Steven Raj is vice president of lending at Park State Bank in Duluth. You can reach him at email@example.com or (218) 727-8001.
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As 2016 draws to a close, it already is being remembered as a year of historically low interest rates. The rates borrowers pay on loans, just like the rates that savers earn on their deposits, have been at some of the lowest levels in recent history, continuing a trend that has endured for the last several years. Everyone keeps waiting for rates to increase, but it simply hasn't happened yet.
The holidays are right around the corner. Most of us will soon enter into one of the busiest periods of the year for personal spending. As we're spending, we also need to be thinking about budgeting, planning and protecting our finances to ensure that we not only make the most of our funds but that we also avoid overspending and falling prey to fraud and other dangers especially prevalent during the holidays.
At a time when mobile services and internet banking are all the rage, the question naturally arises: What is the benefit of a brick-and-mortar bank and face-to-face contact with your banker? Without a doubt, the electronic services that allow us to bank from home and on the go through our computers and mobile devices have made banking easier and more convenient. But just like the 24-hour ATMs that were considered revolutionary for bank consumers decades ago, today's remote banking services only go so far.
It's back-to-school time and for students headed to college, it's an important time to take control of personal finances and master money management. Along with the other big changes in their lives, college students encounter an array of new financial experiences. Knowing where and how to focus their attention can make a difference in their college experience. It also can teach valuable lessons they'll use the rest of their lives. Here are some I consider important:
Credit remains a mystery — and sometimes a scary subject — for many people. We know we're likely to need credit at some point in our lives. Most of us have understood from an early age the importance of building and maintaining good credit. But questions linger about what exactly credit means, how to maintain and how to improve it.
What would you do if you had the opportunity to buy your dream house? Or if your car suddenly conked out and you needed a new vehicle fast? Perhaps you have stayed awake at night wondering how you're going to finance retirement or a big medical bill. Peace of mind in all cases can come in the form of a familiar tool, something most of us have known about and have been contributing to since we were young: a traditional savings account.
A business banker can be one of the best resources for a company owner or anyone considering starting a business. Owners and prospective owners, however, can be so busy running or starting their businesses that they sometimes overlook this valuable helper, with whom they probably already have a relationship.
Spring weather has arrived in the Northland, and the home-sale market is heating up, too. As more for sale signs pop up and more buyers look in earnest, it's a good time to consider financing a new home and the steps you'll need to take as a buyer to be prepared. I tell clients to consider the financing side of home purchasing before they start looking for that new home. That way, they know exactly what to expect and what they can afford. Here are some of the fundamentals you need to know as you begin the process of applying for and qualifying for a mortgage loan:
Our homes are usually our biggest investments. They also are likely one of the biggest and best sources of loans for projects ranging from fixing up our properties to buying a car to obtaining funds for life needs, such as retirement. The equity in our homes is valuable.
As the trees and flowers bloom, the home sale market is coming alive as well. Simply put, now is a great time to buy or sell a house. Mortgage interest rates remain near historical lows. That means the cost of home ownership, in terms of long-term interest expense, is lower. That benefits both buyers and sellers. This year, buyers and sellers also benefit from a healthier economy. With the job market and forecasts for consumer spending stronger, buyers are more confident and are out looking for homes in larger numbers. Prices have firmed up but have not shot up.