Join Milford Bank and Play Dodgeball for a Cause

by Jorge Santiago

At The Milford Bank, we’ve been providing financial services since 1872. But as a community bank, we also know that our responsibility to the community extends beyond the walls of our office locations. That’s why we partner with other organizations in the Milford and Stratford community to help improve the lives of the individuals that make our towns run.

One such organization is the Boys and Girls Club of Milford, which is putting on its annual dodgeball tournament on Friday, March 31st. Here’s what you need to know:

Tournament details

  • There will be two divisions to choose from depending on your preferred style of play—recreational and competitive
  • The tournament is double-elimination
  • There is a $300 fee per team
  • Teams can roster between 6 and 10 players
  • Each participant must be at least 16 years of age

 

If you want to lend a hand but don’t want to play, there are still plenty of ways that you can help out. Sponsoring the tournament is a great way for your business to get some extra exposure. You can learn about sponsorship opportunities here. Or, if you’d prefer to simply volunteer your time, click here to see how you can get involved.

This year’s tournament will be held at Goooal Sports in Stratford. Doors will open at 6:00 PM and the tournament will begin at 6:30. However, this is one of the most popular events of the year, so expect that space will be limited. To ensure that you get a chance to play dodgeball for a good cause, be sure to register early.

You can find more ways to help us get involved in the Milford and Stratford community by clicking here.

Five Higher Ed Facts All Milford, Stratford Parents Should Know

By Patty Gallagher

If you’re a Milford or Stratford resident with a child in high school, it is likely that your family has already started to have conversations about higher education. Deciding whether or not your child should go to college is a difficult one, with many factors that inform the choice. And if your child is going to college, you’ve got even more challenging decisions to make. How will you pay tuition? What kind of school is right for your child? What kind of courses will your child take?

As you discuss the topic of higher education with your family and your children, keep the following five facts in mind.

  1. The average 2016 graduate leaves school with an average student loan debt of $37,172.
    If you’re planning on using student loans to pay for your child’s tuition, it is important to understand the amount of debt that you, or your child, will need to start paying off once they graduate 
  2. Students with a bachelor’s degree earn 66 percent more over their lifetime than high school graduates.
    Though student loan debt can be discouraging in the short-term, studies show that the expense of a degree is a worthwhile investment in the long term.
  3. Only one-third of students attending a public college graduate on-time.
    Developing a strategy to keep your child on track to graduate on-time is essential. Whether they’re earning a two or four year degree, finishing within those terms will keep you from incurring expenses just to cover a few remaining course credits. In addition, it means your child will enter the job market, and eventually have more experience, than others their age who needed more time to graduate.
  4. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for one semester at a four year public college in 2016 was $15,280.
    Attending college in another state can be an incredibly enriching experience. But you’ll certainly pay a premium. If your child has their heart set on an out-of-state school but you can’t figure out how to make ends meet financially, consider sending your child to a cost-effective community college in the same state for a year or two first. Your child will be able to take care of basic course requirements at less cost, while gaining the in-state eligibility they need to make their dream school a reality.
  5. Roughly $100 million in scholarship funding goes unused on a yearly basis.
    Many families think that college is too expensive. In some cases, they’re right. But in many others, they simply haven’t exhausted all their resources yet. There are millions of dollars awarded to students through scholarships and grants every year, and another $100 million goes unclaimed every year. 

 

If your family is starting to have the higher education conversation, be sure to gather all the facts to make the most informed decision. If you live in the Milford or Stratford area, stop by any office of The Milford Bank and we can help you move forward in a way that sets your family, and your loved ones, up for success. You can also learn more at our Online Learning Center here.

Milford, Stratford Business Leaders: Reserve a Spot at Upcoming Bite-Size Marketing Seminars

By Rebecca Tudor

Title: Milford, Stratford Business Leaders: Reserve a Spot at Upcoming Bite-Size Marketing Seminars

As a community bank, we believe that providing service to local businesses doesn’t end after we’ve helped to secure the financial services that set you on a path to success. It’s just as important to stay engaged with our customers and provide educational resources to the community.

That’s why we started the Bite-Sized Business Marketing Seminar series. The seminar series is led by local business owners, for local business owners, to help you reach your financial goals. We’re even providing lunch!

