Report: Consumers Continue to Carefully Manage Credit Card Debt

 

As an advocate of financial literacy and responsibility, Victory State Bank – Staten Island’s only community-based business bank – stresses the importance of using credit wisely. When it comes to the use of credit cards, in particularly, a newly released report indicates American consumers are maintaining manageable levels of debt.

According to the American Bankers Association’s latest quarterly Credit Card Market Monitor, Credit card use continued to grow in the fourth quarter of 2017 on the back of a strong holiday season for consumer spending. On an annual basis, monthly purchase volumes rose 3.9 percent for prime accounts and 5.1 percent for super-prime accounts, but fell 3.0 percent for subprime accounts. Since mid-2015, monthly purchase volumes for prime and super-prime accounts have increased 16 and 19 percent respectively, but are up just 2.9 percent for subprime accounts over the same period.

The April 2018 Monitor, which consists of credit card data from October through December 2017, also found that the number of new accounts (those opened in the previous 24 months) declined compared to the previous quarter for the first time in nearly five years (though new account opens rose slightly on a year over year basis). The total number of open credit card accounts expanded in the fourth quarter, but at the slowest pace in nearly three years.

Credit card credit outstanding as a share of disposable income increased 13 basis points to 5.73 percent in the fourth quarter, consistent with seasonal spending patterns. This metric remains well below pre-recession levels and is essentially unchanged from where it stood in late 2011 and early 2012.

 “Consumers have worked hard to ensure credit card debt remains at manageable levels,” said Jess Sharp, executive director of ABA’s Card Policy Council. “Even as spending levels increase, credit card debt as a share of disposable income remains low by historical standards.”

 Consumers Continue to Carefully Manage Credit Card Debt

Data from the fourth quarter also show that credit card users were slightly more active, with the share of Dormant accounts falling 0.6 percentage point. Meanwhile, the share of Transactors (those who pay their monthly balance in full each month) increased 0.4 percentage point to 29.5 percent of all accounts, while the share of Revolvers (those who carry a monthly balance) rose 0.3 percentage point to 44.0 percent — the same level at which it started 2017.

Average credit lines among all accounts rose across risk tiers compared to the previous quarter, but remain well below post-recession highs, particularly for prime (26 percent lower) and subprime (23 percent lower) accounts. Among new accounts, average prime and subprime credit lines increased to levels not seen since 2010, while super-prime credit lines are now above 2008 levels.

“The economy is performing well, and consumers are benefitting,” Sharp said. “The strong labor market is helping to drive consumer confidence levels near all-time highs, and card issuers are responding by judiciously expanding credit access to new and existing customers.”

 The full report with detailed charts and statistics is available here.

ABOUT THE CREDIT CARD MARKET MONITOR

The American Bankers Association Credit Card Market Monitor is a quarterly report that provides key statistics on industry trends and relevant economic factors affecting the industry.  The credit card data used in the report is taken from a nationally representative sample provided by Argus Information Services LLC.  Credit card data are presented as national averages for all accounts based on actual credit card account information.  No individual account holder’s information or specific financial institution’s data can be identified from the data set.  Other data used in the report are taken from various public and private sources, including the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Federal Reserve.

 

 

ABOUT VICTORY STATE BANK

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: 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, including the main office in the community of Great Kills and branches in West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank.

A planned sixth branch, to be situated in Meiers Corners, has received both regulatory and building department approvals.

For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100, or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

Media Contact: 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips for Avoiding Business Fraud

 

As explained by the FBI, business fraud consists of dishonest and illegal activities perpetrated by individuals or companies in order to provide an advantageous financial outcome to those persons or establishments. Also known as corporate fraud, these schemes often appear under the guise of legitimate business practices.

