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Carolina Alliance: Top Money Tips All College Students Should Know

SPARTANBURG, SC (August 25, 2014) – As college students head to campus for the fall semester, money management should be on their personal syllabus, according to Carolina Alliance Bank (OTCBB: CRLN.OB). As an effort to help students, the bank has released 10 money saving tips to help college students get an early start on securing their financial future.

“It’s important for college students to take control of their financial future by saving wherever and whenever they can,” said John Poole, Carolina Alliance Bank Chief Executive Officer. “They should treat personal finance like a second major and avoid unnecessary expenses now to reduce financial burden when they graduate.”

Carolina Alliance offers the following tips to help college students form a strong foundation for money management:

  • Create a budget.  You’re an adult now and are responsible for managing your own finances. The first step is to create a realistic budget or plan and stick to it.
  • Watch spending. Keep receipts and track spending in a notebook.  Pace spending and increase saving by cutting unnecessary expenses like eating out or shopping so that your money can last throughout the semester.
  • Use credit wisely. Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit.  Use it, but don’t abuse it.  How you handle your credit in college could affect you well after graduation.  Shop around for a card that best suits your needs.
  • Take advantage of your bank’s resources. Carolina Alliance offers online and mobile banking tools to manage your account night and day.  Use these tools to check balances, pay bills, deposit checks and monitor transaction history.
  • Lookout for money. There's a lot of money available for students - you just have to look for it. Apply for scholarships, and look for student discounts or other deals.
  • Buy used.  Consider buying used books or ordering them online.  Buying books can become expensive and often used books are in just as good of shape as new ones.
  • Entertain on a budget. Limit your “hanging out” fund.  There are lots of fun activities to keep you busy in college and many are free for students.  Get the most from your student ID.  Use your meal plan or sample new recipes instead of eating out.
  • Use only your bank’s ATMs. Avoid fees by using ATMs owned by or affiliated with your bank. If you must use an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank, take out larger withdrawals to avoid having to go back multiple times.
  • Expect the unexpected.  Things happen, and it's important that you are financially prepared when your car or computer breaks down or you have to buy an unexpected bus ticket home.  You should start putting some money away immediately, no matter how small the amount.
  • Ask. This is a learning experience; so if you need help, ask.  Your parents or your bank are a good place to start, and remember—the sooner the better.

Carolina Alliance offers a checking account for students, which is tailored for students. The Alliance Student Checking account can be opened with a $50 deposit and there is not a minimum balance or monthly maintenance fee. For more information about this account or Carolina Alliance check out our website at www.CarolinaAllianceBank.com.


Anderson Office Opens; Donation Made to Anderson Arts Center

Members of the Anderson community recently helped Carolina Alliance Bank staff celebrate the opening of its Anderson office with a ribbon cutting and luncheon.

In addition, the ribbon used in the ribbon cutting was comprised of 25 $20 bills totaling $500 which was donated to the Anderson Arts Center.

“We're excited to officially open Carolina Alliance Bank in Anderson," said Anderson Local Executive Jack Buice. "This ribbon cutting was the realization of many months of planning and preparation, and we're eager for the community to come in and experience everything Carolina Alliance Bank has to offer."  

The office is located at 115 Broadbent Way, Unit 8 in Anderson. Carolina Alliance’s primary emphasis is on private/professional banking, consumer banking and small to mid-sized business banking. Services offered include: commercial lending, retail banking, mortgages, investment management and wealth management through its Professional Banking division. Within these areas, Carolina Alliance’s products are state-of-the-art and its pricing is consistently among the best overall in the market.

As a veteran of the banking industry in Anderson, Buice will serve as Executive Vice President. He has more than three decades of banking experience in the Anderson market.  Buice is very active in the community and currently serves as the board chairman of the Anderson Arts Center.  

Joining Buice are two experienced Anderson bankers – Pruitt Martin and Jan Hinchman. Martin is a Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer and has more than 35 years of experience in the Anderson area. Active in the Anderson community, he is secretary/treasurer of the Tri-County Technical College Commission, representing Anderson County.  

Hinchman is Branch Supervisor and has more than 25 years of experience in the Anderson market. She also is active in the Anderson community and is a member of the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium.

“We are delighted to be expanding our service into the Anderson area with the opening of our office here,” said Carolina Alliance CEO John Poole. “This is a tremendous community and we look forward to being a part of it.”


Ribbon Cutting Held for New Seneca Office
Donation made to Oconee Medical Center Foundation.

Members of the Seneca community came out to welcome Carolina Alliance as the bank held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its office there in mid-March. Only this wasn’t your typical ribbon cutting as the ‘ribbon’ used was a string of $20 bills totally $500 that was presnted to the Oconee Medical Center Foundation.

Veteran banker C. Kyle Thomas, who is an executive vice president and commercial banking officer at Carolina Alliance, is the local executive. Thomas has more than 25 years of banking experience in the Upstate including time spent as the president of a community bank in Seneca.

“I can tell you from my heart that community banking is the way to go – to be able to call somebody, shake their hand and know who you’re speaking to,” Thomas said. “We are going to bring community banking back (here) the way we know how to do it.”

