Here to Help with PPP Round Two

Economic Impact Payment Guidance

The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department will soon begin delivering a second round of Economic Impact Payments as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to millions of Americans.

F&M Bank would like to offer some best practices for checking the status of your Economic Impact Payment in advance of the January 4th official payment date.

Economic Impact Payment Guidance from F&M Bank

F&M Bank receives direct deposit transactions from the Federal Reserve twice daily – 9:00am and 4:00pm. There is often a misconception that a direct deposit could arrive at any time throughout the day, however that is not the case. If you do not see payment after 9:00am within your online banking account, check back after 4:00pm on the same business day. The same guidance applies for an over the phone payment inquiry.

For customers receiving a direct deposit payment, consider utilizing deposit alerts within online and mobile banking. After established, you will receive an alert when your payment has posted.

Additionally, the IRS offers the “Get My Payment” tool on their website. Visit this link to check the status of your payment.

Economic Impact Payment Guidance from the IRS

The IRS emphasizes that there is no action required by eligible individuals to receive this second payment. Some Americans may see the direct deposit payments as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts before the official payment date of January 4, 2021. The IRS reminds taxpayers that the payments are automatic, and they should not contact their financial institutions or the IRS with payment timing questions.

As with the first round of payments under the CARES Act, most recipients will receive these payments by direct deposit. For Social Security and other beneficiaries who received the first round of payments via Direct Express, they will receive this second payment the same way.

Anyone who received the first round of payments earlier this year but doesn’t receive a payment via direct deposit will generally receive a check or, in some instances, a debit card. For those in this category, the payments will conclude in January. If additional legislation is enacted to provide for an additional amount, the Economic Impact Payments that have been issued will be topped up as quickly as possible.

To continue reading, please visit the IRS website. Additional guidance and eligibility requirements are provided.

Mail Larceny is on the Rise

The most wonderful time of the year can quickly turn into the most stressful time if you experience fraud. With the holidays approaching, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself from predators.

Mail Larceny

This December, the most consistent fraud concern reported by customers comes in the form of mail theft. We have received numerous reports of checks being stolen from mailboxes. Fraudsters target the holiday season as cash is commonly gifted between friends and family members, donations to nonprofit organizations are more common at year-end, and many municipalities collect tax bills during the latter part of the year. This increased activity creates opportunity for criminals.

Protect Yourself

Instead of mailing cash or checks, consider taking advantage of digital payment solutions offered through your financial institution. Here at F&M Bank, we offer various payment methods through our bill pay system within online and mobile banking. This tool gives our customers the option to set up payees (like a municipality, utility company, etc.) for one-time, or recurring payment. A similar option is available for our commercial clients as well.

You can pay a person too. Gift pay is the perfect option during the holiday season for gift checks or charitable contributions! Or, pay a friend or family member with our P2P cash transfer app. Simply type in the email address or phone number of the recipient and send up to $500.00 for a transaction, for free!

Package Theft

With more people staying indoors due to COVID, online shopping has become the convenient and safe way to buy groceries, household items, clothing, and everyday necessities. And while it’s nice having packages delivered in days or even hours, there are multiple ways a delivery might not make it into your hands.

Protect Yourself

Just this week, the Harrisonburg Police Department issued some great tips to help protect yourself and your packages, and we echo their advice. Most of the major delivery companies such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS offer consumers ways to track packages with email or text notifications, ensuring packages aren’t left or forgotten.

In addition, it is a good idea to create a space near your front door, behind planters or other items, so deliveries can be placed out of site from the street. Installing security cameras can both help prevent porch theft and provide important footage in case a porch pirate strikes.

Watch for Fraud this Holiday Season

Fraudsters are always at work, but financial institutions experience increased fraudulent activity during the holidays. This year is no exception. The pandemic created new opportunities for fraudsters, and paired with holiday scams, our customers are reporting increased fraud this season.

It’s extremely important to carefully guard your financial information, especially during a time when online shopping and cash transfers are prevalent. The FTC provides great advice on spotting and avoiding scams. Please, read through the below and put guidance to practice as you’re shopping online or sending cash this holiday season.