There are currently four seminars scheduled for the coming weeks:

Harness the Power of Social Media & Email with Constant Contact—March 2, 2017

In this seminar, Jocelyn Murray, the owner of Marketing and Event Resources LLC, will introduce attendees to Constant Contact, an all-in-one tool for increasing sales and donations through better marketing and online engagement.

Develop a Marketing Plan that Produces Awesome Results—March 16, 2017

Robert C. Kademian, the owner of ROI Business Coach, will break down his five step strategy for developing an impactful marketing strategy.

Increasing Your Website’s Google Presence—March 30, 2017

In today’s digital economy, there’s no better commercial real estate than the front page of a Google search. Steve Hozan, the co-founder and digital marketing consultant for The Web Studio, will take a look behind the curtain of Google’s search engine algorithms in this lecture, giving participants helpful SEO tips along the way.

Tips for Taking Better Head Shot Photographs—April 13, 2017

In the social media age, your head shot is a critical first impression for potential customers and business partners. Jesse Thompson, the store manager at Milford Photo, will lead this seminar to help you take professional head shots using a camera or a smartphone. You’ll get great tips on how to use lighting, composition and proper posing to make you look your best.

Each event in the Bite-Sized Business Marketing Seminar Series is completely free and open to the public, but be sure to register early because space is limited. You can register online here.

Take Time to Give Back This Holiday Season

by Jorge Santiago

Entering the home stretch of 2016, there are plenty of highlights coming up on the calendar: Thanksgiving, New Years and everything in between. The holidays can be full of excitement as you gather with friends and family to give thanks for the wonderful things in your life. With all the planning that goes into the holidays, they can admittedly be a little stressful too. With everything that you and your family have going on over the last few months of 2016, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the fact that many families in the local community are not as fortunate to be in a position to celebrate this year.

One of the most important things to remember during the holidays is that it is a blessing to have everything you need to enjoy a high quality of life. And it is equally important to lend a helping hand to those who do not whenever you can.

Here are just a few ways you can help contribute to the members of the local community that could use extra support this holiday season.

Feed the hungry: Some of the most unforgettable holiday memories are created around the dinner table. For families that struggle to put food on the table, local food banks provide significant relief. While non-perishables are always appreciated, you can also check with representatives at your local food bank to see which items are in high demand. If you have some spare time, you should even consider assisting food banks when they open their doors to serve families—volunteers are always needed. Check out a list of local food banks here.

Help fight homelessness: Given the chilly weather that sweeps in around the holidays, this time of year is particularly difficult for individuals with no roof over their heads. You don’t need to take out a mortgage to lend a hand—donate to local shelters like Milford’s Beth-El Center. The Beth-El Center does more than give a place to eat and sleep. It also offers support services, advocacy and community education. By partnering with organizations like the Beth-El Center, you can not only help the homeless members of the local community meet their basic needs, but provide a comprehensive strategy to reach a long-term and lasting quality of life.

Play Santa Claus: There’s nothing quite like the face of a child when he or she awakes Christmas morning to and sees what Santa Claus has left under the tree. But for many families struggling to make ends meet, toys are a luxury that is out of reach. In order to make sure the holidays are full of excitement for all children in the local community—regardless of which one they celebrate—donate to a toy drive this year. You can purchase a toy for any age group, boy or girl. Even if you can’t purchase a brand new toy, you can still contribute—simply select a few items from home that your own kids no longer play with. Click here to find a toy drive near you.

The Milford Bank will also be participating in and sponsoring a number of charitable events this holiday season, and throughout the entire year. Be sure to stop by any office location, read our blog and follow us on social media for more news!

Three Local Events You Can’t Miss This November

By Celeste Lohrenz

As a community bank, we understand that your success is our success. Without a thriving, engaged and prosperous community around us, we wouldn’t be where we are today. With the holidays approaching, it becomes more important than ever to lend a helping hand. This November, Milford Bank will be putting on a number of events for the local community. Take a closer look and see how you can get involved!