To assist in protecting individuals from such crimes, Victory State Bank, the only community-based commercial bank on Staten Island, is sharing the following information from the FBI. The government describes the existence of an array of crimes falling under business fraud, including:

  • Charity fraud: Using deception to get money from individuals believing they are making donations to legitimate charity organizations, especially charities representing victims of natural disasters shortly after the incident occurs.
  • Internet auction fraud: A fraudulent transaction or exchange that occurs in the context of an online auction site.
  • Non-delivery of merchandise: Fraud occurring when a payment is sent but the goods and services ordered are never received.
  • Non-payment of funds: Fraud occurring when goods and services are shipped or rendered but payment for them is never received.
  • Overpayment scheme: An individual is sent a payment significantly higher than an owed amount and is instructed to deposit the money in their bank account and wire transfer the excess funds back to the bank of the individual or company that sent it. The sender's bank is usually located overseas, in Eastern Europe for example, and the initial payment is found to be fraudulent, often after the wire transfer has occurred.
  • Re-shipping scheme: An individual is recruited to receive merchandise at their place of residence and subsequently repackage the items for shipment, usually abroad. Unbeknownst to them, the merchandise was purchased with fraudulent credit cards, often opened in their name.

TIPS FOR AVOIDING BUSINESS FRAUD:

1)       Purchase merchandise from reputable dealers or establishments.

2)       Obtain a physical address rather than simply a post office box and a telephone number, and call the seller to see if the telephone number is correct and working.

3)       Send an e-mail to the seller to make sure the e-mail address is active, and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.

4)       Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.

5)       Purchase merchandise directly from the individual/company that holds the trademark, copyright, or patent.

 

 

ABOUT VICTORY STATE BANK

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: 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, including the main office in the community of Great Kills and branches in West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank.

A planned sixth branch, to be situated in Meiers Corners, has received both regulatory and building department approvals.

For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100, or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

Media Contact: 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

6 Things Commonly Required by a Business Lender

 

 

If you are seeking to borrow money for your business, prepare ahead to provide your lender with a clear picture of your commercial enterprise, advises Victory State Bank.

To accomplish this, you will need to share an up-to-date set of financial and production records.

As explained by the American Bankers Association® (ABA), financial statements should include a balance sheet, an income statement, a statement of owner equity, and historical and projected cash flows.

If possible, the borrower should provide three to five years of data, ABA advises.

To assist you in preparing to meet with a lender, Victory State Bank, the only community-based commercial bank on Staten Island, is sharing some tips from the ABA. The lender generally requires the following financial data and supporting information; however, when approaching a lender, the borrower should ask specifically which types of financial information to provide:

  • A current balance sheet with supporting schedules and inventories (essential).
  • A record of earnings for three years.
  • A projected cash flow; if a major change in the business is anticipated, a transitional and normal operating year projected cash flow may be required, with sensitivity analysis concerning price, cost, and capital acquisition investments.
  • A good set of records showing production plans, short- and long-range goals, and procedures for implementation and evaluation.
  • Information concerning personal debt, including credit cards.
  • Information concerning the amount and stability of outside-of-business income.

Just as you, the borrower, have a "wish list" of traits that a good lender should have, lenders also have certain expectations of a desirable borrower, the ABA says. Here are four key things you can do to help build your relationship with your banker:

§  Arrange credit in advance. Don't inform your lender of a major decision "after the fact." This destroys trust and credibility and makes future credit more difficult or even impossible to obtain.

 

§  Allow your lender time to review plans and make suggestions. Many major purchase decisions are made on the basis of emotion. A lender can be a source of sound advice and counsel in reviewing your credit request. Remember: an explanation of goals and plans builds confidence and trust. It also strengthens the working relationship.

 

§  Inform your lender of problems and changes. Even the best businesses are faced with adversities that reduce their ability to repay. Inform your lender of changes in plans or unforeseen problems that will interfere with making loan payments. Remember: communication is important not only in the initial request but throughout the whole credit process.

 

§  Maintain a high level of integrity. If the borrower expects a lender to be honest and above-board at all times, then the lender is entitled to the same attribute from the borrower. Inaccurate information and failure to honor commitments will jeopardize the borrower-lender relationship and could do harm that will last a lifetime.

