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, December 3, 2013

Edition #741


Today's Highlights:

Past issues of GCFlash:

November 26, 2013 Edition #740

November 19, 2013 Edition #739

November 12, 2013 Edition #738

November 5, 2013 Edition #737


Weekly Spotlight:

Last call for Toys-for-Tots! Gifts must be collected no later than Thursday, December 5th for distribution to needy children in our communities. We thank those who have already donated.


Our Current Rates:

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

Today's National Market Rates
December 3, 2013 6 Mo Ago
06/03/12
1 Yr Ago
12/03/12
5 Yrs Ago
12/03/08
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 2,527.26 or 18.88% since 12/31/12)
15,914.62 (-0.59%) 15,254.03 12,965.60 8,591.69
S&P 500
(Up 368.96 or 25.87% since 12/31/12)
1,795.15 (-0.32%) 1,640.42 1,409.46 870.74
NASDAQ
(Up 1,017.69 or 33.70% since 12/31/12)
4,037.20 (-0.20%) 3,465.37 3,002.20 1,492.38
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 2.78% 2.13% 1.63% 2.68%
British Sterling 1.6380 1.5193 1.6009 1.4901
Euro 1.3588 1.2994 1.2983 1.2650

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1st Flash

Charity Guide

The spirit of the season leads many to consider charitable giving as part of their Christmas goodwill. If you don't already have one in mind, where do you start?

Charities exist for every conceivable situation. Whether your heart is moved by a sick child, returning war veteran, or homeless puppy, there is a group that shares your vision.

There are societies that fund research to battle diseases, support groups for those afflicted by them, and grief resources for families of those that have succumbed to them.

Charities that aid disaster victims, the impoverished, the endangered, the polluted, the you-name-it.

Choosing a cause is the easy part. Your heart and circumstances guide you. Selecting between all of the groups promoting the same cause - not so simple.

Decide in advance who you want to support before being asked. Learn about a charity and how it works. Groups that want to lower teenage pregnancy rates may teach sex education, promote abstinence, offer programs to build a girl's self-esteem, or hand out contraceptive devices. Fighting hunger can involve food handouts or teaching how to plant a garden. Different ways to tackle the same problem. Which do you deem most effective? Which embraces your core beliefs?

A legitimate charity should have a live person to answer some basic questions. Ask about their short-term and long-term goals. What percentage of your dollar goes towards the actual services vs. administrative or fundraising costs? Request a financial statement.

Avoid those that call, send heart-wrenching letters with photos, and door-to-door solicitors. Even if they represent a charity on your giving list. Money raised through a fund-raising appeal doesn't go directly to the cause. Campaign overhead takes the first bite out of it. You're not always talking to a volunteer. For-profit fundraisers who call on behalf of charities keep anywhere from 25 to 95 cents of every dollar they collect.

Confirm that the charity is the one you believe it to be. Groups adopt a name similar to a well-respected organization in order to confuse donors. Police associations may be based in an outlying area, your local officers may not benefit.

Ask if your gift is tax-deductible. Not all nonprofit organizations are charities, donations are not always deductible at tax time.

Volunteering is an excellent way to learn how well-run a charity is before donating. Nothing beats hands-on experience to determine a group's effectiveness.

Charity watchdog American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) recommends supporting a charity that spends at least 60% of your donation on the endeavor itself. But this can be misleading. A new start-up may have higher expenses. One with a very low expense ratio may be reporting a mail solicitation as education expense rather than marketing.

A charity's website should have financial information as well as program details. Learn their privacy policy. Some will sell their email lists to telemarketers and list brokers.

And while I shouldn't have to warn you about this... never give personal information to anyone who initiates the communication; whether it be over the phone, through the mail or in person.

Websites such as CharityNavigator.org and Guidestar.org do the legwork for you. They offer ratings on thousands of legitimate charities. Each rates different criteria so it's worth your time to visit both.

Don't be taken during this season of giving.


On The World Wide Web

The Compassionate Friends support grieving family after the death of a child. Each year they hold a Worldwide Candle Lighting to honor all children who have died. This year's commemoration will be Sunday, December 8th. Candles are lit at 7:00 p.m. local time for one hour, creating a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Learn more.

The cost of giving the gifts in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas has soared this year, with only the price of the partridge in a pear tree showing a decline. Find out how much you'll pay this year.

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2nd Flash

Gifts You Never Thought Of

All I want for Christmas is.... No, not my two front teeth. But it was the most appropriate holiday song opening to complement this article.

Tablets are the hot item on this season's shopping list. Where do you start to select the right one for your favorite techie?

Consumer Reports (CR) gives honest advice, providing unbiased ratings and product reviews. Since my research budget doesn't allow me to test them all, I will defer to their findings.

CR suggests to first consider priorities before shopping for a tablet. If price and portability are most important, consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab with Wi-Fi. Those who need the most apps should go with an iPad.

Other factors to consider are the operating system and whether they have built-in ports. Are they easy to use? How clear is the display? What's the battery life? Screen size, touch response and weight should factor into your decision.

There's still a demand for GPS devices, despite the popularity of using your smartphone for directions. Choose a model based on how easily you can input destinations and which give the most helpful directions. Most allow you to choose from a variety of routes: whether it be the quickest, shortest, most scenic, without tolls, or a combination thereof. Secondary features may include MP3 playback and traffic services.

Too busy to check email notifications on your phone? Perhaps you need a smartwatch! The gadget is still young with a lot of bugs to work out. Setup can be difficult, small screen size makes them hard to read.

But don't overlook their promise just yet. Going beyond message notifications, many serve as fitness trackers as well. They'll track steps, calories, heart rate and more. They sync wirelessly via Bluetooth with iOS devices and Android smartphones. These features make the smartwatch a pretty thoughtful gift, whether or not the messaging functions are yet refined.

Hunters can blend in better with their surroundings thanks to Cabela's ColorPhase technology. The camouflage gear appears green when it's warm outdoors and changes to brown when the temperature drops.

Home automation is hot this year, too. Philips' Hue Connected Bulb lets you change the color of your lightbulbs and control them from your phones. What did you say? Why would I ever need to change a lightbulb color over the Internet? Because you can. And that's enough for a lot of techies.

While you're online, why not check your refrigerator's energy-saving performance, your food inventory and their expiration dates, find a recipe, leave a memo, and check the weather? You can with LG's SmartThinQ refrigerator. Samsung makes a similar model but it doesn't interact with a smartphone.

Guitar out of tune? You can be the life of the party within five seconds using the Tronical Tune. It's the first "affordable" guitar self-tuner. It installs without drilling, soldering or wiring, using custom algorithms to drive six small motors.

But don't leave the party without using the BACtrack Mobile. The device connects to an iPhone to monitor blood alcohol levels. Know when to quit drinking and stay off the road.

The only limit to gift giving is our imagination.


Tip of the Week

Pay extra attention when shopping online. Bogus websites are selling knockoffs at name brand prices, using the look and feel of the designer's site as well as authentic logos to fool consumers.


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Quotable

"Misfits aren't misfits among other misfits." - Barry Manilow


Today in History

1964 - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer first airs on television.


Flash Fact

The story of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was written in 1939 by a copywriter for Montgomery Ward department stores. It was based on his own childhood. As the smallest boy in his class, he was taunted for being a frail, scrawny misfit.

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