Food 2 Kids fundraiser: For many local children, the only reliable source of food is their school cafeteria. This weekend, outside of school, roughly 180 Milford-area kids will have no food to eat. Milford Bank is challenging the community to help raise funds to put an end to food insecurity. You can make a donation at any of our Milford locations until the end of the year. All participants will be entered into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon gift card. For raffle details, call us or stop by any Milford Location of The Milford Bank. For weekly updates, follow Milford Bank on social media.

Bite Sized Business Marketing Seminar Series: Milford Bank is also dedicated to providing area business leaders the resources they need to succeed. Beyond providing loans and investment vehicles for businesses, we’ll also be running seminars this month to help you grow your organization. There will be one event coming up this month:

  • November 17: Growing Your Business with LinkedIn, with Susan Catalano, LinkedIn Expert & Managing Partner of LQLaCorte LLC.

In today’s digital economy, understanding how to boost your LinkedIn profile can help your business achieve success. to sign up, please contact Rebecca Tudor at mailto:rtudor@milfordbank.comor 203-783-5789.

Winter Wonderland: The Milford Bank will host “Winter Wonderland” on Thursday, November 25th at the Bank’s Main Office, located on the Milford Green from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. The event, which will take place during Milford’s Annual Lighting of the Trees, will feature various winter-themed activities for children and adults of all ages.

Attendees will be treated to character impersonators for a meet & greet and photos, a train ride, Pokémon lures, carolers, crafts and much more!

To learn about more ways The Milford Bank gives back to the local community this fall, sign up for our monthly newsletter here or stop by location near you.

Five Easy Ways to Improve Your Fuel Efficiency

By Pam Reiss

According to the United States Department of Energy, Americans will drive 3.17 trillion miles this year. And whether a majority of the miles on your odometer were accrued by your daily commute or a cross-country road trip, the fact remains the same—you’ll be putting a substantial portion of your paycheck into your fuel tank.

Of course, there are ways around the expense—mass transportation is available in many areas. You can opt to purchase an electric vehicle. You can carpool to reduce your costs or even call a cab. But for many Americans, getting behind the wheel is simply a fact of life. Don’t worry though—if you don’t have the means or desire to trade in your vehicle for a more efficient model, there are still plenty of simple steps you can take to improve your fuel efficiency and drastically decrease your annual gasoline costs.

Here are five simple steps you can take to improve your fuel efficiency.

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. You don’t need a puncture hole to lose tire pressure. Variations in weather, as well as typical wear and tear, can cause them to lose 1 PSI every month. If your tires aren’t properly inflated your car has to work harder to propel itself, consuming more fuel in the process.
  • Conduct routine preventive maintenance. If you treat your car well, you will likely be rewarded in kind. Don’t put off your regular oil changes, change your air filters and make sure you replenish depleted spark plugs.
  • Keep your gas gauge in the sweet spot. Fuel efficiency is at its lowest when you have less than a quarter tank of gas. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep it full either. Gasoline adds weight to your car—10 gallons is roughly equivalent to 60 pounds. If you keep your tank halfway full, you can reach peak performance.
  • Be conservative with heat and air conditioning. Have you ever blasted your heat to warm up your car, gotten too hot and switched over to air conditioning to balance the temperature? If so, you’re greatly reducing your fuel efficiency. Take advantage of nice weather and roll down your windows instead. Or if you’re worried about the cold, wear an extra layer until you get comfortable.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. Inspect the contents of your vehicle. Do you have items that you leave in your car on a regular basis out of convenience, even if you don’t use them? Every additional pound that adds to the weight of your vehicle is reducing your fuel efficiency. Schedule some time every week to clear the clutter out of your vehicle and the engine won’t have to work as hard to carry you down the road.

To learn more simple ways to reduce wasteful spending in your life, stop by a Milford Bank branch location to speak with a financial advisor, or check out more helpful hints at our online Learning Center here.

Six Things You May Not Know About Labor Day

by Pat White

With Labor Day coming up on September 5—the first Monday of the month—many of us will be taking advantage of the impending three day weekend. Whether you’re using the chance to take one last weekend getaway to the beach before the end of summer, hosting a backyard party with your friends and family, or heading out to the mall to take advantage of Labor Day sales, we all have one thing in common—we’re grateful to have a little extra time for ourselves.

