Unlucky in Love? Your Credit Score—Not Your Game—May be to Blame

By Trish Townsend

Based on the results of a recent Lending Tree survey, Americans are not paying close enough attention when it comes to their credit scores. The report revealed that 60 percent of people around the country do not know their own credit score.

On a day-to-day basis, you might not think it matters that much. But the reality is that your credit score impacts everything from the car you drive, where you live, and maybe even what you do for work.

If you’re still not convinced that you should be paying closer attention to your credit score, Discover Financial Services and Match Media Group—parent company of Tinder and other dating sites—just released new data that may be able to compel you after all.

In a study of 2,000 online daters, the joint study revealed that today’s dating pool places a high priority on the ability to manage money. Half of respondents claimed that having a good credit score was more attractive than having an impressive job. 58 percent said it was more attractive than having a nice car. 40 percent of respondents even said that a fit credit score was better than a fit body.

But why are today’s singles so drawn to individuals with high credit scores? It’s what the figure represents. 73 percent of survey respondents claimed that a good credit score suggested responsibility. Roughly 40 percent said it reflected a sense of trustworthiness and high intelligence, too.

Helen Fisher, the chief scientific adviser at Match.com and senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, put it in more academic terms, calling credit scores “honest indicators of who you really are,” as well as “Darwinian mechanisms for measuring your reproductive ability.”

While we may not be able to help you think up any one-liners to test when you go out to mingle on Saturday night, The Milford Bank is more than ready to help you take a closer look at how to improve your credit score. To learn more about how to set yourself up for sustained financial growth, stop by any office of The Milford Bank, or check out more resources at our Online Learning Center here.


New Poll Reflects Americans’ Preferred Long-Term Investment Strategies

By Patty Gallagher

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to long-term investment planning. Every individual, and every family, has different needs and wants, expenses and assets. As such, it can be difficult to get the right context to help you make an informed decision that will suit your needs. And while you cannot make your financial decisions based on what works well for others, it certainly helps to understand how the rest of the community is choosing to plan for the long haul.

If you’re a Milford or Stratford resident thinking about where your assets would best serve your long-term savings strategy, consider the results from a recent Gallup poll which ranked Americans’ favored long-term investment vehicles.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers:

Real Estate: According to the Gallup poll, Americans seem to have regained their confidence in the real estate market following the Great Recession of 2008. In the past six years, the percentage of poll respondents choosing real estate as their preferred long-term investment has climbed from 19 to 34 percent—making it the most popular of all poll choices.

Stocks and Mutual Funds: Similarly, consumer confidence in the stock market appears to have recovered from the Great Recession as well. Today, 26 percent of survey respondents cited that their go-to method for long-term savings was the stock market, up from just 17 percent in 2011.

Gold: Oftentimes, people will invest in precious metals like gold or silver when the stock market is turbulent and unpredictable. Such was the case following the Great Recession—in 2011, gold was by far the most popular long-term investment vehicle for survey respondents, with 34 percent making it their go-to option. But as the economy has rebounded, that number is now down to just 18 percent.

Savings Accounts and CDs: While the return on your investment won’t always be as high as with other vehicles, savings accounts and CDs present a conservative and guaranteed rate of return. Interest rates, however, have remained flat in the subsequent years following the Great Recession, which has resulted in little change in the popularity of these types of investments. In 2011, 14 percent of Gallup poll respondents cited savings accounts and CDs as their preferred long-term savings option. Today, that number still sits at 13 percent, largely unchanged.

Bonds: While all the other survey options mentioned in the Gallup poll all gained in favorability (besides gold), the one investment vehicle which lost ground was bonds. Bonds were more popular at the height of the Great Recession during less certain times, but now that the economy has leveled off, bonds have become less of a priority for a majority of Americans.

If you’re still uncertain about where your long-term savings should go, you’re not alone. Clearly, Americans’ saving preferences are varied and subject to change as their lives do. But there’s no reason to go it alone: The Milford Bank has been helping families save for their futures for generations. If you’re a Milford or Stratford resident looking to grow your retirement account, stop by an office location in your area today. You can also learn more by checking out our Online Learning Center.

New Study Reveals Shifting Consumer Expectations for Financial Services Industry

By Jorge Santiago

The proliferation of connected technology over the past decade or more has reached a point of near ubiquity, with smartphones, tablets and other Internet-enabled devices just about everywhere we look today. These devices, and the power to connect, has given rise to a drastic shift in consumer expectations and behavior, forcing all industries to rethink their strategy for engaging and retaining customers.

