Spring Forward With These 5 Energy Saving Tips

by Renee' Anderson 9. March 2012

Breakdown of Your Energy Bill

Saving energy was one of the original purposes of Daylight Savings Time. With the days being longer, it’s thought that you use less energy to light your home. Well, that’s one way to save energy in your home, but according to Energy Star, lighting generally only accounts for about 12% of your energy bill.  I don’t know about you, but I could use some other ideas! With my spring project list expanding, I would really love it if my BGE bill would lighten up ($50 off my BGE bill = $50 towards my new deck).

Here are some tips on how to save energy:

1. According to Energy Star, heating and cooling accounts for close to half of the average household’s total energy use. Keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees or lower in the winter and 78 degrees or higher in the summer to see your energy bill decrease.

2. As we finish out the winter season, open your blinds during the day to let the sun in. As the weather gets warmer, you got it – do just the opposite and keep the blinds closed.

3. Wash your clothes using cold water, and run your washing machine and dishwasher at night to take advantage of off-peak hours. Some newer dishwashers have timers that you can set to run at night.

4. Take shorter, cooler showers.  Besides saving energy, this is also a refreshing way to cool off on hot summer days.  If you can’t live without your hot showers, keep reading – we’ve got you covered.

5. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.  While they cost a little bit more than conventional incandescent bulbs, they are a huge energy saver.  According to The Home Depot, compact fluorescent bulbs use approximately 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs and last about ten times longer.

You can get a more detailed guide to saving energy in your home from BGE Home’s Energy Saving Center.

Be sure to click on the Energy Saving Tips link, and download this brochure.

The tip that was screaming at me? Stop waiting for warm water (before your shower, washing your hands and face, etc.). Waiting for warm water can waste thousands of gallons a year. A hot water circulator pump and timer can provide instant hot water and help reduce your overall water usage.

Looks like I need to look into one of these hot water circulator pumps!

What are you going to do to save energy in your home?

5 Mobile Banking Security Tips

by Erica Starr 16. February 2012

1st Mariner Bank Mobile BankingIt wasn't that long ago when the only way to deposit, transfer or withdraw money was to physically visit your local bank branch or ATM. Today, thanks to the wonderful world of technology, consumers have a full suite of options to choose from when conducting their financial transactions.

With online and mobile banking on the rise, it's only natural that security be on the minds of both financial institutions and customers.

So what's the deal? Is mobile banking a secure way to bank? In sort - yes. 1st Mariner's Mobile Banking solution offers the full encryption and security suite that is utilized for our traditional (desktop) online banking platform. However, as with most things, as technology gets more advanced you can never be too safe.

There are certain precautions customers should keep in mind when opting to go mobile.

1. Download the official app from your bank's website.

It's only natural to go to the iTunes store or Android Market when you are looking to get a new app. However, non-reputable people are putting apps out there everyday, for the purpose of phishing consumer information. It's always better to start with your bank's website to make sure you aren't being scammed.

2. Don't send personal information via SMS (text messaging).

Regardless of the situation, never EVER send personal information, (PIN, account numbers, social security number, passwords, etc.) via SMS. SMS is not encrypted, so your bank will not send personal information via SMS, and you could leave yourself vulnerable to phishing if you send sensitive information through this medium.

3. Avoid conducting your banking needs on public networks.

While enjoying your coffee at the local coffee shop might sound like a good time to check your account balances,you might want to think again. Most public Wi-Fi networks are not secure so always be sure to switch to a secure network (i.e. your phone's 3G or 4G data plan) before logging into your account information.

4. Take advantage of your phone's security features.

Perhaps the biggest risk associated with mobile banking is the risk of losing your phone. Almost all smart phones offer some sort of security feature that is built into the phone itself. From screen locking mechanisms to GPS locating apps (i.e. Where's my Droid or Find My iPhone), your phone offers several different ways to prevent your personal information from getting into the wrong hands. As new phones hit the market, the security features will continue to become more and more advanced (i.e., facial and fingerprint recognition).

5. Take advantage of your bank's mobile banking security offerings.

If you are considering a mobile banking app, look for one where data can be wiped from your cell phone, if you lose it. With 1st Mariner's mobile banking, users can access their account from their desktop and shut down access through their mobile phones and thus eliminate the risk of fraud.

Still not sure if you are comfortable taking your banking mobile? That's okay - we commend you for being overcautious when it comes to your finances. We are too! That's why we're here to walk you through the ins and outs of our mobile banking services and answer any questions that you have. You'll see for yourself just how secure mobile banking really is.

Answer our Facebook Question of the Week.

Are you using a mobile banking solution? How so? Feel free to leave some commentary on our wall as to why or why not.

 

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

Top Three Myths About Online Banking Revealed

It's 11:00 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Money Is?

I'll Take "What is Check Fraud" for 500, Alex

Maryland's 2012 Economic Outlook with Anirban Basu

by Anirban Basu 18. January 2012

Anirban Basu

Anirban Basu Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc

Maryland Gained Momentum Late Last Year

For much of last year, Maryland’s economic performance was among the worst in the nation. For instance, year-over-year job growth in the state was in negative territory or close to zero for most of the summer. But like the balance of the nation, economic performance began to materially improve toward the tail end of the year. For the 12 months ending in November 2011, employment in the Free State expanded 0.7 percent (+18,300 jobs), ranking the state 33rd along this dimension. That may not sound like anything to crow about, but just a few months prior, Maryland ranked dead last. Maryland’s subpar performance mid-year appears to have been closely linked to the nation’s debt ceiling debacle and the impact of that episode on federal agency spending, including upon procurement.

Exhibit 1. State-by-state Job Growth, 12-month Percent Change, November 2011

1st Mariner Blog - State-by-state Job Growth, November 2011

Through it all, Maryland has managed to sustain one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates. Statewide unemployment declined to 6.9 percent in November, the lowest level since June 2011. That is the 15th lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Other data is also largely encouraging. The most recent Maryland Survey of Business Activity conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond indicates that business activity in Maryland increased moderately in December. The general business activity index registered a reading of 7, a meaningful increase from -3 the previous month and the first positive reading since September. The expectations index, which declined 9 points to 22, indicated that while broadly positive expectations of general business conditions six months from now have moderated slightly, survey respondents continue to predict economic growth in the near term.

All of this is consistent with the notion that some of the factors that restrained growth in 2011, including federal government gridlock, sagging home prices and issues emerging from Europe, are likely to continue to shape economic performance during the first half of 2012. However, despite these and other headwinds, the state’s economy is anticipated to continue to grind ahead for now.

Anirban Basu is Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group, Inc., an economic and policy consulting firm in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Basu is one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s most recognizable economists, in part because of his consulting work on behalf of numerous clients, including prominent developers, bankers, brokerage houses, energy suppliers and law firms. On behalf of government agencies and non-profit organizations, Mr. Basu has written several high-profile economic development strategies, including co-authoring Baltimore City’s economic growth strategy. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of 1st Mariner Bank.



© 2008- 1st Mariner Bank