IMPORTANT!!

We are keeping a close eye on the "Heartbleed" bug you may have heard about. The vendor we use for Online Banking has completed a preliminary assessment and has not discovered any vulnerability. We will be sure to keep you updated should anything to the contrary be discovered. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to help ensure that your information is safe.

It is always a good practice to use unique passwords for all of the online services you access. If your GCF Online Banking password has also been used with a different service, we do recommend that you change your Online Banking password at this time.





If you currently utilize GCF’s online banking EXPRESS TRANSFER function to make your loan payments, this service will be temporarily unavailable from April 25, 2014 through June 9, 2014. As an alternative to this temporary inconvenience, you can do one of the following:

  • Contact 1-877-589-6600 ext. 320 or 368 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to manually complete the transaction.
  • Mail a check to Investors Bank, 101 Wood Avenue South, Iselin, NJ 08830.
  • Sign up for GCF’s online bill payment system and set up a monthly payment to be sent to Investors Bank.


Fast Access




GCF Bank is now part of the Investors Bank family!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Edition #590


Today's Highlights:

Past issues of GCFlash:

December 14, 2010 Edition #589

December 7, 2010 Edition #588

November 30, 2010 Edition #587

November 23, 2010 Edition #586

Looking for articles from a past issue of GCFlash not listed above? Find them in our Knowledge Base!


Weekly Spotlight:

Only 3 shopping days 'til Christmas! Give the gift that's always the right style, the right color, the right choice. A GCF Visa Gift Card is always the perfect gift for any occasion. Stop into any GCF branch to purchase a GCF Visa Gift Card for someone special!



Our Current Rates:

For a listing of our current deposit and loan rates, click here.

Today's National Market Rates
December 14, 2010 6 Mo Ago
06/14/10
1 Yr Ago
12/14/09
5 Yrs Ago
12/14/05
Dow Jones Industrial Average 11,533.16 (+0.48%)
(Up 1,105.11 or 10.60% since 12/31/09)
10,442.41 10,414.14 10,883.73
S&P 500 1,254.60 (+0.60%)
(Up 139.50 or 12.51% since 12/31/09)
1,113.20 1,114.05 1,262.79
NASDAQ 2,667.61 (+0.68%)
(Up 398.46 or 17.56% since 12/31/08)
2,289.09 2,237.66 2,231.66
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 3.32% 3.24% 3.68% 4.49%
British Sterling 1.5464 1.4830 1.6162 1.7682
Euro 1.3096 1.2399 1.4341 1.2014

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1st Flash

2010 Census Results Just In

Results of the 2010 Census are in. As of April 2010, the official U.S. population is 308,745,538. This is an increase of 9.7 percent from a decade earlier, the smallest increase in our population since the Great Depression.

The Census also revealed a radical shift in centers of population. This is key as congressional seats and federal funding are based on these figures.

Ten states, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, will lose congressional seats. Eight states in the South and West will gain them.

Texas showed the biggest shift, with four new members in the House of Representatives. Florida gains two seats. Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, Nevada and Utah will each add one.

The results also cement the shift of political power, as the states gaining seats are predominantly Republican.

Those losing representation are Democratic strongholds. Ohio and New York both lost two seats. Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and New Jersey all lost one. For the first time since 1920, California will not add a new House seat.

We saw several agonizing hours of commercials urging us to complete our Census forms. Why was it so important? Federal funding was at stake. About $447 billion worth of funding is based on formulas tied to Census data.

States get about 20 percent of their money from federal funds. With all the belt-tightening we're experiencing right now, a shift in funding can loom large in states already being pinched.

In fiscal year 2008, 215 federal programs used Census data as a guide to distributing funds.

Medicaid receives the largest amount of federal aid with 58 percent of all Census based funding. Transportation, such as highway projects, is the next largest recipient.

Affordable housing projects and education each garner a large share as well.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 74 percent of American households participated in the 2010 Census, equal to the participation rate in 2000. They consider this a significant achievement, as worldwide participation has been in a decline.

On The World Wide Web

The elves have been busy. All the preparations are in place for Santa's annual visit. Follow his activity here.

What do you do with used cards after the decorations are packed away? Donate them to St. Jude's Ranch. Get the details.

Thank a military member serving in Iraq or Afghanistan this Christmas. It only takes 30 seconds, Xerox makes it easy on their web site.

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2nd Flash

Don't Believe All the Headlines

Headlines are written to catch the reader's attention. Most of us skim through a publication, not many read every single article. Some subjects are just not what we consider of interest.

A good headline helps you sort out which articles are worthy of your time. But just because you read something in a headline does not guarantee it is true.

An email's subject line serves the same purpose. We're inundated with far too many forwards from well-meaning friends to reach each message in our inbox. So we sort through to pick out items that may be of interest.

Just last week I got an email titled "The True Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." A true heart tugger, claiming the author wrote the song as a gift to his four-year-old daughter. The author was destitute, his wife on cancer's deathbed. The song was a hit that turned the man's fortunes around.

What a great Christmas story it would have made, had it been true.

