MutualOne Bank will be closed on Monday, May 30, 2016, in observance of Memorial Day. Have a happy and safe holiday.
Reprinted from FDIC Consumer News – Winter 2016
In today’s world, it’s important for small business owners to be vigilant in protecting their computer systems and data. Among the reasons: Federal consumer protections generally do not cover businesses for losses they incur from unauthorized electronic fund transfers. That means, for example, your bank may not be responsible for reimbursing losses associated with an electronic theft from your bank account — for instance, if there was negligence on the part of your business, such as unsecured computers or falling for common scams. (To learn more about the rules pertaining to electronic theft, including losses involving a business debit card, see How Federal Laws and Industry Practices Limit Losses From Cyberattacks).
Here are tips to help small business owners and their employees protect themselves and their companies from losses and other harm. Several of these tips mirror basic precautions we have suggested elsewhere in this issue for consumers.
Protect computers and Wi-Fi networks. Equip your computers with up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls to block unwanted access. Arrange for key security software to automatically update, if possible. And if you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, including having the router protected by a password that is set by you (not the default password). The user manual for your device can give you instructions, which are also generally available online.
Patch software in a timely manner. Software vendors regularly provide “patches” or updates to their products to correct security flaws and improve functionality. A good practice is to download and install these software updates as soon as they are available. It may be most efficient to configure software to install such updates automatically.
Set cybersecurity procedures and training for employees. Consider reducing risks through steps such as pre-employment background checks and clearly outlined policies for personal use of computers. Limit employee access to the data systems that they need for their jobs, and require permission to install any software.
And, train employees about cybersecurity issues, such as suspicious or unsolicited emails asking them to click on a link, open an attachment or provide account information. By complying with what appears to be a simple request, your employees may be installing malware on your network. You can use training resources such as a 30-minute online course from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Require strong authentication. Ensure that employees and other users connecting to your network use strong user IDs and passwords for computers, mobile devices and online accounts by using combinations of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols that are hard to guess and changed regularly. Consider requiring more information beyond a password to gain access to your business’s network, and additional safety measures, such as requiring confirmation calls with your financial institution before certain electronic transfers are authorized.
Secure the business’s tablets and smartphones. Mobile devices can be a source of security challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access your company’s network. In the case of the latter, require employees to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent criminals from accessing the device while it is connected to public networks. Also develop and enforce reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
Back up important business systems and data. Do so at least once a week. For your backup data, remember to use the same security measures (such as encryption) that you would apply to the original data. In addition, in case your main computer becomes infected, regularly back up sensitive business data to additional, disconnected storage devices.
Use best practices for handling card payments online. Seek advice from your bank or a payment processor to select the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services. This may include using just one computer or tablet for payment processing.
Be vigilant for early signs something is wrong. “Monitor bank account balances regularly to look for suspicious or unauthorized activity,” suggested Luke W. Reynolds, chief of the FDIC’s Outreach and Program Development Section.
Our annual Employee Awards is one of our favorite events of the year, because we get to show our appreciation and honor all of our dedicated and hard working employees.
Executive Vice President, Steven M. Sousa, presented the awards during the Ceremony on April 25th. As a part of the celebration we acknowledged our new employees and our service award honorees, each of whom celebrated an anniversary of a five-year increment with the Bank.
Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients.
Sandhya Jayarama – 5 years
Brien Maginnis – 5 years
Mildred Dones – 10 years
Glaiz Herdman – 10 years
Luz Acevedo – 15 years
Debra Miranda – 15 years
Michael Bilinsky – 25 years
Kevin Chandley – 30 years
Jeffrey Ryan – Commercial Loan Officer
David Flynn – Commercial Loan Officer
Wilhelmina Murray – IT Specialist
Gregory Kennedy – Vice President, Retail Banking
Jean Hoskins – Senior Personal Banker
Clara DePina – Senior Loan Servicing Representative
Boris Rashkovskiy – Accounting Assistant
Stacy Howard – Commercial Loan Assistant
Robert P. Lamprey, chairman of the MutualOne Charitable Foundation announced today that the Foundation has awarded $6,500 to MetroWest Legal Services (MWLS).
Based in Framingham, MWLS provides free legal advocacy in civil cases to protect and advance the rights of the poor, elderly, disabled, homeless and other disenfranchised individuals.
“We feel very fortunate to count the MutualOne Bank and the MutualOne Charitable Foundation to be among our most dedicated supporters,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Soulé.
Together, the Bank and its Foundation continue, for the seventh year, to be the presenting sponsor of MWLS’s annual fundraiser, the Nancy King Memorial Golf Tournament. The Bank and its Foundation have also provided financial support through donations over the past decade.
