How to Protect Seniors Against Cybercrimes and Scams

Many of the crimes that occur in real life happen on the internet too. Credit card fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, and more, all can be and are being done online. Seniors and the elderly are often targeted for these cybercrimes. They tend to be more trusting than younger people and usually have better credit, and more wealth. This makes them more attractive to scammers. Seniors are considered easy targets by criminals because they might not know how to report cybercrimes against them. In some cases, seniors can experience shame and guilt over the scam. They may also fear that their families will lose trust in their ability to continue to manage their own finances.
Cybercrimes Targeting Seniors
Here are some common cyber scams used against senior citizens and how to avoid them:

Tech support scam: Criminals pose as technology support representatives and offer to fix non-existent computer issues. The scammers can gain remote access to victims’ devices and their stored sensitive information.

Government impersonation scam: Criminals pose as government employees and threaten to arrest or prosecute victims unless they agree to provide payments.

Financial scam: Criminals target potential victims using illegitimate credentials from legitimate services, such as reverse mortgages or credit repair.

Romance scam: Criminals pose as interested romantic partners on social media or dating websites, particularly targeting women and those who are recently widowed.

A new twist is to use the romance scam to recruit victims for other illegal activity. This could include using the victim’s bank account to launder illegally obtained money or apply for benefits in another person’s name. Institutions may become suspicious, especially if these transactions are out of character. They may close the victim’s account, or even refer the account for prosecution, putting the senior citizen at risk for legal action.

Tips to Protect Seniors Against Cybercrimes
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself or someone you love from cybercrimes:

If you use social media, limit the amount of personal information you post and only add people that you know.

Resist the scammer’s urge for you to act quickly. Scammers are very skilled at manipulating emotions and will fabricate an emergency to persuade a victim to act without thinking.

Search for information about the proposed offer and any contact information given by the scammer. There are people and agencies online or in your community who can tell you if an individual or business is a scam. Never be afraid to ask other people for help.

Never send money or personally identifiable information to unverified people or businesses. Be suspicious about anyone who demands gift cards as payment.

Use reputable antivirus software and firewalls and make sure you regularly update them. If possible, configure your device to automatically download and install updates.

Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see unusual pop-ups or get a locked screen. Pop-ups are often used by criminals to spread malicious software.

Be cautious what you download. Never open email attachments from someone you don’t know.

What to Do if You’re Targeted by a Scammer
If you think you are being targeted by a scammer:

Never share financial account information, and do not allow anyone access to your accounts.

Monitor your accounts and credit for unusual activity, such as large sums of money that you did not deposit or loans that you did not apply for.

Contact your local law enforcement agency to file a report and notify your financial institutions.


F & M Bank Corp. Announces Record Quarterly Earnings & Reaches $1 Billion In Assets In First Quarter 2021

News and Financials |

F & M Bank Corp. Announces Record Quarterly Earnings & Reaches $1 Billion In Assets In First Quarter 2021

Contact: Carrie Comer, EVP/Chief Financial Officer, (540) 896-1705 or

TIMBERVILLE, VA—April 26, 2021—F & M Bank Corp. (OTCQX: FMBM), parent company of Farmers & Merchants Bank today reported net income available to common shareholders of $3.8 million and diluted earnings per common share of $1.11 for the first quarter ending March 31, 2021.

Record Quarterly Earnings

The bank is reporting record quarterly earnings in the first quarter of 2021 of $3.8 million while continuing to position the company for success over the long term.  F&M Bank continues to strengthen its solid financial position with historic levels of liquidity and historically strong capital base as we grew to over $1 Billion in Assets.

With continued strong asset quality metrics and improved optimism for economic recovery due to COVID-19 vaccines and government stimulus, we believe that credit losses will not be as high as initially anticipated and that loan growth will continue to improve.  Coupled with the significant growth in our client base over the past year, we remain optimistic that F&M Bank is well positioned to deliver profitable growth and continue to build long term value for our shareholders,” said Mark Hanna, president and chief executive officer.

Non-Interest Income

Noninterest income increased to $3.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2021 from $3.2 million in the prior quarter and $2.4 million in the quarter ended March 31, 2020.  Growth is primarily driven by continued high volumes of mortgage originations, growth in our wealth management division, and title division.  Volumes in these areas more than offset the decreases in deposit service charges.

Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) & CARES Act

During 2021, the Company processed 280 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that totaled $20.2 million; PPP loans processed during 2020 and 2021 YTD totaled 997 loans for $83.4 million. In addition to an insignificant amount of PPP loan payoffs, the Company has processed a total of $46.4 million of forgiveness on 560 loans program to date resulting in a remaining balance of PPP loans of $37.0 million. The Company is continuing to accept PPP applications, and processing applications for forgiveness.

In addition, we have granted 35 individual loan deferrals in 2021, for a total of 1,266 deferrals since COVID began. As of March 31, 2021, 52 loans remain in deferral with a balance of $11.8 million or 1.7% of total loans.

Waynesboro Branch Opening & Branch Lobbies Reopen

The bank is set to open a new branch in the Waynesboro market on April 26, 2021.  This will expand our presence in Augusta County to serve the community’s financial needs with our full suite of branch services.  Branch lobbies at all our locations were reopened to the public on April 12, 2021.  We will continue to assess our procedures to maintain the safety of our customers, employees, and community as we move forward.