Four Signs That It’s a Scam

Scammers pretend to be from an organization you know or impersonate someone you know.

Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations. They use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So, the name and number you see might not be real.

Scammers will also pose as a family member or friend and can even use a correct name to identify the person they are claiming to be! Be extra cautious in situations like this as fraudsters will prey on your emotions. They’ll claim bail money is needed, or they’re in a bad situation that requires immediate financial support. If you find yourself in a situation like this, hang up immediately and call your family member or friend directly.

Scammers say there’s a problem or a prize.

They might say you’re in trouble with the government. Or you owe money. Or someone in your family had an emergency. Or that there’s a virus on your computer.

Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information. Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes but have to pay a fee to get it.

Scammers pressure you to act immediately.

Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story. They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.

Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way.

They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back. Some will send you a check (that will later turn out to be fake), tell you to deposit it, and then send them money.

A commonality in many scam situations is the isolation factor. The scammer wants money fast, but they don’t want you to tell anyone about the transaction. Not a family member, or the bank. This is a major red flag! If someone attempts to isolate you from telling others about the transaction, or how the money is being used, it is a scam.

What You Can Do to Avoid a Scam

Block unwanted calls and text messages. Take steps to block unwanted calls and to filter unwanted text messages.

Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers. If you get an email or text message from a company you do business with and you think it’s real, it’s still best not to click on any links. Instead, contact them using a website you know is trustworthy. Or look up their phone number. Don’t call a number they gave you or the number from your caller ID.

Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.

Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.

Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.

We Can Help

F&M Bank is here for you! Whether you’d like some guidance determining if a call or email is a scam, or if you’ve fallen victim to fraud, please reach out to your local branch. A member of our team will be ready to assist you!

Additionally, we encourage our customers to take advantage of our digital services.  Instead of sending cash or checks to someone you know through the mail, pay a person within our digital banking bill pay feature or P2P. They are great alternatives! Customers can also enroll in e-statements to protect your account information from mail theft. Lastly, consider Identity Theft Protection. This service is a free add-on with our Cash Reward or Cash Back checking accounts!

Celebrating the Local Business You Love

Earlier this summer, F&M Bank announced the second annual Local Business You Love contest – a $10,000 giveaway for locally-owned, small businesses located throughout the Shenandoah Valley. In 2019, a group of employees created and launched the contest, and for a first year campaign, our expectations were blown away!

“We were thrilled to host the contest again this year and support our neighbors in small business who continue to persevere through an extremely difficult season,” said Mark Hanna, President & CEO.

The contest opened in early August, and over a two week period, we relied on public nominations. Residents of Shenandoah, Page, Rockingham and Augusta Counties, as well as the Cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro (and neighboring counties and cities), nominated the local businesses they love and shared why they deserve $10,000. F&M Bank received nearly 600 nominations making it quite a task to narrow down the list to 10!

Following the announcement of our Top 10, we opened the contest for public voting. Over a two week period, we received over 2,300 votes to determine our $10,000 winner! On October 6th, F&M Bank celebrated the Top 10 nominees during a reception at the Inn at MeadowCroft in Swoope, VA.

Celebrate

When we received over 2,300 votes, we knew we couldn’t just give away one cash prize, so instead, we surprised our guests and added a $1,500 prize for 2nd place, a $1,000 incentive for 3rd, and a $500 prize for 4th and 5th place.

Plus, all businesses in our Top 10 were awarded an advertising package with Harrisonburg Radio Group to include a featured interview with WSVA’s Jim Britt and 20 branding messages.

The remaining businesses in our Top 10 are as follows: Fort Valley Nursery (Woodstock), Traditions Family Restaurant (Harrisonburg), Blessings Christian Bookstore (Harrisonburg), Green Valley Book Fair (Mt. Crawford), and Creative Wonders Learning Center (Stuarts Draft).

Support

Making our communities better is a core value we live by at F&M Bank. Although our contest is over, will you join us as we continue to support our neighbors? From restaurants to recreation, the Shenandoah Valley is packed full of extraordinary, locally-owned businesses.

Bank

We’re here to support you, and our community, in any way that we can. Whether you’re interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities nearby or seeking a local coffee shop recommendation, a member of our team is happy to assist. Our goal is to always provide banking you love from people who care and keep you up to date on all our products and services. 

