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10 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value

Posted on June 28th, 2017 in Budgeting, Home Buying, Personal Finances, Savings by vgmforbin |

Home Ownership

Just like purchasing your home, selling it is a journey all its own. Whether you’re aiming to sell your home in one year or five, you can make a number of small changes that offer a big return on your home’s value. Try these key improvements and see the effect on your next home assessment.


  1. An eye-catching entrance. As the gateway into your home, your front door will set the tone for what’s within. Update your doorbell, paint the front door, and hang a seasonal wreath to tie it all together.
  2. Energy-efficient updates: Updating appliances, windows, and fixtures, to their energy-saving counterparts can set your home apart with the attractive promise of future value.
  3. Low-maintenance landscaping: While flowers are eye-catching, shrubs and drought-resistant greenery make a great visual impact with the promise of a hassle-free landscape.
  4. A thorough clean. A deep clean of carpets, curtains, and corners will make your home sparkle and create a positive first impression. Hiring a professional cleaning service may also help to remove hard-to-clean grime and overlooked areas.
  5. De-cluttered rooms. A fully furnished house doesn’t always feel open. Heavy curtains, overstuffed couches, and rooms devoid of sunlight can make buyers cautious of square footage. Rid the room of nothing but bare essentials and simplistic furniture to maximize the spaciousness of the interior.
  6. Extra mirrors. To double the feel of any room, strategically place mirrors to create an illusion of extra area.
  7. Small updates to big places. Kitchens and bathrooms are focal points in the selling process. Without the time and cost of a major remodel, you can complete small updates like new lighting, fresh paint, and modern accessories to add value to your home while on a budget.
  8. Revamped flooring: Thin or threadbare carpets can raise alarms for buyers as they visualize the daunting need to replace the tired flooring. As your budget allows, replace your home’s carpet beginning in high-traffic areas and working outwards.
  9. Modern lighting. Updating light fixtures help to elevate your home’s design and gives any potential buyers a blank canvas to imagine their new home’s decor.
  10. A professional opinion. In under an hour, a trained interior designer can provide suggestions for small tweaks, such as furniture arrangement or paint color adjustments, which could increase your home’s value with limited investment.


While improvements are not a guarantee of improved value, they can make all the difference when attracting interested buyers. If you’d like some assistance in your home improvement financing, our lending officers at Northeast Security Bank would love to lend an ear. Give us a call, or stop by your nearest branch today!

The Steps to Home Ownership

Posted on June 16th, 2017 in Home Buying, Mortgages, Personal Finances by vgmforbin |



Purchasing your new home can be a rollercoaster of a ride. At Northeast Security Bank we strive to make your journey to home ownership as simple and stress-free as possible. With our knowledgeable lenders and expert customer service, our team is here to help you find your family’s new home in the Decorah, Fairbank, Fredericksburg, and Sumner areas!

To assist in your upcoming home buying process, we’ve come up with these 13 steps to purchasing your NEW home – emotions and all!


Calculate the risks and rewards of home ownership.

Calculate Risks


Decide that you want to become a homeowner.

Be sure you want to buy.


Determine a budget that works best for your family.

Figure out your budget.


Work your tush off, and save a nest egg for your new home.

Work your tush off.


Get PRE-APPROVED for a mortgage before house hunting.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage.


Work with a licensed local realtor to look at homes in your area of choice.

Work with a Realtor.


Walkthrough as many homes as it takes to find that perfect fit.

Walk through several homes.


Choose an offer price with your realtor that keeps your options open.

Get the price right.


Negotiate the prices, closing costs, and appliances if needed.

Negotiate if needed.


Have your offer accepted!

Have your offer accepted.


Secure a mortgage with Northeast Security Bank.

Secure your mortgage.


CLOSE on your new home.

Close on your new home.


Make it your own.

Make it your own.


Did you know Northeast Security Bank is a part of the Des Moines HomeStart Program through the Federal Home Loan Bank? In conjunction with this partnership, our lenders are able to offer a unique opportunity for area home buyers, which allows them to apply for up to $7,500 in grant funds to assist in the purchase of their new home!