Robert May authored the famous tune about the reject-turned-hero reindeer at the request of his employer, Montgomery Ward. They wanted him to write a story they could publish as a coloring book to give away to children over the Christmas season in 1939. It was a hit. But the copyright belonged to his employer.

It wasn't until 1947 that May convinced Montgomery Ward to turn the copyright over to him. The part about his wife's illness was true. Her death left him in debt with medical bills.

May's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, turned the story into lyrics and a melody. Gene Autry recorded the song in 1949 to make Rudolph almost as popular as Santa Claus himself. The song sold two million copies in its first year, second only to "White Christmas" in becoming one of the best-selling Christmas songs of all time.

Still a good story, and it would have stood well on its own without the added emotional drama.

Yet it did get me wondering about the history of some of our most-loved Christmas songs.

"Jingle Bells" was written in 1857. It's a carol that can be sung by anyone, regardless of religious or ideological opinions. There's no mention of Christmas, Santa Claus or Jesus. Simply a song about winter fun. There were several other verses than those we sing now, having to do with a young man riding his sleigh around to attract members of the fairer sex. As well-loved as this song has become, it also ranks as the most-hated holiday song. The version with the barking dogs, that is.

There really was a "Good King Wenceslas", and he really was known to walk barefoot in the snow to offer charity to those in need. He reigned in Czechoslovakia from 907-935 A.D. and is the patron saint of that country.

The holiday season is a time of celebration. Nothing can bolster the spirit like songs of joy. Whether you celebrate the winter solstice and the shift towards longer days with songs about snow and sledding or the spiritual aspect with hymns about the birth of Jesus, there's something special about this season. It brings us all together if we will let it.

The staff of GCFlash wishes all of our readers a very Merry Christmas.

Tip of the Week

Today is December 21. Have you crossed all the names off of your Christmas shopping list? Find some unique last-minute gift ideas here.

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Financial News

Risk versus reward. When investing, you hope to be compensated for the amount of risk you take. Traditionally, a low risk investment would be a United States Treasury security, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. U.S. securities are still considered a safe investment by most. The 10-year U.S. bond with a coupon of 2.625 percent is yielding 3.34 percent today.

This is not the same of all other national debt. With the international economic turmoil, countries are having trouble all over. Currently, Spanish bonds are having their difficulty. The 10-year Spanish bond rose from 1.52 percent to 5.52 percent as investors worry that Spain will need to be rescued much like Ireland and Greece. Yet many investors are still not willing to take the risk that Spain might default, leaving investors with a loss.

In comparison, the 10-year U.K. Bond has a coupon of 4.75 percent and is yielding 3.48 percent, while the 10-year Japanese bond with a coupon of 1.2 percent is yielding 1.19 percent. Of course, other types of governmental investments like municipals also provide a return for the risk. But that's another story for another day.

The recent difficult economic times have caused investments, and investors, to behave differently than in more "normal" economic times. It certainly is interest times!


Quotable

"Christmas begins about the first of December with an office party and ends when you finally realize what you spent, around April 15th of the next year." - P. J. O'Rourke


Today in History

1989 - Vice-President Quayle sends out 30,000 Christmas cards with word beacon spelled beakon.


Flash Fact

"Wassail" comes from the Old Norse "ves heill" - to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.

Have a comment about something you read in GCFlash? Suggestions for future articles? Drop us an email!

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PURPOSE:

GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com.

For more comprehensive information, visit our Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com or call (856) 589-6600 Ext: 337 (Timothy P. Hand)

GCFLASH PRIVACY STATEMENT

For a copy of our Privacy Policy, visit www.gcfbank.com/gcflash_privacy.asp

GCF maintains your e-mail address in a confidential and secure database along with much of your other account information, such as mailing address and telephone number, etc. Before aggregating our e-mailing list each week, we filter out any duplicates. In most cases, this inhibits the unintended e-mailing of multiple copies of GCFlash to a single e-mail address. However, because these account records are kept by both individual and account, there is a chance members of the same household could each receive a copy of GCFlash or any other transmission at the same e- mail address - resulting in multiple copies. For example, a husband and wife that both have accounts with GCF may both receive a copy because the names are different but listed at the same e-mail address. This is similar to the manner in which each individual may share a common telephone number. To handle this situation, GCF recommends you simply delete any extra copies of GCFlash as this will ensure that ALL individuals receive any future promotional mailings, which might only be targeted or offered to specific accountholders meeting certain criteria. GCF has the capability to suppress customer e-mail addresses so they are omitted from our transmission list. If you would rather have a specific household member’s e-mail address suppressed in our electronic database, simply send us a reply, as stated below, and indicate the accountholder for which you would like to have e-mail suppressed. Please keep in mind that this suppression will mean that NO future e-mails are sent, including special promotional offers. If you have any questions about this process or need additional information, please contact us at netaccess@gcfbank.com.

If you would like to be removed from this electronic mailing list, please hit reply and place the word REMOVE in the subject line. Please note, removing your name from our electronic mailing list means GCF will send NO FUTURE NEWS or SPECIAL OFFERS.


GCF Bank
381 Egg Harbor Road
Sewell, NJ 08080
(856) 589-6600
www.gcfbank.com