However you choose to spend your Labor Day, be sure to take a few moments to remember the meaning behind the holiday. We wouldn’t have the wages, benefits or time off that we enjoy today without the activism of our ancestors.

Here are five things you may not know about Labor Day to better educate you on the origins of the holiday.

  1. The idea for Labor Day is believed to have begun in Canada in 1872—22 years before it became a national holiday in the United States! In a show of solidarity for striking workers, 1,500 citizens from Hamilton, Ontario demonstrated in the streets. Their aim? A nine hour work day.
  2. Even though Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894, it was first celebrated in New York City by the Central Labor Union in 1882. Over the following 12 years, 23 states marked their own celebration before the Federal government opted to make it a universally recognized holiday.
  3. Congress voted unanimously to make Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, just six days after the conclusion of the Pullman Strike. During the strike, 125,000 railroad workers walked off the job to protest wage cuts without a corresponding decrease in rent and utility costs in their company-owned housing. During the strike 30 workers were killed, 57 were wounded and property damage exceeded $80 million.
  4. The average wage for a laborer during the 1890’s was 15 cents per hour. A skilled worker, such as a carpenter, would still expect to bring home an average of only 32 cents per hour.
  5. President Cleveland, though he supported the establishment of the Labor Day holiday, was fearful that empowering workers would give rise to strikes, riots and strengthen socialist and anarchist movements.
  6. The first minimum wage law was passed in New Zealand the same year that Labor Day was established as a national holiday.

Ultimately, we should not celebrate Labor Day without forgetting the activism and difficult conditions that workers endured in our recent past. Because those individuals were willing to stand up and fight for their rights, we now enjoy the fruits of rising wages, shorter work hours and better benefits.

All offices of The Milford Bank offices will be closed in observance of Memorial Day. Be sure to download our mobile application though, and you’ll be able to conduct your banking conveniently without having to stop at one of our locations. You can download the application here.

Is a Community Bank Right for Your Family?

By Jorge Santiago

While there are countless banks you can choose to protect and grow your wealth, the simple truth is that there are many differences between the global megabanks you might be more familiar with and locally-focused community banks.

The question you’ve got to ask yourself is this: which type of bank will meet the needs of you and your family?

You already know all about the megabanks. They’ve got stadiums named after them. They’ve got expensive commercials featuring famous actors and actresses. The odds are, you know all about what the megabanks can offer.

So here’s a closer look at what a community bank can provide:

  • The same services as bigger banks. A smaller bank doesn’t equate to smaller financial service offerings. Community banks can provide everything you’ve come to expect: investment vehicles, insurance, business loans, mortgages, financial consultation, retirement accounts and more.
  • You can get to know every employee.
  • Your success is their success. The deposits made at community banks are redistributed in the form of business loans and mortgages to other members of the local economy. That means community bankers have a vested interest in your financial well-being.
  • Greater investment in community events. We’re also renowned for spurring greater attention to local community events. Raising money for local causes helps bring the community together and draws on the spirit of what community banking is all about.
  • You aren’t just another number.  Community bankers can take the time to get the whole picture about who you are as an individual, and take that into account when working with you.
  • Streamlined financial processes. You won’t have to jump through hoops when you do your banking locally. You’ll be able to work with just a handful of individuals and take the time to build a relationship.

 

 

 

You already knew about what the megabanks were all about. Now you know what community banks can do for your family. If banking local sounds like the right choice for you and your family stop by the nearest Milford Bank branch location to you. Click here to find out more.

 

Stop by The Milford Bank on Your Path to Becoming a Pokemaster

By Rebecca Tudor

Since being launched in early July, the mobile application Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm. It took only one week for 10 million users to download the game (a new record) and has now been downloaded over 30 million times.

The odds are, you or someone you know is on the path to becoming a pokemaster themselves. Be sure to stop by The Milford Bank’s locations at some point along your path. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s what you can expect when you stop by:

  • At our downtown office, there are 12 pokestops within a half-mile radius where you can resupply yourself with pokeballs, eggs and other boosters to help you capture the monsters. There are also four pokegyms nearby where you can test your skills battling other players.
  • At our Post Road West office, you’ll find one stop and one gym nearby.
  • In the vicinity around our Devon location, there are two pokestops.
  • There’s a pokegym very close to our Woodmont office.
  • Near our Stratford location, you’ll find three pokestops and a gym.
  • There have even been pokemon spotted inside our Post Road East location.

