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Blog Archive 2017


What is a CDFI and What Does it Mean For You?

Pan American Bank & Trust is part of a select group of community banks holding the designation of Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Certification is obtained annually from the United States Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund and allows the CDFI to obtain grants from the CDFI Fund which are then used to provide vital sources of new capital into economically underserved areas. Each grant awarded is matched by private sector capital which maximizes the impact in the community. Moreover, this unique program ensures that decisions are made locally by the organizations that know their communities best. This combined investment in communities meets crucial needs such as the development of affordable housing and the creation of jobs and local businesses.

Pan American Bank & Trust is proud to be a CDFI. We are a community bank dedicated to building relationships, strengthening communities and providing economic advantages to those who may not find opportunities elsewhere. In 2016, we originated 197 loans, totaling $85 million in lending. Seventy-eight percent of this money was located directly in our communities, resulting in 893 local jobs created or retained. Additionally, through commercial real estate loans, more than 204,000 square feet of commercial real estate space was developed or rehabbed. This is how we reinvest in our communities and build lifelong relationships with our clients and this is why we have earned an "Outstanding" rating from the FDIC under the Community Reinvestment Act.

Our mission is to enhance the economic environment of our local communities. If you're an aspiring business owner and need to find the means to start living your dream, Pan American Bank & Trust is here to help. Get in touch with one of our Relationship Executives today to see how we can help you start to grow your business.

What You Need to Start Your Business

You've finally decided to be your own boss. You've got a great idea, have done all the necessary market research, and even know the name of your future business. Now what? Well, the first couple of things you'll need are a sturdy business plan and, of course, financing.

Business Plan
A coherent business plan will make you think critically and realistically about your new venture. Despite being a long and somewhat arduous process, it is absolutely essential to draft a solid outline for the future if you plan on seeking financial support from banks, investors or by other means. Even if you are 100% self-starting with no outside capital, a good business plan acts as a road map to which you may refer in the near future. Here are the basics of what it should include:

  1. What your business is and what your goals are, and what sets you apart from the competition
  2. Projected cash flows and profitability
  3. Initial investments for the next two years (i.e. permits, rent, travel, salary/salaries, legal fees, marketing, insurance, etc.)
  4. An outline of your overall marketing strategy

In order to start your business, you'll probably need a business loan. Being prepared before you consult with your community bank is key. Here's what you'll need to bring:

  1. Your (aforementioned) business plan. Be sure it includes the information noted above
  2. Past 3 years of personal financial statements of owner(s) including tax returns, income statements, personal bank statements
  3. Business licenses
  4. Resume of principal(s) with relevant business management experience
  5. Commercial lease details

Pan American Bank & Trust is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) dedicated to creating jobs, building businesses and revitalizing neighborhoods by providing access to affordable financing through the U.S. Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund. This certification allows us to promote economic opportunity and revitalize the communities we serve. Successful community development requires community based decision making. If you're starting your own business, contact us to find out how we can help. 

The Difference Between a Personal and a Business Credit Card

As a business owner, many complex decisions are made in order to ensure your success. One of those decisions is whether you should get a personal or a business credit card.  We'll outline the difference between the two below so you can make a more informed decision.

Business Credit Card
Here are a few of the pros and cons of business credit cards:

  1.  The credit limit is usually higher.
  2. Easily separates personal and business expenses - this will come in handy during tax season.
  3. Business cards usually have great benefits through bonus point systems, focused on business
    expense like office supplies, travel, etc.
  4. Your personal credit score is still taken into account when applying for a business credit card. This means that you'll be personally responsible for any debts your business incurs.
  5. Sole proprietors can get business credit cards.
  6. Issuers are not required to notify you of rate increases.
  7. Payment due dates can change.
  8. You can't build your personal credit score using a business credit card.

Personal Credit Card

  1. Bonus rewards are geared more toward consumer spending rather than business expenses.
  2. Personal credit cards are optimal for sole proprietors with low overhead costs and no need for  higher credit limits.
  3. It will not build business credit.

3 Ways to Be a Smarter Mortgage Applicant

Home ownership is a part of the American dream. If you feel that you're finally ready to take that step to start living the dream, you'll need to get a mortgage. Here are some tips that will help you be a smarter mortgage applicant.

