Gift Giving on a Budget

As the holiday season approaches, do you find yourself looking forward to the festivities, but concerned about the impact on your wallet? You are not alone. By doing some planning now, you can simplify your gift giving. Here are ten ways you can enjoy this special time of year and keep spending in check:

  1. Food. Consumable items are very popular during the holidays. The recipients may enjoy the product themselves or share it with others when entertaining. Consider special breads, beverages, fruit baskets, snack items, regional favorites, and gourmet coffees and teas.
  2. Go green. Find locally grown plants, flowers, and dried wreaths. Another option might be to purchase colorful washable napkins, placemats, dishcloths, reusable bags, and lunch bags with individual containers for sandwiches and snacks.
  3. Set limits. This could be done by establishing a dollar amount per gift, completing your shopping in only one or two trips, purchasing one gift per family, or committing to doing all your shopping locally.
  4. Made by you. Make your own food specialty. Knit a scarf. Hand craft an item. Create an annual holiday ornament. Give a framed photo.
    brown pinecone on white rectangular board
  5. Hobby-related gift or gift certificates. Consider the recipient’s hobbies and interests. Are there gardeners, chefs, woodworkers, knitters, readers and gamers on your list? Gift accordingly by providing them with the tools or materials to do what they enjoy.
  6. Agree on a gift challenge. Discuss this idea well in advance of the holidays with those whom you regularly exchange gifts, but make it fun. You might suggest handmade items only, gifts under $10, one gift for a whole family, limit shopping to consignment or thrift store finds or pick a theme such as useful or consumable items only.
  7. Purchase the same type of gift for everyone. It could be umbrellas, scarfs, journals, board games, puzzles, nice pens, throws, books, or flashlights and batteries.
  8. Recipe Book. You could make up a recipe book with family favorites or provide a blank recipe book for the great cooks in your life.
  9. Coupons for your services. Offer your time and abilities. You can create coupons related to your skills. Perhaps it is cooking a favorite meal, snow shoveling, home repair or an oil change, mending, guitar lessons and so on.
  10. Create a special memory. Look in newspapers or online for special events this holiday that are free or low cost. Instead of purchasing gifts, make a date with your family and friends to enjoy an event together and get together for desserts and coffee.

Most importantly: enjoy your holidays!

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Semi-Annual Dividend

Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc., parent company of Bank of Luxemburg, announced the approval of a semi-annual dividend of $0.65 per share, payable on December 14, 2018 to shareholders of record as of December 1, 2018. The current dividend is an increase of $0.03, compared to the December 2017 dividend of $0.62 per share paid on December 15, 2017.

“Increasing dividends communicate financial well-being and shareholder value for Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc. as well as Bank of Luxemburg,” said Bank of Luxemburg President Tim Treml. “2018 was another strong year for the Bank. Our financial strength allows us to continue to provide a positive impact in the communities we serve.”

Offering full-service personal and business financial solutions since 1903, Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc. and Bank of Luxemburg have banking offices in Luxemburg, Green Bay, Dyckesville, Casco, Algoma, Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay. For more information visit www.bankofluxemburg.com. Member FDIC.

Strength in its Roots

Kewaunee County – a region including three towns (Algoma, Kewaunee and Luxemburg in Northeast Wisconsin) – is home to a small population of farmers, skilled workers and business professionals. Its sprawling farm fields, industrial backbone and family-oriented appeal make it a great place to live and work. But according to the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation (KCEDC), Kewaunee County’s population has plateaued and is expected to decrease over the next five years. The downward trend can be attributed to a decreasing elderly population, an increasing number of graduates leaving the area for college and lingering effects of a plant closure 10 years ago when 600 jobs were lost.

Though the population may be decreasing, Bank of Luxemburg President/CEO Tim Treml is certain that the future of Kewaunee County is bright. His confidence stems from participation on the board of directors for KCEDC and their collaborative efforts with area businesses and schools to revitalize Kewaunee County’s workforce. “The Kewaunee area has such a strong work ethic,” Treml said. “It’s in our farming roots.”

Workforce development, according to Treml, begins in the schools. “We’re all working together—including all three area school systems—on building awareness of skilled jobs with a strong concentration in agriculture,” he said. “The schools are introducing agricultural and manufacturing opportunities to students through internships and training programs to show that these industries aren’t the dirty work they used to be.” Technology and robotics in dairy farms and manufacturing plants are changing the way new graduates perceive the opportunity for a successful career without a traditional four-year degree. “These careers, among many others in the skilled trades, are roles area employers have expressed a deep need to fill for years,” Treml shared. “We’re trying to build Kewaunee County to be a place that attracts talent and business.”

