How We Protect Your Data from Ransomware

It is important to us to provide you timely information regarding the steps we take to protect our customers’ data in the event of a Ransomware attack.

Criminals use Ransomware to hold your data hostage. They will typically include malware as an attachment in an email or as an embedded link in the email. The recipient opens the attachment or clicks on the link and the ransomware installs to their PC or laptop. The malware will quickly encrypt the data stored on the workstation and other network resources and, when the encryption is complete, demand a ransom from the victim, typically payable in bitcoin. The criminals will promise to provide the victim with the key to decrypt the data, but there are no guarantees.

F&M Bank takes the following steps to protect our customers’ data from malware, especially Ransomware:

• The Bank trains its employees to recognize phishing email attempts and the Bank tests compliance with our polices on a quarterly basis.

• The Bank continuously patches and updates the operating systems of our workstations and servers.

• Software applications are patched to the latest versions and configured to reduce the risk of malware infection.

• Anti-virus software is installed to all workstations and servers and the virus signature files are continuously updated.

• We employ spam filters and secure email protocols to help prevent malware laden email from reaching our employees.

• An Intrusion Detection/Intrusion Prevention system also monitors traffic to alert the Bank and block malware infections.

• Web filters prevent employee access to sites known to host malware or other malicious material.

• The Bank performs daily backups of all customer data and the backups are segregated from the network to prevent a malicious encryption of the data.

We appreciate your trust in our financial institution. Please contact us online or at your nearby branch for any account-related questions you may have.


Why Payday Loans Don’t Make Financial Sense

Life happens. The washing machine dies in the middle of a load, or you discover that your last visit to urgent care wasn’t covered by insurance. It’s not always possible to pay for these surprise expenses on the spot. This is when payday loans may become tempting. Here’s what you need to know about payday loans and why they shouldn’t be part of your financial strategy.

Life happens. The washing machine dies in the middle of a load, or you discover that your last visit to urgent care wasn’t covered by insurance. It’s not always possible to pay for these surprise expenses on the spot. This is when payday loans may become tempting.

Here’s what you need to know about payday loans and why they shouldn’t be part of your financial strategy.

What’s a payday loan?

Payday loans are small, short-term loans, often of $500 or less. They’re usually due within two weeks, or on your next payday. Many borrowers choose them because they’re so easy to get: Lenders don’t require collateral and rarely run credit checks. But you will pay for the convenience.

Most lenders charge a fee of $15 per $100 borrowed, according to a study done by the Pew Charitable Trusts. To be approved, you must allow the lender access to your checking account or submit a post-dated check for the amount you’re borrowing, plus the fees.

What’s so terrible about 15%?

Maybe you’re wondering what the big deal is: 15% sounds comparable to credit card interest. With payday loans, though, that 15% is due by your next payday, making your annualized interest rate almost 400%. If you can pay it back on time, one payday loan won’t bankrupt you, but if you don’t have that cash in two weeks, you can easily get trapped in costly ongoing debt.

In fact, more than 80% of payday loans are renewed or followed by another loan, with the borrower paying additional fees. This creates a vicious cycle of debt for those who can least afford it.

Statistically, people who take out payday loans are more likely to have relatively low incomes and long-term cash flow challenges.

Are there alternatives?

Payday loans are a bad deal, and if you need fast cash, you often have better options:

• Church-backed loans: Your church, temple, synagogue or mosque might offer small, low-interest emergency loans.
Life insurance loans: You might be able to borrow against an existing cash-value policy at low interest. You have your whole life to pay back these loans.
• Family/friend loans: Someone close to you might be willing to help.
• Payroll advances: Your employer might offer a cash advance on your salary.
• Personal loans: These installment loans are available through credit unions, banks and lending companies. They generally have fixed interest rates, don’t require collateral and provide comfortable repayment terms.
• Retirement accounts: The government allows you to withdraw funds from your IRA or 401(k) penalty-free, provided you put the money back within 60 days. This option only makes sense if you’re absolutely sure you can pay it back in time.
• Account or credit card advance: Your bank, credit union or credit card company might provide cash advances. Interest rates tend to be high, but are still lower than those for payday loans.
• Peer-to-peer lending: These online loans usually have high interest rates, but they’re also more affordable than payday loans.

