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, June 7, 2011

Edition #614


Today's Highlights:

Past issues of GCFlash:

May 31, 2011 Edition #613

May 24, 2011 Edition #612

May 17, 2011 Edition #611

May 10, 2011 Edition #610

Looking for articles from a past issue of GCFlash not listed above? Enter keywords into our Site Search! Find archived articles prior to August 2009 in our Knowledge Base.


Weekly Spotlight:

Older Americans have unique needs, and our web site offers tools to address them. Find articles, tips and resources geared towards those in the prime of life here.



Our Current Rates:

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

Today's National Market Rates
June 7, 2011 6 Mo Ago
12/07/10
1 Yr Ago
06/07/10
5 Yrs Ago
06/07/06
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 501.30 or 4.33% since 12/31/10)
12,078.81 (-0.16%) 11,359.16 9,816.49 10,930.90
S&P 500
(Up 27.30 or 2.17% since 12/31/10)
1,284.94 (-0.10%) 1,223.75 1,050.47 1,256.15
NASDAQ
(Up 48.69 or 1.84% since 12/31/10)
2,701.56 (-0.04%) 2,598.49 2,173.90 2,151.80
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 3.01% 3.16% 3.18% 5.03%
British Sterling 1.6444 1.5719 1.4470 1.8686
Euro 1.4690 1.3328 1.1960 1.2943

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1st Flash

Politics Aside...

Decades down the road, historians will view our current point in time as a pivotal crossroads in American history.

Ever since the post-WWII baby boom, we've known that those born during that period would one day retire. There would be a point in time where Social Security payments would exceed tax revenue.

Analysts offered various dates that would happen in hopes of averting a potential economic crisis. None predicted it would come as early as it did in 2010.

Several factors contributed to the accelerated date of imbalance. The primary cause is the high rate of unemployment. Not only are there fewer workers to pay into the system, but a massive number of workers were forced to take early retirement when faced with job loss.

So now we try to calculate when the program's funds will be fully depleted, currently predicted to happen in 2037. Sounds like a long way off. We have plenty of time to fix this system, right?

Wrong. We're a mere 26 years away from 2037. The program began experiencing difficulties in the late 1970s. Can we expect to fix in 26 years something we couldn't achieve in 40?

Consider also Medicare reform. Here's another program designed to benefit the American people. Another one whose future is at risk.

As Medicare currently stands, reform may not be necessary. It may be defunct before it goes bankrupt.

Doctors have not seen an increase in benefit payments in over 11 years. They contract with Medicare to accept a stated amount for designated procedures. Should this involve a diagnostic visit, surgery and follow up office visits, they are not permitted to bill individual charges. They must be bundled, with Medicare choosing how to pay. A $10,000 surgery can result in reimbursement of only $500. The rest must be written off per contract agreement.

Doctors pay more than for operating room privileges alone, before any other expenses come into play. Why would any professional consent to such an agreement?

Fewer and fewer are doing so. They just can't afford to participate in the Medicare program.

There were 19.1 million people enrolled for Medicare coverage in 1966. That number rose to 47 million in 2010, a 147 percent increase. It's expected to reach 80 million by 2030.

Program reform, like Social Security, is essential for sustainability. Anybody would agree to this.

Yet one thing stands in the way of true progress. Politics.

I'm not blaming Democrats or Republicans. I'm saying there's plenty of blame to point at both sides.

Republicans blocked efforts by President Clinton to privatize Social Security in 1999. His successor, George W. Bush, was met with the same resistance in 2005 when presenting the same plan his opponents embraced just six years earlier.

It didn't matter whether the plan merited discussion. Each party criticized the effort simply because it was introduced by the other.

The same holds true with Medicare right now. Facts are skewed to make each side appear cold and heartless in the eyes of the public. Paul Ryan will kill Medicare, claim opponents to the White House budget chief's plan. Proponents claim the program will go bankrupt by 2020 without reform.

And public outrage explodes on both sides of the fence.

Mainstream media is no better. Gone are the likes of Walter Cronkite, who labored to report just the facts and leave his opinion at home. The rise of cable news stations gives each side a place to present their platform to an audience who share their views. Today's news programs report opinion, leaving the facts at home.

One needs to visit web sites such as justfacts.com or factcheck.org to learn which claims are based on fact and which lack merit. You'll find an equal scattering of both in each party's arguments.

Perhaps former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said it best. Appearing on Fox News, he cited one reason leading to his decision not to run for President of the United States in 2012. He believes that politicians today are too involved with partisanship, they're no longer there to solve problems.

