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We all have questions, and often our first instinct is to “ask the internet.” Peoples Bank wanted to put together a library of answers for all your frequently asked financial questions. So we did!

We’ll be releasing them periodically via our social media channels and housing all the answers on this webpage for your convenience! Have a question you’d like us to answer? Submit it here. 

You can find your routing number on your checks. It is the first nine numbers on the bottom of the check before your 10-digit account number. Peoples Bank’s routing number is 125104425. This is a public number, and you can share it with anyone. Everyone that banks with us uses the exact same routing number.

A routing number helps route, or guide, money in and out of your personal bank account. The number identifies your bank, similar to how an area code represents your state or county. A routing number is most often used to directly deposit or debit money to and from your bank account. I highly recommend having your payroll directly deposited and important bills directly debited. It’s fast, safe, and secure, saving you and your employer valuable time.

- Sierra Schram, Retail Branch Manager, Mill Creek 

When it comes to financing a home, many first-time homebuyers believe you need to have a minimum of 20% saved as a down payment, but that luckily isn’t the case! There are several popular options that require little to no down payment.The most common options include conventional and government loan types.

For conventional financing, first-time homebuyers (meaning you haven’t owned a home in the last three years) can put down as little as 3%. If you aren’t a first-time homebuyer, the minimum down payment is 5%.

Government loan options include VA, USDA, and FHA. VA loans are available to active and retired military members and offer 0% down. USDA loans are intended for purchasing a home in rural areas and offer 0% down, but do have set income limits in order to qualify. FHA loans offer more flexible financing for lower credit scores and require a minimum down payment of 3.5%.

Each loan program has its own unique guidelines and eligibility requirements, so please consult with a mortgage loan representative to find the best solution to meet your needs.

- Kurt Kvamme, Mortgage Loan Representative, Lynden Financial Center 

We’ve seen a rise in fraudulent activity in our communities as criminals are finding more creative ways to deceive customers. We invite you take a *pause*, increase your vigilance, and be mindful of potential scams.

  • Always take a moment to ask yourself if the situation makes sense before you proceed.

  • ​A legitimate business will never ask you to refund or correct a previous purchase or transaction by asking you to initiate sending cash or gift cards, or by using an external payment method or mobile payment app.

  • Never send funds to another person or party under threat or duress.

  •  Only contact your bank using publicly available phone numbers, email addresses, or securely through your online banking system.

  •  Peoples Bank knows your social security number, user ID, account number, or password via email or phone number, so we won’t generally ask that when we call you. If at any time you do not feel comfortable answering our questions, please feel free to tell us, hang up, and call us back using a publicly available phone number. It will not hurt our feelings and we will not object.

  •  If you believe you have been the victim of a scam or your personal information has been compromised, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-584-8859. We are here to help you!

 - Randy Fredlund, Chief Compliance & Security Officer

HELOC stands for Home Equity Line of Credit. Essentially, a HELOC is a revolving line of credit that provides you quick and easy access to the equity you have earned in your home. Your “Home Value” minus your “Current Existing Mortgage Balance(s)” equals your “Equity”.

A HELOC can be used to finance a variety of projects or needs. One of the most common reasons to consider a HELOC is to use the funds for home improvement, drawing from the line as you remodel or expand your home. A HELOC may also be used to consolidate debt, purchase vehicles, land, or other investments, pay for education expenses, a dream vacation, or simply as an emergency fund.

Using your home equity has several benefits over other financing options. Rates are typically lower because the line of credit is secured by your home. A HELOC gives you the flexibility to use and pay back funds as you chose, paying interest on only the drawn amounts. Rates are variable and payments are interest only, but fixed rate and payment options are available.  A home equity line of credit may also provide tax benefits, but it’s important to speak with your tax advisor to ensure you qualify.

You don’t necessarily need to be a long-time homeowner. If you own a home and have equity in that home, good credit, and stable income, then a Home Equity Line of Credit may be the right choice for you. Contact us at a branch today to learn more!
 
- Jennifer Berry, Branch Manager, Snohomish
 

Your account number is the primary number that identifies your money on deposit with a bank. Your debit card number is different, and for good reason. Think of your debit card number as a channel that connects businesses or merchants with Visa, and then with your funds at the bank. Debit card numbers are easy to change, we simply close one door (or number) and open another to your funds. Knowing the difference between these numbers, and where or how to best use them, can help limit fraud or unwanted access to your accounts.

Here is a tip: Use your account number for a few important transactions such as your payroll direct deposit or for automatic payment of your mortgage or car loan. Use your debit card number when paying smaller, more frequent expenses, such as bills or purchases online. This creates another layer of protection between your money and a potential fraudster. This also creates a much easier and safer path to recover from fraud should it happen. When you pay bills with a debit card online, and that card is compromised, your bank can simply issue you a new card. If your account number  is compromised, you will need to open all new accounts, which means reestablishing all your automatic payments and deposits. As your bank, we’re happy to help you establish new accounts, but we’d love to save you the time, money and headache those steps can create. This way, you have more time and money to spend on your furry friends.  
- Wendy Drake, Branch Manager, Anacortes

It is never too early to start saving for your child’s future. If they are old enough to be actively involved, then you can open a joint savings account for your child if the parent or guardian is 18 years or older. This is a great way to teach children to save, allowing them to set aside their allowance or gifts for a future purchase or other goal. If you’d prefer money be restricted and set aside until a minor reaches a specific age, then consider a WUTMA —The Washington Uniform Transfer to Minors Act—is a perfect way to start saving for your children. This account allows a Custodian (an individual other than the minor who is at least 21) to make an irrevocable gift of money to a minor. While the money is owned by the minor, the Custodian manages the funds and future deposits until the minor is eligible to claim them. Since the account is owned by the minor and not the Custodian, a social security number and birth date is required.

Either account is a perfect way to save for a child’s future. Peoples Bank offers these and other options with no minimum balance requirements for eligible minors.

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