Expenses often pop up at the worst possible times, but you don’t need a payday loan to bail you out. By exploring more affordable alternatives, you really can make it through today without stepping all over tomorrow.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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How to Avoid Pay Day Loan Fraud

The bank has noticed an upswing in this type of fraud and would like to help educate our customers as to how this occurs, and what you can do to protect yourself or a loved one from such a scam.

“Pay day” loan fraud is a new trend our bank is seeing where customers apply online for a loan, and as part of the application process, are instructed to enter the online banking ID and password for their financial institution.  Applicants are also asked for the answers to their online banking security questions. The bank has noticed an upswing in this type of fraud and would like to help educate our customers as to how this occurs, and what you can do to protect yourself or a loved one from such a scam.

Once a person enters their banking information into the online application, the unknown fraudster then enrolls in mobile banking on behalf of the applicant, submitting fraudulent checks for deposit through the bank’s mobile app. When the customer comes into the bank to receive their “pay day” funds, they are struck with returned checks that are fraudulent.

Customers applying for loans online that share their sensitive information are not taking into consideration that they have given scammers direct access to their checkbook, including the ability to issue checks from the bill pay feature of online banking.

It is never wise to share online banking credentials! In these cases, an applicant can unknowingly become a criminal suspect themselves as they are referred to as “money mules”, participating in moving money fraudulently. The applicant must then bear the burden of proving that they did not willingly engage in fraudulent activity often involving the police.

When enrolling in online banking, be sure to never share a banking ID, password, or security questions and answers with anyone. A reputable lender will never ask for that information. By following these guidelines, one can avoid a significant loss through a scam.


Protecting Your Small Business Account

Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’ finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable. The American Bankers Association recommends following these tips to keep your small business safe.

Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.

Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.

Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.

Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.

Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.


How To Report Lost and Stolen Cards

Customers are now able to use online banking to report debit cards as lost or stolen, or to activate new cards that are mailed to them. This feature is available in the Options tab in F&M Bank's Online Banking portal. 

To report your debit card as lost or stolen, or to activate a card, click on the ATM/Debit Card tab. A screen will appear listing the cards associated with your accounts, and will indicate the card is in one of the statuses below:

  • Active  
    • You will have the option to mark as Lost/Stolen.
  • In Process Card Order
    • You will have the option to mark as Activate. This means you can now activate a new card without visiting an ATM!
  • Mark as Lost/Stolen
    • Use this in the event that the card appears to be lost in the mail.

When you click the box that indicates Lost/Stolen, you will be directed to a confirmation page to verify that the card is to be blocked. At that point, the card will be instantly hotcarded on our card system, meaning transactions will be blocked.  Please contact the bank for a new card. New cards can either be mailed to you or instantly issued at your local branch.

*Please note that once a card is reported as Lost/Stolen the card cannot be switched back to Active if the card is found.*  

A member of our Customer Support team will monitor hotcards from Online Banking on a daily basis and will make up to three attempts to contact you by phone to determine which options for a replacement card best suits your needs (either mailed or issued at a branch). 

Customers can still use the phone hotline to report lost or stolen cards or to activate their card and can still contact any bank employee. 

We hope that you will enjoy this additional option for your convenience!

Upgrade to My Rewards™ and you can earn up to 5X the points

At F&M Bank, we love to reward our customers. And now, it’s even easier to earn rewards when you sign up for the My Rewards™ Gold or Platinum Debit Card! As a Gold or Platinum Debit Card Holder, you’ll enjoy premium benefits and perks such as cash back, bonus points, access to convenient short-term loans, emergency roadside assistance, prescription savings and much more! And if you enroll by June 30, 2016, you’ll receive your first 90 days absolutely free! Just be sure to enter promo code 383727.

