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Hills Bank and Trust Company

HBT Connect eNewsletter from Hills Bank and Trust Company

  HBT Connect  
Volume 1, Issue 3: May - June 2011  

  Give Your Credit Rating a Boost

The lower the interest rates on your loans, the more income you’ll have available for other uses, including saving for retirement. Your credit score is the key to getting loans approved and determining the interest rate you pay. Here are four simple ways to improve your rating on the credit scoring system that most banks and mortgage lenders use.

Pay on Time
Your payment history makes up about 35% of your total credit score. So, if you’re never late with your loan and credit card payments, you may be well on your way toward a stronger credit score.

Reduce Your Current Debt
The amount you owe to all your lenders makes up about 30% of your score. The less outstanding credit you have, especially on credit cards, the better your score. But a history of good debt management scores higher than having no debt at all.

Stick with Your Lenders
The length of your credit history accounts for about 15% of your score. So, it pays to maintain your credit relationships. Canceling unused credit cards to reduce your overall available credit may work against you. That’s because your score considers both the average age of all your accounts and the age of your oldest account.

Limit Applications
The rest of your credit score (20%) rates your debt mix, the number of accounts you have, and whether you have recently applied for a loan or credit card. Limiting the number of applications you fill out should help your score.

  Free Credit Report

AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to request one free credit report per year. In accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), AnnualCreditReport.com is a secure way to obtain your credit report from the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies— Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Get your free annual credit report today!


Unlock your Home's Equity

Your home’s equity can be a great resource for making home improvements, purchasing a new or used vehicle, college tuition, vacation, paying unexpected bills, and more.

Home equity loans are an agreement to use your home as collateral for a potentially lower interest rate. Keep in mind, if you default on the loan, your home is at risk, so it’s important to borrow wisely.

There are three types of Home Equity Loans offered by Hills Bank

Closed-End Home Equity Loan
A closed-end home equity loan is similar to a car loan and best for situations when you know exactly how much money you want to borrow and want several years to pay it off. The payment and interest rate remain the same over the life of the loan. A closed-end home equity loan may be a good option for buying a new or used vehicle, college tuition, or for one-time expenses.

Home Equity Line of Credit
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a loan where borrowers are pre-approved for a certain amount and can draw on funds when needed. Funds can then be drawn and paid down similar to a credit card. The advantage of a HELOC is you only pay interest on funds you are using versus the entire line amount. Monthly payments can vary based on the amount withdrawn. A HELOC may be a good option for long term or mid-range home improvement projects.

Variable Rate Home Equity Line of Credit
A variable rate home equity line of credit (HELOC) works exactly the same as a HELOC, but the interest rate can vary based on the prime lending rate. A variable rate HELOC is optimal when prime lending rates are low.

Benefits of a Home Equity Loan and Home Equity Line of Credit

Tax Deductible
In many instances, a home equity loan can be tax deductible. For more information on tax deductibility, please seek advice from your tax professional.

Applying is Quick and Simple
Applications typically take between 10-15 minutes to complete. Generally, the information needed when applying is income information, employment information, and the purpose of the requested loan. It’s that simple!

For more information on Home Equity Loans or Lines of Credit, please visit any Hills Bank location or call us at 319-679-5500 for the Iowa City area, 319-654-8100 for the Cedar Rapids area, or toll free at 1-800-445-5725 and ask for a Personal Banker.


Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Parade of Homes

The Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association is hosting its annual Parade of Homes June 4 - 12. Homes are open on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm, and on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 9 pm.


Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Remodelers Parade

The Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association is hosting its Remodelers Parade on Saturday, June 4 from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday, June 5 from noon to 5 pm. Visit the Iowa City Home Builders website for more information.


Holiday Schedule

The bank will be closed on the following holidays:

Memorial Day
Monday, May 30th

Independence Day
Monday, July 4th

Even though we will be closed, you can still do your banking at over 70 Hills Bank ATMs in the Cedar Rapids - Iowa City Corridor, Hills Bank Online, or through Push Button Banker.

View the complete Hills Bank holiday schedule.

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 Send us your feedback!

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We are always trying to improve our eNewsletter and would love to hear from you!

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