Improve Your Credit Score
Understanding the factors that determine your credit score before beginning the lending process is crucial to how they impact your ability to qualify for a loan. If you have outstanding debts, it's best to pay them off to bump your score before you apply for a mortgage. At the same time, avoid applying for unsecured revolving lines of credit and other short-term loans. When lenders do credit checks, your score temporarily dips. Avoid the impulse of applying for that in-store credit card until after you get your mortgage.

Keep an Emergency Fund
If all your money dries up due to down-payments and closing costs, you may be in trouble. More often than not, unforeseen costs will rear their ugly heads and missing your house payments won't reflect well. Lenders like to know that you have backup money to pay your mortgage on time, even if you run into some costly bumps in the road.

Pre-Qualification Can Be Your Best Friend
Loan pre-qualification will confirm exactly how much you can afford before shopping around and bidding on houses. It also shows the seller that you're serious about buying when you actually do put an offer on the table. It tells them that you're guaranteed to be able to afford the property and it makes the home buying process go much smoother.

As an Equal Housing Lender, Pan American Bank & Trust is dedicated to helping you live the dream by getting the home you deserve. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

3 Common Money Mistakes Made by New Entrepreneurs

You're finally taking the plunge and starting your own business. Being a successful entrepreneur is arguably one of the most difficult tasks you can take on because there's a lot to overcome. Financial success is the ultimate goal of any entrepreneurial endeavor -- here are some common financial mistakes that new business owners commonly make.

Frugality and Frivolity
There are good times and places to spend or save money, depending on the situation. Every day will cost you money -- overhead expenses, paying employees, even rent will all add up. Being too frivolous with your money is counterproductive, and will deplete your funds unnecessarily. On the flipside, there's no reason to skimp out on smart investments that will help your business. Your business' bank account isn't your personal one -- be confident enough to spend your money on products, services and employees that will make your life easier. Free yourself from the tedious small stuff so you can develop the bigger picture. Taking on too many tasks will burn you out. Finding a balance between frugality and frivolity is key.

Set Money Aside for Expenses
Finishing your first contract or receiving your first payment is extremely rewarding and exciting. One major mistake that many make is spending that money on themselves. Instead, try taking out only what you need to live and then reinvesting the rest back into the company. Spend it on marketing, overhead costs, or pay your taxes. Or even better yet -- save it!

Get Professional Financial Advice
Using the right bank, attorney, financial planner and accountant can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your business' financial security. They'll help you create budgeting plans and keep track of your cash flow. Consultations are not always free, but their advice will keep you in-the-know, out of legal trouble, and save you money in the long run.

As a FDIC member and Equal Housing Lender, Pan American Bank & Trust offers business checking and savings accounts, business loans and other business services. We are dedicated to helping your business thrive and to you living the dream. Contact us today to speak with one of our Customer Service Representatives.

Conversation Starters: Talking Finance with Aging Parents

There are some conversations that we would all rather not have. As elderly parents age, often adult children become involved in their care and finances. It’s important to have a conversation with your parents as they age about their finances, so you can gain a better understanding of their situation. It’s important to have the information you need if you ever have to take care of their finances. How do you begin this conversation?

Schedule a time to talk. You don’t want to make it feel too formal, but you want this to be a serious, meaningful conversation. By scheduling time to talk about this, you’re giving them time to digest and prepare for anything that you may need to talk about. It won’t be a surprise that catches them off guard.

Outline the discussion. Have a few talking points in your head and questions you want to ask. It is easier said than done as this is a difficult discussion to have, but try your best to keep your emotions in check.

Have a two way conversation. Share information about your financial situation and how you handle things. You have learned many lessons in your lifetime from your parents. Maybe this time, you can teach them a thing or two.

Offer your help. Take over some of their financial responsibilities, like doing their taxes. This can help you understand more about their financial situation as a whole. Offer to help them create a spending plan so that you will know how much money they have coming in and what they are spending it on.

You’re not trying to control your parents, you're doing this out of love and that is an important point to get across to them. The team at Pan American Bank & Trust is a valuable resource for you and your parents when planning for a stable financial future.

