bankHometown contributes $10,000 to NewVue Communities℠

FITCHBURG, MA: Michael Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, announced the bank has contributed $10,000 to NewVue Communities℠.  NewVue Communities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating strong and healthy neighborhoods where residents choose to live, work, and invest.

By taking a leadership role in the community and being innovative, NewVue is doing important work in the area of homeownership, housing development and small business counseling.  Their goal is to create long-term solutions by strengthening the sustainability of the entire region.

Christina DiRusso, Commercial Lender at bankHometown said, “Having NewVue in our community enables us to help more businesses start or expand depending on their needs.  I have sent numerous customers to NewVue for business planning and counseling and I am looking forward to continuing our partnership.”

bankHometown’s contribution will go directly to NewVue Communities’ small business technical assistance, affordable housing projects, community engagement and homeownership services focused on financial literacy, education and foreclosure prevention.

Over the past 7 years, NewVue Communities have built 22 homes and continues to facilitate numerous first-time homebuyer seminars. They also provide assistance to current home owners and have recently launched a regional deleading program to help people live in healthy homes.

Marc Dohan, Executive Director, NewVue Communities, said “Thank you bankHometown for being a strong, strategic partner with NewVue Communities as we help small businesses and first time homebuyers throughout North Central Massachusetts.”

5 Smart Things to Do with Your Tax Return

What’s not to love about receiving money? It’s why millions and millions of people play the lottery each year. And while most won’t be lucky enough to win the jackpot, they may very well receive money in a far more common way — getting a tax refund.

For some Americans, tax time is a time of excitement as they wait for a check in the mail or an electronic bank account deposit from Uncle Sam due to overpayment of their taxes. Because this money is often considered extra money, many people will use the funds to splurge — maybe take a vacation or install a big screen TV. But while those may be considered fun purchases, the excitement of having them often wears off pretty quickly.

If, however, you use your refund wisely, you can take advantage of long-lasting benefits. Here are some great suggestions for putting your tax refund to work for you all year long:

  • Build an emergency fund. In these challenging economic times, many people live paycheck to paycheck. That makes managing unexpected expenses, such as car or home repairs difficult to manage. One way to protect yourself from unexpected expenses or losses in income is to have an emergency fund in a liquid savings account.
  • Reduce debt. Do you have higher-interest credit card, auto loan, or other debt? Consider using your tax return to pay down your debt. It’s always wise to pay off the highest-interest debt first.
  • Make home improvements. Does your home need new windows or a new roof? Consider using your tax return money to finance these important home improvements, which can add value to your home.
  • Make an energy-efficient purchase. Use your refund to purchase energy-efficient appliances, such as a dishwasher, dryer, or refrigerator, which can save you money all year long.
  • Start a college savings plan. If you have children, consider using the funds to open an Education IRA or 529 college savings plan. Once you open the plan, arrange to invest in the fund on an ongoing a basis. Even a small amount of money each month will add up over time.
  • Save for retirement. If you don’t have a retirement plan through your employer, consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with your refund check. Be sure to check with your tax advisor first.
  • Pre-pay your mortgage. If you want to reduce the term of your loan and the amount of interest you will pay over the life of the loan, consider putting the funds from your tax return down on the principal of your mortgage.

The decision on how to best use your tax return depends on your unique financial situation. However, if you choose any of the options above, you’re sure to win.

Imposter Scams

Chances are good that someone you know has been scammed. They may not talk about it, but the statistics do. The truth is that sharing what you know can help protect someone who you know from a scam. People listen to you because they trust you. You’re a friend, a neighbor, a relative.

We’ll be posting different articles to help you start that conversation, and pass on some information that could help someone you know!

Here’s how they work:

You get a call or an email. It might say you’ve won a prize. It might seem to come from a government official. Maybe it seems to be from someone you know – your grandchild, a relative or a friend. Or maybe it’s from someone you feel like you know, but you haven’t met in person – say, a person you met online who you’ve been writing to.

Whatever the story, the request is the same: wire money to pay taxes or fees, or to help someone you care about.

But is the person who you think it is? Is there an emergency or a prize? Judging by the complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the answer is no. The person calling you is pretending to be someone else.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Stop. Check it out – before you wire money to anyone. Call the person, the government agency, or someone else you trust. Get the real story. Then decide what to do. No government agency will ever ask you to wire money.
  2. Pass this information on to a friend. You may not have gotten one of these calls or emails, but the chances are you know someone who has.

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Information provided by: Federal Trade Commission | ftc.gov/PassItOn