In The News

In The
News


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Kensington Bank announces special rates on HSAs and 39 month CDs!

Health Savings Accounts

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Choosing A Checking Account
To Fit Your Needs

Checking accounts have evolved a lot over the years. Today, they offer a lot more than just the ability to write checks. The checking account options at Kensington Bank offer our members some of the best options for every phase of life. Let us introduce you to our three options to help you choose the right checking account for your needs.

Checking Account, change on a table

Free Checking Account

Our free checking account is the no hassle option that offers many free features, including online banking, bill pay, mobile banking, and a debit card*. Plus, you are eligible for a rewards credit card* and additional rewards when you refer a friend! It really is the easiest checking account you will ever use and offers you many advantages over a simple savings account for using your money. The only requirement is that you must enroll for estatements to help us save on paper and be more environmentally friendly.

Interest Checking Account

This checking account option gives you a little more simply for carrying a higher balance. If you keep $750 or more in your account at all times, you will receive all the perks of our free checking account but you will also earn interest on your money! If you do not have a checking account, it is time to reconsider. Click to learn more about this opportunity!

Rewards Checking Account

This option is our premier checking account offering many benefits for those who meet a few simple requirements. If you complete 15 debit card transactions per month, enroll in online banking and estatements, and have at least one direct deposit post per month, your Rewards Checking Account will reap the benefits. Earn a high interest rate on the first $10,000 you keep in the account, receive free paper checks, ATM fee rebates, and all the perks of a free checking account!

If you have never taken a close look at the amazing checking accounts we offer at Kensington Bank, it is time to visit our website and get the details. We even offer special perks for senior members age 55 or better and two different business checking accounts to service our members.

Stop into one of our locations or visit our website today!

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EQUIFAX DATA BREACH
Important Information you should know!

Last week, Equifax, one of the nation’s three largest credit bureaus, disclosed that it was subject to a massive data breach – one of the worst in the nation’s history. By the company’s own admission, the breach affects as many as 143 million Americans or roughly half of the U.S. population. This constitutes a much larger share of Americans with a credit history.

According to the company’s press release, “(t)he information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers.”

Consumers could face significant financial risk from harm caused by fraudulent loans taken out by cybercriminals.

What Should Consumers Do?

  1. Visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, an online service Equifax has set up, to check if personal information has been compromised.

  2. A number of experts also advise consumers to place a credit freeze on their credit reports, if they believe they are at risk of identity theft. Based on Equifax’s disclosure, it’s reasonable to assume that the risk is high. To learn more about the credit freeze process, follow these links from the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Minnesota state law requires a $5 fee for each credit freeze. Consumers may contact the credit reporting agencies as follows:

    Experian Security Freeze
    (888) 397-3742
    www.experian.com

    Equifax Security Freeze
    (800) 685-1111
    freeze.equifax.com

    TransUnion Security Freeze
    (800) 680-7289
    www.transunion.com

  3. Monitor accounts closely and frequently. By viewing accounts online and checking throughout the month, customers will be able to identify possible problems sooner.

  4. Review credit reports every three or four months. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus per year. They can request a single report from one of the bureaus every three or four months. By staggering these requests, consumers will be able to monitor credit throughout the year.
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CDs and Savings and IRAs - Oh, My!
Understanding Your Savings Options

It’s important to save for a rainy day - everyone knows this. Innumerable accidents, surprises, or life changes can happen at any moment that might cause you financial hardship. There are many options to start hatching a proper nest egg and picking the right one can be intimidating. Let’s take a look at a few of the savings options at Kensington Bank.

CDs and Savings, piggy bank

Certificate of Deposit, or CDs

As Nerdwallet.com states, CDs are a savings tool that give a higher return on investment than many savings options. They are also low-risk and do not include monthly fees. The big difference between CDs and a traditional savings account is what is called a term length. Instead of adding and withdrawing money at any time, a Certified Deposit is a promise to leave your money for a certain period of time. This could be a couple days or a couple decades. Usually, you’ll find better interest rates in longer term lengths.

