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Give Thanks for What we Have

Posted on November 19th, 2014 in Communities by NSBblogger |

give thanks


November is here, meaning Thanksgiving isn’t far away. As we all learned in elementary school, the first Thanksgiving was a celebration of a good harvest by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Over time, this celebration went from a celebration prompted by church leaders to becoming a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November in the United States.

While the holiday itself has changed over time, its central meaning has not: to be thankful for what we have. But what does it mean to be truly thankful? In the dictionary, the word “thankful” has three meanings:

  1. To be conscious of a benefit received (“For what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.”)
  2. Expressive of thanks (“Thankful service”)
  3. Well pleased or glad (“I was thankful it didn’t rain”)

For our purposes, let’s focus on the first meaning, “to be conscious of a benefit received.”

As good Iowans, we all know that fall is harvest time across the state. In this way, we’re not so different from the Pilgrims, who, after coming here to start a new life, were also finishing up a harvest in the fall. And just like the Pilgrims, when we are finally finished with the harvest, we can step back and be thankful for the harvest that helps support our families and communities.

But we have much more to be thankful for than the fall harvest. There are many blessings in our everyday life that we may forget about or take for granted:

  • The blessing of waking up in the morning and being able to pursue our own goals and dreams.
  • The blessing of having family and friends nearby or far away that we can celebrate with, as well as turn to in difficult times.
  • The blessing of living in the state of Iowa and taking advantage of everything it has to offer.
  • The blessing of being able to help others through business, or donating our time, money or other resources to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

There’s no doubt that life isn’t perfect. But it is as good as we make it, and that starts with being thankful for what we have. We’re going to leave you with a quote we love that embodies the spirit of this time of year:  “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

We hope everyone finds a way to be thankful for the many blessing we have. Happy Thanksgiving, and we hope to see you soon!

-Northeast Security Bank

Small Business Saturday: Shopping Local for the Holidays

Posted on November 5th, 2014 in Communities by NSBblogger |

shop local

Have you seen the decorations yet? Large retailers have had them up for weeks already in preparation for the shopping season that is about to begin. We are of course talking about holiday decorations, the earliest sign that the holidays are once again upon us.

And as we head out to make our purchases this year, we have a fundamental decision to make: do we shop the big regional or nationwide retail stores, or do we shop local? Let’s discuss this important question a little more in depth.

Why You Should Shop Local

Put simply: it helps stimulate the local economy. How? Here’s an example:

  • A cycling enthusiast opens up a bike shop
  • The owner hires locals to help run the shop, giving these people an income and money to spend
  • As business grows, the owner must hire more help
  • More sales could mean more in local taxes, which go to help fund things like better roads, parks and trails…
  • Which creates a larger community of cyclists, meaning more people visit the shop

Granted, this is a perfect scenario. However, the principle is the same; the more shopping done at local businesses, the more cash is pumped into the local economy. When local businesses do better, they have to hire more staff from the community, meaning more people have jobs and income to spend.

How You can Shop Local

You can start by heading out on Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, to shops and stores that are in your community that aren’t part of regional or national chain. Small Business Saturday was started in 2010 as a way to bring the focus to shopping at local businesses in your community, and many of our area chambers of commerce have started to participate.

But don’t just shop there on Small Business Saturday. While there may be exclusive sales just for that day, we should all continue visiting our local businesses throughout the holiday season to do our shopping.

We are all in this together, individuals, families and small businesses. It takes all of us to create a better community, one that is successful, thriving and attractive to those looking to make a move to Northeast Iowa.

We look forward to seeing everyone out and about on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season!

-Northeast Security Bank

The Great Pork Quiz

Posted on October 29th, 2014 in Agriculture finances by NSBblogger |

Test your knowledge with NSB's Great Pork Quiz

These two are ready for the Great Pork Quiz, are you?

As we talked about in our first blog post of the month, October is National Pork Month, and when it comes to producing this salty, protein-filled meat, no state does it better than Iowa. In honor of this great month and the hard work of the over 40,000 Iowans employed in the hog farming industry, we thought a pork quiz would be a great way to test how much the average Iowan knows about all aspects of pigs.
Take the quiz, then check your answers below (no cheating!) to see how well you know pigs, pork and bacon!

