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, May 7, 2013

Edition #711


Today's Highlights:

Past issues of GCFlash:

April 30, 2013 Edition #710

April 23, 2013 Edition #709

April 16, 2013 Edition #708

April 9, 2013 Edition #707


Weekly Spotlight:

Are you having funds wired into your GCF account? Find instructions on our website.


Our Current Rates:

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

Today's National Market Rates
May 7, 2013 6 Mo Ago
11/05/12
1 Yr Ago
05/07/12
5 Yrs Ago
05/06/08
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 1,668.84 or 12.47% since 12/31/12)
15,056.20 (+0.58%) 13,112.44 13,008.53 13,020.83
S&P 500
(Up 199.77 or 14.01% since 12/31/12)
1,625.96 (+0.52%) 1,417.26 1,369.58 1,418.26
NASDAQ
(Up 377.12 or 12.49% since 12/31/12)
3,396.63 (+0.11%) 2,999.66 2,957.76 2,483.31
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 1.78% 1.68% 1.88% 3.89%
British Sterling 1.5484 1.6021 1.6144 1.9722
Euro 1.3077 1.2834 1.3072 1.5464

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1st Flash

Where Is It?

Indicators point to economic recovery. The DJIA and S&P Indices have both posted record highs. The unemployment rate was 7.5% for April, the lowest we've seen since December 2008. Consumer confidence ebbs and flows along with weekly jobs and housing numbers.

Are you better off than you were four years ago? Americans aren't answering that question the same way today as they did when Ronald Reagan asked it in 1980.

Pull out your wallet. No need to open it, just feel it in the palm of your hand. Not quite as heavy as it once was, right? Don't you wish you could lose weight just as quickly?

Official Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for April 2013 report the unemployment rate to be at 7.5% with the U-6 rate at 13.5%. The U-6 number includes the underemployed and "marginally attached workers," those discouraged who have stopped looking but still want to work.

The underemployed are those working part-time jobs because they couldn't find something full-time and those who had to settle for entry level positions after a period of unemployment. They have a significant affect on the economy, the same as if they were unemployed, since they can't contribute to consumer spending.

BLS reports the number of unemployed persons at 11.7 million. Those working part-time because their hours had been cut back or were unable to find a full-time job total 7.9 million persons.

While the total unemployed decreased by 220,000 in April, the number of those taking part-time jobs increased by 278,000.

The marginally attached are broken down into several categories. Those that had not searched for work in the previous four weeks due to family circumstances or health reasons totaled 1.5 million. The remaining 835,000 became discouraged and quit looking for work.

Unemployment plus falling wages equal the lowest home ownership rate since 1995. Currently, 65% of Americans own their homes, down from 69.2% at ownership's peak.

What a rosy picture this paints. Is it enough to fuel the surge in the stock markets? If these numbers are accurate, how can the markets be seeing all-time highs? Why are investors confident?

They're not. The Federal Reserve keeps pumping new money into the economy to sustain record low interest rates and keep the economic engine running.

Bonds no longer offer a significant return. So investors buy stocks. The money has to go somewhere.

One weekend news anchor gloated when covering the DJIA's surge. She reported that the market had recovered 164% since its October 2008 crash. Those who had $10,000 invested at the time and didn't panic - left it there - would have $26,400 today.

Tell that to those who had their entire retirement fund invested in such stalwarts of stability as General Motors, Lehman Brothers and AIG.

Before you become totally depressed by such doom-and-gloom, understand that every story has two sides. What spells disaster for some is fortune for another.

My financial adviser offers an insightful analogy, comparing our economy to a car with a manual transmission. If you're too young to remember those, ask your parents.

When a car stalled, it could be restarted by a push from behind. The car would backfire, jolt and buck like a bronco until it finally caught gear and powered ahead on its own.

That car is no different than our economy. It tends to stall during a routine cycle. And then the government gives it a push through stimulus. The markets jolt up and down, backfiring a few times, before running smoothly on their own.

