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Hills Bank and Trust Company Successful Business Newsletter.  Member FDIC.
Volume 5, Issue 2: March - April 2010     

In This Issue

Invest in your future with an IRA from Hills Bank!

10 Second Tip

Back up your files

To help ensure you don't lose your files even if your device fails, you should back them up regularly with an external hard drive or an online resource.

There are many free online resources out there as well as low cost options to back up your files. Within a quick online search, you can see countless options that can work for your specific business needs.

Hills Happenings

Celebrate Spring and Agriculture

This month, Hills Bank is celebrating spring and local agriculture by hatching baby chickens. The chicks are currently incubating, and are set to hatch the week of March 22nd. Bring your family to any Hills Bank location to see the newly-hatched baby chicks and a unique agriculture display.

Barnyard Day at Hills Bank

Hills Bank invites you and your family to Barnyard Day at our Mount Vernon and Coralville locations. You'll see many different animals and maybe even pet a few!

Saturday, March 27th
9:00 - 11:00 am

Administrative Professionals Week

Don't forget that April 18-24 is Administrative Professionals Week with Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, April 21st.

This isn't the only time of year you should show your appreciation to the administrative professionals in your life, but be sure to make them feel especially valued throughout Administrative Professionals Week. You will be amazed at how far a small gesture with a "thank you" or other kind words of encouragement can go.

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Midwestern Disaster Area (MDA) Bonds

Are you looking for a way to borrow money at lower rates? A little known program called Midwestern Disaster Area bonds may be what you're looking for. In 2008, legislation enacted the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act (HDTRA) which provides assistance to areas in the Midwest that suffered severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in the spring and summer of 2008. One of the provisions of HDTRA is the creation of Midwestern Disaster Area (MDA) bonds.

MDA bonds are a new, private tax-exempt bond designed to help with the economic recovery and rebuilding of areas damaged by severe weather. The bonds are issued on the basis that the borrower is responsible for repaying the debt. Rates and terms will be dependent on the credit-worthiness of the borrower. Iowa was provided $2.6 billion in bonding authority for MDA bonds.

Businesses qualify for this funding if they suffered a loss from the severe storms, but because so many Iowa businesses were affected, businesses locating, expanding or improving facilities in Iowa can be considered replacing a business that suffered a loss. For more information about the qualifications and use of Midwest Disaster Area bonds contact any Hills Bank location.

MDA Bonds are not a deposit, not FDIC-insured, not insured by any federal government agency, not guaranteed by the bank, and may go down in value.

Catch Me If You Can
Upcoming Business Fraud Seminars

Many of us remember the 2002 comedy-drama titled Catch Me If You Can. The movie shares the real-life story of professional fraudster, Frank Abagnale, Jr., whose primary crime was check forgery before the FBI finally caught up with him.

Today in 2010, check forgery is still one of the most common forms of business fraud. With hard economic times local businesses are seeing an increase in business fraud similar to Frank’s check forgeries. Not only can you catch crooks when it comes to business fraud, you can prevent them from attacking your business. Increase your awareness of business fraud by attending Hills Bank’s three-part seminar series on the prevention of business fraud. Speakers will include an expert in the industry, an attorney, and local law enforcement. The first of the three-part series will be held at the end of April. If you have an interest in reducing the amount of risk to your business, plan on attending.

Jay AllpressPart 1 of a 3-part series: Information Security

Featured Speaker: Jay Allpress, CISSP, MCP, Information Security Officer for Hills Bank and Trust Company.

Jay is the Information Security Officer for Hills Bank and Trust Company. He has 20 years experience in the field of information security. He has earned credentials as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). During the seminar he will discuss the goal of information security, give an overview of controls businesses could put in place, and discuss identity theft, data breach, and testing procedures.

Cedar Rapids Seminar
Tuesday, April 27th
Hills Bank and Trust Company
3905 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Please RSVP by April 23rd to Elaine Blythe at 319-866-7022 or
Lunch will be provided.

Coralville Seminar
Thursday, April 29th
Hills Bank and Trust Company
1009 2nd St, Coralville
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Please RSVP by April 23rd to Carrie Ebel at 319-358-2272 or
Lunch will be provided.

Seating is limited so RSVP as soon as possible. Part 2, featuring a local attorney, will be scheduled later in July of 2010. Part 3 of the seminar series will feature local law enforcement and will be scheduled in October 2010. Stay tuned for more information about these seminars.

Ask the Expert

Q. I’ve been approached by a credit card processing salesman to change providers. When I looked at the amount of money I could save it seemed too good to be true is it?

A. Recently, some Hills Bank customers have run into some merchant processing deals that are too good to be true. Most of the time the sales person forget to share all the information or neglect to share some hidden fees. Here is a list of some things to watch when a deal seems too good to be true:

  • Are there monthly fees?
  • Are there terminal lease fees? In some cases, they were paying $75.00 a month for a $300.00 terminal. Leases could be a part of the 36-month agreement.
  • Is there an annual fee?
  • Is there a cancellation fee?
  • Will the fees be a percentage or a flat per transaction fee?
  • How long is the settlement period? Some could take up to 5 days.
  • How are fees settled? Are they settled daily as a part of the settlement, or settled as a monthly statement?

For information about comparing your current merchant processing provider with Hills Bank, contact your local Commercial Deposits Representative. Remember if the deal is too good to be true it probably is.

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