Why Buy Local?

by Wade Barnes 25. April 2013

Buy Local, Buy MarylandConsider this: A tomato seed planted hundreds of miles away takes the journey through life and makes its way to the grocery store chain in your neighborhood. Along this journey, the tomato was likely picked when it was still green so that it wouldn’t be rotten from the time it takes to get from the farm to the store. Not only this, but typically tomatoes don’t grow well when picked pre-maturely nor do they ripen organically while inside a trailer being pulled across the country. To accommodate this, hormones and preservatives are oftentimes applied so the final delivery yields a perfectly ripened tomato.

Because this tomato was packaged in a huge crate, treated with stimulants, hauled across hundreds of miles, and delivered to your local grocery store chain, the final product is both less than organic and has significant overhead costs considering its journey. When you buy this tomato from the local grocery store chain, the money spent now goes back to the town where the store is headquartered, to the trucking firm who transported the shipment, and to the farmer who grew the produce - none of whom live in your community nor contribute to your community’s well-being.

While this example may seem specific, it represents the system of commerce we’ve all come to accept. Consider the opportunity to buy local goods from local businesses and imagine the impact this could have on our economy, on our health, and on our communities.

When you buy local, money stays in the local community. Local producers have the opportunity to provide products and services to local retailers. Local retailers will hire local employees to sell these products and services to local shoppers. In short, jobs are created in our communities, which creates a sustainable revenue stream so that more people have the capacity to buy more goods and services.

When local people are gainfully employed and when we buy local, cities and townships benefit with increased tax revenue. While we all may cringe at the thought of taxes, it is great to know that the taxes paid benefit our immediate community. This means better schools, smoother roads, and better public health and safety.

While economics may be inspiring, it is by far not the only consideration. When you buy local, you get a product that is much more closely related to the producer. This means better quality, fewer preservatives, lower transportation costs, less pollution during transportation and better products and services to keep you coming back.

This concept even applies to banking. By being a local community bank, you have access to local experts, local advice, and local decision making, which is the foundation of our core values. When you bank local, you keep jobs in our communities, you get great products and services, and you don’t only get a bank, you get a partner in the industry who cares about you, your business and your community.

As we are committed to the buy local initiative, we are the title sponsor of the Buy Local, Buy Maryland campaign. We hope you check out this initiative and make the choice to support your local businesses and buy local.

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The Ultimate Question: Buy or Lease?

by Wade Barnes 25. February 2013

New Car

So you’ve decided on a new car! You’ve picked the make, model, color and options but the tough question is still looming. Should I buy or lease? Like many financial decisions, the answer is highly dependent on individual situations, but to help narrow the scope of your decision, it is best to consider the benefits of leasing to see if this option is best for your situation. 

Benefits of Leasing

Perhaps the greatest benefit of leasing is the fact that you can get into a new car with low money down and low monthly payments. This means that you can afford a more expensive car with more options at a lower acquisition and monthly cost than if you were to buy the car. On top of this, when you lease a car, you have pre-negotiated the value at the end of the term, which means you can walk away without having to negotiate the value and sell the car.

Most leases are for three years and most cars come with warranties that match this term. This means you’ll never be responsible for a major repair that should be covered under warranty. This is an important benefit of leasing a car because outside of the lease expense, general maintenance, and gas, you shouldn’t have any unforeseen expenses related to leasing a car.

For business owners, another benefit of leasing a car is the potential to benefit from greater tax deduction when leasing a car for business purposes. While you should consult your tax advisor on this issue, typically you can deduct a portion of depreciation on cars owned and used for business purposes whereas lease expenses in whole are typically tax deductible which tend to be greater on a month-to-month basis.

Downsides of Leasing

The biggest downside to leasing is that you’re never gaining equity on the car; you’re essentially renting the car under a long-term agreement. Under this proposition, as long as you have a car, you’ll have car payments, and if for some reason you need to get out of a lease, there are typically expensive penalties for breaking the lease.