  1. Where does the U.S. rank in the world in pork consumption? A. 1st B. 2nd C. 12th D. 15th
  2. Which company patented the first packed, sliced bacon? A. Oscar Meyer B. Hillshire Farms C. Hormel D. Farmland
  3. What percentage of an average pig’s weight is bacon? A. 5 B. 7 C. 9 D. 11
  4. How much bacon (in pounds) does the average American eat per year? A. 10 B. 18 C. 13.5 D. 20
  5. Which substance found in bacon helps with fetal brain development (meaning bacon is particularly good for pregnant women)? A. Choline B. Potassium C. Magnesium D. Sodium
  6. Which two pig breeds are bred specifically for bacon? A. Wilbur B. Yorkshire C. Tamworth D. Whatever breed Babe was
  7. How many teeth does a mature pig have? A. 11 B. 22 C. 33 D. 44
  8. When your _____ is damaged, it can be surgically replaced with the same part from a pig. A. Ear lobe B. Knee ligament C. Heart valve D. Spleen
  9. In the United States, which part of the pig is used for bacon? A. The shoulder B. The loin C. The cheek D. The belly
  10. What percentage of bacon is eaten at breakfast in the U.S.? A. 50 B. 75 C.65 D. 85

How well did you do? If you got 8-10 questions right, you’re a pork aficionado; 4-7 right makes you an average pork expert; 3 or less correct and you are pork newbie. Now that you’ve taken the quiz and are no doubt craving some bacon, head to your local grocer or pork producer if you know one and grab a slab of delicious bacon!
Answers: 1. C, 2. A, 3. D, 4. B, 5. A, 6. B & C, 7. D, 8. C, 9. D, 10. B.

National Pork Month: Iowa’s Third “Cash Crop”

Posted on October 15th, 2014 in Agriculture finances by NSBblogger |

Hog farms in northeast Iowa and across the state pump billions of dollars into Iowa's economy
When most non-Iowans drive through our state most of what they see are corn and soybean fields stretching out across the “Land of Opportunity.” Yes, our state is proud to be the number one corn and soybean producing state. However, beyond the cornstalks and soybean fields lies another reason to be proud of our state’s agricultural roots: pork. As part of National Pork Month, we’re taking a look at how hog farming impacts the economy of Iowa and how Northeast Security Bank helps area hog farms.
The Great Pork State
Iowa is the number one pork-producing state in the U.S., as well as the top state for pork exports. Here are some numbers to put it in perspective:

  • At the end of 2012, Iowa had over 6,200 hog operations
  • Nearly one-third of all the hogs in America are raised in Iowa
  • Iowa is home to about 20 million pigs at any time throughout the year

Raising hogs is a huge part of Iowa’s economy and is a large source of employment, too. Hog farming represents $7.5 BILLION in total economic activity for Iowa annually, and over 40,000 Iowans are employed in hog farming.  But hog farmers and farmers raising corn and soybean aren’t at odds with each other; they depend on each other.
A Mutually Beneficial Relationship
With all the corn and soybeans that are grown in Iowa every year, you can imagine the massive need for fertilizer. That’s where those millions of hogs throughout the state can help:

  • About 10 finishing pigs, from weaning to market, provide the nutrient needs of an acre of cropland on a semi-annual basis.
  • Nutrients from one 2,400-head hog barn benefits 240 acres of land (also known as a half-section).
  • In order to grow to a healthy weight for market, one hog eats about nine to 10 bushels of corn from its birth to when it is sold at market.

So, hog farmers depend on good feed for their pigs to grow, and corn and soybean farmers can use the nutrients from the pigs to fertilize their crops.
How Northeast Security Bank Helps
Raising 2,400 hogs isn’t easy or cheap. Hog farmers need to have the facilities to house the pigs, the right feed, heating lamps and variety of other equipment to ensure the pigs grow up healthy and strong.  Northeast Security Bank provides the financing options hog farmers need to start or expand their operation. The financing we provide not only matches each hog farmer’s individual needs, but also integrates with their season cash flow.
October is a time to not only be proud of the corn and soybean harvests, but also to recognize the importance hog farmers in the state’s economy. Thank you to all of our local hog farmers, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for any of your financing needs!

