With the start of the school year, the folks over at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) start their engines as well. NFTE's mission" is to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, recognize business opportunities and to plan for successful futures." I, along with several other colleagues at the bank, have been involved in the program at various Baltimore City schools for the last four years. As Baltimore's community bank, we work with the teachers as they incorporate the NFTE curriculum into their lesson plans. We go into the classroom on a weekly basis and work with these young entrepreneurs to help them identify business ideas, develop their business plan, and get their businesses started.
These rising young entrepreneurs in waiting then compete in local business plan competitions, first in their classroom and then against other students in a city-wide competition. At these events, they present their business plans to panels of judges for cash prizes. For those who win their local competition, there are even opportunities to compete with other young entrepreneurs from around the country. A couple of the young entrepreneurs we worked with at Patterson High School were even featured in a movie, "Ten9Eight" about a national business plan competition in New York. We've stayed in touch with one of these students who is now a sophomore pursuing a business degree at the University of Baltimore.
NFTE is a terrific organization that can really make a difference in our community. Teaching our young people financial literacy and business insight is extremely important to the Baltimore Community and we at 1st Mariner Bank are proud to be involved in such a meaningful organization. If you are looking for an opportunity to work with the youth in the city, there are plenty of ways to get involved. Visit the NFTE-Baltimore website to find out more.
Positive Pay is, quite frankly, one of the best ways to prevent check fraud scams on a business checking account. Basically, a business owner writes checks and if there are any discrepancies between the checks written and the checks clearing the account, the business owner has the option to either pay or return the items. No check will clear the account without going through this process and thus limits the possibility of check fraud scams.
Most business owners understand and appreciate the security of Positive Pay, but feel the process can be too labor-intensive with entering or downloading the check information to their bank. With one of our customers, the objection wasn’t so much about entering the information but more with having to implement the Positive Pay product on all three of their business entities. A recent incident, however, changed their opinion when Positive Pay prevented almost $2,000 in check fraud losses.
Over one weekend, several individuals came into a few 1st Mariner Bank branches, attempting to cash checks written on one of the entity accounts, and because of Positive Pay, the checks were flagged as “exceptions” (possible fraudulent checks). The basic information (date, serial number or amount) didn’t match the information provided by the business owner. This, in turn, prompted additional inquiries from our tellers. Unable to verify the checks with the business owner, the tellers refused to cash the items and, in one instance, alerted the police when one individual was unable to provide the appropriate ID, resulting in an arrest.
With advances in technology forcing business owners to be even more vigilant with their account information, Positive Pay’s check fraud prevention process provides an additional level of security in protecting the cash business owners fight so hard to earn.
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It's 11:00 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Money Is?
Last month we asked you - our customers - to take part in a survey that was designed to gauge your opinions on how we can provide you with improved online services, support and products.
We received a TON of great feedback and are extremely pleased with the amount of participation that we received.
So we thought we'd go ahead and share some of the highlights with you. Rest assured that we will be using your feedback to guide us through the redesign of 1stMarinerBank.com.
Here's what you had to say...
What, if anything, sets 1st Mariner Bank apart from other financial institutions?
74% of customers said the friendliness and professionalism of our staff
"It's locally owned."
"Still provides free checking which is rare these days."
"They are like an extended family."
"Extremely friendly and helpful staff."
"I've had excellent service at all of the 1st Mariner branches , mostly at the Carroll Island and Middle River branch. They are the nicest people, and very helpful to any questions. Thank you 1st Mariner, I have had five banks in 51 years and 1s Mariner Bank is by far the best!"
How likely would you be to recommend 1st Mariner Bank to a family member of friend?
- 93% of customers said they were extremely likely or likely to recommend 1st Mariner bank to a family member or friend.
- Nearly 87% of people have had accounts with us for 2-plus years.
- 96% of customers using Online Banking said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with our Online Banking service.
- 92% of customers that have used our Click to Chat services have been either extremely satisfied or satisfied with their experience.
"Very efficient online banking and bill pay. I keep 1st Mariner for this reason and love being able to print out copies of cashed checks."
"I can always talk to a human if I want to."
"Very convenient for checking the balances in my accounts regularly to avoid overdrafts."
"Online banking, bill pay and mobile money are extremely user-friendly and perform all of the tasks that I would expect them to."
Are there additional Online Services that you'd like to see provided?
- Mobile Deposit (check capture)
- An android app.
- A place for customer testimonials section.
- Account balance email alerts.
This is GREAT feedback for us! We can assure you that all of these items will be taken into consideration and we'll do our best to incorporate them into future improvements for you.
These results are fantastic and we are proud to have such wonderful and loyal customers. We're thrilled that you've been happy with your experience with 1st Mariner Bank and look forward to delivering on some of the improvements that you've suggested.A big THANK YOU to all of our customers who took the time to complete our survey and to provide us with the much needed feedback that we'll need to improve your banking relationship with us.
If for some reason you were not able to participate in our survey and would like to provide us with additional feedback,please email us or call our Customer Contact Center at 410-558-4200.