As a former KCEDC board member and treasurer, Treml has made many contributions to the initiative, and continues to corral Bank of Luxemburg’s support as well. Employees from the bank make regular visits to local schools in support of the workforce development mission and, on a larger scale, the bank serves as what Treml likes to call “the economic engine of Kewaunee County.” Funds invested with a local bank fuel the economy, supporting the lives of residents, businesses and schools within their community. Many Bank of Luxemburg customers have confirmed it’s a great incentive to invest in an institution that’s making their town a better place to live.

In addition, Bank of Luxemburg remains the only reliable source for local financing. Unlike corporate banks whose locations simply “branch” into the area, Bank of Luxemburg has been headquartered in Luxemburg since 1903. Beginning as an agricultural bank helping to fund the needs of local farmers, Bank of Luxemburg—and the community—have grown significantly over the last 115 years, but their mission remains the same: “to have a positive impact on people’s lives and help make their dreams come true,” Treml shares.

Bank of Luxemburg’s mission highlights the difference between smaller banks ($345 million in assets) versus larger banks (with $2 billion in assets, for example). Many large banks prefer to do business with a few corporate entities or big manufacturers. Bank of Luxemburg would much rather focus on spreading funds to a greater number of smaller businesses—such as the ones up and down main street—within their local communities.

“We’ve strived for a ‘helping’ culture, focusing on the culture of our institution—not the bottom line,” Treml shares. “If we take care of our local people and small businesses, the rest will fall into place.”

More ways Bank of Luxemburg is striving to make Kewaunee County a better place…

  •  BOL Cares – Bank of Luxemburg encourages all employees to give back to the community. Every employee is granted one paid eight-hour day per year to volunteer at the organization of their choice.
  • Scholarship Program – Bank of Luxemburg has awarded over $250,000 in scholarship funds to local deserving students since 2002.
  • Revitalization Loan Program – Bank of Luxemburg recently allocated $3 million to a special low-interest loan program designed to fund eligible renovations—such as facade improvements, pedestrian covers, historical preservation, structure renovations and accessibility improvements—for businesses in Kewaunee County.
  • Banzai (High School Education Program) – Bank of Luxemburg sends employees to classrooms in Kewaunee County for a special presentation on the practical and vital importance of budgeting.
  • Local Sponsorships – Bank of Luxemburg regularly supports local events, parades, sports teams and area improvements. For example, Bank of Luxemburg donated $5,000 to the county youth soccer fields for maintenance long before the construction on the fields was even complete.
  • Local Committee/Board Participation – Bank of Luxemburg employees regularly volunteer their financial expertise to local organizations and charities. It’s not uncommon to see the names of Bank of Luxemburg employees on the lists of local boards and committees throughout the area.

Bank of Luxemburg President/CEO Tim Treml

Tim Treml officially stepped into his new leadership role in 2017, after years of working beside former president John Slatky. He currently serves as treasurer to Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation, has co-chaired the EastShore Industries Annual Golf Outing for 13 years, has served as treasurer to Ducks Unlimited for over 16 years and is a former rescue squad member. He served as president on the Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce and was named the chamber’s “Man of the Year” in 2013. Treml has been with Bank of Luxemburg for 22 years this June including seven years as chief lending officer, before being promoted to executive vice president in 2015. Treml also lives in the community he serves. Treml grew up in Green Bay, and has lived and worked while raising three children in the Luxemburg community for the last 19 years.

About Bank of Luxemburg

Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc. and Bank of Luxemburg have banking offices in Luxemburg, Green Bay, Dyckesville, Casco, Algoma, Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay. For more information about Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc., visit www.bankofluxemburg.com.

Celebrating 115 Years

We opened our doors in Luxemburg, Wisconsin, 115 years ago on October 6th. In that time, we’ve seen banking trends come and go, but our commitment to serving you and being a part of the community and your life, is as strong today as it was in 1903.

We are thrilled to be celebrating 115 years of banking with you. We’re still here and with you through all stages of life!

To mark our 115th year in business, stop by any one of our locations for a cupcake to help celebrate.

Thank you for your business and support throughout the years! We look forward to being your advisor, partner, and neighbor for decades to come.

