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, July 23, 2013

Edition #722


Today's Highlights:

Past issues of GCFlash:

July 16, 2013 Edition #721

July 9, 2013 Edition #720

July 2, 2013 Edition #719

June 25, 2013 Edition #718


Weekly Spotlight:

Not sure what you'll child will need their first year away at college? A GCF Visa Gift Card is always the perfect gift for any occasion. Stop into any GCF branch to purchase a GCF Visa Gift Card for someone special!


Correction

To ratify a Constitutional Amendment, 38 states must approve the measure, not 28 as appeared in last week's Flash Fact. Our thanks to a loyal reader who brought this error to our attention.


Our Current Rates:

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

Today's National Market Rates
July 23, 2013 6 Mo Ago
01/22/12
1 Yr Ago
07/23/12
5 Yrs Ago
07/23/08
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 2,180.38 or 16.29% since 12/31/12)
15,567.74 (+0.14%) 13,712.21 12,721.46 11,632.38
S&P 500
(Up 266.20 or 18.67% since 12/31/12)
1,692.39 (-0.19%) 1,492.56 1,350.52 1,282.19
NASDAQ
(Up 559.76 or 18.54% since 12/31/12)
3,579.27 (-0.59%) 3,143.18 2,890.15 2,325.88
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 2.51% 1.84% 1.43% 4.15%
British Sterling 1.5380 1.5858 1.5619 2.0001
Euro 1.3226 1.3315 1.2151 1.5888

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1st Flash

Order Online

It wasn't always this way. Online shopping originally meant avoiding mall crowds and long checkout lines. Now it takes longer and can be more tedious than trekking out to the shopping center.

What you see isn't always what you get. The price you first saw may not be what you eventually pay.

We covered online shopping safety in a previous issue. You can still find it online here. It was based on holiday shopping, but the same common sense tips should be applied all year long.

Today we're going to talk about trends. Trends that can prove costly.

If you still get a Sunday newspaper, you'll find it stuffed with sales circulars from all the local brick and mortar stores. Each has their weekly specials highlighted to lure you into their establishment.

You know what you'll pay for a given item. You can see and touch the product before you decide to purchase.

Comparison shopping sites like Pricegrabber.com or Google Shopping will quickly search for your product of choice and display prices from around the web. They perform as a search engine to save you visiting each vendor individually to compare prices.

But when you get there, you may see a different price than you expected. Or you may visit the referred site directly an hour later to find a price increase. Your neighbor may have bought the identical item from the same site yesterday and paid less. Or more.

Online retailers practice dynamic pricing. They are updated by the minute based on multiple factors. And greatly influenced by intelligence gathered through Internet cookies. How close do you live to a brick and mortar store? Are you a repeat customer? Did you visit a price comparison site first or go directly to their site?

You may even see different pricing from your home, office, or mobile browser. If you like the first price you see, grab it while you can.

Some retailers use an abandoned shopping cart to lure you back to their site. If you added an item but didn't follow through with the sale, they're not too happy about letting the purchase slip through their grasp. You may get a follow up email a few days later as a reminder, along with a one-time discount if you complete the purchase in a specified timeframe.

But retailers noticed that consumers have caught on so don't use this as a ploy for better pricing. They're using this strategy on a random basis rather than standard procedure. You may not be selected for the special offer.

What happens when you receive your order to find it looks nothing like the one in the picture? Colors can appear differently. Actual size may be smaller than it appears. It may not fit properly or work with your model device. Or the retailer may have pulled a bait-and-switch and shipped you an inferior item.

Don't submit that order until you know the return policy. If you're shopping on eBay or Amazon, each merchant represented may have their own policy. Don't expect a full refund for a returned item just because you received that last purchase.

Many merchants charge a restocking fee up to 20% for their inconvenience. There are costs involved with receiving, processing, and shipping an order. Those are considered when determining a price for an item.

Those costs are still incurred when it's returned, along with processing the return handling, correcting inventory records and returning the item to stock. If your initial shipping was free, you may find that deducted from your refund as well. Plus you'll incur return shipping costs.