Stock prices fall, and they rise. Jobs are lost, new opportunities arise. Most often all turns out for the best eventually when left to human ingenuity and innovation.

We can only hope the government realizes this and stops pushing the car before the economy runs out of gas.


On The World Wide Web

Do you own a New Jersey small business or non-profit organization that sustained at least $5,000 in physical damage from Superstorm Sandy? You may be eligible for a grant or forgivable loan from the State. Get the details here.

It's here! Saturday, May 11 is Super Saturday in Washington Township. For information, visit this site.

Check out these 9 Cool Websites for Moms.

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2nd Flash

As Forewarned

Folks, the moment I warned you about in January 2011 has arrived. Beware of E15.

The EPA has approved the use of 15% ethanol-blended gasoline known as E15 for all vehicles model year 2001 and later. And this means trouble.

When unleaded gasoline first entered the marketplace, cars equipped to run the new fuel were built with a larger inlet to their gas tank. Gas stations had to get new pumps with a larger nozzle to dispense the fuel so it wasn't accidentally used in cars built to run on the leaded gasoline in use at the time. The nozzle wouldn't fit into the smaller inlet. You couldn't destroy your engine by simply gassing it up.

That won't happen with the introduction of E15. A four-inch label on the pump is all the warning you'll get.

Ethanol interests began lobbying for the increased blend back in 2009. The National Renewable Energy Lab completed research that fall that showed major engine problems with E15 in a variety of products.

The Coordinating Research Council (CRC) conducted further testing that determined as many as one of every three vehicles on the road could experience problems with E15.

The Engine Products Group; consisting of auto, marine and small engine trade associations, sued to reverse the EPA's 2011 decision. The Supreme Court dismissed their lawsuit claiming they were not yet victims so couldn't challenge the decision in court.

This is like saying that several lab rats died after ingesting a new drug, but humans haven't been killed yet so we'll approve it for the marketplace. What is the purpose of testing first if you're not going to consider the results?

Let's forget for just a minute the fact that it takes more energy to produce ethanol than we will ever save on the road. Put aside the fact that the manufacturing process emits more harmful ozone than will be saved on the nation's highways. And how converting corn to fuel removes it from the food chain.

As a nation, we need to establish new sources of renewable energy. But a bad plan is worse than having none at all.

The American Automobile Association (AAA), along with several automakers, are disputing the EPA's claims that vehicles can run safely on E15. They assert that it could damage fuel lines.

Something those in the small engine, motorcycle and marine industries know quite well. The new blend is not approved for these engines, only vehicles.

Not so fast. BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and VW will not cover fuel-related claims under warranty. Use of E15 is reason to void warranties by Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. The manufacturer's warn that its use will cause corrosive damage to fuel lines, gaskets and other engine components.

AAA warns that their engineering experts believe sustained use of the gas, no matter the age of the car, could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false check engine lights.

Most gas stations won't go through the expense of installing new tanks to house E15. Instead, they'll install blender pumps which mix the ethanol and gasoline together in the right proportion for your selection.

So if the person who last used the pump chose E15, you're going to get a little bit of residual left in the hose when you select E10. It won't be enough to damage your car's engine, but it could be a problem for your motorcycle, boat or lawn mower.

The new blend is only being offered at a handful of gas stations around the country while legal battles ensue. Pay close attention to assure yours is not among them.

With today's spiraling gas prices, consumers have become accustomed to choosing the lowest price grade available. Selecting E15 may not be the bargain it appears.


Tip of the Week

Today is Password Day. It's an annual reminder to change your email on all of your online accounts to reduce the risk of getting hacked. Find tips on creating a strong password here.


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Quotable

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone


Today in History

1914 - U.S. Congresses establishes Mother's Day.


Flash Fact

The world's most prolific mother was a Russian woman, Mrs. Vassilyev. She had 69 children in 27 pregnancies, 67 that survived past infancy. She had no single births, only multiple sets of twins, triplets and quadruplets.

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.

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, click this link to send us an email to unsubscribe. 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