CDs do come with penalties for withdrawing too soon, which might seem irritating if you lock in your rate, only to have a better one come along later on. At Kensington, we rolled out our “Raise Your Rate” CDs, giving you the option to raise your rate if they go up, giving you the best interest return possible! If you think interest rates will increase in the future, you can still invest in a CD today. Contact us to learn more.

Savings Accounts

If you’re looking to save for the future, but you want the flexibility to add or withdraw from the account at any time, Kensington has plenty of savings account options. To start a basic savings plan, all you need is $25 to deposit. The Money Market Savings plans begin our tiered interest plans and require just $2,500 to deposit. Our Rewards Savings Account offers the best rates in savings over $25,000. We also offer Business Savings Accounts with the same great rates and benefits. You can learn more about each of these accounts on our website.

HSAs and IRAs

IRAs have been around for a long time. Saving for retirement has been a concern for a lot of people for quite a while. An Individual Retirement Account - or IRA - offers special tax advantages to those who qualify.

A Health Savings Account, on the other hand, just recently became a popular investment option. An HSA allows you to save money for eligible medical expenses, usually tax-free. To learn more about either of these plans, contact Kensington Bank.

Saving for the future is easier than you might think. Whether you want to save for a rainy day, for an unexpected accident, or for your retirement, we have plenty of savings options at Kensington Bank.

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An In-Depth Look at Home Equity Loans

Home Equity Loans

At Kensington Bank, we offer a number of loans for various purposes and times in your life. Home Equity Loans or Home Equity Lines of Credit allow you to borrow money using your home’s equity as collateral. Let’s take a look at the nuances of this type of financing.

What is a Home Equity Loan?

A Home Equity Loan is useful if you own your home and have a need for available money, whether it’s for home renovations, unexpected costs like taxes due, or school tuition. The amount you’re approved for will be based on your home’s value, what you owe on the home, and your credit profile.

We can help you take out a Home Equity Loan or Home Equity Line of Credit—assuming your home is worth more than you owe on it (positive equity). For example, following the housing crash of the Great Recession, home prices fell, meaning that many people owed more on their home than it could be sold for. The good news is that “rising home values in recent years are putting more equity in borrowers’ hands, while a gradually stabilizing economy is giving lenders more confidence to lend,” according to Kirk Haverkamp on credit.com.

What’s the Difference Between a Home Equity Loan and Home Equity Line of Credit?

There are two types of home equity debt, and both are sometimes called “second mortgages” since they are secured by your property and in a second lien position behind your pre-existing first mortgage.

A Home Equity Loan or HEL is a one-time lump payment that you pay off over time. These generally have a fixed interest rate and the payments don’t change from month to month. These are usually booked for a shorter term than a traditional mortgage loan.

A Home Equity Line of Credit or HELOC is a line of credit using your home as collateral, meaning that you will be approved for a certain amount of credit which you can borrow against. Instead of receiving one lump amount, you will receive a line of credit similar to a credit card. Say you secure a $10,000 line of credit from Kensington Bank, and you immediately use $7,500 to remodel your bathroom. You only borrow the amount you need, meaning you would still have $2,500 in available credit should something more come up. Find more details on HELOC loans and whether this makes sense for you.

Pros and Cons

Home Equity Loans may have a lower annual percentage rate than a credit card, interest payments may be tax-deductible, and they can help you achieve large financial projects.

However, keep in mind that Home Equity Loans are still a type of mortgage, secured by your home. If you fail to make payments on your Home Equity Loan, your home could be foreclosed upon. It can be a big decision to open this type of loan, and we are here to help you navigate the waters.

We know that local home ownership is vital for strong communities—and we’re proud that our customers come to us for direction as well as financial services. Contact a Kensington Bank loan officer to get started or learn more.

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Health Savings Account 101:
Everything You Need to Know About HSA's

Finding the best health insurance can make a world of difference in the safety and security of your family's health. Comprehensive health coverage can also make a significant difference in the state of your finances. If you are looking to adjust your health insurance and save money, consider a Health Savings Account. This type of account can help you save on health insurance, control your health care spending, and reduce your taxes. Take a look below to see how a Health Savings Account could help you better provide for the healthcare of your whole family.