Selected financial highlights for the quarter include:

  • Quarterly net income of $3.8 million
  • Net interest margin of 3.44%.
  • Total deposits increased $44.2 million and $183.4 million, respectively for the quarter and for the trailing 12 months as the bank continues to grow our composition of DDA accounts and decrease balances of Time Deposits.
  • Total loans increased $12.8 million for the trailing 12 months (excluding PPP loans).
  • Nonperforming assets decreased to 0.57% of total assets at the end of the quarter from 0.68% on 12/31/20 and .66% on 3/31/20.
  • Negative Provision for Loan Losses of $725,000
  • Allowance for loan losses totaled 1.46% of loans held for investment (1.54% excluding PPP loans).

Mark Hanna, President, commented “We are pleased with first quarter earnings of $3.8 million.  Our mortgage and title companies, continue to see volumes in excess of expectations which drives noninterest income growth.  Our net interest margin of 3.44% shows a historical decline but remains strong especially given the changes in our balance sheet and the current rate environment.  Net interest income reflected a 4% increase over March 31, 2020.  F&M’s liquidity has increased significantly over the last four quarters and we are implementing strategic solutions to leverage these assets including deploying $64.2 million into the investment portfolio since year end 2020.  Despite the current low-rate environment, these strategies should augment our net interest margin in the future.” 

Mr. Hanna stated, “Nonperforming assets have continued to improve, decreasing $754 thousand since year end 2020.  We feel these efforts put F&M in a strong position to leverage a more optimistic economic forecast while seeking opportunities for continued growth in the communities we serve.”

On April 21, 2021 our Board of Directors declared a first quarter dividend of $.26 per share to common shareholders. Based on our most recent trade price of $28.19 per share this constitutes a 3.69% yield on an annualized basis. The dividend will be paid on May 31, 2021, to shareholders of record as of May 15, 2021.”

F & M Bank Corp. is an independent, locally-owned, financial holding company, offering a full range of financial services, through its subsidiary, Farmers & Merchants Bank’s eleven banking offices in Rockingham, Shenandoah, Page and Augusta Counties, Virginia. The Bank also provides additional services through a loan production office located in Penn Laird, VA and through its subsidiaries, F&M Mortgage and VSTitle, both of which are located in Harrisonburg, VA.  Additional information may be found by contacting us on the internet at or by calling (540) 896-1705.

This press release may contain “forward-looking statements” as defined by federal securities laws, which may involve significant risks and uncertainties. These statements address issues that involve risks, uncertainties, estimates and assumptions made by management, and actual results could differ materially from the results contemplated by these forward-looking statements. Factors that could have a material adverse effect on our operations and future prospects include, but are not limited to, changes in interest rates, general economic conditions, legislative and regulatory policies, and a variety of other matters. Other risk factors are detailed from time to time in our Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Readers should consider these risks and uncertainties in evaluating forward-looking statements and should not place undue reliance on such statements. We undertake no obligation to update these statements following the date of this press release.

F & M Bank Corp. Key Statistics

2021 2020    
Q1 Q4 Q3 Q2 Q1
Net Income (000’s)  $3,801  $2,766  $2,207  $2,626  $1,189
Net Income available to Common  $3,736  $2,700  $2,142  $2,560  $1,123
Earnings per common share – basic  $1.17  $0.84  $0.67  $ 0.80  $0.35
Earnings per common share – diluted
Return on Average Assets 1.56% 1.12% 0.88% 1.17% 0.58%
Return on Average Equity 15.96% 11.75% 9.44% 11.50% 5.23%
Dividend Payout Ratio excluding Special Dividend 22.22% 30.95% 38.81% 32.50% 74.29%
Net Interest Margin 3.44% 3.81% 3.60% 3.75% 3.97%
Yield on Average Earning Assets 3.92% 4.77% 4.31% 4.52% 4.88%
Yield on Average Interest Bearing Liabilities 0.70% 1.33% 0.99% 1.09% 1.27%
Net Interest Spread 3.22% 3.44% 3.32% 3.43% 3.61%
Provision for Loan Losses (000’s)  $(725)  $-  $1,000  $ 800  $1,500
Net Charge-offs  $45  $ 351  $208  $203  $453
Net Charge-offs as a % of Loans 0.03% 0.21% 0.12% 0.12% 0.30%
Non-Performing Loans (000’s)  $  5,783  $6,537  $4,254  $4,465  $4,168
Non-Performing Loans to Total Assets 0.57% 0.68% 0.42% 0.45% 0.50%
Non-Performing Assets (000’s)  $5,783  $6,537  $ 4,420  $5,625  $5,504
Non-Performing Assets to Assets 0.57% 0.68% 0.44% 0.57% 0.66%
Efficiency Ratio 68.00% 69.10% 65.35% 65.33% 70.51%


(1)   The net interest margin is calculated by dividing tax equivalent net interest income by total average earning assets. Tax equivalent interest income is calculated by grossing up interest income for the amounts that are nontaxable (i.e. municipal securities and loan income) then subtracting interest expense. The tax rate utilized is 21%. The Company’s net interest margin is a common measure used by the financial service industry to determine how profitable earning assets are funded. Because the Company earns nontaxable interest income from municipal loans and securities, net interest income for the ratio is calculated on a tax equivalent basis as described above.

(2)   The efficiency ratio is not a measurement under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. The efficiency ratio is a common measure used by the financial service industry to determine operating efficiency. It is calculated by dividing non-interest expense by the sum of tax equivalent net interest income and non-interest income excluding gains and losses on the investments portfolio and Other Real Estate Owned. The Company calculates this ratio in order to evaluate how efficiently it utilizes its operating structure to create income. An increase in the ratio from period to period indicates the Company is losing a greater percentage of its income to expenses.