If you’re ready to start your home buying process, stop by your nearest Northeast Security Bank branch and speak with one of our trusted Mortgage Lenders!

Fredericksburg 93rd Dairy Days Celebration

Posted on May 31st, 2017 in Communities by vgmforbin |

Dairy Days Celebration 2017

Dairy Days are practically here! With such a warm and welcome spring season, this year’s 93rd Fredericksburg Dairy Days Celebration should be one for the record books! Whether you plan on joining in the sporting events, or just come for the food, we can’t wait to see you and your family at Midway this year.

At Northeast Security Bank we’re excited for all things Dairy Days! If you still need to get into the Dairy Days spirit, take a look at these seven reasons, why you won’t want to miss this annual event!

Cow with hair blowing in the wind GIF

Because, who wouldn’t want to honor one of Iowa’s most important industries? With agriculture as the backbone of this great state, it’s no wonder we have such exciting and seasonal celebrations.


Child hugging chicken GIF

Scenes like these can make anyone’s day better! (Including the chicken’s.)


Eating a sandwich GIF

You’ll feel overjoyed once your favorite fair-food treats are finally back in town! Funnel cake, corn dogs, and cotton candy just to name a few.


Motivated Cow GIF

Your show cattle can finally earn the appreciation they deserve! Good thing you friends will be there to see it too!


Fireworks GIF

The thunderous BOOMS and BANGS of the firework show. We always look forward to the big finale!


Baking Pie GIF

A perfect strawberry-rhubarb pie can win you instant fame. Plus you take home the bragging rights!


Concert GIF

It’s finally time to rock and roll all night! And party every day.

However you decide to enjoy the upcoming Dairy Days, we hope you and your family enjoy this fun-filled celebration. Be sure to join us for the Money in the Hay event, on Wednesday, June 7th! We can’t wait to see you there.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

12:00 PM – 10:00 PM Food Stand at Midway sponsored by St. John’s Stapleton & St. Peter’s Richfield Lutheran Youth Organization
1:00 PM Next Generations Attractions at Midway
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM FREE Face painting by Face Painting by Amy at Midway
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM Fredericksburg Fire Department Pedal Tractor Pull at the Football Field
7:00 PM Street Sports for kids thirteen and under at the Football Field
8:30 PM Milking contest on the Softball Field
8:30 PM Hot dog eating contest sponsored by Quigley’s Food & Drink immediately following the milking contest on the Softball Field
9:00 PM Old Timer’s Softball Game
10:00 PM Fireworks (Rain date is Wednesday, June 7, 2017.)


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

7:00 AM Moo Run Walk – 5k sponsored by the Women of Fredericksburg
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Pie Baking Contest drop off at City Hall with judging to follow
10:30 PM Parade featuring various attractions on Main Street
11:00 AM – 10:00 PM Food stand at Midway sponsored by St. John’s Stapleton & St. Peter’s Richfield Lutheran Youth Organization
11:30 AM Methodist Church chicken and beef noodle dinner
12:00 PM Next Generation Attractions at Midway
12:00 PM Registration for Dairy Cattle Show at Pioneer Power Acres
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM FREE caricatures by Blue Ribbon Caricatures at Midway
1:00 PM Dairy Cattle Show at the Pioneer Power Acres
1:30 PM Registration for Bill Riley Talent Show near the downtown stage
2:00 PM Cow Pie Bingo at Pioneer Power Acres
2:00 PM Money in the Hay sponsored by Northeast Security Bank
2:00 PM Bill O Riley talent show at the downtown stage
4:00 PM “Fire Cow,” Race sponsored the Fredericksburg Fire Department
5:00 PM – 5:30 PM Expression Dancer’s Performance on the downtown stage
5:30 PM – 6:00 PM Taw Kwon Do Performance on the downtown stage
6:00 PM – 6:30 PM Annie’s Dancers on the downtown stage
6:00 PM Car Cruze sponsored by Quigley’s Food & Drink
7:00 PM Parade featuring various attractions on Main Street
8:00 PM Coronation of Dairy Princess & announcement of Dairy Day winners
8:30 PM Main Event: Harry O


Times listed are subject to change – for more information visit facebook.com/DairyDay2017/ .