Safe Mobile Banking

Online banking is so convenient when it comes to monitoring and managing your money. Sometimes it seems that it is almost too good to be true. Pan American Bank & Trust’s Mobile Banking is a secure platform, but you can never be too safe in this day and age. So, be sure you are taking the proper precautionary measures to keep your money safe.

Password strength . This goes for your online banking account as well as the device you use to log onto the account. When creating a password, be sure to use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. If you are creating a PIN, 1234 is a little too easy and don’t try the last four digits of your social security number either; you would not want that getting out. Choose a random number and change it periodically.

Phishy Links . Never follow a link sent to you in an email or text message to log into a banking account or provide you with some other “amazing offer.” There are fake websites out there to mimic legitimate banks. Many times these scams make you feel like it is time sensitive so that you give them your information. Before you do so, look at the back of your card or a recent banking statement and follow the link provided on this formal and official documentation.

Public Networks. Avoid doing online banking when you are on a public WiFi network. It is better to do your banking when you are on your own personal WiFi network or on cellular data. You never know who is hanging out on the public network.

Lost phone . Keep track of your phone. Call your provider and know what steps can be taken to lock your phone if it ever is lost, so no one else can get in and use the device.

Improving Your Credit Score

When it comes to credit scores, better scores mean bigger budgets. Your credit score, or FICO score, is an analysis of your payment history, number of delinquent debts, total existing debt, and length of time you have had different credit accounts. This number plays a key role in how lenders set a line of credit for homebuyers and when insurance companies decide if they want to do business with you. Check out a few of our quick tips to improve your score.

Check your credit report . If you are lucky enough, no work is needed and your score is good as can be. However, there are times of error so it is important that you check so you are correctly represented. It is a free assessment you can do online, so there is no excuse.

Set reminders. Never be late for another credit card bill again. Late payments negatively impact your score.

Reduce debt . It is easier said than done. Rule of thumb: if you don’t have the money to spend, then do not spend it. Stop using your credit cards until you have the money to pay the bills.

Opening and closing cards. If you have an unused credit card, do not close it because this can negatively impact your credit score. Only open new cards when necessary.

Are You Ready to Take Out a Home Loan?

For many, purchasing a home is part of the American dream. It’s one of the largest financial investments you will make in your life and can be one of the most rewarding. A home is so much more than four walls and a roof over your head, it is a place where memories are made with family and friends. But, are you ready for this big investment?

Are your finances in order?
Maybe you have some debt or too many credit card bills. That is not to say that you can not buy a home, but it is a red flag to a greater problem. If your credit score is not as high as it could or should be, it might be time to put a pause on home buying and get that score up. Not only is there a down payment and closing cost that come with buying a home, but ongoing monthly payments, insurance, and taxes. It may sound like you can handle the down payment, but deadlines for continuing costs will approach quickly and frequently.

Are you here to stay?
Unless you are flipping houses, a home is not something you buy and sell soon after if you change your mind or something comes up. It is a long term investment. Are you job hunting, or will be in the future? That could take you to a different location, a longer commute, or a different state altogether. Homes appreciate at about 3% annually, meaning that if you try to sell shortly after you buy, say 2 years, the likelihood that you make anything on your home is pretty slim.

You want to be prepared when buying a home because it should be a happy and joyous experience. Speaking with a lender is a great way to understand your options for financing a home. Talk to one of the lenders at Pan American Bank & Trust today!

Why Our Clients Matter Most

At Pan American Bank & Trust, we find it instrumental to put our clients first. By facilitating the growth of our clients, both on a personal and professional level, we help formulate a plan that works best for each individual.

With a strong banking strategy, we understand that client engagement is at the forefront of our operations. We take the time and energy to invest in our clients and their personal interests, and by doing so, we’re building relationships with the people that make our community bank the great institution that it is.

An exchange with a client should be meaningful and authentic. We pride ourselves on having engaging conversations with our clients and building lasting relationships. At Pan American Bank & Trust, we step out from behind our desks and counters and in front of our clients to ensure that we’re there for them when they need us most.

With so much of our lives conducted online today, it’s nice to know that you can come into your local community bank and actually know the people that you’re working with. And that’s why we’re extremely proud to know our clients and their families by first name.

An organization’s culture is crucial to the success or failure of that organization. That’s why we make a culture of positive client engagement and superior client service top priorities at Pan American Bank & Trust. When we say that our clients matter most, and that we do everything we can to establish strategic relationship building, we mean it. To us, it’s about developing, nurturing and earning rapport with our clients. After all, clients matter. 

What You Need to Know About Financing Your Business

As a community minded financial institution, Pan American Bank & Trust specializes in financing a variety of businesses. Whether it’s a commercial real estate loan, line-of-credit, or letter-of-credit, we assist with finding the right funding option for your business needs. Here’s what you need to know about financing your business:

Start right away. It’s important to start the loan process right away, even if it’s before the loan is needed. At Pan American Bank & Trust, we want to start building a relationship with our clients right away to better understand their business, their needs and their goals. It’s important to establish this trusting relationship as soon as possible.

Decide how much your company needs and what the money is for. You’ll want to establish right away how much you’ll need and what specifically the loan will be used for. Whether it’s financing real estate, software or equipment, determine how much you need and where the money will go towards.

Find the right partner. You’ll want to do your research on the different types of lenders and what’s the best fit for you and your business. If you’re looking for a partner that is invested in economic development and the local community, then partnering with Pan American Bank & Trust could be the right option for you.

Starting your own business is an exciting venture. You may need a business loan to get up and running and if so, you’ll want to be educated on the topic. Use these tips to be better prepared when going into the loan application process and ensure you find a partner that can help meet your needs.

Know the Difference: Top 3 Advantages of Banking with a Community Bank
It can be a difficult decision choosing a bank that you can trust, that’s convenient for you and is invested in your best interests. Big mega banks seem to be everywhere, but the truth is that community banks are relevant and thriving, and could be a great match for you. So, what are the advantages of banking with a community bank?

  1. Pan American Bank & Trust invests in the community. Local banks, like Pan American Bank & Trust, are built on the idea that community matters. When we invest in our communities, we’re building assets of local small businesses. Which means we’re helping make the local economy and community stronger. Furthermore, Pan American Bank & Trust supports local organizations that make a difference in the community. We’re dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations that provide a strong foundation for our communities.
  2. Pan American Bank & Trust provides state-of-the-art technology. It’s a common misconception that smaller community banks can’t support and provide the latest technology. But at Pan American Bank & Trust, we offer online banking, mobile banking, bank by phone, and a number of other tools to make banking fast and convenient for you.
  3. Getting a small business loan or home loan is easy. We are committed to providing business solutions tailored to the specific needs of our clients, establishing a foundation they can use to focus on success. Additionally, we help finance the future you've always dreamt of. Whether it’s a business loan or mortgage, we’re here to help you.

These are just a few advantages of banking with a community bank over a larger mega bank. What are your favorite reasons to bank locally?

4 Reasons to Switch to Pan American Bank & Trust

Bigger isn’t always better. If you’ve considered switching from a large bank to your community bank, you have your reasons. If you need a few more reasons to switch to a community bank, here they are:

  1. Get the personal service you deserve. At Pan American Bank & Trust, we are known for our superior client service compared to larger financial institutions. We take the time to get to know you, what your needs are, and help you reach your goals.
  2. Establish a lifelong partnership. A bank shouldn’t just be a place to make financial transactions. It should be a place where you can build a strong relationship, a lifelong partnership, and a trustworthy resource.
  3. Reinvest in your community. When you bank with a larger national institution, your money circulates across the entire country. When you bank with your community bank, your money helps support the local economy. Small businesses are the backbone of the nation’s economy, so by reinvesting in your community, you can be assured that your money is staying local.
  4. Switching isn’t difficult. Many people think that switching their bank is a hassle. If you’re switching from one mega bank to another, it certainly can be a challenge. But when you switch to a community bank like Pan American Bank & Trust, we’ll ensure it’s hassle-free.

If you’re looking for a more personalized banking experience, switching to a community bank could be the right option for you. You’ll establish a real partnership and relationship that will help you reach your personal and financial goals. Stop worrying about the switch and take action today!

Are You Getting What You Deserve from Your Bank?