F & M Bank Corp.  Financial Highlights



For Three Months Ended March 31,
INCOME STATEMENT Unaudited 2021 Audited 2020
Interest and Dividend Income $8,746,348 $9,110,585
Interest Expense 1,068,509 1,706,084
  Net Interest Income 7,677,839 7,404,501
Non-Interest IncomeProvision for Loan Losses

Other Non-Interest Expenses





  Income Before Income Taxes 4,072,546 1,213,415
Provision for Income TaxesLess Minority Interest (income)/loss 271,294  (38,371) (62,429)
Net Income $3,801,252   $1,189,357
Dividend on preferred stock 65.448   65,873
Net Income available to common shareholders $3.735.804   $1,123,494
Average Common Shares Outstanding 3,205,074   3,204,084
Net Income Per Common ShareDividends Declared  1.17.26  .35.26
BALANCE SHEET Unaudited March  31, 2021  Audited March 31, 2020
Cash and Due from Banks $12,088,442 $8,528,494
Interest Bearing Bank Deposits 1,541,581 1,645,590
Federal Funds Sold  90,099,000  78,944,000
Loans Held for SaleLoans Held for Investment 15,922,810659,373,490 60,765,429609,585,135
  Less Allowance for Loan Losses (9,704,286)  (9,437,359)
  Net Loans Held for Investment  649,669,204  600,147,776
Securities 182,091,328 19,838,180
Other Assets   58,817,489    57,597,524
    Total Assets $1,010,229,854   $828,466,993
Deposits $862,751,952 $679,310,203
Long Term Debt 32,158,578 42,089,286
Other Liabilities 17,791,953 15,633,317
  Total Liabilities 912,702,483 737,032,806
Preferred Stock 4,558,298 4,591,623
Common Equity 92,969,073 86,842,564
Stockholders’ Equity 97,527,371 91,434,187
    Total Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity $1,010,229,854 $828,466,993
Book Value Per Common Share $28.99   $27.20
Tangible Book Value Per Common Share $29.33   $26.05

Source: F & M Bank Corp.

Contact: Carrie Comer EVP/Chief Financial Officer, (540) 896-1705 or

Matt Robinson, Local SmartVestor™ Pro

Planning for a Special Dividend – Q&A with Calan Jansen


Calan Jansen

Calan Jansen, Vice President at F&M Bank
Infinex Financial Advisor with F&M Financial Services, Inc.

300 Stoney Creek Boulevard, Edinburg, VA 22824

(540) 325-5642

Question: What is a special dividend?

A special dividend is a non-recurring distribution of company assets to shareholders, usually in the form of cash. It is typically more lucrative compared to normal dividends paid out by the company and often tied to a specific event like an asset sale or other windfall. Special dividends are also referred to as extra dividends.

Question: Why does a company pay a special dividend?

A special dividend is paid out when a company wishes to make changes to its financial structure or does a spin off on part of its business. At times, it can also be issued to minimize tax burden to the company.

Question: How does a special dividend impact stock price?

Special dividends can have some drawbacks, such as reducing the share price of the company by the dividend amount. If an investor sells their shares directly after the dividend payment, at the lower price, they will cancel out the benefit of the special dividend.

Question: If the special dividend is reinvested, is it a taxable event?

Unfortunately, the issuance of a special dividend is a taxable event to the recipient whether or not it is reinvested. It is always best to talk with a tax professional for guidance.

Question: How can a financial advisor help?

A financial advisor can help navigate the pros and cons of receiving the special dividend. While it is typically a good thing to get an unexpected bonus, there are factors to take into consideration when deciding on dividend reinvestment, and how a large dividend – that was unexpected – can alter the balance of a portfolio. It is always recommended to seek the advice of a trusted financial professional.

Investment and insurance products and services are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. F&M Financial Services, Inc. is a nonbank subsidiary of F&M Bank. Infinex is not affiliated with either entity.

Securities and Insurance Products:

Not Guaranteed by the Bank | Not FDIC Insured | Not a Deposit | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency | May Lose Value Including Loss of Principal


Federal Tax Filing Season Starts Soon

The IRS has announced that the federal income tax filing season for tax year 2020 returns begins on Friday, February 12, 2021. Although tax seasons frequently begin in late January, the additional time will allow the IRS to update its programming and test its system to take into account any changes made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA 2021), signed into law on December 27, 2020. Last-minute changes to tax law have already been included in IRS tax forms and instructions.

Tips for making filing easier

To speed refunds and help with tax filing, the IRS suggests the following:

  • Make sure you have received Form W-2 and other earnings information, such as Form 1099, from employers and payers. The dates for furnishing such information to recipients vary by form, but they are generally not required before February 1, 2021. You may need to allow additional time for mail delivery.
  • The federal individual income tax returns, Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR (available for seniors born before January 2, 1956), and instructions are available on
  • File electronically and use direct deposit.
  • Check for the latest tax information.

Key filing dates

Here are several important dates to keep in mind.