Leases also have an annual mileage restriction as well. Typically leases offer either 12,000 or 15,000 miles per year and if you go over the allotted mileage, it can get expensive. Since you don’t actually own the car, you can’t make any modifications to the car, and at the term of the lease you’ll be charged for every nick and ding that happened under your watch. Insurance can also be more expensive as most lease companies require higher levels of coverage to protect their interest.


So now you must decide to lease or buy. If you like the idea of owning a car without a car payment one day, buying is the best option. If you like the idea of having a new car with fancy options every few years and you can live within the terms of the lease, then leasing may be the best option.

If the benefits of leasing a car have outweighed the decision making process, be sure to fully understand the terms of the lease to avoid expensive costs at the end of the term. If you’ve opted to buy versus lease, consider your financing options. If rates are similar, you may want to consider using a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit to finance the purchase to benefit from potential tax advantages (but be sure to consult your tax advisor first). Whichever way you go, be sure to enjoy your new car. If you’d like some ideas on how to save money at the pump with your new car, check out our blog: Ten Ways to Ease Your Pain at the Pump.

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The Ever-Evolving Landscape of Banking

by Wade Barnes 31. December 2012

Online Bill Payments

When you think of managing your finances, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Do you envision walking into a bank branch to conduct transactions? Or do you immediately think of signing into online or mobile banking? For many people and for most transactions, it’s the latter. Over the past few years, the landscape of financial management, and banking in particular, has changed drastically in that you as the customer are put in control.

According to Serge van Dam, VP of Mobile Solutions at Fiserv1, financial transactions can be broken into three categories: snacking, lunching, and fine dining. Snacking consists of transactions such as transferring funds or checking balances. Lunching includes bill payments and viewing online statements. Fine dining involves conversations with financial advisors, opening trust accounts, or other highly interactive transactions.

We appreciate the various levels of need when it comes to banking, and we work hard to ensure our delivery meets the needs of our customers. While we continue to provide the personal service offered by our branches, we also look to provide electronic services to meet your needs. As our customers know, we went through a conversion to upgrade our services and delivery in October of this past year. While change is never easy and growing pains may be difficult, we did this to set the stage for a more robust delivery moving forward, and we thank everyone for their patience as we’ve been working through this process.

Mobile Banking

Throughout 2012, we enhanced our electronic delivery in many notable ways. In February we launched a branded mobile banking application for both Android and iOS powered devices. Through this application you can check balances, transfer funds, view history, find branches and ATMs, and a recent upgrade offers mobile bill payments as well.

As part of our conversion, we upgraded our online banking platform which sets the stage for a more robust, user friendly interaction. Along with this, we upgraded our Bill Payment system, which now delivers up to 85% of payments electronically. With this upgrade, payments are guaranteed to be delivered by the date you specify, and better yet, the money stays in your account until the merchant receives or deposits the money. 

Popmoney® is a new online offering that delivers person-to-person payments. Using Popmoney® you can initiate a payment to anyone through a text message or an email. This addition is great for sending money to kids in school, repaying a friend for lunch, or sending a gift in place of a check.


Finally, we re-launched Mariner360, our Personal Financial Manager. The new Mariner360 provides a great platform for aggregating accounts across financial institutions to track spending, manage budgets, and set financial goals.

While we’ve made significant enhancements in 2012, we look forward to 2013 as we continue to refine our current delivery and introduce new technology. We will continue to keep you abreast of new technology and improvements to our services through our monthly eNewsletter. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up. We also welcome your feedback and suggestions for future enhancements by emailing our customer service center.

As your community bank, we have the unique opportunity to offer the electronic delivery that has become fundamental in managing finances, but we also haven’t forgotten what it means to welcome you into any of our branches and provide you with friendly, local service. We are grateful for all of our customers and appreciate your loyalty over the years. We look forward to the new year and to continue embracing the ever evolving technology that enhances your banking experience.

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1 Shaw, S., & van Dam, S. (2012). Mobile Financial Services: Snacking, Lunching, Fine Dining. Fiserv Client Conference Spring 2012.

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