of a down payment. For many people, the down payment on a home is the largest single payment they will ever make.

The American Bankers Association offers these tips for help on saving for a down payment:

Establish a separate savings account.

Set up a separate savings account exclusively for your down payment and make your monthly contributions automatic. By keeping this money separate, you’ll be less likely to tap into it when you’re tight on cash.

Shop around to reduce major monthly expenses.

It’s a good idea to check rates for your car insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance, cable, Internet or cell phone plan. There may be deals or promotions available that allow you to save hundreds of dollars by adjusting your contracts.

Monitor your spending.

With online banking, keeping an eye on your spending is easier than ever. Track where most of your discretionary income is going. Identify areas where you could cut back (e.g. nice meals out, vacations, etc.) and instead put that money into savings.

Celebrate savings milestones.

Saving enough for a down payment can be daunting. To avoid getting discouraged, break it up into smaller goals and reward yourself when you reach each one. If you need to save $30,000 total, consider treating yourself to a nice meal every $5,000 saved. This will help you stay motivated throughout the process.

Let American Federal Help!

American Federal Bank offers qualifying first-time homebuyers a variety of options, including down payments as low as 3%. We also offer fully forgivable down payment assistance of up to $5000 for those who qualify through the FHLB down payment assistance program.

An American Federal Banker can identify the best options and help you through the process of financing a new home. Our skilled and knowledgeable Bankers will help you determine the financial solution that best fits your goals. We are here to help you on your way to turning your dream of home ownership into reality!

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