March 2014

In this Newsletter:

Privacy is a Two-Way Street

I read an article in The Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago about a company that has placed sensors in various retail businesses to track shoppers as they move about. The sensors follow signals emitted from smart phones that allow them to create portraits of consumer habits as those consumers go about their daily lives.

From this information marketing promotions can then be developed which are specifically tailored to an individual's taste. The article got me to thinking of our privacy policy: "At The Peoples Community Bank, the basis of each customer relationship is trust.

You have chosen to do business with us and we are obligated to honor that relationship with great care, beginning with the information that you have chosen to share with us. We believe that your privacy should not be compromised." By the same token, while we do not disclose personal information about our customers or former customers to anyone, we also do not use your personal information for our benefit.

As your financial institution we certainly have access to your habits and preferences. Your checking account alone would provide a wealth of information that we could garner for marketing purposes but we don't do that because privacy is a two-way street.

Just as we don't sell your information, we don't use your personal information because, "You have chosen to do business with us and we are obligated to honor that relationship with great care...." I hope that's just one of the many reasons why you do business with us. It is one of the reasons that we feel confident in terming your banking experience Simply Good Banking.

-Gary Harrop

Bank Named "Preferred Lender" by FSA

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has named The Peoples Community Bank a "Preferred Lender," which is the highest designation lenders can hold in the guaranteed farm lending program. FSA guarantees real estate, operating and line of credit loans made by commercial lenders to farmers.

Wisconsin Farm Service Agency executive director, Brad Pfaff, said "We are pleased to welcome The Peoples Community Bank into the Preferred Lending Program and look forward to working with them and their customers in the years ahead."

The Preferred Lender Program rewards experienced lenders with a proven track record, by streamlining and adding flexibility to the loan application process, expediting loan approval, and other servicing decisions. Lenders with preferred status have broad authority to make and service FSA guaranteed loans, and can utilize their own underwriting and servicing policies.

New Drive-Up Configuration Improves Privacy

Changes in the financial services industry have pushed us to recognize the need to create more efficiency in our lobbies and drive-ups, which will help to serve your needs while reducing costs wherever possible.

One change you will notice in early spring is that drive-up units at all locations will be replaced with new video kiosks. You will continue to be served by a customer service representative but you'll see that person on screen, not standing in the drive-up window.

Coupled with these new video units, the tubes that carry transactions to the teller will be relocated directly behind the teller line in the lobby to reduce the running that too often takes place between lobby and drive-up windows.

One of the big advantages of this two-way video, two-way communication between you and the customer service representative is increased privacy. Because the customer service representative wears a headset, only he/she can hear you. No longer will there be an open microphone that has the potential to be heard by others.

We believe you will also experience faster service since the new drive-thru allows bank employees to handle more customer transactions in a given period of time. With this change there will no longer be a drawer in the first lane that slides out to accept your transaction. The first lane will be used only for drive-up night depository and, perhaps, a drive-up ATM at some future date. All drive-up transactions will be performed via tube beginning with the second lane in each location, the exception to this being our Plain office where the lane closest to the building will have a tube unit installed.

With these changes you'll continue to see and interact with the same faces that you always have and you'll find them even closer to you-on screen and in your lane. We remain committed to serving you with people. Thank you for your attention, and for your continued business with the bank.

Follow Us on Twitter

Now you can follow us on Twitter in addition to liking us on Facebook. There you'll find industry updates and alerts, community giving and events, as well as opportunities to enter prize contests. Watch for our first contest coming in early spring where all of our friends and followers will have the opportunity to win a prize by sharing a memory of their mother in honor of Mother's Day.


Buying a Home? Here's What's Happening in Today's Real Estate Market

Buying a home is a major decision and can feel like a gamble. Are real estate prices on the rise? Will mortgage rates decline again? Or, is now the perfect time to snag the home of your dreams? Here are several things homebuyers should know about today's real estate market:

Mortgage interest rates are rising, but remain low.
We are seeing mortgage interest rates slowly start to rise - nearly two-thirds of a percentage point higher than last year. Today's interest rates could go lower, but we don't recommend you bet on it.
Current rates are still low by historical standards.

Inventory and seasonal demand are impacting home prices.
A tight inventory of homes is plaguing housing markets across the country. There are even bidding wars in parts of the country because of the lack of home inventory. Because of this, prices are starting to rise.

Is now the time to buy a home?
Despite recent gains, mortgage rates are still very attractive. If you're looking to buy, pay attention to housing price trends and inventory in the area in which you are looking to purchase. By understanding your local real estate market and what it takes to get a mortgage today, you will have a better chance of closing on your dream home.

Our five mortgage lenders are knowledgeable about the various mortgage programs available today. Contact any of them to get started on your next purchase or refinance.

This newsletter does not constitute tax, legal, accounting or other professional advice. We attempt to be accurate, but neither we nor any other party shall be held liable for loss or damages resulting from reliance upon or use of this material. © 2014 The Peoples Community Bank