Community Spotlight - Vehicles for Change

by Pat Wellbrock 28. July 2009

1st Mariner Bank is committed to understanding the community it serves. We are proud to play a vital role by supporting and partnering with worthy organizations that improve the lives of families directly benefiting from their service. Check back with us each month as we shine our spotlight on one of those organizations.

This month, we are proud to support Vehicles for Change.

I would like to introduce you to a unique nonprofit partner. Together we are providing a valuable tool to eliminate poverty and strengthen families. That tool is a car. If you can donate a car in good enough condition they will award it to a low-income family and you will be able to take a tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the car deduction.

Vehicles for Change (VfC) exists so that low-income families can achieve financial and personal independence that comes from owning a vehicle. VfC repairs donated cars and sells them to low-income families, at a minimal fee. Jobs, daycare, even grocery stores and doctors are unavailable without a car. Since October 1999, over 3,000 cars have been awarded to worthy families.

A recent survey showed that 73% of the individuals have obtained better jobs at an average salary increase of $4800. Parents are taking children to daycare, after school, athletic and recreational activities never before possible.

How you can help!

Donate a car in good condition and Vehicles for Change will award it to a worthy family and you can deduct the “fair market value”. The tax law change in 2005 provides donors a “fair market value” deduction only if the non-profit sells the car to a low-income family at significantly below market. A win – win for the donor and the worthy family receiving the car. (VFC does accept cars in any condition but only the cars awarded to worthy families qualify for the higher deduction. Other cars are sold and 100% of the funds received are used to make the awarded cars road worthy.)

Call 410-242-9674 or visit www.vehiclesforchange.org and donate your car today.

Twitter and Customer Service- A successful ending

by Kevin Lynch 21. July 2009

Both individually and as a banker, I've been a pretty active participant in Twitter over the last few months. It is a fun, vibrant, and growing community with a lot going on. But, like many users, I was unsure of the usefulness and value of the space. Now I know.

We recently worked with one of our customers, Aaron Brazell, to resolve some issues on his account. His blog post at technosailor describes the series of events in some detail so I won't repeat them here. We've found that Twitter is an excellent way to stay tuned into discussions about our brand and interact when appropriate. In this case, the ultimate resolution involved all of our customer service channels: Twitter, the Contact Center, and the local branch. So I guess the lesson I've learned is that social media (like Twitter) is just another way of interacting with your customers and prospects. It isn't necessarily the answer, but it can be part of the solution. I welcome your comments.

First Access Winner

by Kevin Lynch 8. July 2009

To help promote our First Access checking account, designed specifically for 18-25 year olds, we are conducting quarterly contests throughout the year. Each quarterly winner receives a check for $250 to be used any way they want. Our first contest, asking people to tell us about or show us their first car, ended this week. Based on a random drawing from all the eligible entries, the winner is Bonnie Gill who submitted the following entry.

" I was 17 years old when I bought my first car. I had worked since I was 14 years old and saved my money, since I knew I wanted a nice car. I finally found the one, a 1996 Lexus ES 300. It was maroon and fully loaded, amazing! I didn't even have my license yet. My mom decided to drive my car to work that day (since I couldn't drive yet) and the first day I owned it, an elderly lady backed up and hit my car. Then, 3 days after I got my license, I was leaving work at 11pm, and I was turning left onto a major highway where there was an accident. I got the green arrow and as I was entering the intersection I saw a car coming straight for my driver's side door. The driver was looking at the accident and not the red light! Within 2 weeks, my car was in two accidents. Since then, another person hit my car and a huge tree branch fell on it and crushed the sun roof. My car has been on several road trips and college outings. Amazingly, I'm now 23 years old, still driving the Lexus that has 250,000 miles on it...knock on wood. I would love to buy a new car and that $250 could definitely put me that much closer to being a new car owner! Thanks for reading! "

Well Bonnie, we hope that the $250 you won is going to go towards that new car. Congratulations!

In keeping with our theme of " Firsts", our next contest asks entrants to tell us or show us what they did to celebrate their graduation. The contest is open to anyone between the ages of 18-25. For more details, including the complete contest rules, go to our site at http://firstaccess.1stmarinerbank.com/.



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