With a Cash Reward or Cash Back account, you can stop paying extra. In fact, we’ll pay you just for doing banking basics that save you time! You can choose the account, and reward, that works best for you – high interest or cash back. 

Boost your savings with our money market account! This interest-bearing account is a great, low-risk option that offers benefits typical of both a checking and savings account. 

Whether you’re buying a new car or building a new house, we work with you to get the loan you need with the payment plan you can afford. Our loans are designed to meet your needs. Choose the option that works best for you!

We make virtual banking free and easy! Manage text alerts, deposit checks, send money to friends, and pay bills from anywhere in the world on any device.

If we can help you bank local, or answer any financial question you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact a branch near you or complete a quick form.

Staunton Strong

Staunton is an extremely vibrant city, and locally owned businesses pave the way for the community to flourish and grow. Here at F&M Bank, you mean a great deal to our team, and we are thankful for all you do.

As an organization, we are immensely saddened to see the recent flood damage impacting the downtown region. If there is anything F&M Bank can do to support you, your family, or your business, we are here to help.

Whether you need financial support, a volunteer’s hand, or just a friendly conversation, we are your community bank. Or, if you know of a friend or neighbor who could use our help, please let us know. This year has been a challenge, but the resiliency on display by small business owners through it all is admirable.

We will continue to reach out in the coming days and weeks, but please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team, anytime.

Stay Strong, Staunton!

Insights from Garth Knight – Shenandoah Valley’s Business Banker

Garth Knight

Garth Knight, Senior Vice President – Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer

Corporate Office, 205 South Main Street, Timberville, VA

(540) 896-1733

gknight@fmbankva.com

NMLS# 1996251

Question: Describe your professional and/or personal experience in lending:

I have been in banking for 16 years. I have served in various roles such in Consumer Lending, Home Mortgage, Small Business, Business Banking, and Business Development.

My specialty has always been in developing and building quality relationships in the communities I have served and the teammates I work with. Putting people and their needs first and building a customized plan to fit those needs makes a meaningful difference and creates lifelong relationships.

Question: How would your small business clients describe you?

Consultative, honest, proactive, an advocate for their success.

Question: How would your family describe you?

My brother would say crazy, but I think he is the crazy one, I guess you will have to decide who is right. I have a large family, and we are always cutting up when we get together. I think they would say fun-loving, hard worker, a good cook, and a traveler.

Question: What’s most important to you professionally and personally?

Professionally, having a positive and collaborative working environment. I have been fortunate in my career to be around great leaders and teammates who get along and work together toward a common goal, taking care of our customers and building relationships. This type of working environment is critical to success. Everyone must row in the same direction!

Personally, family and quality of life. I have a great family and grew up on a farm in South Carolina. I was raised right and grew up understanding the value of hard work to get the things you want in life. I am extremely thankful for this. Quality of life is very important to me. If you enjoy your life day to day, you will approach whatever you do with positive intent and make the best of all situations.

Question: Do you personally volunteer or support any charitable organizations?

I support many charitable organizations and have been an advocate for them in the eight cities I have lived in my career. I have served on Boards going back to my Alma Mater, Newberry College.

Most recently, I was proud to present checks to the highest amount of donations collected by Non-Profits for the Great Community Give at the Community Foundation of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County. It was gratifying to see the energy and good being done by a community that works together to be great. I am very excited to continue my volunteer work in this community and become an advocate for charitable organizations in the area.

Question: What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Seeing a business or a team member accomplish a goal is very meaningful for me. Helping to play a small role in that accomplishment and being a catalyst for growth is when I feel most gratified. When I think back over my career, those are the moments I remember most clearly and fondly.

Question: From your experience working in business lending over the years, is there one thing you’d recommend or advise for small business owners related to finances?

I am going to augment the rule here and give two. One, have a plan and vision for what you want to do and how you want to do it. Your plan and vision will always serve as a guidepost for what direction you take your business and be there for you during good times and challenges. That rings true today more than ever.