115 Anniversary

Pete Roland Joins Bank of Luxemburg Board of Directors

Starting this October, Peter Roland will be the newest member of Bank of Luxemburg’s board of directors. A partner at Bay Lakes Commercial Real Estate for 10 years,

RolaPete Rolandnd brings a total of 18 years of commercial real estate experience to his role on the board. Roland will specialize in commercial real estate evaluations.

“We’re excited to welcome Pete to our board of directors,” shared Bank of Luxemburg President/CEO Tim Treml. “His expertise will provide great value to the board as we continue our mission to have a positive impact on people’s lives!”

Financial Literacy

The Pew Charitable Trusts has a great article about financial literacy.

Credit card logos are posted to the door of a business in Atlanta. U.S. household debt reached $13.2 trillion in the first quarter of this year, the 15th consecutive quarter increase.

When Kentucky state Treasurer Allison Ball and a colleague talked with high school seniors last year about credit cards and other pieces of the personal finance puzzle, something wasn’t right.

“We kept using the word ‘interest’ and we kept getting blank stares,” Ball recalled. Finally, she asked the students who knew what interest is. No one did.

“Here they were, about to be adults, two weeks before graduation — and they had no idea about interest on credit card payments,” said Ball, a former bankruptcy attorney. “That’s exactly how you get into trouble.”

Kentucky is the 44th most financially literate state, according to a WalletHub analysis based on 15 metrics, including the availability of high school financial literacy classes and the share of adults with rainy day funds. And the state has the eighth-highest personal bankruptcy rate, with 345 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents. But this year Kentucky launched a two-part initiative to help its residents better live within their means.

Beginning with ninth graders in 2020, Kentucky will require a financial literacy course before high school graduation. And assuming the courts allow its work-for-Medicaid plan to proceed, the state will offer financial literacy instruction to some Medicaid recipients who are required to work.

Kentucky’s focus on requiring financial education reflects a budding consensus among policymakers, academics, the finance industry and parents that states need to do more to ensure that students — and adults — learn how to manage credit, craft a budget, borrow for large purchases and save for retirement.

Three other states — Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana — also added financial literacy course requirements for high school graduation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New Mexico, which already requires a high school personal finance course be offered, will study how to provide financial literacy training to foster care children and help them manage checking and savings accounts. Kansas, which does not require a course, passed a law this year requiring financial assistance for individuals receiving compensation for wrongful convictions.

Until this year, only 17 states required a personal finance course for high school graduation, according to the Council for Economic Education’s 2018 Survey of the States.

Deeper in Debt

The uptick in activity this year comes as Americans sink deeper in debt. U.S. household debt reached $13.2 trillion in the first quarter of 2018, the 15th consecutive quarter increase. That’s higher than in the third quarter of 2008 during the financial crisis. Student loan debt reached a record $1.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2018.

As students have taken on more debt, more state and private universities have started to offer them financial literacy workshops and counseling.

But Stacey Abrams — a Democrat running for governor of Georgia, and the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives —  knows firsthand that a top-notch education and a high-paying job are no guarantee against personal debt.

Owing more than $200,000 in credit card debt, student loan debt and federal back taxes, Abrams has a repayment plan with the IRS.

“I am in debt, but I am not alone. Debt is a millstone that weighs down more than three-quarters of Americans,” she wrote in an op-ed in Fortune, arguing that her indebtedness should not keep her from becoming governor.

“I had racked up student loans, and throughout college and beyond, I’d swiftly turned every credit card application into those magical slivers of plastic that allowed me to pay for daily necessities,” she wrote.

Even when she finished Yale Law School in 1999 and landed a job paying $95,000 a year — three times more than her parents ever made combined, she said — Abrams remained mired in debt because family members needed her help. She used her credit cards again.

If elected, Abrams says she will start a Georgia FinLit Initiative with instruction for kids in elementary school.

For states, pressing forward on financial education means a raft of questions and answers that are likely to anger one group or another. Do we make financial literacy a condition of graduation? Will it be a stand-alone class or covered with other subjects? And, of course, how will we pay for it?

In Kentucky, policymakers tried and failed for at least six years before enacting the financial literacy measure into law.

“The answer to fixing this crisis long-term begins in childhood,” Ball, a Republican who has made financial literacy a priority, wrote in an op-ed endorsing the measure. “The best time to learn basic principles of saving and money management is before a person graduates from high school and enters the workforce.”

Kentucky’s work-for-Medicaid plan is currently on hold. On June 29, a federal judge stopped the rollout scheduled for July 1 and sent the plan back to the federal government, which granted the waiver that allowed Kentucky to add the requirements. The state hopes the plan will be reapproved by fall, said Adam Meier, secretary of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

If Kentucky proceeds, Medicaid recipients who fail to meet the work requirements will be offered a choice of online health or financial literacy classes. Members also will be able to take the classes to build credits toward dental or other benefits not included in their benefits package. They will learn such things as how to budget, open a bank account, balance a checkbook and deal with credit.

Nearly a third of Kentuckians receive Medicaid.

“Financial literacy is an issue across the board, but it’s particularly acute with low-income people, who are often unbanked and more vulnerable to payday lenders,” said Meier.

Does It Work?

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Department of Education is drawing up standards for the high school financial literacy requirement. School districts will have wide latitude in deciding how to satisfy the requirement, Ball said. No statewide test is likely, nor is there a budget for the new requirement. She said she plans to form a public-private foundation to cover costs.

There’s no shortage of educational materials by financial institutions and other organizations, and some are free. But there’s a complication.

“People cannot find results that financial literacy education works,” said Lauren Willis, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and a prominent critic of financial literacy education.

While it’s possible to test someone’s knowledge of financial concepts like compound interest or inflation, there’s no way to know whether he or she remembers and acts on the concepts over a lifetime.

“It used to be, the way credit was managed, if the bank gave you a loan, you knew you were credit-worthy,” Willis said, because banks wouldn’t make risky loans. “Now you have to decide for yourself whether to take a loan and what kind.”

Willis works with the FoolProof Foundation, a nonprofit based in Florida that provides resources to help students and adults become more skeptical consumers.

Some studies have failed to show much effect of financial literacy education even in the short term. Annamaria Lusardi, academic director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at George Washington University, said that’s likely because the programs were poorly structured and funded.

“Too few states consider financial literacy essential or rigorous or a scientific topic,” she said. “We see states that don’t require the student to pass the course, or they don’t train the teachers, or it’s an unfunded mandate.”

Other countries do better. The United States ranked 14th in the world for financial literacy in Standard & Poor’s 2014 Global Financial Literacy Survey of more than 140 countries. Only 57 percent of American adults were found to be financially literate.

Ideally, every state would require a financial literacy class with an exam for high school graduation, said Laura Levine, president of the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. That’s not likely anytime soon, so the coalition has a more modest aim.

The coalition, which has more than a hundred national organizations as members as well as affiliates in every state, launched Project Groundswell in April. The goal: to increase by a quarter the number of elementary, middle and high school students receiving “effective classroom-based financial education” by 2025. The coalition is working on specific goals and standards for effective programs.

Groundswell hopes to inspire more parents like Daniel Nestel in Montgomery County, Maryland, and grandparents to get involved.

Nestel, whose background is in financial education, was surprised when his 10th-grade daughter said she was learning about credit scores in her Advanced Placement government class.

“It seemed completely out of context,” said Nestel. “It’s too important to be taught at the end of the class at the end of the school year.”

Nestel started reaching out to local and state school officials and to financial literacy experts. He learned the Maryland Board of Education set financial literacy standards for grades 3 to 12 in 2011, but left implementing them up to each school district.

He wants a semester course on financial literacy with exams in high school.

“I’m trying to start the conversation,” he said. “Tell me what course is more important than personal finance? It touches every student.”

 

June Dairy Month

Bank of Luxemburg is proud of our local farmers! The amount of hard work and dedication that goes into running a farm does not go unnoticed. At Bank of Luxemburg we offer a variety of financial services to help farms of all shapes and sizes to grow and prosper for generations to come.June Dairy Month

We strive to have a positive impact on people’s lives whether that mean saving you time with our business checking accounts or a line of credit to purchase cattle or to purchase that 40 acre parcel across the street. Our convenient branches make dropping off a deposit or signing paperwork a trouble-free experience.

Our commitment to the communities we serve shines through to our community involvement and local decision making. Bank of Luxemburg has locations in Kewaunee, Door and Brown counties.

Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc Declares Dividend

Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc., parent company of Bank of Luxemburg held it’s annual meeting on May 15, 2018 and announced a semi-annual dividend of $.63 per share, payable on June 15, 2018, to shareholders of record as of June 1, 2018. The current dividend is an increase of $0.03, compared to the June 2017 dividend of $0.60 per share paid on June 15, 2017.