Other merchants guarantee your satisfaction and refund not only your entire purchase price, but your return shipping costs as well. Larger stores can do this. Smaller ones don't have the resources to bear these additional costs. It's truly a matter of economics and not a reflection of a store's integrity.

The best advice is to shop early. Give yourself enough time to compare, purchase and receive an item. And enough time to repeat the drill in case it doesn't work out right the first time.


On The World Wide Web

Looking for a comparison shopping website? Find the Top 15 Most Popular here.

The American Bar Association offers safe online shopping tips on a dedicated website.

Save money shopping online with these tips from the folks at Reader's Digest.

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2nd Flash

Operation Backpack 2013

Nobody wants to think about back-to-school yet, but it does sneak up on us quickly. One day it's all barbecues and swimming; the next day it's new clothes and school supplies. Start preparing now so as not to get caught up in all the hectic, last-minute shopping rush. One way to help you and your kids get in the mood for back-to-school is to participate in Operation Backpack.

Unfortunately, there are many kids in communities throughout southern New Jersey whose parents cannot afford to buy them new clothes or new school supplies. By participating in Operation Backpack, you can help these students achieve educational success.

Operation Backpack is a community-wide initiative that provides support to disadvantaged students ages 3-19 in elementary, middle and high school. By providing underprivileged children and teens with basic supplies at the start of the school year, Operation Backpack sets them on the path to academic achievement.

But Operation Backpack can't do it alone. They need your help. Make it a family effort by having your kids participate in the shopping. Have your kids select the items they would like to have for themselves. Kids know best what kids like. By getting the whole family involved, you can teach your kids the importance of giving back to your community.

GCF Bank will be collecting donations for Operation Backpack from now through August 16th. Donations made at GCF Bank locations will go to help students in southern New Jersey areas.

Fill a backpack with any of the suggested school supplies from the list below and drop it off at any GCF Bank location. NEW backpacks and supplies only please! This year, Operation Backpack is especially in need of backpacks for teens.

pencils
crayons
book soxs
pens
markers
scissors
erasers
rulers
glue sticks
pencil boxes
journals
notebooks
folders
calculators
sharpeners

You can donate just a backpack, a backpack filled with school supplies, or just school supplies. Gift cards for school supplies or clothing are also welcome. Operation Backpack will take it all and pass it on to those in need.

If you cannot drop off any supplies, but would still like to contribute, you can make a donation on the Center for Family Services website. There is a link on their home page to Donate Online. Or, if you would prefer, you can mail your donation to CFS, Operation Backpack, 584 Benson Street, Camden, NJ 08103. Suggested donation amounts are listed below, but you can donate any amount you wish.

  • $25 - buys a backpack for one child
  • $45 - buys a backpack filled with school supplies for one child
  • $75 - buys a backpack filled with school supplies plus a uniform for one child
  • $100 - buys a backpack filled with school supplies plus a uniform and shoes for one child

If you are not in southern New Jersey and you would like to donate in your local area, do an Internet search on Operation Backpack. They're active in many communities throughout the country.

If you cannot donate any supplies, consider donating your time. Operation Backpack will need volunteers to consolidate, sort, and organize backpacks. To volunteer, contact the Center for Family Services at 856-964-1990, ext. 130 or email operationbackpack@centerffs.org.

Find a GCF Branch location on our website. If you cannot make it to a GCF Branch, look for another donation location on the Center for Family Services website.

Become a part of the Operation Backpack team and help make an impact in the life of a child in need. Stop in and donate today!


Tip of the Week

Each of your kids has their own unique interests. Shopping online can be frustrating. One site offers all of your kids' favorite sports and activities gear in one place. AfterSchool.com includes checklists and gear guides to help you buy wisely, and comes from the Quidsi folks who bring the same concept to products for babies, soaps, home decor, pet needs and more. One site, one stop. Point your browser here.


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Quotable

"We are not educated well enough to perform the necessary act of intelligently selecting our leaders." - Walter Cronkite


Today in History

1962 - The Telstar 1 satellite transmitted the first live, trans-Atlantic TV broadcast. It featured CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite.


Flash Fact

Walter Cronkite landed with the troops at the Invasion of Normandy. He broadcast CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981 and was the first to tell the American people that President Kennedy had been assassinated.

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