Most people begin a relationship with their bank and years or decades go by, and they suddenly realize they’re not getting what they deserve. Here’s what you need to know to determine if your bank is a well-oiled machine, and if you’re getting what you deserve from your bank.

Based on an analysis by Sageworks, a financial information company, “the best-run community banks in the U.S. are mostly small, independently owned banks with fewer than a dozen retail branches and less than $500 million in assets.”

At Pan American Bank & Trust, we’re committed to helping you reach your goals, whether it’s opening a checking or savings account, financing your future through Home Equity Lines of Credit, Home Loans, Auto Loans, Certificates of Deposit Loans, Overdraft Protection Loans, or financing your new business.

A key question to determine if you’re getting the most out of your bank is whether or not your bank facilitates growth. Most banking institutions will call themselves unique, but will do nothing to customize their products and services to fit their clients’ needs. Pan American Bank & Trust creates products tailored specifically to the needs of our clients. It’s part of our ‘relationships first’ business model, and it helps us stay focused on being as efficient and effective as possible.

If you’re unhappy with your current banking partner, make the move to get what you deserve.  Not all financial institutions are well run. If you’re noticing signs of inefficiency at your current bank, contact us today to get the products and services that matter to you.

When it Comes to Banking Locally, Relationships Matter

When it comes to choosing a banking partner, bigger isn’t always better. Trusting an institution with your finances means that relationships are key, and that trust can go a long way. At Pan American Bank & Trust, we value the relationships we’ve worked hard to form with our clients. We’re committed to meeting the needs of our clients and strengthening the valued relationships that we have with them. 

Larger financial institutions don’t always offer better service. In fact, we feel that at Pan American Bank & Trust, we’re able to give the proper attention and focus that our clients deserve. We can also offer coveted financial services that mainstream financial institutions simply cannot offer. Whether it’s a basic checking and savings account with higher rates, or a loan to get your dream business off the ground, our deposit and loan products have lower fees and fewer hassles than those offered by larger institutions. 

At Pan American Bank & Trust, we pride ourselves on quality service. Large banks don’t typically emphasize in-person service, but we invest in doing business person-person, known as relationship banking. We’re here for the average consumer, and we have the resources to help our clients reach their goals. 

When you bank with Pan American Bank & Trust, we have an opportunity to build a collaborative banking relationship, and we’ll make every effort possible to reinvest back into the communities that we proudly serve.

Fostering Community Development:  Bloomingdale to See Significant Job Growth in the Next Decade

Bloomingdale is home to Pan American Bank & Trust's newest office, which is committed to offering our services to local communities while continuing bank growth. Our goal in Bloomingdale is to reinvest in the community and build long-lasting relationships with individuals, businesses and families. Most importantly we will support Bloomingdale in the various ways they strive to LIVE THE DREAM.

That’s why we’re excited to see reports from Sperling’s Best Places that predict future job growth in Bloomingdale over the next ten years to reach 37.69%. Bloomingdale has a population of nearly 22,000 with a central location accessible to major highways. This has spurred commercial, office and retail developments in this community.

Pan American Bank & Trust has chosen Bloomingdale as a partner because it offers a unique experience, exceptional business growth, top-rated schools and expansive recreational opportunities.

Bloomingdale, once a small town community, experienced a growth surge beginning in 1975. Since then, Bloomingdale has continued to surge economically and has attracted new businesses to the area, thereby creating jobs in DuPage County. With a wide and varied retail and commercial base, Bloomingdale is a full-service community that has ample opportunities for continued growth. Pan American Bank & Trust provides relationship based financial services to our clients with the mission of fostering community development and enhancing the economic environment of our local communities.

What is CRA and what are the percentage of banks with Outstanding CRA ratings?

Are you familiar with the Community Reinvestment Act?  If you're not in the banking industry, you may not be.  Enacted by Congress in 1977 and most recently revised in 2005, the Act was created to encourage financial institutions to meet the credit needs of entire communities and not just those at higher economic levels. 

At Pan American Bank & Trust, we pride ourselves on delivering quality service to individuals, families and businesses throughout the communities we serve.  In 2015, we originated 194 loans totaling $90 million in lending, resulting in 864 jobs either created or retained.  As a community bank, giving back ensures the future development and growth of the dreams surrounding our institution.  2016 Impact statistics will be available in the 2nd Quarter of 2017. 

