How The Milford Bank Is Engaging the Millennial Generation

by Jorge Santiago

A recent Gallop poll on the banking tendencies of the millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1996) reveals that this demographic is just as financially astute as preceding generations, despite perceptions to the contrary. In fact, nearly a quarter of them have more than $50,000 in investable, liquid assets. What’s more, millennials are actually more loyal than their elders, keeping the highest share of their total assets—69 percent—with their primary banking institutions. Yet, despite the solid investment that millennials represent, only 23 percent of these young adults report feeling fully engaged with their primary bank. Some 31 percent report being actively disengaged.

That’s why we at The Milford Bank have taken great strides to differentiate our services to address millennial concerns, which just so happens to benefit all of our customers—young and old.
Here are three reasons millennials choose Milford Bank for their banking services:

1. Multi-channel engagement: According to the aforementioned Gallop poll, 55 percent of millennials are fully engaged with their bank when satisfied with all communication channels (in person, social media, and online and mobile banking). This is where Milford Bank shines, leveraging our local small-business charm without missing the boat on online and mobile banking technology. Furthermore, The Milford Bank is active with our customers on social media, providing our community with financial advice and customer care across all the channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

2. A customer-first mentality: As many as 84 percent of millennials polled reported being fully engaged with their bank when they believed that their bank was looking out for their financial well-being. One factor that engenders such trust is a company’s social mindset. In fact, according to a 2013 Cone Communications study, millennials have 91 percent more trust in businesses that support social causes. Milford Bank has been an active participant in the local community since 1872, and was even awarded the 2015 Business of the Year award by West Haven’s Chamber of Commerce. In the past year alone, Milford Bank has sponsored events from free small-business seminars to health awareness programs.

3. Comprehensive set of banking products: Millennials are more inclined to consolidate their banking products with a primary bank than previous generations, according to the Gallop poll. What’s more, they are choosing to utilize additional services with their primary bank at an even higher rate. From home equity loans to advisory services, millennials are loyal to financial institutions that enable them to manage their finances in all arenas. Fortunately, Milford Bank handles it all, including personal bank accounts, offerings for businesses, loans, investments, mortgages and insurance. We even have programs for children, to ensure that every member of the community can benefit from our services.

For millennials looking for a place to do their banking, Milford Bank is clearly a great choice. Furthermore, when you become a Milford Bank customer, you do your part to support the community we serve. For more information about The Milford Bank, check out our website here.

Three Ways to Get Your Holiday Shopping Done Without Draining Your Savings

by Lynn Viesti Berube

In an analysis from American Research Group, shoppers across America are planning to spend on average $882 on holiday shopping this year. Yet, in a survey from GoBankingRates, it was found that 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. The picture being painted here is that many consumers will spend beyond their means this December. But finding gifts for family and friends in celebration of the season shouldn’t have to break the bank.

Here are three ideas to help ensure you’ll still have a jingle in your pocket once you’ve finished your holiday shopping.

1. Check daily deal sites for whole-family experiences. Instead of wrapping up another sweater or tool this season, why not up your game and thrill your loved ones with the gift of a unique experience? Daily deal sites like Groupon or Living Social offer group discount rates on activities ranging from glass-blowing classes to helicopter tours of New York City. By getting your whole family—or those distant relatives—on board, you can qualify for great deals and share in a truly original gift that will create memories that will long outlive the latest electronic gadget or pair of slippers.

2. Do your holiday shopping year-round. One big reason that financial stress weighs so heavily on our shoulders during the holidays is that most of our annual shopping takes place during just six to eight weeks, straining monthly budgets. So, why not keep an eye out for holiday gifts throughout the course of the year instead? This can enable you to make purchases at more manageable increments, avoiding a huge cash outlay in a short time frame that may constitute use of your credit card and the potential for additional costs in the way of interest. Take the year, too, to take advantage of retail sales as they occur.

3. Do it yourself. Do you sew or paint? Are you a carpenter? Whatever your craft, you may be able to think of someone on your shopping list who would love what you can produce by hand. Many recipients will appreciate the personal touch that such gifts deliver. At the same time, you save your hard-earned money, as purchasing the materials required to create your handiwork typically costs less than purchasing the same item in a store. Then, you can use the money saved to offset other purchases, like one of the group activities mentioned above. In other words, pay the DIY method forward.

