Monthly Archives: May 2015

Defending against scammers


Con artists can scam anyone, but it seems as if they target senior citizens more than any other demographic. This is mainly due to a large nest egg seniors have built up over the years. While we would never want to think of this happening to one of our loved ones, the truth is, it can happen to anyone.
Below are some common frauds to watch out for:

  • Grandchild in Distress. A scammer will call an Older American and address them as “grandma” or “grandpa.” If the scammer sounds anything like a grandchild, the senior citizen may call the scammer by that child’s name. The scammer will then spin a tale of woe—they were in an accident or they were arrested or they were stranded, and they need money wired to them immediately.
  • Trouble with the Law. This scam comes in the form of someone saying the senior citizen failed to do something—such as failing to pay some tax or failing to show up for jury duty. The scammer will claim there is a warrant out for the senior citizen’s arrest, and they can either pay a fine immediately or have an officer come handcuff them.
  • You Won the Lottery. Here, the scammer will say the senior citizen has won money in a foreign lottery. But, in order to get the payment, the senior citizen is told that they will have to pay upfront taxes and fees.
  • Utilities will be Shut Off. The scammer will call up and claim to be someone from the local utility company. They will claim that the utility bill is overdue, and the senior citizen must pay immediately if they do not want their services cut off.


If you or a loved one has been a victim of one of these schemes, call the authorities and then contact us at Heartland Bank and have the payments stopped.


Heartland Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender

Improving your home before selling


Are you ready to put your home on the market? There are a few simple things you can do to improve its value before you hire a real estate agent or list it in the classifieds:

  • Add a bathroom. Even if it’s just a toilet and a sink, it will make your home more attractive. Many of us have seen the older home where there’s an extra toilet in the basement, but no walls or privacy around it. We don’t recommend you do that if you’re trying to improve your home’s value. If putting a toilet in the bathroom is the most feasible thing to do because of access to pipes, make sure you put a wall around it and make it a proper bathroom.
  • Add a bedroom. This can be easier than you think. If you have a den, sometimes the only thing that’s keeping it from being called a bedroom is the lack of a closet. Adding one of these is a quick fix. Another space you may think about turning into a bedroom is the attic, or even a basement. If you go with the latter, just be aware that many municipalities require you to have recessed windows in a basement bedroom.
  • Update an existing bathroom. You don’t have to go all out, but sometimes even a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference to a potential buyer. Another quick and cheap fix is to replace the flooring with vinyl tiles, or even replacing the toilet seat.
  • Renew your kitchen. Just like with the bathroom, you don’t have to go all-out. Instead, choose small, simple fixes. Replacing the handles and painting the exterior of the cabinets and drawers is one fix. Updating the faucet is another.

When you are ready to move on to your next home, Heartland Bank will right there beside you.


Heartland Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender

Home buying tips


Buying a home is no small process. Whether you are looking to purchase your first home or have been through the process before, it can be complicated seem very intimidating. However, Heartland Bank is here to help simplify things as much as possible to help you better understand the ins and outs of buying a home.

You may hear a lot of new terms thrown around. Here a few common ones and what they mean:

  • Escrow account: If you have less than 20 percent to put down, it’s likely you will need one of these. What this account does is take the expenses associated with the house– the principle of the loan, the interest, the insurance, the taxes– and pays the appropriate parties. You are then billed for the total amount each month, so your mortgage payment includes the taxes and insurance.
  • PMI: Private Mortgage Insurance is something you may have if you have less than 20 percent to put down on a house. This comes out of the escrow account every month, and the bank has you pay it to cover their losses in case you default on the loan. Often, the PMI is dropped once you have 20 percent of the principle paid off.
  • Closing costs: These are the scary-sounding costs that you often have to save up for. Not all closing costs include the same things, but they can often include the loan origination fee, attorney’s fees, prepaid taxes, prepaid insurance, an assessment and a myriad of other things. Sometimes (but not always) you can negotiate to have the seller pay the closing costs.

While buying a home can seem like a scary leap, it has many benefits, both financial and personal. We here at Heartland Bank are here to help you and educate you every step of the way. Get in touch with one of our mortgage lenders today to see how we can help!

Heartland Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender

Money management for new grads


You’ve walked across the stage, you’ve thrown your hat in the air, and you are ready to finally enter the adult world! However, that transition can be murky, and a lot of new college grads make big mistakes when they first head out on their own. Today, Heartland Bank would like to offer some DOs and DONTs when managing your finances:

  • DON’T charge everything to a credit card. This leads to a never-ending cycle of just making the monthly minimum instead of paying it off, leading to a lot of money wasted on interest. If college life just called for a credit card, get it paid off as soon as you can.
  • DO save up an emergency fund. Even putting aside a little bit every month will help. Did you get money for graduation? Put it aside. This will allow you to not have to rely on credit cards when emergencies do come up.
  • DON’T order food every night. The same meals can always be made cheaper at home. This can be a difficult transition for those who are used to using the dining center on campus every day. But, it can be a fun one, too! Who knows? Maybe you’ll find you love cooking!
  • DO take advantage of your company’s 401K program. I know, I know, it can be a little strange to think about retirement when you JUST started working, but this will not only help your future, it’s also a way of getting free money. A number of employers will match up to a certain amount, so if you’re not taking part in the program, it’s like you’re turning away money.

Here at Heartland Bank, we can be there every step of the way as you embark on your new financial future. Ask about starting a savings account today!

Heartland Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender