Hassle-Free Loans Make Star Smiles Pediatric Dentistry Beam

By Matt Kennedy
Marketing Coordinator

Star Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Georgetown, TX found out that stress is not part of the equation when asking for a commercial real estate loan from Independent Bank.

Relationships thrive when trust and responsibility are present. Independent Bank’s responsibility is to uphold our clients’ trust by treating them differently than large, impersonal banks. That responsibility extends to the perceived stressful task of asking for a loan.

When Star Smiles needed a commercial lot loan, they turned to Independent Bank. What they found was something different than they have ever experienced. Adrian Gonzales, Star Smiles office manager and partner, said that his interactions with their lender Chris Logue, Independent Bank-Georgetown President, and everyone at Independent Bank have been pleasant and easy.

“We gained simplicity and peace of mind from Independent Bank,” Adrian said. “Getting our lot loan for our new office was the easiest I’ve ever received. Chris has been great from the start and continues to provide great service.”

Other banks may tell you how your loan will be processed in complicated banking terms, direct your questions to an automated phone system, and extend the length of processing your loan. Dr. Kelly Gonzales, Star Smiles partner, found out that Independent Bank lenders like Chris Logue listen to your needs before conversationally explaining possible solutions, answer your calls personally, and work hard to find fast, lasting loan solutions.

“Our commercial real estate loan with Chris was the easiest we’ve ever experienced,” Kelly said. “Chris offers great rates, explains everything simply in layman’s terms and provides great tips on the banking process.”

Star Smiles prides itself on its well-trained staff that loves children and their “mother’s touch to children’s dentistry.” They provide specialized dentistry from infancy to teenage years and care for special needs patients of all ages. Star Smiles focuses on preventative care to help each child have “a smile that will last a lifetime.”

Star Smiles’ relationship with Independent Bank continues on. Once Star Smiles builds its new office, they will be able to offer the same great service geared around kids, only in an expanded and more efficient “child-friendly” environment.

It all started with a loan from Independent Bank, which Dr. Kelly Gonzales rates “five out of five stars.”

Independent Bank. A Partnership You Can Bank On.

Posted in Commercial Real Estate, Community Bank, Personal Bank | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Realtor’s Tips on Selling Homes in a Buyer’s Market

By Matt Kennedy
Marketing Coordinator

Desperately scanning the walls to search for areas in need of touchup paint. Cleaning twice a day. Setting out a fresh pot of coffee or baking cookies to help potential buyers feel at home.  In an age when the phrase “it’s a buyer’s market” is on the tip of every listing agent’s tongue, sellers must do whatever they can to entice house hunters.

Whether the market favors the buyer or the seller, Independent Bank’s motivation never changes. Independent Bank is committed to delivering “above and beyond service” through its two proven mortgage partners Square One Mortgage (North Texas) and Independent Bank Mortgage (Austin) in offering customers competitive rates and unmatched personal attention.

Independent Bank has worked with many great listing agents who know what it takes to sell a house. One of those agents is Denice Webb from Halo Group Realty. Webb is currently assisting several clients who are using Square One Mortgage.

Webb said the best way to get a home sold fast in a buyer’s market is to price the home at the seller’s lowest comfort level. However, she likes to appeal to a buyer’s senses by adding soft music or an appropriate scent when showing a home. According to Webb, improvements to the outside of a house can be just as important as changes to a home’s interior.

“Curb appeal is everything,” Webb said. “I always suggest brightly colored flowers planted in pots around the front and a clean, freshly painted front door.”

Visualization is an important part of a buyer’s process when looking at homes. Making a home look like a place where friends will want to visit and stay helps to “bring life” to a home.

“I love to make conversation pits to make the house look homey and inviting,” Webb said. “I like to put couple of chairs together with a table and a lamp between them. One chair usually has a pillow on it, and the other has a throw.”

Some improvements may seem important to the seller, but may not improve the resale value of the home.

“Everyone loves an updated kitchen,” Webb said. “But unless your buyers are gourmet cooks, they will not require high-end appliances. I would say to go with black or stainless appliances, but you don’t have to install the top of the line brands.”

As Webb continues the practice of making homes look inviting and “homey,” she said she will continue to use Square One Mortgage (a division of Independent Bank) because she believes they provide excellent service and they don’t lead buyers on by giving them a false sense of hope if they aren’t qualified to purchase a home right away.

“I always hand my buyers three cards in order to help them choose their lender,” Webb said. “I am always glad when they choose Square One and Independent Bank.”

Independent Bank. A Partnership You Can Bank On.MemberFDIC_EqualHousingLender_2011

Posted in Real Estate | Tagged | Leave a comment

Building Relationships as Community Life Church Builds its Dreams

By Matt Kennedy
Marketing Coordinator

Responding to a call is paramount to the relationships Independent Bank lenders form with their customers. When customers tell us where they want to go and what it will take to get there, we take them seriously and diligently work to make their dreams realities.

Kevin Griffin, Independent Bank Regional President, responded to Community Life Church and its pastor Mike Banas in 2007 when they felt the call to purchase their first church property in McKinney, TX.

“Independent Bank allowed us to acquire five acres and our first building in McKinney as a young church,” Banas said. “They had faith in us when we thought we were the only ones who had faith in ourselves.”

Responding to a call is nothing new for Banas. He responded to a call in college when he became a Christian immediately after hearing a gospel message while walking through the campus of Arizona State University. He again responded to a call when he moved his family from Midland to McKinney after Pastor Joe Martin of Trinity Church in Dallas met Banas and discussed his desire to plant a church in McKinney.

As Community Life Church grows from a church that once met in an elementary school to a church of over 400 members, it still desires to be a church that involves every member of its congregation in an area of ministry and to help those in need, whether they be in or out of the congregation. Independent Bank understands that a church is more than its walls and we are proud when churches are able to use loans to extend the reach of their community.

“Independent Bank is a local bank with national influence that is willing to help every segment of its community.” Banas said. “We appreciate their investment in the people who invest in the community they live in.”

Independent Bank. A Partnership You Can Bank On. MemberFDIC_EqualHousingLender_2011

Posted in Community Bank | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Business Planning for the 2012 New Year

As the year ends, many companies begin the new year with a focus on business planning. One of the most important tools in business planning is formulating written goals. A Harvard Business School study found that only 3% of all business owners write goals for the upcoming year. The study also found that the 3% with written goals earned up to 10 times as much as the 97% who did not articulate their goals and plans. This study makes it clear that setting and writing goals and plans for your business for the new year can result in increased earnings and more customers.

Excuses for Not Setting Goals

Excuses for not identifying business goals as part of business planning are endless. Some of the most common excuses are that the process is difficult, goal setting takes too much time, written goals are difficult to finish, it is easy to put them aside, and that goals don’t address the actual needs of the business. Every one of these excuses, however, has a solution. Goal setting does not have to be difficult as long as you keep the process simple. One way to do that is to set goals in a series of brief sessions, which also solves the “time-consuming” excuse. At each mini session, require that at least one goal be completed so that they are not unfinished or put aside. Good business planning also requires that the goals be written to specifically address the needs of your business; many analysts recommend including all aspects of the business when setting goals.

The Nuts and Bolts

The biggest problem with incorporating written goals into the business planning process is that too many business owners do not know how to go about creating them. There are four steps to creating useful and manageable goals and plans for the upcoming year:

1. Write down exactly what is your vision for your business in the upcoming year. Include as many aspects of your business as possible, including marketing, accounting, office standards, and other business functions, as well as personal factors that can affect your business operations.
2. Write down what you want to achieve within each business and personal category. Be sure to consider marketing, finances, equipment needs, competitors and other factors that may affect you both personally and professionally.
3. Break each goal down into smaller goals. Set daily, weekly and monthly benchmarks and be sure that all small goals are attainable.
4. Develop a specific action plan. One way to make goals more attainable is by developing a specific timeline to focus on your highest priorities. Selecting a set time and day each week to focus on one main priority will eventually help you form a habit and provide increased consistency. Creating a habit makes it more likely that you will achieve your goals.

Success

Successful business planning requires more than just writing down goals and setting a schedule. The key is to get the plan started and then keep improving on the plan throughout the year. After you create a plan, spend 30 to 60 minutes each week dedicating yourself to the process of reviewing and adjusting the goals as necessary.

Since setting goals has been shown to increase profitability and build business, one of the most important things to do for 2012 business planning should be goal setting. To find bankers equally committed to your success and who are prepared with business banking solutions that can support your business plan and the growth needs of your company, visit www.independent-bank.com.

Posted in business banking, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Steps to Securing a Commercial Real Estate Loan

Becoming familiar with the process of obtaining a commercial real estate loan can reduce stress and give you a better chance of having the loan approved. Following a few simple steps greatly enhances your chances of qualifying for a commercial real estate loan.

Adequate Cash on Hand

One of the first things to do before applying for a commercial real estate loan is determine whether you have adequate cash on hand. This goes beyond the down payment; will you have enough cash to operate the business once the property has been purchased? When it comes to the down payment, be sure that you have between 20% and 30% of the purchase price on-hand when you apply for the loan. Once you have applied, be prepared to demonstrate that you will have the cash available to maintain the property once the purchase has been finalized

Know Your Credit Scores

As with any loan process, having excellent credit is crucial to obtaining the best loan rates. However, because commercial real estate loans are normally larger than a residential mortgage, lenders have more stringent credit requirements for approving commercial real estate loans. In most cases, the principals of the company must have credit scores above 700 to qualify for a commercial real estate loan and the company itself must have a proven track record of paying its bills on time and managing its finances responsibly.

Business Knowledge

An important document to have when applying for a commercial real estate loan is a business plan. A business plan outlines what you envision for as the future of the business, how you plan for the business to succeed and what your experience is in this type of business. If you are planning to open a retail store, it is important that you have some type of demonstrated retail management experience to present to the bank or the lender will be hesitant to invest in the commercial real estate for your business.

Of all the tips for obtaining a commercial real estate loan, one of the best suggestions is to use a local familiar lender. Local bankers who live and work in the communities they serve are more familiar with the area where your business will be located and are often able to provide valuable insight into how to help your business grow. To learn more about the advantages of securing your commercial real estate loan with a Texas bank that is dedicated to the economic vitality of your community, click here!

Posted in business banking, business loan | Tagged | Leave a comment

Business Banking: Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Finds Their Fit

With 280 franchises across the United States, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing’s main goal is to keep customers for life and the business banking services of Independent Bank are helping the Lawton Group, LLC/Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchise meet that goal.  The motto of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is “If there’s any delay, it’s you we pay®,” and the company is proud to offer the best warranties in the business.

Winning Attitude

Keresa Richardson, the president of the Benjamin Franklin Plumbing franchise as well as the brand president for Benjamin Franklin Plumbing nationally, is especially pleased with the winning attitude of Independent Bank.  The business banking products such as checking accounts, money markets, personal and business loans offered by the bank have helped the Lawton Group and Benjamin Franklin Plumbing provide quality plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration and roofing services.  Richardson says that the bank has a culture that makes doing business with them a pleasure and their “can-do” attitude is greatly appreciated.

Customer from the Beginning

The Lawton Group/Benjamin Franklin Plumbing has been a customer of Independent Bank since they opened a branch in McKinney.  Richardson says “Kevin (a loan officer at Independent Bank) brings a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to us.  He understands the unique challenges we face every day and is always there to help meet the banking needs of our business.  Kevin is an invaluable part of our business.”  Kevin offers the business banking services that help the company grow.

Challenging Times

These are challenging economic times and many businesses are struggling to succeed in this difficult economy.  However, the business banking services provided by Independent Bank help Benjamin Franklin Plumbing keep its commitment to the customer.  Richardson said they have “enjoyed doing business with Independent Bank since Day One,” and her company looks forward to a long and prosperous relationship.

To learn more about the advantages your business receives by banking with Independent Bank, contact them today to learn about the business banking services.

Posted in business banking, Community Bank | Tagged | Leave a comment

Steps to Preventing Holiday Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission reports that more than 9 million people in the United States are impacted by identity theft every year, and that the holiday season is the most common time of year when identity theft criminals strike.  There are simple steps you can take to help prevent being a victim of identity theft during the holiday season or any time of year.

ATM Safety

Automatic teller machines have become commonplace and have made it much easier for people to withdraw money from their bank accounts.  In fact, you can find ATMs in grocery stores, malls, convenience stores and even in hotel and restaurant lobbies.  However, many people become victims of identity theft due to ATM transactions.  ATMs can be tampered with, allowing thieves to access your account information.  Use only ATM machines at your bank, or at least a nationally recognized bank, in a lighted area.  Be sure that anyone waiting behind you cannot see the numbers while entering your PIN.  Take your receipt and card from the machine immediately.

Online Purchases

When making online purchases, be sure to use only secure websites to keep from being a victim of identity theft.   Be sure that the checkout page on the website is a secure site.  Check the website address to be sure the URL is https:// (rather than http://), as this indicates the site is secure. Purchase from reputable, well-known websites as they often offer buyer protection programs.  When paying your credit card bill, never write your account number on the check.

In the Store

When carrying a shoulder bag, be sure to secure it as closely as possible to your body to reduce the chances it might be snatched, which can lead to identity theft.  Zip all pockets and compartments in your wallet and purse to ensure items that could reveal your identity do not fall out.  Keep receipts in your purse and not in the bag with your merchandise.  Do not place your purse in the seat of a shopping cart and then leave the cart unattended.  Watch for anyone who seems to be standing too close to you in line, as some identity thieves can get information while looking over your shoulder.

By following these simple tips, you can better protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft during the holiday season, and during the rest of the year as well.  Independent Bank is committed to providing you with resources and information to prevent or mitigate fraud.  For more information about identity theft prevention or other benefits of banking with Independent Bank visit our website.

 

Posted in Personal Bank | Tagged | Leave a comment

How to Budget your Money for the Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner, and with an economy still struggling, it may be difficult to determine how to budget your money for the holidays.  It is very tempting to go overboard; it is estimated that Americans will spend an average of $700 on holiday gifts alone this year.  For some, this may mean incurring additional credit card debt if they do not properly budget their money for the holidays.

Gift Budgeting

The first thing to consider when determining how to budget your money for the holiday season is gift giving One idea is to set up a savings plan at your bank It is also important to review your gift list and budget for presents on an annual basis.  Talk to your family about the possibility of scaling back gift giving during the holiday season.  For extended family, such as aunts, uncles and cousins, suggest drawing names in order to reduce holiday gift-giving costs.  Start shopping early rather than waiting for the holiday season to be in full swing.  Highly coveted gifts such as computers and toys are often available at lower prices before the holiday season.   Use old-fashioned wrapping ideas such as the Sunday comics, brown grocery bags or bright tissue paper tucked into the gift bag from the store.

Keeping the Decorating Costs Down 

Gifts are not the only additional expense that occurs during the holiday season.  Decorating for the holidays may also increase your budget.  When planning how to budget your money for the season, determine decorating needs.  One innovative way to save money on decorations and still update your holiday look is to coordinate a decoration swap with friends.  If you have a smaller- than-normal budget this year, scale back the amount of decorating and use only items you have on hand.  Also, you can control energy costs by using a timer with any holiday lighting displays.

Meal Savings

The holidays are a time to gather with family and friends to share good food and create memories.  Unfortunately, holiday meals can get expensive and when deciding how to budget your money, it is important to also budget for the meals you will be serving.  One of the best ideas is to ask guests to bring side dishes to reduce the amount of food you must purchase and prepare.  Cut back on baking during the holidays, as very few people need to add the additional calories of cookies and fudge—no matter how delicious they are.  You can still bake traditional goodies, but just make fewer of them.  Start buying non-perishable meal and baking supplies early, a few each week, to keep from having a large grocery bill just before the holidays.