If you’re one of the many Americans who are letting holiday shopping adversely affect your savings, keep these tips in mind to ease some of the stress it is causing you and your wallet. For more advice on managing your finances, come to any office of The Milford Bank or visit our website here.

Just in time for fall clean up – gather your unwanted items!

by Lynn Viesti Berube

The Milford Bank will host a Green Fair at its Main Office Campus on the Milford Green located at 33 Broad Street in Milford. The event will be held on Saturday, November 14th from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

Two trucks will be on hand that day. One will accept unwanted office supplies such as outdated computer equipment and office furniture. AFA Electronic Recyclers of Branford, CT will responsibly dispose of all items they collect.

The other truck will securely shred unwanted documents on site. The vendor providing this service is Infoshred of East Windsor, CT. (There is a limit of three medium sized moving boxes.)

These services will be provided at no charge to customers of The Milford Bank. Others are asked to make a donation of $5 per box. Funds collected will be donated to a local charity to fund a green initiative in 2016.

The Literacy Center of Milford will be collecting children’s books at the event and the First United Church Youth Group will collect deposit bottles and cans.

There will also be children’s crafts, information about home energy efficiency, tips for reducing paper consumption, arts and crafts vendors and more! Admission will be free.

Susan Shields, Milford Bank President & CEO says of the event, “The Milford Bank continues to support the residents of Milford and Stratford through community involvement, donations to many local charitable organizations, special events and financial education. The Bank is proud to partner with this year’s vendors. The goal of providing these services to members of our community is to assist with the responsible disposal of unneeded documentation and outdated electronics while educating the public on easy energy conservation.”

A list of accepted items can be obtained on the AFA Recycling website: Have a piece of electronics to recycle that is not on the list? Please contact AFA Recycling directly at (203) 421-4187.

The Milford Bank is Member FDIC.

Three Ways to Save Energy This Fall

by Lynn Viesti Berube

With Labor Day in the rear view mirror, we’re now into fall and, with it, colder weather. After the winter Connecticut experienced in 2014, it’s safe to say that we’re all holding tightly to these last few days of warm weather. While you may not have turned on the furnace just yet, you might want to plan for the colder months sooner rather than later when it comes to financing your warm home.

To help you cut heating costs this fall and winter, here are three ways to conserve energy:

• Eliminate the cracks: You may not pay them much attention, but those tiny cracks below your door and around your windows are sucking the money right out of your home. These cracks allow conditioned air within your home to escape and cold air to seep in. By investing in inexpensive draft stoppers and by shrink-wrapping your windows, you can keep the warm air in, the cold air out and save big on your monthly energy bill.

• Optimize your heating system: One major way we waste energy and run up electric bills during the colder months is by overworking inefficient heating systems. Instead, optimize your heating system with a few at-home solutions that shouldn’t break the bank. First, consider placing area rugs in high-occupancy rooms (such as your family room) where you may otherwise have bare floors. Doing so will help retain heat and keep your feet feeling cozy. Second, change the filters in your heating system on a monthly basis to ensure you’re not forcing your system to work harder than it needs to. Finally, make sure heating vents aren’t being blocked by furniture—it may keep the couch nice and warm, but the furniture will draw the heat out of the air and keep the temperature in the room down.

• Opt for electronics with batteries: It’s no secret that during the colder months many of us prefer to wrap ourselves in a warm blanket and watch Netflix, rather than bundle up and brave the elements. However, the extra time we spend in our homes can have a major effect on our electric bills, based on our increased use of electronics alone. Instead of turning on the TV, or heading to your desktop computer this season, opt for electronics with batteries, such as laptops, tablets and other mobile devices. These devices often cost less to charge and, as long as you unplug the charger after you’re all juiced up, will save you big bucks over the course of the next few months.

As the holidays approach, don’t let good tidings be overcome by high electricity bills! These three steps will help you save on your monthly bill while staying warm. And, if you ever have a question of what to do with your new-found savings, consider a Milford Bank savings account!

Want more tips on energy efficiency and saving money on your power bills? Visit our Green Fair on November 14th!



Three Tools for Teaching Cent$ible Kid$ Personal Finance

by Becky Tudor

Americans today are having a difficult time saving money for the future. In fact, the independent research firm NextAdvisor recently found that nearly one in every four Americans has no savings at all. With recent history showing how unstable economies can become, parents today would be well-advised to educate their children about the importance of personal finance.

As of now, only 17 states have personal finance classes as a high school graduation requirement. If you live in one of the 33 states that doesn’t have this requirement (Connecticut is one of them) it might be wise to find other means of educating your children in this area.

Here are three tools the Milford Banks Cent$ible Kid$ Program employs to help teach your children personal finance:

1. Games: Yes, kids love games and, oftentimes, parents worry they might love them too much. But when games are educational, research shows it helps children learn. Computer games, like “Cash Puzzler” and “Road Trip in Savings” available through The Milford Bank’s program, entertain kids while teaching them lessons about money and spending.

2. Savings account: Cent$ible Kid$ operates by giving children their own savings accounts. Along with responsibility for this important personal finance tool comes a chance for these young owners to develop their own plan for savings.

3. Newsletter: Visual learning is important to children. Their young minds are receiving educational stimuli when they read our Cent$ible Kid$ newsletter. To get a taste of our children-friendly newsletters, that provides children with visual learning materials, check out the latest here.

How to Turn Your Hobby into a Home Business

by Janet Harrison

If you had all the money in the world, what would you choose to do for work?
That’s the question we’re supposed to ask ourselves to identify what we’d prefer to do for a living. Maybe your response to that question indicates that you’d like to become a photographer, for example, or that you’d like to make jewelry. Identifying your dream job is surely encouraged; there’s a good chance, however, that you’re not quite ready to quit your job and pursue your hobby full time. That’s because you likely don’t have all the money in the world to do so.

But there’s no reason why you shouldn’t at least consider whether the possibility exists that you could make money by turning your hobby into a home business. Sure, you can’t expect that such a business would take off overnight. But who knows? Maybe after a few years, you’ll actually be able to quit your proverbial day job and focus your efforts on making a living while doing something you love.

Before you make a decision, you must ask yourself an important question: Are people willing to pay for what I make?

Prior to launching a home business, you have to be sure that there’s a market for the items you make or the services you offer. Ask your friends how much they’d pay for a bracelet you made, for example. Once you’re comfortable with their responses, it’s time to ask a stranger how much he or she would pay. Satisfied with that answer? It might be time to begin looking into starting a business on the side.

In order to establish your business, you need to be able to prove that you’re trying to make a profit. If you lose money year-after-year and aren’t turning a profit, the IRS could very well view your business as a hobby, limiting your deductions as a result. Here are some tips to help establish your profit motive:

• Create a business plan that clearly defines the fact that you are indeed trying to make money.
• Run your business like a business. That is, keep records of all your expenses and all of your sales.
• Make decisions to increase profits. After all, the goal of a business is to make money, so make sure your actions work toward that goal.

If you begin to realize some level of success, you might want to consider incorporating your business or establishing an LLC so as to reduce your personal liability. In doing so, you’re able to protect your personal assets—like your home, your car and your investment accounts—from creditors.

On top of that, you’ll also appear more serious to those on the outside. The IRS will see that you mean business and might be more inclined to view your operation as a business than a hobby. Customers might think the fact that you’ve incorporated or started an LLC lends you more credence. Additionally, it might be easier for you to get business loans, as banks and other investors might also take you more seriously.

Turning your hobby into a business might be a fun way for you to bring in some extra cash. After that, who knows? The sky could very well be the limit.

What are you thankful for?

by Jorge Santiago

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. But 2014 has flown by and, sure enough, turkey will be served on dinner tables across the country within a few short weeks.

This is the time of year when we reflect upon our blessings and show our appreciation to our loved ones and to those who really strive to change the world for the better.

Here at The Milford Bank, we welcome the opportunity to say thank you to the members of our communities who strive to help those less fortunate in the Milford and Stratford locales. And that’s why we established The Milford Bank Foundation in 2003: to support charitable, health, public safety and education initiatives in our area.

To show our appreciation for these organizations, we’re pleased to announce that the foundation is currently accepting grant proposals from 501(c)(3) charity groups that serve our Milford and Stratford communities. The grants will range from $250 to $2,500 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2014. Please keep in mind that submissions must be made by Nov. 15. (Click here for more information and to obtain the Grant Application.)

While it’s important to support our neighbors year round, we particularly enjoy celebrating the spirit of giving at this time of year when the focus is on gratitude for each other and the world in which we live. That’s why we’re excited to be able to offer these grants through our foundation.

If you’re interested in applying for one of the grants, please click here to download the application. From our family here at The Milford Bank to you and yours, a very Happy Thanksgiving!