You’re already shopping with your debit card – why not rack up extra points?  Upgrade to the My Rewards™ Gold or Platinum Debit Card and you can earn up to 5X the points on everyday purchases! And you’ll even MORE points when you shop online through F&M’s Bonus Rewards Website: www.fmbonusrewards.com.  Some card holders have earned enough points to redeem for a Caribbean cruise!

Visit us for a full list of benefits and enroll today! Remember to enter promo code 383727 for your free 90-day trial! http://Card.fmbonusrewards.com.


Fee applicable following advertised promotional period. Finance charges associated with the convenient, short-term loan benefit remain applicable. The loan benefit is available only to My Rewards Platinum Debit Card holders, however, the card holder still must qualify for the loan. Please visit www.fmbonusrewards.com/CardTerms for card program terms and conditions.


Fraud Alert for Cardholders Living or Traveling in New York

FRAUD ALERT – on Friday, May 6, 2016, F&M Bank began receiving notifications from our fraud detection system regarding some of our Virginia customers’ cards being used in stores in the state of New York, with confirmations of fraud.

As a precautionary measure, F&M has placed a block that requires the use of your PIN for transactions conducted in the state of New York. Your PIN must be used when using your debit card until this matter is resolved.  If you do not know your PIN, please notify the bank and we will order a new PIN to be mailed to the address on file for your account.

For customers who notify F&M Bank to obtain a new PIN and are Kasasa Accountholders: The Bank will pay the higher rate of interest for the statement cycle that ends in May to allow time for delivery of a PIN in the mail.  Customers would be expected to meet their 12 required transactions for the statement cycle that ends in June to qualify for the higher rate of interest.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause for you, our valued customers.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our customer support team at (540) 896-8941.

F&M Bank Holds in American Bankers Top 200 for ROAE

We are happy to report F&M Bank's placement in the American Banker's Top 200 list again in 2016 for our 3-year ROAE (Return on Average Equity). This year F&M Bank ranked 138th (up from 148th in 2015). See below for the full article.

American Banker Magazine
By Bonnie McGeer
April 25, 2016 

Profitability is under a lot of pressure for small institutions — expenses are up and yields on loans are down. But some are handling that pressure better than others, as our annual ranking of publicly traded banks and thrifts with less than $2 billion of assets shows.

The overall group of 684 institutions that fit the criteria for our ranking had median noninterest expense growth of 4.25% last year. For those that earned a spot in the top 200, expenses grew at an even faster pace of 5.85%.

But several factors — including loan growth and core deposit growth — helped offset the higher expenses for both the standouts and the larger peer group, which is allowing profitability to remain stable for now, according to an analysis by Capital Performance Group.

The rate at which institutions in this size range added loans improved slightly in 2015 compared with the previous year. Net loans were up a median of 8.39% for the top 200 and 8.1% for the peers.

Unlike in 2014, core deposit generation outpaced loan growth — which allowed for funding the loan growth cheaply. “This is important, as it helped ameliorate the impact of lower earning assets on the margin,” said Kevin Halsey, a consultant at CPG.

The top 200 institutions — ranked here by return on average equity across three years — had median core deposit growth of 10.33% last year, with the peer group posting an also impressive 9.26%. The median cost of funds improved 5 basis points for both the top 200 (to 0.44%) and the peers (0.47%).

At the same time, the yield on average earning assets fell by 7 basis points for both, to a median of 4.19% for the top 200 and 4.05% for the peers.

For American Banker subscribers: If you'd like an Excel sheet with all 684 publicly traded banks and additional data points such as cost of funds, core deposit growth, yield on average earning assets and ratio of noninterest expenses to average assets, send an email before May 27 to Bonnie.Mcgeer@SourceMedia.com to request a copy.

