Kids and Virtual Worlds

 

Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank reminds you of the importance of monitoring children’s online activity.

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Virtual worlds are computer-simulated online “places” where people use avatars — graphic characters — to represent themselves. Many virtual worlds say they’re for adults only and try to verify that visitors are over 18 before allowing them to enter. But a posted age requirement may not stop kids — especially curious teens — from finding their way in, either accidentally or otherwise.

Types of Virtual Worlds

Some virtual worlds are intended for children: they have built-in protections to keep their experience age-appropriate. Others are designed for adults. Virtual worlds can be accessed in various ways: some are massive, multi-player games, often accessed through a gaming console; others are online communities where avatars’ activities rely on their users’ imaginations.

Talk to Your Kids

The anonymity that avatars provide can encourage people to “act out” behaviors that may be considered inappropriate, particularly for tweens and teens. Indeed, visitors may find the online equivalent of a red-light district, with simulated sexual activity or violence.

How can you help your kids avoid content — or virtual spaces — that may be inappropriate for them? Start by talking to them about where they’re going online — and how they’re getting there, if not through the family computer. Talk to them about how to be safe and responsible while socializing online. Help them understand that personal information about themselves, family members, and friends should stay private; you also can talk to them about avoiding sex talk or sexual situations online.

Stay Engaged

If your child visits a virtual world, you may want to check it out, too. Get to know what’s on the site, the privacy protections it offers, and how it verifies the ages of site visitors.

If your child gets really interested in online gaming or virtual worlds, watch for changes in their patterns of behavior that could indicate an obsession. Nobody knows your child better than you do, so you’re best placed to know what sites may be appropriate for your child.

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters:718-682-1509

Mobile:917-715-8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  

Shopping for a Mortgage

 

Staten Island’s only community-based business advises looking at the important cost information before signing a mortgage.

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.Shopping around for a home loan or mortgage will help you get the best financing deal. A mortgage — whether it’s a home purchase, a refinancing, or a home equity loan — is a product, just like a car, so the price and terms may be negotiable. You’ll want to compare all the costs involved in obtaining a mortgage. Shopping, comparing, and negotiating may save you thousands of dollars.

Be sure to get information about mortgages from several lenders or brokers. Know how much of a down payment you can afford, and find out all the costs involved in the loan. Knowing just the amount of the monthly payment or the interest rate is not enough. Ask for information about the same loan amount, loan term, and type of loan so that you can compare the information. The following information is important to get from each lender and broker:

Rates

    • Ask each lender and broker for a list of its current mortgage interest rates and whether the rates being quoted are the lowest for that day or week.
    • Ask whether the rate is fixed or adjustable. Keep in mind that when interest rates for adjustable-rate mortgages go up, generally so do the monthly payments.
    • If the rate quoted is for an adjustable-rate mortgage, ask how your rate and loan payment will vary, including whether your loan payment will be reduced when rates go down.
    • Ask about the loan’s annual percentage rate (APR). The APR takes into account not only the interest rate but also points, broker fees, and certain other credit charges that you may be required to pay, expressed as a yearly rate.

Points

Points are fees paid to the lender or broker for the loan and are often linked to the interest rate; usually the more points you pay, the lower the rate.

    • Check your local newspaper for information about rates and points currently being offered.
    • Ask for points to be quoted to you as a dollar amount — rather than just as the number of points — so that you will know how much you will actually have to pay.

Fees

A home loan often involves many fees, such as loan origination or underwriting fees, broker fees, and settlement (or closing costs). Every lender or broker should be able to give you an estimate of its fees. Many of these fees are negotiable. Some fees are paid when you apply for a loan (such as application and appraisal fees), and others are paid at closing. In some cases, you can borrow the money needed to pay these fees, but doing so will increase your loan amount and total costs. “No cost” loans are sometimes available, but they usually involve higher rates.

    • Ask what each fee includes. Several items may be lumped into one fee.
    • Ask for an explanation of any fee you do not understand. Some common fees associated with a home loan closing are listed on the Mortgage Shopping Worksheet.

Down Payments and Private Mortgage Insurance

Some lenders require 20 percent of the home’s purchase price as a down payment. However, many lenders now offer loans that require less than 20 percent down — sometimes as little as 5 percent on conventional loans. If a 20 percent down payment is not made, lenders usually require the homebuyer topurchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) to protect the lender in case the homebuyer fails to pay.

    • Ask about the lender’s requirements for a down payment, including what you need to do to verify that funds for your down payment are available.
    • Ask your lender about special programs it may offer.

If PMI is required for your loan

    • Ask what the total cost of the insurance will be.
    • Ask how much your monthly payment will be when the PMI premium is included.