  • January 12. IRS Free File opened. Free File allows you to file your federal income tax return for free [if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $72,000 or less] using tax preparation and filing software. You can use Free File Fillable Forms even if your AGI exceeds $72,000 (but these apparently are not available until February 12). You can already file with an IRS Free File partner, but tax returns will not be transmitted to the IRS before February 12. Tax software companies may also be accepting tax filings in advance.
  • February 12. IRS begins accepting and processing individual tax returns.
  • February 22. Projected date for the Where’s My Refund tool being updated for those claiming the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the additional child tax credit (ACTC).
  • First week of March. Tax refunds begin reaching those claiming the EITC and ACTC for those who file electronically with direct deposit and no issues on their tax returns.
  • April 15. Deadline for filing 2020 tax returns (or requesting an extension).
  • October 15. Deadline to file for those who requested an extension on their 2020 tax returns.

Tax refunds

The IRS encourages taxpayers seeking a tax refund to file their tax return as soon as possible. The IRS anticipates most tax refunds being issued within 21 days of the IRS receiving a tax return if the return is filed electronically with direct deposit and there are no issues with the tax return. To avoid delays in processing, the IRS encourages people to avoid paper tax returns whenever possible.

Content provided by F&M Financial Services, Inc. Keep in touch on Facebook for similar articles and industry knowledge!

Investment and insurance products and services are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinex and the bank are not affiliated. Products and services made available through Infinex are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency of the United States and are not deposits or obligations of nor guaranteed or insured by any bank or bank affiliate. These products are subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of value.


Ask A Financial Advisor – Q&A with Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson, Vice President – Infinex Financial Advisor with F&M Financial Services, Inc.

80 Cross Keys Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

(540) 437-3467

mrobinson@infinexgroup.comMake An Appointment with Matt

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

I enjoy being a problem solver for my clients. At the end of the day the client has an issue or problem, and they are looking to me for the solution. It is not an exact science but being able to customize each plan for every client is extremely exciting and rewarding.

Question: How can residents of the Shenandoah Valley area benefit from working with a financial advisor?

The Shenandoah Valley is filled with a diverse population of workers, families, and communities. We are growing at a very fast rate and becoming even more diverse. A financial advisor is well positioned to provide a level of advice and expertise in the form of finances that can greatly benefit the population.

Having a trusted name and person to go to is something more and more people are seeking. In this complex world of speed and efficiency it is easy to understand why people tend to neglect their finances and only focus on what they need to accomplish each day. Working with an advisor is a way to relieve some of that financial burden but more so a way to find a partner in your financial story. We want to walk along with you, not lead.

Question: How should I plan and prioritize my short-term vs. long-term financial goals?

Setting goals is perhaps one of the most important things you can do in mapping out a good plan. I tend to work on goals-based investing, and with that we determine your short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. How many goals do you have? Where should we place the most or least risk? In life you must make decisions that are short-term but also recognize that they may have long-term implications.  I work to help my clients realize and implement this to give them the most confidence in their plan.

Question: Why is life insurance important for financial health?

As someone who has delivered a life insurance death check, I can tell you that it’s very important. Someone once told me that “life Insurance is the most selfless thing you’ll ever buy.” That still sticks with me to this day because of the statement’s simple truth. Most times the person that purchases the life coverage will never see a penny of the profit or benefit. They purchase it to help their loved ones in the unforeseen event of a premature death. Life insurance can be there to help keep kids in school, as well as pay off a home. It’s a powerful product!

Question: What should I consider when determining to invest in stocks vs. mutual funds?

Risk is number one. What are you willing to risk and what is your risk tolerance? Once that is decided it can be as simple as matching your goal and risk up with the proper investment vehicle. I have many clients that like individual stocks, and I have clients that love mutual funds. There is no perfect answer but in working with an advisor you will feel confident about the choice you make going forward.

Question: How should my wealth management strategy change in response to COVID-19?

COVID-19 has been a disruptor – not only in our personal and work life but also our financial life. The bad news is that COVID-19 happened, and the good news is that it won’t last forever. Making any drastic financial changes to a portfolio during times of such uncertainty can produce adverse results to your overall plan. If you don’t need the money immediately, or in the foreseeable future, the textbook says to stay invested.

Making some minor changes to sector exposure has been more of the playbook since COVID-19 became an issue. Simply put that means we have moved funds away from the decimated sectors like tourism, hospitality, restaurants, airlines, etc. Some sectors that have done well have been technology and consumer staples. Once again, you shouldn’t make large changes but instead calculated small changes to hopefully enhance your portfolio during these unusual times.

Question: How do index funds play a part in my investment strategy?

Index funds serve a purpose in the investing world. They generally have lower fees but with that comes a passive approach to investing. The opposite would be a more active approach to investing.  Passive index investing is simply following along with a large index, and there is no deviation from the index. During the most recent bull market run, the indexes have shown tremendous growth in the last 10 years. Having a broad-based index apart of your portfolio can be a hedge against some more specified positions all aimed at the idea of diversification*.

*Diversification is a method of helping to manage risk. It does not assure a profit or the avoidance of loss.

Question: What do Virginia residents need to consider when determining where and when they should retire?

This is a million-dollar question! It’s unique to every person as to when and where to retire. Some people need millions of dollars and some need a few hundred thousand. Everyone will have a different situation, but it’s important to understand who you want to be in retirement.

  • Do you want to travel?
  • Do you want to help with kids and grandkids?
  • Do you want a part time job or perhaps volunteer?

There are multiple factors at play with regards to Social Security and Health Insurance. You have to consider the cost of living in the town or city. Having a partner that shares your interests in retirement seems to be a growing trend. Sitting down with someone who sees different perspectives and can help you navigate the new waters of retirement can be such a great experience. It can give you the confidence to go forth into retirement and live the life you want!

Question: Where should I invest my funds in order to save for retirement?