Bank Safe, Bank Smart® with Multi-Million Dollar FDIC Insurance

With F&M Bank and the Insured Cash Sweep® (ICS) service, you can earn interest on public or private funds placed into demand deposit accounts, money market deposit accounts, or both, and rest assured knowing that your ICS funds are eligible for multi-million-dollar FDIC insurance.

You can also enjoy unlimited program withdrawals or up to six program withdrawals per month. Simply put, with ICS, you can have it all.

What Can I do with ICS?

• Enjoy peace of mind. ICS funds are eligible for multi-million-dollar FDIC insurance that’s backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

• Earn interest. Put excess cash balances to work in demand accounts, money market deposit accounts, or both.

• Save time. By providing access to FDIC insurance through a single bank relationship, ICS can help your public unit comply with investment policy mandates. And with access to FDIC insurance, you can reduce any ongoing collateral-tracking requirements. This means you can spend more time accomplishing your public unit’s goals.

• Access funds. Enjoy unlimited program withdrawals using the ICS demand option or up to six program withdrawals per month using the ICS savings option.

• Support your community. Feel good knowing that the full amount of your funds placed through ICS can stay local to support lending opportunities that build a stronger community.
How Does ICS Work?

When our bank places funds for you using ICS, your deposit is sent from your transaction account at our bank into deposit accounts at other ICS Network banks in amounts below the standard FDIC insurance maximum ($250,000). This makes your funds eligible for FDIC protection. As a result, you can access FDIC insurance coverage from many institutions while working directly with just us, an institution you already know and trust.
It’s that easy.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

You receive a regular monthly statement from us for each option showing your ICS balances and other key information. And you can check your ICS balances and track other important information of interest to you, 24/7, through a specially designed Depositor Control Panel.

Your confidential information remains protected.

ICS can eliminate the ongoing tracking burdens associated with collateralization and the need to footnote uninsured deposits in financial statements if you are accustomed to these practices.


Contact Us to Learn More


Placement of your funds through the ICS service is subject to the terms, conditions, and disclosures set forth in the agreements, including the ICS Deposit Placement Agreement, that you enter into with us. Limits and customer eligibility criteria apply. Unlimited program withdrawals are available with ICS only when using the ICS demand option. ICS, Insured Cash Sweep, and Bank Safe, Bank Smart are registered service marks of Promontory Interfinancial Network, LLC.

For Public Funds:

Section 2.2-4518 of the Code of Virginia is Amended effective July 1, 2010, to read as follows:
§ 2.2-4518.  Investment of funds in deposits.

A. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Commonwealth and all public officers,     municipal corporations, other political subdivisions, and all other public bodies of the Commonwealth,     each referred to in this section as a “public entity,” may invest any or all of the moneys belonging to them or within their control in accordance with the following conditions:

1.    The moneys are initially invested through any federally insured bank or savings institution selected by the public entity that is qualified by the Virginia Treasury Board to accept public deposits;
2.    The selected bank or savings institution arranges for the deposit of the moneys in one or more federally insured banks or savings institutions, wherever located, for the account of the public entity;
3.    The full amount of principal and any accrued interest of each such deposit is covered by federal deposit insurance;
4.    The selected bank or savings institution acts as custodian for the public entity with respect to each deposit issued for the public entity’s account; and
5.    At the same time that the public entity’s moneys are deposited, the selected bank or savings institution receives an amount of deposits from customers of other financial institutions wherever located equal to or greater than the amount of moneys invested by the public entity through the selected bank or savings institution.

B. After deposits are made in accordance with the conditions prescribed in subsection A, such deposits     shall not be subject to the provisions of Chapter 44 (§ 2.2-4400 et seq.), § 2.2-4515, or any security or     collateral requirements that may otherwise be applicable to the investment or deposit of public moneys     by government investors.