A Friendly Reminder From The Milford Bank: Beware of the ‘Grandparent Scam’

By Bob Russo

The scam usually goes something like this: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your grandchild. Or perhaps the caller is claiming to be someone contacting you on your grandchild’s behalf— like a police officer, for example, who says he/she has just arrested your grandchild and is requesting bail money for his or her release.

No matter what story line the culprits employ in this “grandparent scam,” the call always ends up with the scammer asking for money.

Countless times, this scenario—in which a criminal takes advantage of a typical grandparent’s concern for a grandchild—is being perpetrated against senior citizens, and many of them are becoming victims. They choose to immediately wire the money, usually through Western Union, to anywhere in the world that the caller dictates. In other words, they’ll do whatever the caller tells them to do to help their grandchild.

Unfortunately, once money is wired internationally, it’s very hard—if not impossible—to get it back.

Earlier this year, two nurses in Ridgefield, Connecticut, prevented an elderly couple from wiring $2,800 to a scammer—a caller that pretended to be their grandson. In this iteration of the scam, the grandson was injured while on vacation in Colombia and needed money.

The caller also instructed the grandparents to not contact any other family members. Should a similar situation arise—with someone on the phone saying they’re your grandchild and asking for money—do call a member of your family immediately to corroborate what you’ve been told.

With a call like this from out of the blue, there’s a good chance something is amiss.

We understand that our customers are so much more than their savings and checking accounts with us. We hope to be your trusted advisor. So, from time to time, expect that we’ll provide updates on these kinds of scams to make sure you’re aware of them and to keep you from becoming a victim.

Meet Teller Lisa Richetelli (if You Haven’t Already)

By Jorge Santiago

“I go out of my way to take care of who’s in front of me. I love all of our customers.”

So says teller Lisa Richetelli, a familiar face at our Broad Street branch for the last 14 years. While many of our customers certainly know Lisa, some might not know that she’s married to another well-known local: Her husband James served as Milford’s ninth mayor from 2001 to 2011. Both spouses revel in their Milford citizenry and were happy to raise their children here among friends, while enjoying the town’s many amenities, like the beautiful seashore.

Lisa finds job satisfaction at The Milford Bank even in everyday simple efforts to assist customers. For example, she described a recent experience helping an elderly woman learn how to operate the bank’s ATM machine. “By the time she left, she was in great spirits,” Lisa recounted. For her, it’s important that every customer who comes through the door has a good banking experience.

After Lisa graduated high school, she worked at The Milford Bank for about a decade before leaving to raise her three children. She returned to her “home away from home” fourteen years ago in a part-time capacity, saying that she couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. “It’s a hometown bank, so people will talk about what’s going on,” she said. “Most of us live in Milford or are from around here, so the bank has a really community-oriented feel.”

Lisa said she looks forward to seeing whoever walks up to her counter. Even though there are customers she knows better than others, she tries to treat everyone the same. “We know most of our customers,” Lisa explained, “and we make it a point to get to know the customers we don’t know.”

The Milford Bank strives to hire tellers who will be courteous, friendly and helpful at all times, and Lisa perfectly embodies those characteristics.

Please stop by our Broad Street branch and say hello!

You Love Local Businesses. We’ll Help You Love Them More!

By Lynn Viesti Berube

The whole community benefits when you spend your money locally. We at The Milford Bank understand that perfectly, which is why we’re pleased to work with our business customers to make special offers available from them to the rest of our customers.

We started this program several years ago with coupons accessible on our ATMs. While we can no longer offer them at our ATMs (the software which enabled us to add coupon screens is no longer available) our customers can still find these valuable offers on our website, in our eNewsletter and in the customer newsletters mailed with their monthly paper statements.

Every quarter, working in conjunction with our business customers, we offer different coupons supporting local businesses—anything from restaurants to boutiques to flower shops and everything in between. We’re always looking for ways to help our customers save money. Our local coupon program is just one extension of that philosophy. Plus, it helps our business customers too.

Milford and Stratford are wonderful communities full of strong businesses run by great people. That’s why we’re pleased to call the two towns our home. In order to keep our communities in as good a shape as they’re in, it’s important that we support local businesses whenever possible. These coupons will help bring prices down, so please consider taking advantage of them.

Who doesn’t like to save money? We know we do. By making use of our local coupon program, it is our hope that our customers will help support local businesses without feeling like they are breaking the bank.