Joining Thomas is another experienced banker with deep ties to the Seneca market, Lori Comunal, who is the branch supervisor.  Comunal was previously employed at another Seneca community bank and has worked both in supervisory and customer service roles in community banking.

Both Thomas and Comunal are active in community organizations in the Seneca area, which aligns with the values of Carolina Alliance in giving back and being active members of the community.

“We are excited to open our Seneca office and we look forward to working with new customers in the Seneca area,” said Carolina Alliance Bank President and CEO, John S. Poole. “We already have received a very warm welcome from area residents and businesses who appreciate Kyle’s and Lori’s commitment to personal service and the delivery quality banking and investment products.”

Thomas and Comunal can be reached at (864) 904-9993 or kthomas@carolinaalliancebank.com or lcomunal@carolinaalliancebank.com.


In light of recent events, Carolina Alliance has developed these points on retail compromises to share with our customers.

Despite efforts to protect our customers’ information, breaches can occur at point-of-sale.

  • Everyone has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the payments system, and try to prevent events like this to occur. Bank and credit card providers do, and retailers must as well.

  • Banks will continue to work with the card networks, law enforcement, and industry associations to better understand the impact of the breach and determine the best strategies to protect their customers.

    Customers are protected by their bank and credit card providers when these point-of-sale breaches happen.

  • Regardless of where the breach actually occurred banks and credit card providers are the stewards of the customer’s financial relationship and take a variety of steps to protect the integrity of the customer’s accounts including:

    • Monitoring accounts for indications of suspicious activity.
    • Blocking and reissuing cards for affected account holders.

  • Banks and credit card providers reimburse customers for confirmed fraudulent transactions.

    There are ways customers can assist to improve their security.

  • Customers concerned about the Target breach should consult the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/when-identity-thieves-strike/2013/12/24/6ca52e90-6cdd-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_story.html) piece listing key facts about the breach.

  • Check your account often for suspicious activity – either through the Internet, phone or ATM statements.

  • If you have a reason to suspect fraud, contact your financial institution or credit card provider immediately by phone, your online banking site or at the branch.

Other general safety recommendations include:

  • Be wary of your surroundings and of other people who may be near you at the ATM or retail point-of-sale.

  • Use your body or hand to ‘shield’ the ATM for point-of-sale keyboard as you enter your PIN. Be wary of those trying to help you, especially when an ATM ‘eats’ your card. They may be trying to steal your card number and PIN.

  • Always take your receipts or transactions records with you and check them against your statements. Report unauthorized transactions immediately.

  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone over the phone or through text and email. Thieves often pose as bank representatives to steal this information; however, banks already have this information and will not request it from you.

  • Keep a record of card numbers, expiration dates and 1-800 numbers for banks so you can contact the issuing bank easily in case of theft. Do not leave your bank statements, checkbooks or credit/debit cards lying around the house or on your desk at work. No one should have access to this information but you.

  • Periodically obtain credit reports from each nationwide credit reporting agency. If any information on the credit report appears fraudulent, request that the credit monitoring agency delete that information from the credit report file. Under federal law, consumers are entitled to one free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. Obtain a free copy by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

As always, if you should have any questions, or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at Carolina Alliance. Email us at: info@CarolinaAllianceBank.com or call us at (864) 208-BANK (2265).


Carolina Alliance Bank joins program to protect elderly veterans

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (November 5, 2013) – Carolina Alliance Bank has joined with the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF), the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the American Bankers Association (ABA) to ensure that 40,000 veterans living in 160 state veteran nursing homes in the U.S. are able to live out their lives in safe, secure, enhanced quality of life environments free from the daily fear of crime, abuse, neglect, hostility and deprivation of personal freedom, as provided through the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation’s Senior Crimestoppers program.

“We are  honored to be part of this program,” said John Poole, president and chief executive officer of Carolina Alliance. “Veterans have done so much for this great country that it is an honor to return the favor and be part of this program. We believe that it is not only appropriate, but our moral duty, to help ensure their comfort and security at this stage of their lives.”

The Senior Crimestoppers program is built on a zero tolerance-to-crime platform for the residents of nursing homes. Because of Carolina Alliance, and other community banks across the country, each veteran resident will be provided a specially designed veterans personal lock box. In addition, SHCPF will provide each state veterans nursing home with its annual Time of Your Life video exhibit for the resident’s enjoyment and an annual cash contribution per facility for a Wish Comes True grant to be given to select veterans. Cash rewards up to $1,000 are posted on every crime incident that is reported to the Senior Crimestoppers call center.

“America’s servicemen and women dedicate their lives to ensuring our freedom and making our country a safer place to live,” said Gary Teagno, president and CEO of the services network for the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).  “Our nation’s more than 7,000 community banks are proud to call many of these veterans customers and serve them in cities and towns throughout Main Street America. ICBA is pleased to support this important effort that will provide our veterans with peace of mind, safety and security.” 

For more information regarding the Veterans Initiative or the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, please contact Terry Rooker at (877) 232-0859 or at www.SHCPFoundation.org.  For more information about the Senior Crimestoppers program, please visit www.seniorcrimestoppers.org.

For additional information about Carolina Alliance please call (864) 208-BANK (2265) or visit www.carolinaalliancebank.com.

 

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