The answer to this is similar to the stocks or mutual funds question. It will all depend on your risk tolerance and your retirement needs. The textbook says to be more aggressive when you are young and bring down your risk the closer you get to retirement. Being an educated investor will help you make better decisions and feel like you are on the correct pathway to a fantastic retirement.

Make An Appointment with Matt

Investment and insurance products and services are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. F&M Financial Services, Inc. is a nonbank subsidiary of F&M Bank. Infinex is not affiliated with either entity.

Securities and Insurance Products:

Not Guaranteed by the Bank | Not FDIC Insured | Not a Deposit | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency | May Lose Value Including Loss of Principal

Preparing, Protecting, & Managing Your 401(k) During Economic Uncertainty

Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started to affect the American economy in March, the stock market has been fluctuating along with the news headlines. For many people, especially those close to retiring in Virginia, 401(k) management is a big concern. As a longtime community bank serving the Shenandoah Valley, we have plenty of experience helping our customers navigate historic crises. In this article, our Wealth Management team offers its best advice for preparing, protecting, and managing your retirement savings throughout economic uncertainty and recession.

3 Foolproof Ways to Prepare Your 401(k) For a Recession

You can take these steps now if you’re still employed, or save the advice for a post-coronavirus world.

1.  Start and grow your emergency savings account.

An emergency fund is the foundation of healthy finances. If you haven’t started one yet, aim for a small starter goal, such as $500 or $1,000. That’s enough to cover any unexpected expenses, such as a car or home repair, or medical bill. Once you reach your goal, use the momentum from your “win” to keep going, one month of living expenses at a time, until you’ve saved 6 months to a year of your basic monthly budget. Depending on how secure your job and industry are, you may not need quite that much. However, the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has taught all of us the necessity of preparing for the unexpected.

An emergency savings is for large, unexpected expenses that you can’t cover with your monthly budget alone.

Once you have a good thing going with your emergency fund, resist the temptation to use it for non-emergencies. For example, down payments on a house or car should be saved for separately. Your emergency fund is for the large expenses you didn’t see coming and can’t cover with your monthly budget. In other words, an emergency fund keeps you from going into debt. And, if you lose your job, it could keep you out of bankruptcy.

2.  Reduce spending and look for “extra” money.

When times are good, everyone should be focused on paying down debt and/or building savings. For example, consider the extra money you typically receive in a year:

  • Annual or quarterly bonuses
  • Gift money on your birthday and other holidays
  • Tax refund
  • One-time inheritance
  • Contest or lottery winnings

While it can be tempting to spend this money right away, try to earmark at least half to put in your emergency savings account or to pay down credit card and/or car/personal loan balances. When a downturn or recession comes, you will be glad to have a bigger emergency fund or a smaller line item in your budget for monthly debt payments.

Another way to “find” extra money is to pare down discretionary spending on food and drinks, entertainment, subscriptions, etc. For example, if you are staying at home right now, you can put the money you save on transportation and discretionary purchases into your emergency fund or make an extra debt payment.

3.  Take advantage of free matching money at work.

Always take advantage of an employer’s contribution match to grow your 401(k) savings more quickly.
Are you leaving money on the table? Many employers will match up to a certain percentage of your own retirement account contribution. To grow your 401(k) savings more quickly, make sure you’re putting enough in to take full advantage of your employer’s match.

3 Surefire Ways to Protect Your 401(k) From a Recession

Now that we’re in what could be an economic recession, here’s what you can do to protect your retirement investing.

1.  Adjust risk to your age. 

Investing is a long game, but as you near retirement age, your risk tolerance diminishes. That doesn’t mean you should pull all of your money out of the market–you need to earn interest on it to keep up with the pace of inflation. What it does mean is that your investment approach should be adjusted to lessen risk. You should be able to do this yourself by logging into your retirement account. If you work with a financial planner, they can help you adjust your portfolio allocation to meet the specific needs of your retirement goals.

If you’re worried about having enough money in your 401(k) for retirement, the IRS permits “catch-up contributions” of an extra $6,000/year for people aged 50 and up.

2.  Diversify your investments.

Diversifying your investments can help reduce the risk of a bad stock negatively impacting your portfolio.

Whatever stage of life you’re in, diversifying your investments can help reduce the risk of one bad stock negatively impacting your entire portfolio. Instead of trying to pick and choose stocks on your own, go for low-cost index funds that provide exposure to a lot of companies in different industries and sectors. Our Wealth Management team can also help you optimize your investment portfolio.

3.  Keep contributing.

One of the best ways to protect your 401(k) is to continue making regular contributions. For example, don’t get scared by the changing market and lower your automatic payroll deduction. If your income or financial situation has changed in the wake of the pandemic, at least let your 401(k) balance keep growing by leaving it alone. When you find another job, you can start contributing again.

3 Tips for Managing Your 401(k) During a Recession

Similarly, here’s how to stay the course for however long this lasts.

1.  Do nothing.

Don’t try to “beat the market”. Investing is a long-term game.

If you’re an everyday investor who doesn’t know much about the stock market, your best option is to do nothing. If you make changes out of an emotional reaction to scary headlines, you’ll likely do more harm than good to your portfolio. Aside from a few outliers, most people don’t “beat the market.” Stay the course, talk to your financial advisor, and remember that investing is a long-term game.

2.  Stay invested in necessities.

Allocating assets to investments of essential items can help off-set any negative hits your portfolio may take during a recession. Essential items and services can be more “stable” investments since they don’t see as much of a drop in usage from consumers during recessions.

