IMPORTANT!!

We are keeping a close eye on the "Heartbleed" bug you may have heard about. The vendor we use for Online Banking has completed a preliminary assessment and has not discovered any vulnerability. We will be sure to keep you updated should anything to the contrary be discovered. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to help ensure that your information is safe.

It is always a good practice to use unique passwords for all of the online services you access. If your GCF Online Banking password has also been used with a different service, we do recommend that you change your Online Banking password at this time.





If you currently utilize GCF’s online banking EXPRESS TRANSFER function to make your loan payments, this service will be temporarily unavailable from April 25, 2014 through June 9, 2014. As an alternative to this temporary inconvenience, you can do one of the following:

  • Contact 1-877-589-6600 ext. 320 or 368 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to manually complete the transaction.
  • Mail a check to Investors Bank, 101 Wood Avenue South, Iselin, NJ 08830.
  • Sign up for GCF’s online bill payment system and set up a monthly payment to be sent to Investors Bank.


Fast Access




GCF Bank is now part of the Investors Bank family!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Edition #650


Today's Highlights:

Past issues of GCFlash:

February 7, 2012 Edition #649

January 31, 2012 Edition #648

January 24, 2012 Edition #647

January 17, 2012 Edition #646


Weekly Spotlight:

GCF Bank proudly participates in the Gloucester County Cares About Hunger Food Donation Collection Drive. Drop off your non-perishable food items at any GCF branch between Monday, February 13th and Thursday, February 23rd. For a list of preferred items, click here.

Our Current Rates:

For a listing of our current deposit and loan rates, click here.

Today's National Market Rates
February 14, 2012 6 Mo Ago
08/14/11
1 Yr Ago
02/14/11
5 Yrs Ago
02/14/07
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 660.72 or 5.41% since 12/31/11)
12,878.28 (+4.24%) 11,482.90 12,268.19 12,741.86
S&P 500
(Up 92.91 or 7.39% since 12/31/10)
1,350.50 (-0.09%) 1,204.49 1,332.32 1,455.30
NASDAQ
(Up 326.88 or 12.54% since 12/31/10)
2,931.83 (+0.02%) 2,555.20 2,817.18 2,488.38
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 1.92% 2.29% 3.61% 4.73%
British Sterling 1.5685 1.6273 1.6001 1.9461
Euro 1.3120 1.4244 1.3543 1.2989

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1st Flash

Tips for First Time D-I-Y Filers

On this Valentine's Day, we thought it appropriate to cover a topic everyone loves. When it's over.

I'm talking about filing your Federal income taxes. The annual ritual that leaves Americans wishing for a simpler system.

Tax software makes more folks comfortable preparing their own returns. But there are things to watch out for lest you risk unwanted attention from the IRS.

Save all of your tax documents in the same file. You'll likely receive a W-2 from your employer, 1098 from your mortgage holder, 1099-INT from your bank, 1099-MISC for any miscellaneous income or a host of other forms specific to your situation.

Check them carefully as they arrive. Make sure your name, Social Security and reported information is correct. If not, contact the issuer to resolve differences and have a corrected copy prepared. Any discrepancies will raise a red flag when you file your return.

Do you qualify for "Head of Household" status? You could be taxed at a lower rate if you are unmarried as of the last day of the year, pay for more than half the cost of keeping up a home and claim an exemption for a relative for more than half the year.

Communicate with your children who work about claiming them as a dependent. If they claim themselves as an exemption on their own return, you'll both get a penalty notice and will have to prove which of you is truly entitled. The wrong party will be slapped with a penalty plus interest on taxes which should have been due.

Points and mortgage interest can be deducted for those who itemize rather than take the standard deduction. But be careful if you've refinanced your mortgage, particularly if the new one is larger than the original. The points have to be amortized over the life of the loan.

The First Time Homebuyer's Credit was offered from 2008 - 2010 for those buying a new home as their primary residence. But they had to remain in the house for three years. If you received this credit but sold a home sooner, that credit must be repaid.

Residents of states without a state income tax, like Delaware or Florida, may deduct a portion of sales tax paid since they can't benefit from an income tax deduction. But this option expired with 2011 income and has yet to be extended further. This could be your last chance to take this break.

Keep a cancelled check or receipt for any charitable contribution you made. If you donated goods rather than cash, do not claim your purchase price. Deduct the item's value at the time you made the donation.

Claiming medical deductions can get tricky. Only include the amount you actually paid, not the total you were billed. Your total medical costs must exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income to qualify as a deduction.

You can claim employee expenses that aren't reimbursed by your employer as miscellaneous expenses if they exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. But it can get tricky to know what items are actually eligible. Uniforms must be of the type specifically required for your job and not something you could wear elsewhere. For example, a mechanic with his name imprinted on a shirt counts. It isn't typically something you would wear out to dinner. A plain denim shirt without a logo can be worn anywhere. It doesn't.

If you're looking for a job in the same line of work, you can claim related job hunting expenses like resume preparation, agency fees or postage. If you're traveling to do so, you can claim lodging, food and travel expenses. But if this is your first job or you're changing careers, you're not eligible for this deduction.

People who do charitable work can deduct related out-of-pocket expenses and mileage for traveling. But you can't put a value on your time.

If this all sounds confusing to you, you'd better stick with a traditional tax preparer. It's far better to trust a professional than risk an IRS audit.


On The World Wide Web

Congratulations to GCFlash staff members Varuni Singh and Tracy O'Connell, who were recognized for their accomplishments. Read about them here.