 

ABOUT VICTORY STATE BANK

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: 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, including the main office in the community of Great Kills and branches in West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank.

A planned sixth branch, to be situated in Meiers Corners, has received both regulatory and building department approvals.

For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100, or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

Media Contact: 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

12 Things to Consider When Buying a Car

 

Buying or leasing an automobile can be costly –  and if not done properly, can lead to a buyer’s regret. However, there are steps you can take to improve the likelihood you are dealing with a reputable seller and making a smart purchase.

With consumer satisfaction in mind, Victory State Bank, the only community-based business bank on Staten Island, is sharing some advice from the U.S. General Services Administration’s “Consumer Action Handbook;” whether you buy or lease a vehicle, these tips may help you get the best deal and avoid problems: 

 

1)      Decide what kind of vehicle best suits your needs and budget.

 

2)      Check out the seller. Research car dealers with your state or local consumer protection agency and Better Business Bureau.

 

3)      If you are buying from an individual, check the title to make sure you are dealing with the vehicle’s owner.

 

4)      Take a test drive. Drive at different speeds and check for smooth right and left turns. On a straight stretch, make sure the vehicle does not pull to one side.

 

5)      Handle trade-ins and financing separately from your purchase to get the best deal on each. Get a written price quote before you talk about a trade-in or dealer financing.

 

6)      Shop in advance for an auto loan. Compare financing options at credit unions, banks, or finance companies. Consider the total finance charges and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), not just the monthly payment.

 

7)      Ask what phrases, like “all-new”, “redesigned”, “next generation” really mean in terms of a car’s appearance, structure, and performance.

 

8)      Read the fine print in ads and promotions. Often, you must have a high credit score to qualify for low monthly payments, no down payment, or to skip a payment.

 

9)      Read and understand every document you sign.

 

10)   Don’t take possession of the car until all paperwork is approved.

 

11)   Consider the effect that different models will have on your insurance policy and premiums.

 

12)   Compare miles-per-gallon ratings of vehicle models and their annual fuel estimates. Visit www.fueleconomy.gov to research mileage and fuel efficiency reports.

 

ABOUT VICTORY STATE BANK

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: 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, including the main office in the community of Great Kills and branches in West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank.

A planned sixth branch, to be situated in Meiers Corners, has received both regulatory and building department approvals.

For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100, or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

Media Contact: 

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.

 

 

 

5 Red Flags of a Gas Pump ‘Skimmer’

 

The next time you make a stop at a gas station, look beyond the price per gallon, advises Victory State Bank.  The only community-based commercial bank on Staten Island is urging consumers to be on the lookout for skimmers at the gas pump.

Skimmers are devices that steal your credit or debit card number. Thieves get this information by placing the skimmer over the credit card slot at gas pumps (and ATMs). They may also collect your PIN by attaching a video camera or another keypad over the real one to record your keystrokes.

To help protect your personal information, Victory State Bank is sharing the following advice from U.S. General Services Administration’s Consumer Action Handbook:

 Beware of a gas pump if:

 

§  The card reader moves or is unsteady. Tug on the card slot to check if it moves.

  

§  The card reader looks differently than those at the other pumps.

 

§  The keypad feels strange, thicker, or isn’t secure.

 

§  The edges of the card reader unit look like someone tried to pry it open or the lock is broken.

 

§  The security seal over the front panel of the gas pump is broken.

 

Prevent gas skimmer fraud by paying with the gas station attendant instead of at the pump. If the card reader seems suspicious, report it to the gas station attendant.

If you have been a victim of credit or debit card fraud, alert your card issuer.

 

 

ABOUT VICTORY STATE BANK

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: 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, including the main office in the community of Great Kills and branches in West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank.

A planned sixth branch, to be situated in Meiers Corners, has received both regulatory and building department approvals.

For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100, or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.

Media Contact: 

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.