How-to Greenhouse Hop in Northeast Iowa

Posted on May 12th, 2017 in Communities, Decorah, Seasonal by vgmforbin |

Header Graphic

Planting season isn’t reserved for the agriculture industry alone. Come early May, the entire state begins to bloom with new plants and fresh flowers, ready to be added to your home. Instead of purchasing your seasonal seedlings from nationwide retailers, enjoy shopping for those perfect plants throughout your local greenhouses, and support your community along the way!

One of our favorite way to discover new varieties is to road trip! After finding friends or family members to join the fun, load up your group of savvy shoppers for a day of greenery and goodies.


Seed Savers

Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, IA

As one of the most influential seed saving operations in the United States, this Iowan operation helps local gardeners save a piece of their heritage through the sharing and exchanging of seeds. This is a great destination to pick up seeds for your indoor herb garden, along with other great seasonal supplies. You’ll want to schedule a visit ahead of time, however, if you’d like to see the entire operation and their beautiful bounty.

Website: http://exchange.seedsavers.org

Photo Source: http://visitdecorah.com


Pinter’s, Decorah, IA

You never know what you’re going to find at Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins! With gorgeous garden accessories, delicious baked goods, and plants galore, this one stop shop is a fun-filled activity your whole clan can enjoy. If you see a concept you truly love, don’t fret – Pinter’s dedicated team does landscaping too!

Website: http://www.pintersgardensandpumpkins.com/

Photo Source: https://www.facebook.com/Pintersgardensandpumpkins/


Plantpeddler, Cresco, IA

This local wholesaler offers great deals and specialty plants for individual consumers. The Gooder family prides themselves on producing great floral and edible varieties to complement their accompanying floristry business. In addition to all things green, their growing gift shop has countless trinkets and tastes to help you commemorate your greenhouse road trip.

Website: http://www.plantpeddler.com/

Photo Source: http://www.plantpeddler.com/


K & K Gardens

K & K Gardens, Hawkeye, IA

Owners Keith & Kelli Kovarik are a fun-loving duo, who are happy to help find the perfect plants for your garden! With their coveted expertise, and wide assortment of annuals and perennials, their garden center is sure to leave you inspired and smiling! Don’t forget to ask about their aqua gardening supplies – they’d love to show you how to make your outdoor pond something truly unique.

Website: http://www.kkgardens.com/

Photo Source: http://www.kkgardens.com/


Fox Produce & Bakery

Fox Produce and Greenhouse, Randalia, IA

This family-friendly grower offers great produce throughout the seasons to accompany their blossoming flowers and vegetables. Their expanding greenhouse features plants of all varieties, including mums, lilies, daisies, and more. If you’re feeling hungry along your trip, their classic bakery offers made-from-scratch donuts, pies, and other sugary treats to help satisfy your sweet tooth!

Website: http://foxproduce.wixsite.com/

Photo Source: http://iowafreshfood.org


Corner Market & Greenhouse

Corner Market & Greenhouse, Oelwein, IA

The final greenhouse on this trip is sure to impress! Filled with over 25,000 square feet of blooming florals, these Wisconsin natives sure know how to make a splash. With fantastic fruits and vegetable seedlings, this one-stop-shop has everything a garden lover needs – including local produce! Be sure to stop back in July for some sweet and scrumptious Missouri peaches, perfect to can or freeze and enjoy year round.

Website: http://www.cornermarketgreenhouse.com/

Photo Source: https://www.facebook.com/cornermarketandgreenhouse/


Northeast Security Bank Staff


Northeast Security Bank

If you’re looking to expand your garden this summer, stop by Northeast Security Bank and inquire about a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit. We can help you put your equity to use, and grow your summertime passions by financing some updated landscaping and/or season centered construction. Get started on your next project today, and pop by your nearest branch in Decorah, Fredericksburg,

Fairbank, or Sumner. Our team of professionals are always ready to help you reach your next financial dream – and we’d love to see your greenhouse haul too!