The second would be to have a bank that is an advocate for your vision and growth. Building that relationship and creating synergy will allow for open and honest dialogue and will be the catalyst for growth and success. I would love for you to continue or develop a relationship at F&M Bank as that is the customer experience we strive to deliver to you.

Question: Beyond business financing, how can local companies across the Shenandoah Valley benefit from F&M Bank?

Cash Management Solutions is an area that all businesses can benefit from and a topic that most are thinking about right now due to business interruptions and some being forced to work from home. F&M Bank has many solutions to help maximize efficiency and move money effectively in and out of your business. Financing and cash management are two of the most critical conversations a business can have in my opinion.

Question: Given the business challenges and potential opportunities resulting from COVID-19, what advice do you have for local businesses for both the short-term and long-term?

If you have not already, create a business plan that provides a strategy for this environment that includes contingencies. Partner with a bank that will provides support and guidance through these uncertain and challenging times. Having effective conversations about your business with your bank will have impact well past today. I invite you to have a conversation with F&M Bank to see how we can help you navigate these uncertain times, remain successful, and continue your growth.

 

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for Farmers

Are you a farmer or rancher whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.

USDA is now taking applications for the CFAP. As part of applying for the program, you’ll need to contact the Farm Service Agency county office at your local USDA Service Center to schedule an appointment.

Your local FSA staff will work with you to apply for the program and will ask for the following information:

  • Contact
  • Personal, including your Tax Identification Number
  • Farming operating structure
  • Adjusted Gross Income to ensure eligibility
  • Direct deposit to enable payment processing

Please, do not send any personal information to USDA without first initiating contact through a phone call. FSA has streamlined the signup process to not require an acreage report at the time of application, and a USDA farm number may not be immediately needed. If you are an existing customer, this information is likely on file at your local Service Center.

What Can You Do Now?

You can start gathering and understanding your farm’s recent sales and inventory. The USDA website is a great resource to reference as you prepare to apply. The application deadline is August 28, 2020.

How Will USDA Accept Applications?

USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only. Please call your FSA county office to schedule an appointment. The staff are working with agricultural producers by phone and using email, fax, mail, and online tools to accept applications.

New to Working with the Farm Service Agency?

FSA has county offices located at USDA Service Centers across the country, including offices in Shenandoah, Rockingham and Augusta Counties.

How Can We Help?

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for our community, but our Agricultural Financing Division at F&M Bank is your partner in both good times and bad. If there is anything we can do to help you, our your farm operation, please do no hesitate to contact us.

 

VCE Financial Education – Local Business Spotlight

VCE Logo

We’ve seen our local business community quickly adapt from traditional storefront sales to curbside or online commerce. Your creativity is contagious and your passion for your craft deserves recognition! Interested in a blog post for your local business?

This week, we spend a few moments talking with Karen Poff, Senior Extension Agent and Manager of the Virginia Cooperative Extension – Northern Shenandoah Valley Financial Education Program. The organization is currently offering a free “Coping with a Money Crunch” webinar through Zoom! This is a great resource to help manage financial stress surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can you tell us about your business?

As a state agency, Virginia Cooperative Extension offers local financial education programs to strengthen personal finances throughout Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties. Families who achieve financial stability are better able to meet their own housing, social welfare, and health care needs. They are also less likely to experience conflict over finances and thus better able to provide for their children’s physical and emotional needs. Families who are able to make their payments on time, meet their tax obligations, and reduce their debt contribute to the overall well-being of the local economy. By strengthening personal finances through education, our programs support family self-sufficiency.

How has your business adapted to social distancing?

We are offering a webinar called ”Coping with a Money Crunch” which provides Northern Shenandoah Valley residents information and tools to help them handle the personal finance stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Registrants can participate using Zoom from their web browser or by downloading the Zoom app for their tablet or smart phone. If they don’t want to use Zoom, they can call in using a landline or cell phone. People can visit this link to see all of the available dates and times and to register for the webinar. Only registered participants will receive a participation link. They can also download the program flyer or contact me at kpoff@vt.edu or 540-635-4549 to receive a copy by e-mail or mail.

What is your quarantine survival method?

Eating right, getting enough exercise, getting enough sleep (but not too much!) and most importantly attending the online services and events offered by my church.