By using these simple tips, you can prevent the sticker shock that often comes in January when you open those first credit card bills after the holiday season.  These ideas can result in less stress and a more pleasant holiday season.  When it comes to your personal finances, you need a partner that knows where you’re coming from and knows how to secure your money.  Independent Bank has the personal touch and experience that you’ve always wanted in a Texas bankContact us today to learn more about our services.

Posted in Personal Bank | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why Independent Bank is Your Best Business Partner

One of the most important assets Independent Bank has is a staff made up of your friends and neighbors.  Because many of those who work at the local bank know you personally, they are better able to provide you with the business banking services you need to help your business grow.  National banks have so many customers and as a result, it is difficult for them to know how important your particular business is to your community. Community banks know that your business helps the local economy and they are better able to anticipate your needs and provide you with the fast answers and business banking services you need.

Better Accessibility

Not only does Independent Bank know what your business needs, as your friends and neighbors, they know that they need to be accessible to you.  No matter what your banking need is at the time, whether it is to set up a bank account or obtain a business loan, having the person who makes the final decision available is key.  At Independent Bank, bank executives and decision makers are accessible to you and will make every effort to accommodate your needs when it comes time to discussing your business banking services.

Local Business Knowledge

Independent Bank understands that the success of your business is important to the local community.  For this reason, they will work hard to provide you with the business banking services you need to help your company grow.  They know that when your business grows, the local economy grows.  The decision makers at Independent Bank know your story and they care about what is important to you.  They know that by learning all they can about you and your business, the better customer service they can provide.   In fact, they will be able to anticipate your needs and are prepared to offer you additional business banking services to secure your financial future.

Lending Expertise 

Independent Bank understands that every business is unique, even those that are in competition with each other. When you need a business loan, the loan officers at Independent Bank are able to use their own experiences and financial expertise to offer you the best lending options to help you grow. In addition, because Independent Bank is locally owned, you will get the personal service and fast answers you deserve.  Independent Bank officers will explain each option and give you peace of mind that they are looking out for your interests and the interests of your business.

When a bank knows you and knows your business, you can be confident in the fact that they are offering you the best solutions and options to help your business grow.  For more information about business banking services, visit www.independent-bank.com.

 

Posted in business banking | Tagged | Leave a comment

Types of Business Banking Solutions

Independent Bank is proud to offer many business banking services to help grow the local economy, create jobs and make our community better.  By remaining focused on the local community, Independent Bank can tailor business loans and services to better suit the unique needs of the community around them and offer the same high-technology services that national banks offer, but with a hometown approach to service you’ll enjoy.

Direct Deposit

Save your employees the hassle of going to the bank every payday to deposit paychecks by offering direct deposit.  Much safer than issuing payroll checks, direct deposit reduces losses due to stolen, forged or lost paychecks and will save you money since you will no longer have to spend time writing and issuing checks.  In addition, with Direct Deposit, you can actually approve payroll from your mobile phone, anywhere, even while you’re on the golf course!

Positive Pay 

Positive Pay is a business banking service that offers you the ability to detect fraud before checks are paid. Positive Pay reduces your risk of check fraud and gives you comfort in the knowledge that your authorized payments are processed properly.

Remote Deposit Capture

One business banking service offered by Independent Bank is Remote Deposit Capture.  Rather than carry checks to the bank to deposit them, Remote Deposit Capture allows you to deposit them from your place of business, simply by scanning the check at your location.  In most cases, a check received today will be money in the bank tomorrow, reducing waiting times for checks to clear.  Not only that, your staff will no longer deal with traffic delays and deposit preparation is much simpler.

Lockbox Services

Allow Independent Bank to process your accounts receivable payments! Lockbox service can help simplify the collection and expedite the processing of your account receivables by having payments mailed directly to a PO Box accessed daily by the bank. Get rid of the headaches, free up your staff and improve your cash flow by having the bank process your payments!

In addition to these services, Independent Bank offers electronic tax payment services, merchant bankcard processing and other services designed specifically for businesses. These special services are much like those offered by national banks, but at Independent Bank, you get those same services without feeling as if you are nothing but an account number. For more information on business banking services, visit www.independent-bank.com.

 

Posted in business banking | Tagged | Leave a comment