Harvest Season in Iowa: Why It Is Important and How We Can Help

Posted on September 24th, 2014 in Agriculture finances by NSBblogger |

Northeast Security Bank wants to assist farmers financially to have the best harvest seasons yet.

Enjoy the beautiful fall season and bountiful harvest.

You can tell by the changing leaves, cooling air, and Friday night football games that fall is near. The first official day of fall is September 23rd, but up until that day the world around us is changing. One of the most significant events that occur during the fall season is harvest time.
All across Iowa, harvest season is upon us. Agriculture is the centerpiece of our local economy in northeast Iowa, and harvesting seasons means big things for not only farmers, but others who call Iowa home (especially with year’s expected record crop). Northeast Security Bank understands the importance of agricultural in our community.
Our communities are largely rural communities, which means as farming goes, so goes our local economies. Because agriculture is such an important substance for so many different reasons, Northeast Security Bank hopes to help in the production in the following ways:

  • Ag loans can be obtained to help with operational costs, livestock, machinery, real estate, FSA guarantees, and Beginning Farmer program. To apply for an ag loan, fill out our Agriculture Financial Statement and bring it in to Northeast Security Bank. Our team will work with you to find a plan to meet your unique needs.
  • With interest checking, farmers can be better prepared for any additional farming costs as well. Even when you are not making depots directly into your account, your funds will grow.

As you can see, the crops produced in our little slice of Iowa are huge for financial to the success of our local economies. People and animals all over the world are dependent upon a successful harvest season in Iowa. Northeast Security Bank hopes to be a part of that success. We encourage you to reach out for any financial advice and assistance.
Be sure to swing by any farmers markets as well to grab some locally grown produce and other homemade goods. It’s a great way to support local producers, and many farmers markets are open through November!

Find Your Way Back Home to Northeast Iowa

Posted on August 20th, 2014 in Bank Services, Communities, General, Home Buying, Savings by vgmforbin |

Our find your way program can bring you home!

Our find your way program can bring you home!

Northeast Iowa is filled with great places to live and work. You can raise your children here and know they are receiving a great education and hometown values. Northeast Security Bank is a big supporter of buying local and staying local, which is why we created the Find Your Way Home Program.
This program was created to encourage graduates from the local schools to come back to our community and buy a home in the area. We have set aside $1,000,000 to finance low rate mortgages to encourage graduates from local schools who have moved away or are currently renting a place to stay to purchase a home in our communities.
We want to provide people with manageable mortgages so your future family can have the upbringing you did. Whether you are looking to move back to Fredericksburg, Fairbank, Decorah, or Sumner we want to help. So if you graduated from any area high schools, we encourage you to look around the area to find your dream home. It is more affordable than you think.
We have many reasons why staying in Northeast Iowa is the best thing you can do and we hope you make the decision to buy here and stay here:

  • The rich history and culture. From Decorah’s Nordic ties to the fun of Sumner Days, you get the small town feel with big city touches.
  • The great area schools. From kindergarten to senior year, you can be assured the educational system is top notch. You will enjoy Friday night football to Saturday game days at Luther.
  • The food is delightful. How could anyone not like small town favorites from Fredericksburg to Fairbanks and everywhere in between.
  • Strong community ties. We are proud to be located in communities with tight knit families and organizations.

Northeast Iowa is a place to call home. Northeast Security Bank can make your dream of moving back or buying your first home in the community a reality with our Find Your Way Home program.  Simply contact any Northeast Security Bank location today to see how to get started.

Must See Places in Iowa

Posted on August 6th, 2014 in Decorah, General by vgmforbin |

Iowa is filled with attractions for the whole family to see.

Iowa is filled with attractions for the whole family to see.

Most people who don’t live in Iowa or have never visited think of it as a flat, flyover state. Little do they know that it is filled with adventure and must see attractions. Iowa is a place to call home for over three million people and is known as America’s Heartland. Northeast Security Bank is proudly located in Iowa and we encourage you to explore all it has to offer. While we understand that our own part of Iowa is amazing, there are great destinations throughout our state.
We have compiled a list of four must see attractions across Iowa, so pack up the family and take a road trip across your favorite state.
Four must see places in Iowa:

