September 2013

In This Edition:


Refining Customer Service

In our ongoing mission to improve your experience, and deliver on our promise of Simply Good Banking™, you may notice some changes when transacting business at the bank in the coming months. We are updating the following procedures to speed transaction times and help you avoid waiting periods at teller windows or drive-ups:


  • If you have not been completing deposit or withdrawal forms prior to entering the teller window or drive-up, Customer Service Representatives will now provide you with the necessary forms and instructions on how to complete them.  In doing so customers waiting behind you benefit from faster service.
  • Secondly, purchases of money orders, cashier's checks, travel, gift or prepaid debit cards can be handled more efficiently in the bank lobby versus drive-ups.  Accordingly we are asking customers to transact this type of business only in bank lobbies.
Should you have questions, we encourage and welcome you to contact any Customer Service Representative for more information.  Thank you for your business.

How to Shop Safer and Smarter Online

From PCs to tablets to smartphones, we're able to lean back and shop online with just about every retailer on the planet.   However, today's online shopping world presents a fertile field of opportunity to cybercriminals. When you're ready to buy, they may be poised to steal.
Before you give up on the great deals online, here are several tips to help keep you and your finances safe when making purchases online:
  • Always use a credit card when shopping online rather than a debit card.  Should you find it necessary to dispute a transaction, you can do so easily with a credit card.  A credit card dispute requires the card issuer to credit your account for the disputed amount until an investigation of the transaction is completed and reported to you.  With a debit card, however, the money is taken from your account at time of purchase and you then have to work to get your money back which can be a time consuming and frustrating process.
  • Make sure the online checkout is secure.  When you add an item to an online store's checkout, you should be taken to a secure page. This allows you to enter your payment information with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption.  You can find this in the site's web address. Look for "https" at the beginning of the URL. This is the same encryption that many banks use.
  • Be wary of unknown sites.  Amazon and other high-profile ecommerce sites know the value of ensuring their site security is top notch. They also have the budget to throw into their site maintenance to help it stay that way.  If you're thinking about buying from an unknown retailer, search for reviews on the retailer first.  Are there any?  Are they positive?
  • Keep your antivirus and browsers up to date.  Each new version of your Internet browser, especially if you use one of the more popular browsers, gets a boost in security. Older browsers, besides not working as well with some websites, often have holes in their security that hackers have discovered and can exploit. The same goes for your operating system and anti-virus software. Updates will keep you ahead of would-be identity thieves and keep your credit safe.
  • Trust your gut.  Just like you wouldn't go into a store at the mall that you don't recognize and seems a little off to you, don't shop at stores online that give you a bad feeling and appear shady. If at any time during the shopping or checkout process you feel like the site is asking for too much personal information, just quit the transaction and leave the site.
  • Be extra careful if you're on a mobile device.  Smartphones can basically do everything a computer can do nowadays, but that doesn't mean they are as protected against threats as your desktop. Most phones aren't equipped with the anti-virus software that you have on your computer, so it's easier for criminals to get malware on your mobile device that could help them steal information you enter.
  • Don't use public Wi-Fi to shop.  Anytime you enter personal information using a public network, you're setting yourself up for identity theft.  Most Wi-Fi hotspots don't encrypt your data, so any hacker at your neighborhood Starbucks or wherever you're sharing Wi-Fi can basically just pluck your identity out of the air if he has the right software. This applies to cell phones, too, since you're often using nearby Wi-Fi.  Wait until you get home to your protected network.  It may be less convenient, but it's much safer.

>When Do Prepaid Debit Cards Make Sense?

Prepaid cards are a safe alternative to carrying large amounts of cash and they provide most of the same conveniences as credit or debit cards.  Since they're typically available without a credit check or a bank account, prepaid debit cards offer a convenient option for consumers who rely primarily on cash to make payments and may not have access to traditional banking relationships.If you have bad credit, or can't get a credit card, a prepaid card is a beautiful thing.  Here are several examples of situations in which prepaid debit cards can make sense:


  • Shopping online.  Prepaid debit cards can be used online or at brick-and-mortar locations to make purchases, pay bills or get cash at a point of sale or from an ATM.  Because prepaid cards aren't a form of credit, they have no effect, positive or negative, on an individual's credit scores.
  • Parents can control a child's spending.  Perhaps the most popular use of prepaid cards is to transfer funds from parents to children and particularly college students.  The attraction for parents is the ability to monitor the young person's expenditures.
  • Government agency benefits.  Government agencies use prepaid debit cards to disburse unemployment, welfare, workers' compensation and food stamps because making electronic deposits to plastic is cheaper than printing and mailing paper checks.  For beneficiaries, there is no longer need to wait for the postman or take time away from work to deposit or cash checks.
  • Security when traveling.  Prepaid cards are a safe alternative to carrying large amounts of cash and they provide most of the same conveniences as credit or debit cards.  

There is no advantage of a prepaid debit card that your checking account can't offer.  

A recent Consumer Reports study concluded that prepaid cards are second-tier substitutes for bank accounts because they don't provide the same stability or protections that all consumers expect and deserve.*  However, those consumers without a checking account can use prepaid cards to avoid the fees and inconvenience associated with check cashing and money orders.

For more information about our prepaid cards, please call or email us today.

>Employee Anniversaries in September-October 2013

The success of The Peoples Community Bank is largely dependent on having loyal and dependable staff members, committed to serving their communities.  We thank the following employees who will be celebrating anniversaries with the bank in September/October:

  • Beckie Lucey, Arena Branch Manager (23 years)
  • Nancy Cullen, Investment Center (15 years)
  • Mary Brey, Spring Green Call Center (13 years)
  • Carol Meise, Data Processing (12 years)
  • Kris Darrow, Mazomanie Call Center (12 years)
  • Rena Hohneke, Spring Green Customer Service (8 years)
  • Deb Pinchard, Barneveld Customer Service (7 years)

PCB Retirement & Investment Management Welcomes Financial Consultant Jon LaVenture

Jon LaVentureFinancial consultant Jon LaVenture has joined PCB Retirement & Investment Management located at The Peoples Community Bank in Spring Green and Plain.  The addition of LaVenture will help PCB Retirement & Investment Management expand its depth of investment services while also allowing it to offer personalized guidance to clients.
"We are pleased to have Jon joining our team," said Gary Harrop, President of The Peoples Community Bank.  "I believe his commitment to offering personal service aligns well with our bank's values."
LaVenture brings more than four years of financial services experience to PCB Retirement & Investment Management.  He received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and holds an MBA in Finance/Financial Planning from Murray State University.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. The investment products sold through LPL Financial are not insured Peoples Community Bank deposits and are not FDIC/NCUA insured. These products are not obligations of The Peoples Community Bank and are not endorsed, recommended or guaranteed by The Peoples Community Bank or any government agency. The value of the investment may fluctuate, the return on the investment is not guaranteed, and loss of principal is possible. The Peoples Community Bank and PCB Retirement and Investment Management are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial

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. © 2013 The Peoples Community Bank