However, we are not recommending that you move your entire portfolio to essential-service investments. As mentioned earlier, you want to avoid making large changes to your portfolio at the same time.

3.  Ask for help.

Ask your Financial Advisor for help managing your investment portfolio if you have concerns or uncertainty.

If you’re concerned about managing your investment portfolio and finances, talk to a financial advisor. A professional wealth manager can help you evaluate your options and help you make the best wealth-building decisions for you.

Make an appointment with one of our Infinex Financial Advisors today!

Our Infinex financial advisors are experienced at planning for your future. We can guide you through retirement planning, personal insurance, and short-term financial goals to create a plan you can commit to and follow. Meet our experienced financial advisors and make your appointment today!

Investment and insurance products and services are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. F&M Financial Services, Inc. is a nonbank subsidiary of F&M Bank. Infinex is not affiliated with either entity.

Securities and Insurance Products:

Not Guaranteed by the Bank | Not FDIC Insured | Not a Deposit | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency | May Lose Value Including Loss of Principal

10 Steps To Financial Recovery For Virginia Small Businesses

2020 threw a major curve ball to the entire world, with small businesses especially hard hit by pandemic-related economic challenges. Now, as Virginia moves into the third phase of reopening, local small businesses are taking stock of the damage and preparing to bounce back. Here are 10 things to check off your to-do list to help your business start down the road to recovery. Is your business headed in the right direction? Are you on track to meet your quarterly and annual goals? Review our list of 10 steps to financial recovery for Virginia small businesses and contact our commercial team for personalized advice.

1. Review your business plan or create one if you don’t already have one in place.

"We're not just bankers, but knowledgeable professionals that can offer sound advice to a variety of industries." - Jordan Dean, Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager


As your business grows, you may need to reevaluate your business plan to accommodate new goals and circumstances. Or, if your business is brand new you may not have finished building a business plan yet. For inspiration, check out these business plan resources from SCORE Shenandoah Valley.

Need more personalized help? “The lending staff at F&M can work with commercial customers to provide quick decision making,” says Jordan Dean, Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager. “We’re not just bankers, but knowledgeable professionals that can offer sound advice to a variety of industries.”

2. Set a budget, track it, and stick to it.

Sticking to a set budget will help make sure that money is being spent in the right places and at the right times.

Just as a budget is the foundation of your healthy personal finances, your business also needs to plan and track cash inflow and spending. SCORE Shenandoah Valley has a free on-demand course with tips on budgeting for your business.

3. Reduce high-cost debt.

"We provide local decision making, which helps set the stage for deep-rooted relationships with our customers." - Brooke Zirk, Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager

Are your principal or interest payments too high and dragging down your cash flow? Consider consolidating and refinancing your high-cost debt into a more affordable monthly payment with our Business Term Loans.

Discussing cash flow scenarios with your loan officer can help lead to unique solutions for your business. “My goal is to form long-lasting relationships with my customers as I help them grow and thrive. I bring a consultative approach to understand all aspects of my client’s business and personal goals”–Brooke Zirk, Vice President; Commerical Relationship Manager.

4. Understand and manage your business cash flow cycle more effectively.

Many profitable businesses have closed their doors due to cash and resource mismanagement. That’s why it’s so important to understand your cash flow cycle, use debt where appropriate and have a plan! It’s also advisable for new business owners to use the services of a commercial lender to help them either plan for financing options for a new business or even do a wellness check for existing businesses.

5. Pay bills on time.

"Our decisions will always have your best interest in mind and your success is linked to ours." - Kevin Nixon, Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager

Falling behind on regular overhead costs isn’t a good sign for the financial health of your business. Use these accounting and cash flow resources from SCORE Shenandoah Valley to forecast profits and losses and set yourself up to stay on top of accounts payable this year.

If you need help evaluating your cash flow strategy, don’t be afraid to ask your loan officer. “Our decisions will always have your best interest in mind and your success is linked to ours. It’s our job to match your financial needs with the best product whether it’s a loan, checking account, etc”–Kevin Nixon, Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager.

6. Establish or build on existing savings.

"We put customer need above our own, and decisions we make are done to help the community we live and work in." - Mary Pavlovskaya, Bank Officer; Business Deposit Services Officer

Saving for a rainy day can help your business manage cash flow and avoid falling too far into debt. Browse the business savings account options at F&M Bank and don’t be afraid to ask questions of your banker. You may also want to consider the tools you are using to conduct business to determine if cost savings options are available.

“When partnering with a business, we tailor our Business Solutions package to fit your specific needs. From treasury and merchant services to our one-of-a-kind courier option, we have everything a business needs to succeed!”–Mary Pavlovskaya, Bank Officer; Business Deposit Services Officer.

7. Improve your digital presence and SEO.

As a small business owner, you’re already juggling many responsibilities. The prospect of digital marketing can feel overwhelming, but if you can’t afford to outsource it, it’s worth it to devote a regular bracket of time each week to improve your SEO and SEM.

46% of all Google searches have local intent – this indicates that searchers want to find information about something in their community.

8. Utilize social media and promote your business regularly.

The same thing goes for social media. As a local business, you need to interact with your customers on their favorite social platforms. Check out these free social media marketing tools to help you get started.

9. Become more involved in the local community.

"We have a proven history of promoting, serving and enriching our local communities, friends, and neighbors." - Donna Brown, Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager


As a longtime community bank, we understand the importance of getting involved locally. After all, the success of our bank–and any local business–is tied to the success of the community. As Donna Brown, Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager, says:

“The betterment of our local communities, businesses, and individuals continues to be at the forefront of our corporate objectives and goals, as it has always been since 1908. We have a proven history of promoting, serving and enriching our local communities, friends, and neighbors.”