Website: https://northeastsecuritybank.com

Photo Source: https://facebook.com/NSBIowa


Greenhouse Map



10 Ways to Shop Local

Posted on April 19th, 2017 in Best Financial Advice, Business Banking, Decorah, Holiday Shopping, Small Business Feature by vgmforbin |

Business Banking


Supporting our community is one of the most impactful ways we can help it grow. By shopping with local vendors and utilizing area service providers you and your family can help ensure that our community prospers and grows each year. If you want to shop local, but don’t know where to start, our team at Northeast Security Bank has come up with some creative ideas you may not have considered yet.


  1. Get produce at your local farmers market.
  2. Purchase floral arrangements from your neighborhood florist instead of online vendors.
  3. Work with local providers for your insurance and wealth management.
  4. Venture out for the night and tour area dining and entertainment establishments.
  5. Bank with a community bank.
  6. Buy groceries from a regional company compared to the large national chains.
  7. Like your favorite area businesses on Facebook and other social media.
  8. Shop for birthdays and holidays at your community’s downtown storefront.
  9. If you have received great service or products from a local business, recommend them to a friend or relative.
  10. Stay local when planning weddings or other milestone events and avoid online alternatives.


Owning and managing a small business may be more difficult than you think. We believe that opportunity is everywhere. Whether you’d like to open a business of your own, or simply want to support the ones you enjoy, it’s great to learn what small businesses are all about. That’s why Northeast Security Bank is excited to share some compelling and surprising facts surrounding the small businesses in our neck of the woods.


  • A company is considered a small business if they have less than 500 employees according to the Small Business Administration.
  • 7 percent of all active companies in the United States are classified as small businesses.
  • If your favorite retailer has been in business over ten years, they have officially beat the odds. According to the Bureau of Labor, two out of three small businesses are still operating after two years in business, and only half of small businesses have survived after being open for five years.  Approximately one-third of small businesses last ten years or longer.
  • Cash flow is cited as the more common issue regarding a business’s failure. Associated tasks such as invoicing, timed billing, and record keeping are often the most commonly linked culprits.


If your business needs to gain capital for an expansion or start-up, Northeast Security Bank is here to help. Our experienced commercial lenders can help you determine your ideal capital amount while also setting up valuable cash flow services Send us your information or stop in today to learn more about this convenient and affordable service.

Money Lessons at Every Age

Posted on April 5th, 2017 in Best Financial Advice, Education, Financial Tips by vgmforbin |

Financial Education

No matter what your age, there are always exciting new aspects to understand in the realm of money management. This year help your children get a head start on their financial education with these key lessons courtesy of Northeast Security Bank.


2-5 Years Old: The Three Jars Activity

In your child’s youngest years it is important to give them a basic financial understanding. You can help your little ones comprehend savings, spending, and donating through three simple jars. Each week, give your child 50 cents or a dollar, all in quarters. It is then their decision whether they want to save it for a bigger toy or purchase, spend it on something smaller, or donate it to help others in need. This activity works to help create a general thought process of the three common ways to spend or accumulate funds.


5-13 Years Old: Budgeting Basics

For everything from buying groceries to new clothes for school, you can help your child learn how to budget by setting a spending limit for your various shopping trips. By allowing your little ones to participate in the purchase process, you can help educate them on the importance of staying on or under budget. Let them help you find bargain deals or clip coupons to reduce cost. When the expenditures come in under the budget, reward their efforts with a small treat.


14-18 Years Old: How to Build Your Financial Reputation

Correctly making payments is a pinnacle point in proper money management. Whether it’s purchasing your first car, home, or other personal purchase, learning how to correctly pay off your loan, can be the difference between good and bad credit. Get started on this important lesson with a quick tutorial on how you pay any monthly bills or debts. Show your child your system to give them an introduction into how the process will take place. Once they choose to purchase a car or other item through a personal loan, you can walk them through the payment process online, and help them make a calendar of when installments are due.


Whether your little one is two or twenty-two, there is always something new to learn. Stop by Northeast Security Bank and see how you and your family can improve your money management skills today!

