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 27, 2011

Edition #643


Today's Highlights:

Past issues of GCFlash:

December 20, 2011 Edition #642

December 13, 2011 Edition #641

December 6, 2011 Edition #640

November 29, 2011 Edition #639

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:

Introducing ZashPay - a new feature in GCF Online Banker's Web Pay. Click here for details!



Now available at
GCF Bank!

Our Current Rates:

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

Today's National Market Rates
December 27, 2011 6 Mo Ago
06/27/11
1 Yr Ago
12/27/10
5 Yrs Ago
12/27/06
Dow Jones Industrial Average
(Up 713.84 or 6.17% since 12/31/10)
12,291.35 (-0.02%) 12,043.56 11,555.03 12,510.57
S&P 500
(Up 7.79 or 0.62% since 12/31/10)
1,265.43 (+0.01%) 1,280.10 1,257.54 1,426.84
NASDAQ
(Down 27.67 or 1.04% since 12/31/10)
2,625.20 (+0.25%) 2,688.28 2,667.27 2,431.22
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 2.01% 2.93% 3.35% 4.65%
British Sterling 1.5669 1.5954 1.5433 1.9581
Euro 1.3070 1.4184 1.3116 1.3127

Back to top

1st Flash

GCFBank.com Grew In 2011

What a busy year it's been at GCFBank.com. The new site design launched October 2010, and we've continued to build and grow it to serve our visitor's needs.

ZashPay was added to GCF Online Banker's Web Pay function. What is ZashPay? Merely the fastest, easiest way to send money to anybody with an email address or mobile phone number. "Better than PayPal" is what we hear from folks who have already tried it. Login to Web Pay and click the "Pay People" tab. The rest is so simple you'll become a regular user.

We've made it easier than ever to find something on our website by adding Google site search in April. Want to find something from a past issue of GCFlash? Need to know how long it takes a check to clear? Thinking about refinancing your mortgage? Simply enter the appropriate keywords in the search box that appears at the top of every page to find every instance of that phrase on our entire site.

The most important improvement to our website is the upgraded Security Center. We all became a bit numb to the dangers when we hear of yet another fraud alert. Yet we can't ignore the reality - the face of fraud has changed. Even those in the security community have fallen victim.

Our Security Center may well be the most extensive in the industry. New this year is a video and game library designed to make learning fun. Test your likelihood of getting fooled by playing the Spam Scam Slam. Find out if you have the tools to stop a cyber thief by playing the Case of the Cyber Criminal.

Hear the story of an online scammer by viewing Internet Fraud: Web of Deception. Learn the difference in legitimate jobs and scams while watching Work-at-Home Scams: They Just Don't Pay. Both are courtesy of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Smartphone safety and mobile wi-fi hot spot tips were added to our resource page.

GCFBank.com went mobile! We began offering a mini-version of our most popular informational pages in June, including a link to the full site for visitors looking for more. By July, our mobile landing page was already one of the most popular on our entire site.

No need to learn a new site name to access the mobile version. Simply visit GCFBank.com via your smartphone. Our server will automatically detect your device and deliver the appropriate version. Or you can capture the QR code above with your scanner and bookmark the site!

As always, you can visit our Community Outreach page to learn what GCF has contributed to the communities we serve. None of it would be possible if it weren't for the generosity of our customers. See how many children you made happy this Christmas through all the toys collected for those in need.

Our calendar of events lists items of interest occurring in your own backyard. We include fundraisers and programs offered for the benefit of our communities. We'll be happy to include any event our readers submit as well. Send details to webmaster@gcfbank.com.

Our People page is continually updated to provide you with the name and contact information to reach the proper person to answer whatever question you may have.

We won't rest on our laurels. We're already working on new features that will appear in 2012. Keep visiting to learn more.

Yet this is not OUR website. It's designed to serve our customers. Is there anything you'd like to see added? Any comments you would like to share on existing features? Your webmaster wants to hear from you.

The staff of GCFlash wants to wish all of our readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.


On The World Wide Web

Did you get a gift card that you're not likely to use? Need one from a different store instead? Buy one at a discount, get cash back for one you don't want and find gift card deals at this site.

Turn your unwanted gift card into cash! Visit an agent registered with Swapagift.com for cash on the spot.

Need to return a gift? Return policies may be different than in the past for a particular store. Get a rundown of what to expect for major retailers here.

Back to top

2nd Flash

GCFBank.com's Top Ten

Would you like to know what you're missing on GCFBank.com? Wonder what pages may be important or what they contain? Find out what others find important on our website?

In keeping with year end tradition, we present the Top Ten visited pages on GCFBank.com for 2011.

10. Loans: Find information on the various types of consumer loans GCF has to offer. Whether you're looking for a new car, planning your vacation, paying for a college education or want to add that dream ride to your car collection, GCF has a loan for you. Need a personal loan to consolidate debt or pay off medical bills? We've got a loan for that, too.

9. GCFlash: We have the last three years of GCFlash archived on our website for you to reference any article whenever you need it.

8. Checking: We offer accounts to fit every need. Find which is right for you!

7. Contact Us: Our website is simply a tool. It's humans who make GCF Bank successful. And we make it easy to find contact information so your question can be directed to the right person - the first time.

6. Discover Online Banker: More customers come through the "door" of our website daily than we often see in our branches. Why? GCF Online Banker is a quick and accurate way to do your banking. It's simply the best.

5. Mobile Site: Banking channels have changed. Busy people don't have time to visit a brick and mortar establishment very often. While we don't yet offer transactional banking from the palm of your hand, we do have a mobile informational site that provides locations, contact information, rates and a link to our full site.