This year, spend some time thinking about the causes and organizations you’d like to get involved with and then execute your plans. At the same time that you’re doing good work, you’ll build awareness of your brand, engage with existing customers, and connect with new prospects.

10.  Build a relationship with their banker/financial institution.

When you partner with a relationship bank like F&M, you can count on sound financial advice and recommendations throughout the life of your business.

“I would advise every business owner to develop a relationship with their banker.” – Barbara Bartley, Assistant Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager

“I would advise every business owner to develop a relationship with their banker. Most bankers can help guide their customers in financial decisions and give them thoughts to consider when starting a business and moving ahead with growth and needs”–Barbara Bartley, Assistant Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager.

“We take the team approach, and our employees are dedicated to servicing our customers and building lasting relationships.” – Renee Hartless, Assistant Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager

“We take the team approach, and our employees are dedicated to servicing our customers and building lasting relationships. We also have local decision making which means the person that you are working with from the beginning is also approving your loans.”–Renee Hartless, Assistant Vice President; Commercial Relationship Manager.

Contact a commercial lender at F&M Bank today!

If you’re looking for Virginia small business lenders, give our team of commercial lenders in Virginia a call. You can browse our staff here, learn more about the business banking solutions we offer, and contact us at your convenience.

Preparing Your Loan Forgiveness Application

Thank you for choosing F&M Bank to process and service your Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. We hope the funding has positively impacted your business and provided a sense of financial security amid crisis. Your small business makes our community a better place to live, work and play, and it was a great honor to help you obtain loan approval.

Obtaining the loan was the first step. We are here to assist you in preparing your application for forgiveness and what required documents may be applicable.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Update

We have been working internally to create a streamlined, effective process, and a portal has been established to process PPP loan forgiveness applications. All customers have received an email inviting you to our PPP Loan Forgiveness Portal where you will be asked to create an account. Once your account has been created, you can access the portal directly at this link. If you have not received an email invitation, please notify us at

Form 3508EZ or 3508

Upon account creation, you will be prompted to complete a questionnaire that determines your eligibility for the EZ form. If you meet that criteria, you will be directed to the 3508EZ Form. If not, you will work your way through the complete 3508 Form. If you begin the EZ form, but would prefer to complete the entire 3508 form, you may switch to the full form.

Throughout the form, you will notice some fields, like business name and loan number, are pre-filled for your convenience. As you enter your financial information, the forgiveness amounts will automatically calculate, similar to a solution like Turbo Tax. Once you sign and submit your application, the F&M Bank team will take over.

Form 3508S

As you may be aware, the SBA recently released the 3508S form for loans totaling $50,000 or less. This form was developed to simplify the forgiveness application. Upon account creation, please follow the steps the complete the 3508S form.

PPP Loan Additional Assistance

If at all possible, please use the portal to fully complete your application, including the attachment of supporting documentation.

It is recommended that you consult with your tax advisor, legal counsel or a bookkeeping service to assist your business if necessary.

Please, contact your loan officer with any questions. For additional information, please refer to the SBA’s website.

We are Here for You

F&M Bank is your financial partner – we help you navigate challenge and celebrate in your success. We would like to invite you to continue your banking relationship with our institution after the PPP process has ended and would love the opportunity to continue meeting your financial needs for years to come!

We will continue to stay in touch regarding your PPP loan and the documentation required for loan forgiveness. However, if you have any questions along the way, or would like to discuss personal or business banking solutions, please do not hesitate to contact your loan officer or nearest branch location.

Guide To Navigating Market Volatility At Each Life Stage

The global Coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented experience for Americans alive today. It’s natural to feel a lot of anxiety about the future, including the future of your portfolio. Luckily, market volatility is not unprecedented. In this article, we’ll apply the lessons of previous market downturns to help you develop a sensible economic outlook for whatever stage of life you’re in now. Have questions? Contact one of our Virginia-based Financial Advisors today.

Long-Term Financial Goals in your 20’s and 30’s

In this stage of life, you have the power to take the long view and buy low, which will help you take advantage of upswings when the market inevitably turns around. In general, you want to buy less when the market is high and more when it’s low. This is when you are most likely to benefit the most from compound interest.

Start Now

Whether you’re just out of college, building your career, or married with kids, now is the time to get your finances in order and put a financial plan in place. Even if you can’t afford to save much right now, whatever you can put into your investment accounts will benefit you in the long run. You can reduce total interest paid on debt, benefit from flourishing markets, and be financially prepared for unexpected emergencies or expenses.

  • Open a retirement account if you don’t already have one. If you don’t qualify for an employer sponsored plan, you can open your own Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
  • Boost your emergency savings. Start with a manageable goal like $1,000 and work your way up to a month of living expenses, then a few months.
  • Pay down debt. If you have credit card balances, start with the lowest one and throw a little more at it each month until it’s gone. Then tackle the next-highest balance. If you don’t have credit card debt, look at student loans or a car loan. The sooner you can pay off these debts, the more money you’ll be able to save.

Your 20's and 30's is the best time to open a retirement account, start building your emergency savings, and pay down debt as much as possible.

Invest For The Long-Term

Set aside three to six months’ salary in a savings account for a rainy day. This will come in handy if you lose your job as well as for unexpected expenses and emergencies like a trip to the ER or a big car repair. Keep your emergency funds in cash in an FDIC-insured savings account.