Thank a Farmer Today

Posted on March 21st, 2017 in Agriculture finances, Communities, Decorah by vgmforbin |

Agriculture Lending

This National Agriculture Day we celebrate and recognize the abundance provided by farming across our great state.  For instance, did you know 92 percent of the state is used for agriculture alone? Iowa farmers harvest corn, soybeans, and hay alongside millions of cattle, hogs, and chickens.  At Northeast Security Bank, we would like to bring to light all that farmers do to impact our daily lives and thank them for their continued dedication and hard work.


Thanks to farmers’ high production rates, there is a surplus of accessible food in the United States.  With a healthy market for both meat and produce, Americans are able to spend less than 7 percent of their income on food, the lowest percentage of any country.  Many other countries have citizens who allocate more than half their income towards food!  Americans, however, have access to affordable, abundant, and safe meals wherever they go.  As the world’s population continues to grow, farmers have to find creative ways to double their production in order to keep pace.  Were you aware that only 210,000 full-time U.S. farmers produce 80 percent of the food for over three hundred million Americans?   With so many people eating what so few have worked tirelessly to create, it’s important to be thankful.


It’s vital to be knowledgeable, but it’s even more essential to show your gratitude to farmers in your area.  One way to thank a farmer is to buy local.  Instead of buying a large company’s processed crop or meat, buy from the local butcher or store to support your town.  Buying from farmers not only supports them but your local community too.  If you already buy local, you can try educating yourself on agricultural issues, such as the Farm Bill.  Knowing the key issues farmers are facing can not only help you better understand the industry itself but further help you connect with your local farmers and the dedicated work they do.  Support means the world to those working in agriculture because you are taking an active interest in their life’s biggest passion and livelihood.  Another form of appreciation is using social media to support your local farmers.  You can utilize social platforms to reach out to others around the country and encourage them to support farm organizations like American Farmland Trust.


At Northeast Security Bank, we want to thank all agricultural businesses, farmers, and everyone who supports them.  This National Agriculture day is all about you!  No matter what role you play, we’d love to help you grow your agriculture business today.  Stop in and enjoy a cup of coffee with us, we’d love to learn more about you and your operation’s future.

How to Eat Like the Irish

Posted on March 10th, 2017 in Entertaining, Holiday by vgmforbin |


March is the season of basketball, vacationing, and all things green! At Northeast Security Bank, we are excited to spread some Irish cheer with our favorite St. Patrick’s Day dishes!  Be sure to dig into these delicious recipes and let us know what you think.


Brown Soda Bread: This simple but decadent snack is a staple to the Irish community throughout the year.  Composed of whole wheat flour and buttermilk, this recipe is sure to leave your family asking for more.  We recommend adding green food coloring to give it a spritz of holiday spirit!

Irish Stew: A classic hearty stew, this dish has been recognized as the national dish of Ireland for the past two centuries.  Packed with lamb, potatoes, and carrots, this stew is sure to fill up you and your family.

Chocolate & Mint Cheesecake Bars: For all of the sweet tooths out there, this recipe is for you!  This decadent dessert is made up of chocolate fudge cake mix, cream cheese, dark chocolate, and mint chips.  These mint masterpieces will impress your coworkers and family, so be sure to share the recipe!

Heritage Cabbage: Searching for that perfect side dish to your meat and potatoes?  This mild cabbage recipe is easy to put together and good for those who are watching their weight this season.

Guinness® Beer Cheese Dip: This cheesy delight will be a snack you won’t be able to put down.  During your St. Patrick’s Day party, put out tortilla chips and pretzels with this tasty dip for all to enjoy!

Potato Soup: Everyone loves a warm bowl of vegetable and bacon soup.  These simple steps make it easy to add your own flair of flavor, tailored to your family.

Chocolate Beer Cupcakes: These cupcakes will give you some pep in your step with their fiery whiskey filling.  To add some festivity to the flavor, tint the frosting green and add green sprinkles for your St. Paddy’s celebration.