The shareholders elected Lynie J. Vincent to the Board of Directors of Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc. Mr. Vincent is the Vice President and co-owner of N.E.W. Plastics Corp. located in Luxemburg. He is also a managing partner of Fulcrum Container in Twin Cities, MN. The Shareholders re-elected Raymond J. Balza, David S. Rueckl, and Robert G. Van Drisse. Mr. Raymond Balza is the Controller for America’s Logistics, LLC in Green Bay. Mr. Rueckl is the owner and operator of Rueckl Oil, a northeast Wisconsin fuel oil distributor.  Mr. Van Drisse recently retired as the president and co-owner of Van Drisse Insurance Agency, Inc., an independent insurance agency with offices in Green Bay and Luxemburg.

President Tim Treml noted, “Continued dividends are one example of the solid financial position of Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc. and Bank of Luxemburg. The company has a 35 year history of paying and increasing dividends on an annual basis. The bank is expecting to maintain profitable operations through 2018 and beyond with substantial deposit and loan growth.”

Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc. and Bank of Luxemburg have banking offices in Luxemburg, Green Bay, Kewaunee, Dyckesville, Casco, Algoma and Sturgeon Bay. For more information about Luxemburg Bancshares, Inc. contact Tim Treml at 920.845.2345.

April is Community Banking Month

Where you choose to bank matters.

Your choice of bank is your vote on where your money goes. Are your hard-earned deposits reinvested back into our local community? Or are they sent off to a banking hub in another state or halfway around the world?

As more consumers realize the benefits of keeping their money local, we encourage you to think about how banking locally can go a long way in helping the communities we serve thrive. We have eight locations in Brown, Door and Kewaunee Counties to meet your needs!

For example, when you deposit funds into a community bank, you can trust that your money is being redistributed back into the community in the form of loans to fellow residents and entrepreneurs.

At Bank of Luxemburg, we have the privilege of serving local residents and their families by making loans that help them buy a home, pay for a vehicle, or send a child to college—whatever it is, we’re there and happy to lend a hand. We also have the honor of serving many of our town’s small businesses through loans to help them get started, grow and succeed.

We’ve also served many of the local farms and agricultural enterprises that have been part of our community for generations. We are working with the next generation of entrepreneurs to help launch their exciting ideas and bring our community into the future. This is local money at work—a symbiotic relationship between bank and community that makes sense.

We encourage you to think about where you bank and how your money has the power to make a meaningful impact on our community. From local farms to craftsmen to startups, banking locally with a community bank connects you to your community and your neighbors and gives everyone a stake in its financial success. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Community banks respect the communities we serve by doing right by their customers and community. Community banks and local communities have symbiotic relationships—one cannot thrive without the other.
  • Community banks are relationship lenders. They know their customers and understand their financial needs, unlike larger institutions that take a transaction-based approach to banking.
  • Community banks understand and celebrate local economies. As small businesses themselves, community banks are an unequivocal resource for entrepreneurs looking to launch a local small business. A study from seven Federal Reserve Banks found that small businesses that apply for loans with community banks are the most successful and most satisfied.
  • Community banks give back. Serving local communities is second nature to community banks. At Bank of Luxemburg, we take pride in making our community stronger through various service projects. Recently, we organized the annual Easter Egg Hunt in Luxemburg. The bank also hosts The Big Read for kids to learn more about how to save money. These are just a few of the things we do in our community to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Making our community better and stronger is something that we all have a stake in. We hope you will join us in continuing to make the areas we serve thrive and prosper for years to come! Learn more at http://www.bankofluxemburg.com.

Lynie Vincent New Board of Director

Lynnie VincentBank of Luxemburg is pleased to announce that effective January 23, 2018, Lynie Vincent has been added to their board of directors. Mr. Vincent has strong ties in the community where he is an owner and vice president of sales and marketing at N.E.W. Plastics Corp., co-owner and managing partner at Fulcrum Container, Inc. and a co-owner of other varied area businesses.

A graduate of St. Norbert College, Mr. Vincent is following in the footsteps of his father who was previously chairman of Bank of Luxemburg’s board of directors. According to Mr. Vincent, “I’m excited to join the Bank of Luxemburg Board, where I’ll have the opportunity to offer my knowledge and expertise to help the bank grow and thrive. I’m also looking forward to working with the other board members. They are a fantastic group and I’m sure I will learn a lot from them.”

Member FDIC