  • Take advantage of compound interest as soon as you can. Earn interest on the interest you receive by adhering to a disciplined investing plan.
  • Don’t make any drastic financial changes right now if it’s not necessary. Instead, focus on saving aggressively and putting any extra money towards retirement.
  • Keep savings in cash or CDs so the funds are readily available for any significant expenses or purchases you will make in the near future.

Practice Dollar-Cost Averaging

This is an investment strategy* in which assets are purchased regularly at a fixed dollar amount. For example, 401(k) plans use dollar-cost averaging by making regular purchases according to the participant’s pay schedule and contribution. As a result, investors could end up buying certain investments at a discount during periods of market underperformance.

*Dollar-cost averaging is a method of helping to control risk. It does not assure a profit or the avoidance of loss. Investors should consider their ability to continue a dollar-cost program in periods of declining markets.

In Your 40’s and 50’s, Get Out Ahead Of Market Volatility

This life stage includes the prime income-earning years when you’re likely to have the greatest savings power. Stash away as much cash as possible while it still has a few decades to compound.

Stash away as much cash as possible during your 40's and 50's while it still has time to compound.

Start Diversifying With Safer Investment Options

Diversify your portfolio* info safer investment options such as bonds, bond mutual funds, CDs, and Money Market Accounts. These options tend to be more stable as markets change, helping to protect your portfolio from dramatic ups and downs.

*Diversification is a method of helping to control risk. It does not assure a profit or the avoidance of loss.

Consider Additional Principal-Protecting Options

Consider an annuity or a life insurance policy, especially if you have a family that is dependent on your income. The younger and healthier you are, the more likely you are to qualify for a lower rate.

In your 60’s and Through Retirement

Now it’s time to create a more risk-averse investment strategy.

For those nearing or already entered into retirement, it’s essential to protect the assets that will carry you through the entirety of retirement. The best approach is to set up three buckets of investment money that can financially carry you through each phase of your retirement:

  • 5-Year Bucket: Short-term income to fund immediate needs.
  • Intermediate Bucket: This is for money invested in a moderate-risk portfolio that can continue to grow over the next 6 to 15 years.
  • Long-Term Bucket: Finally, you have money that can be aggressively invested and won’t be touched for 16 years or more.

Your 60's is the time to protect the assets you worked hard for - make sure to tailor your budget to carry you through each stage of retirement.

Build A Retirement Budget

The amount of money you need to live on in retirement depends on how much you’ve saved so far and what a “comfortable life” looks like for you.

Start by making a list of your current expenses. Include both fixed bills, such as housing costs, as well as discretionary spending for items like clothing, travel, entertainment, and so on.

How much of your salary are you living on now?

If you’re spending close to all of what you make now, it’s a good idea to “test run” your retirement by trying to scale back and only spend 70 percent or so of your income. Yes, you may drop some expenses in retirement (less spending on transportation, a paid-off house to live in) but other costs of living could rise (healthcare, property taxes). And if you want to enjoy travel, classes, and other leisure/enrichment activities that aren’t free, you’ll probably spend more on that in retirement and need to budget accordingly.

Have you saved enough?

A number of factors (some out of your control) will determine how much yearly cash your retirement savings provides. If you don’t feel like you have enough, don’t get dejected. Just keep focusing on saving. You can, on average, double your nest egg balance in the last ten years or so of your career. People age 50 and older are even permitted to make larger “catch-up contributions” to 401(k) plans and IRAs.

Seek Out Other Income-Producing Assets

The more streams of income you have, the better your overall financial stability will likely be. For example, many retirees take on part-time jobs to supplement their savings. This could relate to a passion or hobby, such as working in a garden store if you love plants, or teaching a class at the local community college to share your expertise from a long career.

Also consider income-producing assets such as real estate/investment properties, dividend-paying stocks, and/or variable annuities.

Best Practices For All Life Stages

Financial planners can help you navigate your finances, stay on budget, and make educated financial decisions, at any stage of your life.

  • Don’t make any spontaneous decisions or changes. Talk to your financial advisor to discuss your financial goals and concerns before making any rash decisions, especially decisions related to retirement savings or investments.
  • Don’t make early withdrawals. If you take an early withdrawal from your 401k before age 59.5, you’ll pay ordinary income taxes and a 10% penalty. Withdrawing money early also forfeits tax-advantaged growth and can trigger a higher tax bill.
  • Get a financial planner. Professional financial managers can help you navigate the market turbulence and prevent you from making detrimental financial decisions during market volatility.
  • Reassess and rebalance on a regular basis. Whether it’s quarterly, semiannually, or annually, make a standing appointment to review your investments and assets to ensure your finances are where you want them to be.

F&M Bank’s Infinex Investment Executives Can Help You Navigate the Market!

Whatever stage of life you’re in, our financial planners can help you understand your options and develop a strategy for your investment portfolio that matches your individual goals for retirement. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have or schedule a consultation with an Infinex Financial Advisor at any of our locations in Staunton, Harrisonburg, and the greater Shenandoah Valley.


Investment and insurance products and services are offered through INFINEX INVESTMENTS, INC. Member FINRA/SIPC. F&M Financial Services, Inc. is a nonbank subsidiary of F&M Bank. Infinex is not affiliated with either entity.

Securities and Insurance Products:
Not Guaranteed by the Bank | Not FDIC Insured | Not a Deposit | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency | May Lose Value Including Loss of Principal