Braised Corned Beef Brisket:  You’ve never had corned beef like this!  Instead of the commonly boiled tradition, this slow braise method yields a tender, savory, and caramelized surface when complete.

Potato Scones: Start your holiday off right with a piping hot scone.  You can add onions, peppers, or other personal favorites to this no-fuss recipe to make it truly your own.


We hope you enjoy these festive foods as much as we do!  Remember to share your favorite dish on our Facebook page, or stop by Northeast Security Bank – we’d love to try your take on a classic!

6 Ways to Win with Your Budget

Posted on February 22nd, 2017 in Best Financial Advice, Education, Personal Finances, Savings by vgmforbin |

Football Savings

Do your savings goals make you feel defeated? Get in the game this year, and let Northeast Security Bank help you win your personal financial strategy. We’ll show you how to keep rushing forward with these proven football tactics:


Look for the pass.

One of the first and most important ways to save is to keep your eyes open! Whether it’s taking advantage of grocery store specials, buying household items in bulk, or cutting spending from your monthly budget, the biggest opportunity you have is continually searching for new ways to save.


Become a playmaker.

Before you start saving for the short-term items, be sure you have the long-term set in place. Just as in football, there are multiple things you need to have in order to make the best play of the day. Start by setting up an emergency savings account, to help guard your savings. Follow up by opening a personal retirement account such as an IRA, to continually run those dollars. For the last maneuver of the play, we suggest creating a 529 or Coverdell account to help make the touchdown for your child’s future education.


Protect your blindside.

Keep your personal finances secure by pushing your debt beyond the line of scrimmage. By aggressively paying off your outstanding debt, you can then make additional funds available to further support your monthly savings. We recommend covering the minimum payment for each loan and then using any surplus funds to add extra installments to ensure you don’t go into overtime.


Call an audible.

While working on your savings goals, see how you can change up your monthly spending to maximize your overall budgeting game plan. Work through your spending playbook to identify the common costs you can cut to make your expense lineup as lean as possible. You may find that each month has a slightly different strategy which may need some last minute adjustments. To get the big picture, we recommend working with one of these innovative apps to help visualize your next steps.


Throw a Hail Mary.

Did you get a raise, bonus, or other unexpected income? Instead of tossing those funds at a new expense, throw it into your structured retirement savings account. While adding unexpected funds here and there won’t take the place of your overall game plan, it can help add a few more points to the scoreboard!


Sack additional fees.

Whether it’s big banks searching for unnecessary add-ons, or potential financial advisers looking for a percentage of earnings, don’t be afraid to send excessive fees to the bench. You always want to make sure your financial line-up is offering you their best plays, otherwise, it may be time for a new round of tryouts!


With our affordable deposit accounts and expert financial coaching, we look forward to helping you score your next financial touchdown! Stop by your nearest branch and meet our dedicated team today!

Galentine’s Day 101

Posted on February 9th, 2017 in Holiday, Seasonal by vgmforbin |

Valentine's Day for Girls

Who says roses and an expensive dinner are the only proper ways to celebrate Valentine’s season? Instead of coordinating last minute dates, or planning expensive nights out, opt for a more affordable (and more fun!) night in with the gals! Northeast Security Bank will show you how to have a great time, with these friend-filled ideas: 


Set the time and place.

Work with your group to choose a location and time that works with everyone.


Spread the Galentine’s Love

Let your friends know that the event is set and ready to go, then pump up the cheer!

Let's get dolled up!


Make sure there’ll be plenty to eat!

It’s always better to have extra than not enough.

Is there food?


And wine too!  

Because who couldn’t use a glass or two?Cheers


Make it potluck style to have a little bit of everything.

If each person can bring a dish, you’ll have a feast in no time!



But always make sure they’re room for dessert!

Dinner is great, but you can’t truly have a Galentine’s Day without chocolate!



It doesn’t have to be fancy.

Your group’s favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavors along with something great to watch is all you need.

ice cream


Choose a binge-worthy series.

Whether it’s Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, or Diners Drive-in’s and Drives, whatever you and your friends enjoy will make it an enjoyable night.

binge watch