The financial services industry has been no different, based on the results of a recent Accenture Consulting study. The study of nearly 33,000 banking customers spanned 18 markets throughout the world and found that five key attributes were reported consistently.

So what were the five key attributes that consumers today expect from their bank? Let’s take a closer look below:

  1. Service expectations: The modern consumer expects a high level of customer service and is not afraid to look elsewhere if expectations are not met. According to the results of Accenture’s study, a majority of consumers want banks to match tech providers’ digitally-driven service level.
  2. Personalization: Consumers today are willing to share data with their bank, this study shows, but they view data as a currency and want something in return. Banks must add value with data by personalizing experiences, from offering tools for financial management or real-time offers based on location.
  3. Appetite for innovation: Over half of survey respondents said they would want to be able to receive instantaneous financial advice via mobile communications. This exemplifies the type of innovation consumers today demand, in which new ways of accessing banking products and services can make a tangible impact in their day to day lives.
  4. Seeking self-service: While consumers do expect a high degree of customer service from their financial institutions, a majority of customers still want the availability to resolve a majority of inquiries without any assistance. This even extends into services themselves: 61 percent of survey respondents said person-to-person payment tools would be useful, while half of respondents wanted tools providing direct access to digital currencies.
  5. New branch experience: While we’re certainly living in a Digital Age, consumers still have plenty of use for their local branch too. However, they do expect that experience to change. Two-thirds of consumers say it is important to have devices that allow them to access their online banking in the branch, and that it is important to have advanced ATMs at the branch.

At The Milford Bank, we’ve taken extensive steps to stay at the cutting-edge, eagerly bringing technological innovation into our branches to facilitate a greater degree of care for our customers without sacrificing the personalized, community bank experience that makes us unique. To learn more about all the ways The Milford Bank is stepping up to meet the changing needs of our customers in the Digital Age, click here.

The Milford Bank Presents: The Weird World of Financial News!

By Brenda Norris

At The Milford Bank, we’ve been committed to helping Stratford and Milford families improve their quality of life for generations. And given how long we’ve been at it, we thought we’d seen it all. But if you’ve seen the headlines lately, you’d realize that these are truly unique times that we live in.

While it is important to remain disciplined and responsible when it comes to your finances, it is equally as important not to let the stress of managing your money take over your life either. That said, this week’s blog post will take a break from helpful hints, savings strategies or methods for finding your family the perfect home. Instead, we’ll take a look around the world to learn about some of the craziest stories making news in the finance sector today.

Texas man accidentally deposits himself at Corpus Christie ATM

It may be easier than ever to make a deposit right at your ATM, but if you’re not careful you may just end up depositing more than you asked for. Such was the case for a Texas ATM repairman, who became stuck inside the machine when the locking mechanism closed behind him while he worked.

He was rescued three hours later after successfully passing a message through the receipt slot when a customer made their own withdrawal. After police were notified, it took them thirty minutes to kick down the door to reach the man who was angry, but unscathed.

Japanese Bank deploys world’s first robotic banker

The next time you’re passing through Japan’s historic capital and find yourself looking for a bank, head down to the central office of Japan’s largest lender, the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ. There, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of a rare sight—the world’s first robotic banker. Nao, which the robot has been named, greets customers when they enter and can assist with all the bank’s main services in Japanese, Chinese and English.

What would you do with 300,000 pennies?

Meanwhile, back in the States, a Virginia man was so frustrated with the customer service he was getting from his local DMV that when the time came to pay sales tax on his two cars, he gave employees at the Lebanon, Virginia location his two cents—rather, his 300,000 cents.

After an exhaustive debate that began over improperly signed paperwork for his son’s new car came to a pass, the Virginia resident headed to the DMV to pay a $3,000 sales tax, entirely in pennies. The coins filled up five wheel barrows, and took until 1:00 AM the following day for employees to get a final count.

Bank error in your favor, collect $2 million

Several years ago, an Australian man opened up a high-limit credit card account with his local bank. Due to an administrative oversight, however, his funds were not shut off when the line of credit was exceeded. Realizing this, that man continued to withdraw and re-invest funds for the next several years before finally being caught. During that time, he was able to withdraw $2 million, which he spent on travel, sports cars, collectibles and more. He did, to his credit, continue to pay his mortgage, insurance and other bills too. But in the end, he was sentenced to roughly five years in jail for his deception.

To learn about how you can make the most of your financial situation the right way, stop by any office of The Milford Bank in Milford or Stratford today. You can also learn more by checking out our Online Learning Center here.