And that's a shame. Not only is it a black mark on those we elect to lead our country, it can lead to a nation engulfed in strife. Our elected officials must uphold the interests of the American people, we're not paying them to engage in petty bickering. It's time someone took the reigns and did just that. True Social Security and Medicare reform would be a good place to start. You can be sure we'll remember come November elections.

On The World Wide Web

Over the age of 55? You deserve a discount! Find out how much you've earned where at this site.

Do you have an elderly family member, neighbor or friend who can use help? Visit eldercare.gov to find local services, links to related web sites and resources for caregivers.

Jobs are scarce, especially for those over the age of 50. Search job listings, find information on changing careers and resources for the over-50 workforce here.

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2nd Flash

Choosing a Senior Living Community

One of the most difficult tasks a family can undertake is assuring their loved one has proper care as they age.

Humans are independent creatures by nature. We're taught how to care for ourselves at a young age. But you won't find any lessons on aging.

There are different levels of elder care. Many people don't need the intensity of a nursing home. They can fend for themselves, but have difficulty with certain functions they once took for granted. Like getting back up after a fall, or turning the stove off after cooking a meal.

For these people, assisted living makes a good alternative. There are good facilities in most communities. But how do you know which is the right one for your loved one?

Tour several assisted living facilities. Observe the other residents. Do they have anything in common with your loved one? Do they have the same social or professional background? Do they speak the same language? Do they have similar impairments or limitations? Do they look content?

Ask to see a schedule of activities. Are they the type your loved one would participate in? Try to attend one to see what's going on first hand.

Is the staff experienced in the type of care your loved one requires? Are members of a medical staff on-site? Do they have the provisions to address needs that will change in the future?

Visit the facility around mealtime. If possible, eat a meal while you're there to see if the food is good and fresh. Evaluate the dining room experience. Are special meals or diets available? What about special requests?

Household services offered can differ from one facility to the next. If your loved one can't cook, clean, or do laundry any longer, make sure these services are offered by the community you choose. How often are services provided? How responsive is the staff to accidents that may occur?

Speak to as many staff members as possible during your visit. Get a sense of how they feel about the facility and whether they enjoy working there. Are they warm, friendly and respectful? Do they appear to be caring individuals? Learn about the hiring process, particularly whether or not a criminal background check is conducted. The quality of the staff is much more important than the quantity.

Will the facility hold a bed if your loved one is hospitalized or needs temporary rehabilitation? How close is the nearest hospital?

Consider the size of the living space. While you may want to provide the largest space available, it may not be the best option. Typically, a person will become more reclusive when they have more space. Socialization is important to guard against depression.

It will be a difficult move for your loved one when they have to leave the family home. They're leaving behind a lifetime of memories; raising a family, home repairs gone awry, holiday celebrations. All those little events that turn a house into a home.

Have patience. Expect fits of anger, bouts of depression and hysterical outbursts. It will take some time for them to become comfortable with their new lifestyle. In the meantime, you may find yourself labeled the villain no matter how necessary it was to make the move.

Visit frequently. Take them shopping for a day, or treat them to a restaurant meal. If you promise a visit, show up. Your continued love and support will help make the adjustment easier.

Tip of the Week

The FDIC released its second e-mail scam alert in one month. This one leads recipients to believe their financial institution has failed, urging them to click a malicious link for information on how their accounts are affected. Learn more.

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Financial News

The Federal government is once again rolling out another stimulus package, this time targeting small business. The Small Business Lending Fund is rolling out a program to lend banks money who will in turn lend to small businesses. The program has earmarked $30 billion to lend to community banks with assets of less than $10 billion or less. The banks will pay interest between 1 percent and 9 percent for amount borrowed with the rate determined in part by the amount lent to small businesses. A qualified small business cannot have more than $50 million in revenues and a loan amount of $10 million or less.

The small business administration has several programs that target the growth and success of small businesses. There is help in starting and managing a business, including writing a business plan. Some of the assistance is online at sba.gov, with more available through their offices. The program above is designed to make capital available to banks to facilitate the various programs available to small business.

Employment had a less-than-stellar performance in May with the unemployment rate increasing from 9.0 percent to 9.1 percent. Added jobs from new business will be a welcome addition to the economy.


Quotable

"Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up." - Tom Stoppard


Today in History

1775 - United Colonies changes its name to United States.


Flash Fact

Seniors age 65 and older make up the highest percentage of voters in any age group at 79 percent. Of those, 71 percent reported that they voted in the 2004 presidential election.

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