4. Locations: For all the electronic channels available, there will always be a need to conduct certain functions in person. Locations, phone numbers and a map to each branch are only a few keystrokes away.

3. Rates: Loan rates, savings rates, CD rates, IRA rates, every rate is current at all times. And all in one place.

2. Security Center: Our Security Center is the cornerstone of GCFBank.com. We have tips for preventing fraud, and resources for those who have become a victim. Online security is a topic we focus on heavily in GCFlash. Find the best and most relevant of these articles in our Security Center. We post fraud alerts that may impact our customers and offer a video/game library to provide the tools you need to stay safe online. If you haven't yet visited our Security Center, check it out now to learn what you're missing.

1. Speedbumps: That nasty little page that you have to click through to link to any page that isn't directly on our website. While they may be a bit of a nuisance to you, they make the regulators happy. Our industry is mandated to include them whenever we offer an external link to avoid any confusion that may arise with a visitor who thinks they're still conducting business with the bank when they're actually leaving our site.

Why would we be so happy that this speedbump page is our number one visited? Because you only reach that page when visitors find something we've offered to be of value. And that's the entire purpose behind GCFBank.com. Not only can we fill your banking needs, but we can provide you with resources that affect your daily life.


Tip of the Week

The final tally for 2011 holiday sales figures won't be available until January 12th, but current data indicates that total online sales will reach a record $469 billion this year. IBM tracks online shopping and noticed a huge increase in those using smartphones. The iPad made up seven percent of total online sales with iPhone users accounting for another 6.4 percent. The trend is evidenced by Sears' announcement that they would be closing more than 100 stores nationwide.

Back to top


Financial News

Creative Destruction:

A top business headline this holiday week trumpets: "Sears Holdings to Shutter up to 120 Stores." As is typical with the media, even the business media, this headline is supposed to be interpreted as bad news. Store closes... company hurting... jobs lost... economy in the crapper.

Not so fast. If you take the time to actually study the company issued press release, it reads almost like a textbook chapter on "creative destruction." For example, "120 stores" sounds like a lot. But the company, including its K-Mart division (merged with Sears in 2005), has more than 4,000 retail stores in total. So the announced closure affects no more than three percent of the company's outlets.

At the same time, Sears announced the posting of nearly a billion dollars of earnings. True, this is nearly a 50 percent decline over last year's earnings, but the company remains respectively profitable in these extremely harsh economic times. I did not take the time to research it, however, it is a foregone conclusion that an increasing percentage of Sears Holdings sales are conducted online, and invariably a large investment has been made into technology infrastructure to support these virtual store transactions.

So it actually seems prudent that a retailer would cull its least profitable stores to improve overall profitability. The press release mentions other steps to improve performance, including reductions in fixed costs of between $100 and $200 million. This will undoubtedly not be without pain, but almost certainly necessary in a process that economists commonly refer to as creative destruction.

Creative Destruction was first coined and used more than a century and a half ago by Karl Marx and others. Marx, and many of his colleagues at the time, astutely concluded that the "devaluation of wealth" was the inevitable outcome of the process of "wealth creation." Marx probed no further other than to lament the constant cycle of creation and destruction that lacked "the order" he sought. That order, of course, was Socialism. And it formed one of the basic premises of his economic theory.

By the middle of this century, economist Joseph Schumpeter had redefined the definition of creative destruction to be economically synonymous with "innovation." Empirical evidence supports Schumpeter's conclusion, and modern mainstream economic thought generally recognizes the essential role of creative destruction in overall economic well being.

Of course, opinions differ substantially on what to do about those "temporarily displaced" by the forces of the market that tear down the value of old assets and processes to make way for the new. Indeed, many modern social programs such as unemployment insurance are aimed at assisting the temporarily displaced make the transition to more productive pursuits.

In his fascinating book "Turbulent Times," former Federal Reserve Chairman Dr. Alan Greenspan credits creative destruction as one of the primary ingredients necessary for a prosperous society. It is sometimes very painful, Greenspan concludes, but absolutely necessary. He points to the lack of this force as one reason for the collapse of the centrally planned economies of the world, most notably the former Soviet Union.

Stated more simply, only the market with its millions of decision makers can correctly pick the economic winners and losers - and thus the proper allocation of capital. Any other method is hopelessly inefficient and ultimately doomed.

Still a skeptic? I offer the following as supporting evidence of the incredible power of creative destruction. Forbes first listed its top company picks in 1917 (there were 100 on that first list). Of the original 100, only 39 of the companies remain, and fewer than half of those are still in the top 100. Just four have outperformed the market overall. So why would well over half of top one hundred companies from a century ago cease to exist today? The answer is simple: Failure to adapt to the forces of creative destruction.

Back to Sears: Of course, a more accurate holiday headline would be: "Iconic Retailer Takes Tough, but Absolutely Necessary Austerity Measures in Order to adapt to the Changing Retail Marketplace." But it doesn't quite seem to have the same ring...

Editors Note: For a brilliant modern day adaptation of creative destruction, I recommend Creative Destruction (2001) by Sarah Kaplan and Richard Foster.


Quotable

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." - Bill Vaughan


Today in History

1945 - The International Monetary Fund and the Bank for Reconstruction and Development are created.


Flash Fact

The first rooftop celebration atop One Times Square, complete with a fireworks display, took place in 1904. The New York Times produced this event to inaugurate its new headquarters in that location and celebrate the renaming of Longacre Square to Times Square.

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

Back to top


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