How does a bank get an outstanding CRA rating? 

According to the FDIC, "A financial institution's performance is evaluated in the context of information about the institution (financial condition and business strategies), its community (demographic and economic data), and it's competitors."  A bank with an outstanding CRA rating has demonstrated its commitment to its market by redeploying deposits in the form of loans to the community, with excellent dispersion throughout its market area.  A substantial majority of these loans must be in the bank's designated market and demonstrate excellent penetration among individuals of different income levels and businesses of different sizes. 

Currently, Pan American Bank & Trust is one of only 26 banks in Illinois with an outstanding CRA rating.  As a member of this group, we can proudly say that we take pride in the communities and residents we serve.  We believe in building lasting relationships with our customers for the improvement of the community. 

As we move through 2017, we will continue to serve you and the local economy for the better, promoting deep and lasting relationships that foster not only success of the individual, but also the community as a whole.

Young Entrepreneurs: Access the Funding You Need to Grow Your Business

When starting a business as a young entrepreneur, one of the first challenges you’ll face is accessing the funding needed to grow your business. You’ve worked hard to get your business up and running, but now that you’re in the growing phase, how do you find a committed partner to provide business solutions tailored to your specific needs? Pan American Bank & Trust can help you finance your business and focus on long-term success in the following ways:

Commercial Real Estate Loans
As a community minded financial institution, Pan American Bank & Trust specializes in financing a variety of commercial real estate projects. Commercial real estate loans can be short or long term, and can be used to buy property for your business operations.

Commercial Real Estate Lines-of-Credit
Commercial real estate lines-of-credit are for business owners or real estate investors interested in leveraging the equity in commercial property. Our Line-of-Credit loans have interest-only monthly payments, and the advance rates on these loans are collateral dependent.

Commercial Letters-of-Credit
Making financial transactions is a core responsibility of an entrepreneur. That’s why Pan American Bank & Trust walks you through the complexities of the global market and helps you understand how letters-of-credit work. We issue collateral secured letters-of-credit that ensure buyers get what they paid for and sellers get paid. Letters-of-Credit may be issued for a total up to 100% of the amount of the collateral.

Growing your business is a challenge that almost every entrepreneur faces. It’s crucial to find a trusted partner like Pan American Bank & Trust that is committed to finding new ways to fund the growth of your business. Interested in talking to someone about how to receive financing for your business? Call or visit one of our offices today and ask about how we can help your business grow.

A New Year Message to Our Clients

With the start of a New Year, it’s an important time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and our areas of focus for 2017. But instead of highlighting our events and accomplishments in the past year—and there were several—we’d like to take the opportunity to highlight the important people that make Pan American Bank & Trust the great relationship focused institution that it is.

Pan American Bank & Trust has supported our communities in a multitude of ways throughout 2016, and will continue to make strong relationships with our clients and colleagues the main focus for the New Year. We like to say that the true success of Pan American Bank & Trust is based upon the great people who serve it on a daily basis—our colleagues and our clients.

To our clients, colleagues, neighbors and friends, this new year message is for you. You help make Pan American Bank & Trust a Community Development Financial Institution that focuses on delivering quality service to individuals, families and businesses, enhancing the economic environment of the communities we serve. Your daily efforts make all of this possible.

The true sense of community is a group of people with common interests, ideas and goals coming together to support one another. The success of our business is built on the idea of relationships. And the higher the quality of relationships that we develop, the more support we can provide to worthy local causes.

What we have accomplished in 2016 couldn’t be done alone, and we know that in the New Year, the efforts of our colleagues and our clients that we serve will play a major role in our success. From all of us at Pan American Bank & Trust, thank you for your continued support. We ask you to pass this New Year’s message along to your family and friends encouraging them to bank local, as well.

As we turn the calendar to 2017, our optimism for hope and prosperity continues to flourish. And that sense of hope stems from our exceptional colleagues and clients, whom we promise to continue to serve in the New Year.

Nicholas S. Giuliano                                          Frank C. Cerrone
Chairman & Co-CEO                                         President & Co-CEO

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