Money Power Day: Inspiring Financial Literacy for All

by Charlie Maykrantz 24. March 2015

Money Power Day

On Saturday, March 21st, my colleague, Autumn Wallace, and I attended the 10th annual Money Power Day which was held in Baltimore City at Poly-Western High School. The event was free to all who attended with the purpose of helping people boost their financial well-being and to inspire those of all ages and income levels. The theme of the day was about the importance of financial literacy and how it can change your life.

Approximately 40 exhibitors including financial institutions, non-profit agencies and government organizations provided financial services, information and education that the attendees could use to achieve their financial goals. There was a free tax service preparation for those who had not yet filed their income taxes. Workshops were available to help people learn the steps to buying a home, obtaining a mortgage, starting a business and dealing with student loan and credit card debt.

There was a Credit Café where individuals could obtain a free credit report and receive one-on-one counseling; a Financial Planning Zone for free one-on-one consultation with a certified financial planner; a College Access Zone that provided consultations from college aid specialists and counselors on how youth and adults can obtain higher education; a Small Business Zone that provided tips from entrepreneur experts on how to start a business; and a Youth Zone that provided financially focused activities for a wide range of youths.

We were also joined by local politicians including the U.S. Representative from Maryland’s 7th congressional district, Congressman Elijah Eugene Cummings, newly elected Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Boyd Rutherford and the honorable Mayor of Baltimore City, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. In their speech to the audience, all three spoke of credit awareness and how important the day was in helping people understand how to control their future.

It was a fun day had by all, and we were delighted to be there to help the attendees achieve their financial goals. We look forward to the 2016 Money Power Day with great anticipation.

D.C. Home Purchase Assistance

by Charlie Maykrantz 19. March 2015

Home Purchase Assistance

Are you looking to purchase your first home in the District of Columbia, but short on funds that are needed for down payment and closing costs? Here at 1st Mariner Bank, we offer a program that you may qualify for to help with your exact needs. It is called the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) and helps low and moderate income residents purchase a home in the District of Columbia. Qualified applicants can receive financial assistance for down payment and closing costs to buy a home. It is administered through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) of DC.

To be eligible for HPAP assistance you must meet the following requirements:
  1. Be the head of household and a first-time homebuyer.
  2. Be a low- to moderate-income resident based upon department standards.
  3. Have not owned real estate in the three years prior to application.
  4. Occupy the home as your primary residence.
  5. Be located in the District of Columbia.

The amount of financial assistance for down payment provided to income eligible buyers cannot exceed $40,000. Closing cost assistance is provided separately and is calculated for eligible households to be 4% of the home purchase price, or $4,000, whichever is less. The borrowers must contribute $500 or 50% of liquid assets greater than $3,000. Payment on the loan is deferred for the first five years after which monthly principle-only payments begin at the start of year six and amortize over a 40 year period. The entire balance of the loan is due and payable if the borrower transfers the home, refinances, or no longer occupies as their primary residence.

There is also the Employer Assisted Housing Program (EAHP) that provides assistance to employees of the District of Columbia government employees who are first-time buyers in the district. Eligible DC government employees can receive a down payment match up to $1,500 and a deferred loan up to $10,000.

For more information on these programs or any of our other products at 1st Mariner Bank please feel free to contact Charlie Maykrantz at or 410-735-2068.

The above programs are subject to change at any time and this does not constitute a guarantee on the part of 1st Mariner Bank as an obligation to offer these programs without the approval of the program administrator. All applicants must be qualified to purchase and participate in these programs per underwriting guidelines of both 1st Mariner and the program administrator.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Federal Home Loan Bank Atlanta (FHLB)

Anne Arundel County Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP)

Howard County Settlement Down Payment Loan Program

4 Myths about Electronic Bill Pay

by Stacy Tharp 18. March 2015

Electronic Bill Pay

Our adoption rates for Online Banking have grown immensely over the past few years, along with Mobile Banking, Mobile Deposit and most of our other digital products and services. The one service people still seem to be a little uneasy about is Electronic Bill Pay. When we dug into why people are so tentative to try it, we found that many people seemed to have some misconceptions about the service. We’re here to debunk some of the myths flying around about Bill Pay.

Myth #1: Paying bills electronically is not as secure as sending payments through traditional mail.

Although it seems like these days we are constantly hearing about a new electronic security breach, dumpster diving remains a top tactic identity thieves use to steal personal information. 1st Mariner Bank uses professional top-notch security with multifactor authentication to ensure all information and transactions performed online are kept secure – including bill payments.

Conversely, the security of paper bills is largely dependent on your behavior. If you forget to shred a credit card statement and someone decides to ruffle through your trash, that person will have found the key to committing fraud using your information.

Myth #2: Without seeing your payment being physically sent to the payee, it’s impossible to know if your payment was actually sent.

If you pay your bills by way of traditional mail, you may like the feeling of dropping your envelope in the big blue mailbox. You may get a feeling of satisfaction that your bill has now been paid. Only it hasn’t been paid yet, and when you get another bill with a late fee attached a few weeks later because your bill payment got lost in the mail, you have no way to prove that you sent in the payment.

With electronic bill pay, on the other hand, you receive a confirmation when a bill has been paid, and this confirmation is saved in your bill payment history. This makes it easy to dispute a late fee or a claim that you have not paid a bill.

Myth #3: You still need to see a paper copy of your bill in order to know how much to pay.

What’s the point in paying your bills through your Online Banking account when you still need to look at your bill to find your account number and exact amount that you owe? Isn’t that double work? Well, it would be if this were true.

In actuality, this can all be done through your Online Banking account by setting up E-bills. You just set up each of your payees one time by entering your specific account information, and once you do that, your account information is saved. You can even set up recurring monthly payments for hundreds of payees, even if the amount of your bill changes from month to month. Bill Pay will pull the information from each monthly bill and automatically pay the correct amount (if you choose to set up this automatic payment).

Myth #4: You have no control over when the payment is taken out of your account.

Just like in Myth #2, you may feel like you’re in control by watching your bill envelope drop in the mailbox, and choosing what day you drop it in; but in actuality, you don’t know when your payee is going to deposit your check. It’s important to keep good records of all of the checks you write so you do not accidentally overdraw your account.

Electronic bill pay often gives you more control over when the payment comes out of your account. Many businesses are set up to receive electronic payments, so the day you select to pay your bill is the day you will see the funds removed from your account.

I hope this cleared up any confusion you may have had about paying your bills electronically, and I encourage you to give it a shot.

If you found these articles useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Infographic: Everything You Wanted to Know about Mobile Banking and More

How to Get Your Friends to Pay You Back

Infographic: 4 Electronic Services You're Lucky We Offer

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