  1. The Amana Colonies are full of history and culture. German Settlers came to the area nearly 150 years ago and the colony is like taking a step back in time. The area is known for the food, theater performances, and historical tours. It is a must see for people of all ages.
  2. Pella, Iowa and the Dutch Tulips Festival. Anytime of the year is great to visit Pella because of the Dutch History and historical village area. May is the annual Tulip Time and it is a sight to see. The children can learn about Iowa’s history all while enjoying themselves.
  3. Lake Okoboji is a summertime getaway the family will never forget. Spend a weekend away at one of Iowa’s most fun boating attractions. It is one of Iowa’s hidden gems when it comes to water sports and beaches.
  4. Stay in the area and immerse yourself in Decorah’s Nordic history and college town atmosphere. Spend a day downtown and enjoy the delicious food options or take the kids camping and canoeing. No matter what you want to do, Decorah has it all.

Now that you have an idea of where your next visit in Iowa will be, start planning. Start a savings account today so you can check these must see places in Iowa off your bucket list. Whether you travel near or far, you should also be sure to let us know of your travel plans. Most importantly, travel safe and make some great memories with your traveling companions.

Increase your Savings by Limiting your Spending

Posted on June 25th, 2014 in Savings by NSBblogger |

There are a few easy fixes available to help you increase your savings to make your piggy bank happier!

Northeast Security Bank knows that it is always a good option to increase your savings and that takes the initiative from you to limit your spending. There are many benefits of having a savings account as a security blanket.
A savings account can protect you from financial ruin in case you were to lose your job or were suddenly diagnosed with a serious illness. Limiting your spending now could save you from a stressful situation in the future.
Northeast Security Bank has many options for you to work with as you get serious about finding ways to increase your savings by limiting your spending. We know that for your convenience, access to your accounts 24/7 is practical. That is why we have online banking services you can access virtually and you do not have to go into the bank to make transfers, pay bills, and see your statement.
Being able to access your bank information from the comfort of your home or office will give you an insider look at where you are spending your money and how much you need to be saving. We also provide e-statements to be more environmentally friendly and convenient for you.
To see all features of Northeast Security Bank’s online service, visit our online banking page.
Increasing savings at an early age will help to limit spending later on in life because you or your child will become accustom to saving money each week. Teaching children early on in life about the value of limiting their spending will surely be beneficial later on in life, especially for those teenagers who are starting their first part time jobs.
Reevaluate your current spending habits. You may not realize what bad habits you are spending your money on until you look at your expenditure trends. You might be going out to lunch one too many times during the work week or your family spends more on take out than they should. This problem can be easily fixed with a little bit of family planning.
Whether you have the goal of a family vacation in the near future or are working on increasing your savings for unknown problems, we hope these tips help you reach your goals.

Easy Home Fixes for Keeping Your Cooling Bill Low

Posted on June 10th, 2014 in Financial Tips by NSBblogger |

Keeping your home pleasant this summer doesn’t mean you have to pay a huge cooling bill!

With the summer weather finally here in full swing, your energy bill is beginning to rise because of air conditioning use.  There are some easy home fixes for keeping your cooling bill low throughout June and into July.
Eight tips for easy home fixes for keeping your cooling bill low:

  1.  Use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans sparingly. These fans can warm an entire home within an hour if they are left running, so be careful about keeping them on for too long.
  2.  Using curtains can keep the sun from beating into your home. Be especially aware of the west and south facing areas of the home because those spaces are targeted by the sun during the day.
  3.  Weather stripping the doors will keep cool air in and seal the cracks that can quickly become costly.
  4.  Circuiting air throughout the house with box fans will increase the flow of the air conditioning to each room without paying too much on your utility bill.
  5.  Utilize your basement area. A good way to stay cool in the summertime is to hang out in the basement as it is the coolest spot of the house.
  6.  Avoid using the oven and stovetop. These appliances can quickly heat up not only the kitchen, but the entire house. Use smaller appliances like the microwave or toaster oven as they use much less energy as well.
  7. Don’t cool unused areas. Close doors and registers in rooms that are not occupied by your family.
  8. Installing an automatic setback on your thermostat so your air will start shortly before you get home. This will save you money because it cuts back on costs during times of the day that you are not around.

Northeast Security Bank knows everyone wants to stay cool when the weather gets hot, so we found ways for you to do so while saving money on your energy costs. These easy home fixes for keeping your cooling bill low will surely save some green.