 

 

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters:718-682-1509

Mobile:917-715-8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Transfer of Mortgage Servicing

 

Staten Island’s only community-based business bank reminds you of your mortgage rights

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.When you get a mortgage, you may think that the lender will hold and service your loan until you pay it off or sell your home. That’s often not the case. In today’s market, loans and the rights to service them often are bought and sold. In many cases, the company that you send your payment to is not the company that owns your loan.

If your loan is transferred to a new servicer, you generally get two notices: one from your current mortgage servicer; the other from the new servicer. In most cases, your current servicer must notify you at least 15 days before the effective date of the transfer, unless you received a written transfer notice at settlement. The effective date is when the first mortgage payment is due at the new servicer’s address. The new servicer must notify you within 15 days after the effective date of the transfer.

Both notices must include:

    • the name and address of the new servicer
    • the date the current servicer will stop accepting your mortgage payments
    • the date the new servicer will begin accepting your mortgage payments
    • telephone numbers (either toll-free or collect), for the current and new mortgage servicer, for information about the transfer
    • whether you can continue any optional insurance, such as credit life or disability insurance; what action you must take to maintain coverage; and whether the insurance terms will change
    • a statement that the transfer will not affect any terms or conditions of your mortgage, except those directly related to the servicing of the loan. For example, if your contract says you were allowed to pay property taxes and insurance premiums on your own, the new servicer cannot demand that you establish an escrow account.
    • a statement explaining your rights and what to do if you have a question or complaint about the servicing of your loan.

There is a 60-day grace period after the transfer: during this time you cannot be charged a late fee if you mistakenly send your mortgage payment to the old servicer.

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters:718-682-1509

Mobile:917-715-8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Checking Your Credit Reports

 

Staten Island’s only community-based commercial suggests checking your credit report regularly

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.Your credit report contains information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy. Credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nation’s credit reporting companies.

Some financial advisors and consumer advocates suggest that you review your credit report periodically. Why?

    • Because the information it contains affects whether you can get a loan — and how much you will have to pay to borrow money.
    • To make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.
    • To help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information — like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number — to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.

 

How to Order Your Free Report

 

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

 

An amendment to the FCRA requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.

The three nationwide credit reporting companies have set up one website, toll-free telephone number, and mailing address through which you can order your free annual report. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:

Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually.

You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order from only one or two. The FCRA allows you to order one free copy from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.

You need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. If you have moved in the last two years, you may have to provide your previous address. To maintain the security of your file, each nationwide credit reporting company may ask you for some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Each company may ask you for different information because the information each has in your file may come from different sources.

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters:718-682-1509

Mobile:917-715-8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

What to Know When You Look for a Job

 

Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank highlights job search tips

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. –you apply for a job, employers look at the application you complete and the resume you prepare. Some employers also check into your background before they hire you. According the FTC, a background report can include:

your credit history

your criminal record

your employment history

your driving record

Employers have rules to follow when they buy your background report. As the job applicant, you have rights when someone buys your background report.

What should I do before I apply for a job?

Before you apply for any job, get your credit report. It is free. It has information about your credit history, including:

if you pay your bills on time or late

how much money you owe

if someone has sued you

Employers might look at your credit report. You should know what is in your report, too. If your credit report has mistakes, you can fix them. You also can be ready to explain any information that is correct, but that might not look good to an employer.

To get a credit report for free, call Annual Credit Report at 1-877-322-8228. Someone might try to sell you another product or service. You just need your free credit report.

What happens when I apply for a job?

The employer might want to see your background report. He needs your permission to see your background report. Usually, you have to sign your name to give your permission. The employer might ask your permission when you apply for a job.

You have the right to tell the employer not to check your background report. But if you do not give your permission, the employer might not hire you.

The employer does not need your permission to look you up online. The employer might be able to see public information about you on social networking and other sites.

Some employers might say not to apply if you have a criminal record. That could be discrimination. Report it right away to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Call the EEOC at 1-800-669-4000.

What if I might not get hired?

The employer might not hire you because of information in your background report. If that happens, the employer must give you a copy of the background report and information about your rights.

You have a right to review your report. You might be able to explain some information to the employer. If there are mistakes in the report, you can ask the company that wrote the report to fix them.

The company that wrote the report might fix the mistakes. Then the company must send you a copy of the new report. You also can ask the company to send the new report to the employer.

What if I do not get the job?

If the employer does not hire you because of information in your background report, he must tell you. This is called giving you an adverse action notice.

The employer also must give you the name, address and phone number of the company that wrote the report.

You can ask this company for a copy of your report. It is free if you ask for it within 60 days of not getting the job.

What if I think an employer is breaking the rules?

Start by talking to the employer directly. You might be able to solve the problem that way.

Or, if you think the employer did not follow the rules, you can report the employer to the Federal Trade Commission. Call 1-877-382-4357 to file your complaint.

 

 

About Victory State Bank:

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTC: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com.

Media Inquiries:

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters:718-682-1509

Mobile:917-715-8761

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.