Congratulations to Julia Arroyo, senior personal banker at our Lincoln Street, Framingham office, and Amy Stapinski, commercial lending associate at our Main Office, on their selection as this month’s Employees of the month.
Julia was recognized for her ability to process work quickly while retaining an excellent customer focus. Amy was selected for consistently performing above expectations.
Steven M. Sousa, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MutualOne Bank, announced today that the Bank has awarded $2,300 to four local charities. The donations were made at the conclusion of the Bank’s renovation celebration at its downtown Natick office.
For each checking account opened during the celebration, MutualOne Bank pledged to give $100 to one of four charities: Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, Natick Visiting Nurse Association, Kids Connect, and Natick Community Organic Farm. Those opening accounts selected among the four charities.
“This was an extension of our ongoing Checking for Charity program, which is our way of thanking our newest checking account customers for choosing MutualOne Bank,” said Sousa. “It’s also a way to reinforce our commitment to supporting people and programs in the communities we serve.”
Since its introduction in 2008, the MutualOne Bank Checking for Charity promotion has benefited Framingham High School, Natick High School, the Natick Veterans Relief Fund, Buddy Dog Humane Society, Ovations for a Cure, the American Cancer Society, the Callahan Center in Framingham, the Natick Community-Senior Center, Framingham Public Library, and Natick’s Morse Institute Library.
Natick Organic Farm
(Left-Right) Michael Carey, MutualOne Bank; Jane Harvey, Organic Farm Director of Development; Greg Kennedy, MutualOne Bank vice president, retail banking; and Organic Farm Flower Grower and Business Manager Deena Kanopkin.
Natick Visiting Nurse Association
(Left-Right) Michael Carey, MutualOne Bank; Judith Boyko, Natick VNA CEO; and Greg Kennedy, MutualOne Bank vice president, retail banking.
Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism
(Left-Right) Donna Gogliormella, MutualOne Bank’s Lincoln Street, Framingham Branch Manager; Flutie Foundation Executive Director Lisa Borges: and Michael Carey, MutualOne Bank.
Members of the Kids Connect team with Deb Sayre, Kids Connect Director (front right) and Michael Carey, MutualOne Bank. (back right)
Robert P. Lamprey, chairman of the MutualOne Charitable Foundation, has announced a grant in the amount of $1,287 to King Elementary School.
Located on Water Street in Framingham, King Elementary includes a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). Opened in 2014, with four classrooms of kindergarten students, it is adding an additional grade each year until it reaches its ultimate goal of serving grades K-5.
According to Principal Kimberly A. Taylor, the MutualOne award will be used to support the school’s Core Value program, providing brochures, signs, and banners for display and distribution throughout the school year.
“We need to encourage innovation at all levels of our educational system,” said Lamprey. “King Elementary is trying to make a difference, and MutualOne is pleased to assist.”
Mark R. Haranas, president and CEO of MutualOne Bank and a MutualOne Charitable Foundation trustee, has announced a grant in the amount of $5,000 to the Knox Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
The purpose of the grant is to fund an educational effort among the Knox Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America, and Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Framingham. According to Scout Executive Matthew J. Budz, the group will be seeking to enhance the educational experiences and accomplishments of 110 first grade students by utilizing hands-on instruction in an outdoor setting.
“It’s encouraging to see local organizations team up to provide innovative programs,” said Haranas. “MutualOne is pleased to offer our assistance.”
Seventy Framingham youngsters will continue to receive after-school help, thanks to a recent $3,500 grant from the MutualOne Charitable Foundation. Announcement of the grant to Hoops and Homework, Inc. was made by Steven M. Sousa, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MutualOne Bank and a Foundation trustee.
Hoops and Homework provides free daily after-school educational and recreational activities to eligible students ages 5 to 15 at two Framingham low-income housing developments. According to Hoops and Homework President Herb Chasan, the funds will be used to ensure students have a safe, high quality, enriching program experience with oversight by trained and caring adults.
“Ensuring all students have the chance for a bright future can make all the difference,” said Sousa. “We are pleased to support the vital role Hoops and Homework plays in making that happen.”
MutualOne Bank took advantage of the Natick Service Council’s recent telethon to pledge $2,500 to the organization. Funds raised from the telethon will help low income Natick families with advocacy services, and basic human needs, including food, housing, home heating fuel, and after school enrichment activities.
“It’s important to reach out to help our neighbors, particularly in today’s uncertain economic environment,” said Steven M. Sousa, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MutualOne Bank.
“We support the Natick Service Council’s goal of helping local low income and under-employed residents along the path to gainful employment, self-sufficiency and economic independence,” he added.