Health Savings Account

What is a Health Savings Account?

According to the Health Savings Account Center, a Health Savings Account (HSA) combines high-deductible health insurance with a tax-favored savings account. This type of account uses the funds from your savings to help pay your deductible, and once you meet the deductible, the insurance begins to pay.

What are the benefits of a Health Savings Account?

A Health Savings Account has the advantages of being 100% tax-deductible and tax-free. Additionally, any money unused by the end of the year isn’t forfeited. Instead, it will grow tax-deferred.

What can a Health Savings Account provide?

A Health Savings Account can be used to pay off health insurance premiums when you are between jobs. It can also be used to cover qualified long-term care and Medicare premiums as well as out-of-pocket medical expenses. A Health Savings Account can also pay for many living expenses after the age of 65.

What medical expenses are eligible for coverage?

Any medical expense must be used to alleviate a physical or mental illness among which can include annual physical examinations, dental treatment, hearing aids, contact lenses, special education, x-rays, operations, psychiatric care, therapy, and much more. To confirm that your medical expense will be covered, refer to your tax advisor.

Healthy Living

Why should you switch to a Health Savings account?

An HSA will benefit many individuals, but like any financially secure plan, you should take a few factors into consideration before you make the big switch. A Health Savings Account can help you save money on health expenses—in fact, a Health Savings Account can help you build tax-advantaged savings for your health expenses, as well as build interest and use it tax-free for certain medical expenses. Tax-free and tax-deductible, a Health Savings Account can be easy to set up with a qualified bank, making it more convenient for you.

Switching to a Health Savings Account could change the way you think about health care. To learn more about the HSA’s available at Kensington Bank, meet with a Kensington Bank Specialist today. Visit our Contact page to get started!

Open an HSA during our promotional period to qualify to win a $100 Visa Gift Card, one will be given away at each location!

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Understanding and Improving Your Credit Score

A good credit score can not only attract better interest rates and loan premiums, but it can also be a deciding factor in a landing a dream job, mortgage renewal, or rental application. A poor credit score can leave you with no access to the loans you need, higher interest rates, and higher deposit rates with rental and utility companies.

Credit Bills

How You Could be Harming Your Credit

In order to understand how you can improve your credit score, let’s take a look at some the ways you could be unintentionally harming your credit. One such way that you could be harming your credit score through unpaid bills and fines which can be reported to credit bureaus and remain on your record for years. Similarly, using more than a third of your available credit can look irresponsible to creditors even when paid in full each month.

Another habit that is harmful to your credit is simply not checking on your credit score enough. Checking your credit score report on a regular basis can help you spot errors from inaccurate reporting to identity theft before they do major damage to your report. Luckily, certain major credit bureaus such as Annual Credit Report can help you check your report annually for free.

Improving Your Credit Score

Even with dedication, your credit score won’t improve overnight. There are, however, a variety of long-term financial habits that you can adopt in order to reach your dream credit score.

Improve your credit
  • Apply for a credit card. A secured credit card is one in which you pay a small deposit and have a credit limited tied to the deposit amount.
  • Pay everything on time. From bills, loans, citations and more, pay everything on time to keep yourself in good standing. Take extra caution to pay outstanding bills. Use payment reminders or set up automatic payments in order to keep your finances in check and prevent delinquent loans that will show up on your report.
  • Regularly check your credit score reports. The earlier you spot and report inaccuracies, the easier they will be to solve. Take the time to dispute any mistakes you find.
  • If you are having trouble with your finances, meet with a professional. They can educate you on your finances and help you move towards a more balanced financial future.
  • Don’t close all of your credit accounts. While this may seem like a good idea, it will, in fact, reduce your total borrowing ability.

Improving your score begins with understanding the factors that affect your credit score. With time and healthy financial habits, you could be well on your way to improving the state of your finances. For more information on accessing loans, personal and business banking services, and more, visit Kensington Banks today.

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