Crime is occurring in places previously thought safe. Be aware of your surroundings and alert for suspicious activity. Teach your children where to seek safe shelter. Watch out for potential abductors such as the one described here.

Are you being audited by the IRS? Read the 7 Ways to Persuade the IRS That You Are Right.

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2nd Flash

Credits, Cuts and Cautions

Congress haggles over the "Bush tax cuts" as if they were a bad thing. Were you to examine them in detail, you would learn that it's the lower income taxpayers who have the most to lose if they're not extended.

A provision in that tax law lowered the rate paid by those earning the least by creating a 10 percent bracket. For 2011, that included a single person earning less than $8,500 or $17,000 for those married filing jointly. Previously, they were subject to the existing 15 percent rate.

These cuts were eventually extended through 2012 but don't expect them to remain much longer. Tax reform is a hot topic in any election year. Any commitment made now will take a bitterly contested issue off the table.

Much like the two month extension granted the payroll tax break. This was a temporary cut to the amount workers pay into the Social Security program. The break was intended to replace the Making Work Pay tax credit, a noble attempt yet it reduces funding to a program already in financial trouble.

Congress is still haggling over this one in hopes of extending it through the end of 2012. At issue is the source of funding. We can't continue to rob Social Security. Yet an extension of only two months has proven to be a logistical nightmare for administrators.

Certain educational tax breaks expired at the end of 2011. This is your last chance to claim the tuition and fees deduction up to $4,000. The American opportunity credit was reduced to $2,500 for undergraduate education in 2011 and disappears completely for 2012.

The IRA-to-charity rollover expired at year-end 2011. This allowed the donation to a favorite charity of up to $100,000 tax-free from an IRA for those 70-1/2 or older.

If you converted your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in 2010, you had the option of deferring your tax liability over the following two years. It's time to pay up. Half of that tax is due with your 2011 return with the balance due for 2012.

Even the most diligent filers can fall victim to errors. The IRS forgives honest mistakes. And they're on to those that are dishonest.

Use a reputable tax preparer. Beware of those promising larger returns. They may fudge numbers or fake deductions just to keep your business. Or ask for a cut of your extra refund money. The IRS offers 10 Tips to Help Choose a Tax Preparer. Choosing poorly can be costly. It's your name on the form and the signature line.

Keeping good records throughout the year makes it quick and simple to prepare your taxes. But if you don't, avoid pulling numbers out of the air. The IRS will recognize inflated numbers that are out of range for someone on your income level. This one can result in jail time.

Don't think you can hide income offshore. There's a new Form 8938 to report overseas assets. The penalty for failing to file starts at $10,000. And that's before other potential penalties that may apply.

Phishing scams run rampant this time of the year. The IRS never contacts taxpayers by email asking for personal information. If you receive an email appearing to come from the IRS, forward it to phishing@irs.gov for their investigation.

Tip of the Week

Taking a spring break vacation? If you're planning to rent a home rather than stay at a hotel, research the property using more than one source before making a deposit. Rental scammers advertise properties online that do not exist or a legitimate address without the owner's knowledge. Stick with a reputable real estate rental agent rather than someone with a generic sounding vacation rental name or responding to a Craigslist ad.

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Quotable

"Only love can be divided endlessly, and still not diminish." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Today in History

1988 - Bobby Allison became the oldest driver at age 50 to win the Daytona 500.


Flash Fact

Bobby Allison won the 1988 Daytona 500 a mere two car lengths over son Davey who finished second. It was the only 1-2 father-son finish in the race's history.

Have a comment about something you read in GCFlash? Suggestions for future articles? Drop us an email!

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PURPOSE:

GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com.

For more comprehensive information, visit our Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com or call (856) 589-6600 Ext: 337 (Timothy P. Hand)

GCFLASH PRIVACY STATEMENT

For a copy of our Privacy Policy, visit www.gcfbank.com/gcflash_privacy.aspx

GCF maintains your e-mail address in a confidential and secure database along with much of your other account information, such as mailing address and telephone number, etc. Before aggregating our e-mailing list each week, we filter out any duplicates. In most cases, this inhibits the unintended e-mailing of multiple copies of GCFlash to a single e-mail address. However, because these account records are kept by both individual and account, there is a chance members of the same household could each receive a copy of GCFlash or any other transmission at the same e- mail address - resulting in multiple copies. For example, a husband and wife that both have accounts with GCF may both receive a copy because the names are different but listed at the same e-mail address. This is similar to the manner in which each individual may share a common telephone number. To handle this situation, GCF recommends you simply delete any extra copies of GCFlash as this will ensure that ALL individuals receive any future promotional mailings, which might only be targeted or offered to specific accountholders meeting certain criteria. GCF has the capability to suppress customer e-mail addresses so they are omitted from our transmission list. If you would rather have a specific household member’s e-mail address suppressed in our electronic database, simply send us a reply, as stated below, and indicate the accountholder for which you would like to have e-mail suppressed. Please keep in mind that this suppression will mean that NO future e-mails are sent, including special promotional offers. If you have any questions about this process or need additional information, please contact us at netaccess@gcfbank.com.

If you would like to be removed from this electronic mailing list, please hit reply and place the word REMOVE in the subject line. Please note, removing your name from our electronic mailing list means GCF will send NO FUTURE NEWS or SPECIAL OFFERS.


GCF Bank
381 Egg Harbor Road
Sewell, NJ 08080
(856) 589-6600
www.gcfbank.com