We’ll even be setting up lures within our locations to draw pokemon into our offices. Be sure to look for updates by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see when a pokemon you still need to collect makes an appearance.

When you stop in to one of our branches, be sure to mention pokemon to one of our friendly representatives and you’ll even receive a free blink light so you can safely hunt after dark as well.

Speaking of safety, be sure to follow these guidelines put out by the Connecticut state police:

  • Don’t play while driving.
  • Don’t trespass on private property (scaling fences, parachuting, tunneling, etc.).
  • Don’t fight or argue with other players.
  • Don’t be lured by a beacon signal into unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Stay alert near roads.
  • Make yourself visible when playing at night.
  • Play with friends or family.

The Milford Bank even has a few employees that moonlight as pokemon trainers that have been happy to provide a few tips on how to improve as a player yourself. But don’t be surprised to receive an invitation to test your skills as a pokemon trainer if you run into one of them.

  • The pokemon eggs you collect will require you to walk a certain distance to make them hatch. Gather up as many eggs as you can before embarking on a long walk to save yourself time and energy.
  • Try to be as accurate as possible when throwing a pokeball out to capture a pokemon. Not only will this increase the likelihood of capture, saving you resources, but you’ll gain extra experience points for accurate tosses, which will help you level up more quickly.
  • When you’re in the heat of battle, wait until your screen starts to flash yellow and then swipe your screen to the right or left and you’ll have a chance to dodge your enemy’s attack.

To find out the nearest office of The Milford Bank to you, or to see how you can follow our social media accounts for the latest Pokemon Go updates, click here.

Community Roundup: What’s Going On Around Town?

By Janet Harrison

Here at The Milford Bank, we don’t think of ourselves as just your local financial institution. We don’t think of ourselves as simply bank employees either. The Milford Bank team is a family. We’re staffed by hard-working people just like you with a dedication to being active members of the community, both individually and collectively.

Every year, our employees help to organize, sponsor and participate in some of the community-wide projects that make Milford great—the Milford Moves 5K, Green Fair, or any other local event we can!

We believe in the value of having a strong community and know that creating such a climate is made much easier by building lasting relationships. That’s why we don’t stop building relationships outside of the bank lobby—we work hand in hand with many local charities and non-profits that share in our vision for the Milford area.

Here are a few of the organizations we’re currently working with to build a healthy and prosperous community. Read on to see what they’re all about and what you can find going on in the Milford area over the next few months.

Boys and Girls Club: The Boys and Girls Club has autonomous chapters across the country dedicated to providing boys and girls of all ages a safe facility to learn reach their full potential through programs ranging from athletics, arts, life and career skills. The Milford chapter has summer offerings as well as afterschool programs that will start up in the fall. On August 7, the group will be fundraising with the always exciting annual Walnut Beach Ice Cream Run. You can click here to learn more, register or become a sponsor.

United Way: As one of the largest charitable organizations in the world, United Way has taken up the task of strengthening communities by performing a wide variety of good deeds from building classrooms in the Philippines to providing job training right here at home. United Way of Milford gets involved hosts many local events, but perhaps their largest event of the year will take place September 16—the United Way of Milford’s 15th annual golf tournament, scheduled to take place this year at the Woodbridge Country Club. For registration or contact info, you can contact jsmillie@unitedwayofmilford.org or call (203) 874-6791.

Sterling House: Built in 1886, the Sterling House has in subsequent years been transformed into a living reminder of our rich local history that now fulfills the role of a community center. Serving over 13,000 local residents each year with affordable social, educational and recreational activities, Sterling House is a vital asset in fostering a positive and healthy community. Stop by on July 23 or August 20 to enjoy open swimming, crafts, music, food and fun for the whole family, or wait for the Sterling Down and Dirty 5K taking place September 10 at Short Beach in Stratford. All proceeds will help support the Sterling House’s community projects.

Be sure to check back in for the next installment of Community Roundup to learn what our other partners around town are up to over the next few months. Also follow Milford Bank on Facebook and Twitter to see more exciting events. You can reach out by checking out our website here.