Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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Monday, January 14, 2019

News/Press Room

Investor Newsletter 2Q 2018
It seems that every week brings another twist and turn to news about the current state of the US economy and the impact it is having on corporations and consumers alike.

It is true; we are in a tough economic environment, especially for financial institutions. But the good news is that things are going well here at Alta Alliance. Our parent company, Western Alliance Bancorporation, continues to be profitable during these challenging times, and our bank continues to prosper.

We have had strong deposit growth, and as a result have money to lend to credit-worthy customers. Right now, we see our role as providing liquidity to the market of customers who have good credit scores, a history of stable cash flow and, if real estate is their investment, seasoned properties. Whether they want to purchase commercial real estate, expand their business or simply buy a new home, our customers know they have a partner in us and as their bank we will work hard to help them realize their financial goals.

As of June 30, 2018, we had $108 million in assets and $57 million in loans. During the quarter, deposits increased $1.3 million and loans grew $12 million. These results, as always, are due to the dedication, creativity and hard work of our entire staff.

Our quarter was not only marked by good business results but also by the first annual "AllianceLinks," a golf tournament and networking opportunity for our top customers and prospects. It was a big success, and we already have plans in place for next year's event. You'll find a brief article about the event in this newsletter.

As we enter the third quarter, we remain focused on our mission and our business goals, and we appreciate your continued support.

Arnold Grisham
Chief Executive Officer

AD Campaign
If you listen to the Oakland A's pre-game show, "Right Off the Bat," or read local magazines and newspapers you may have noticed that Alta Alliance Bank is telling its story through ads this year. Since the beginning of the year, the bank has periodically placed targeted ads in specific media outlets to convey its message of service and customer satisfaction to the public.

Oakland Magazine has run ads featuring our relationship managers and private bankers with a headline proclaiming that "We give you our best in banking services." The first ad ran in the annual "Best of the East Bay" issue of that magazine. In August, the ad is running again, with an additional Ad Profile of the bank featuring Relationship Manager Daryle Whyte with client Horizon Water and Environment. Diablo magazine highlights our expertise in serving the medical community, with an ad featuring Private Banker Janet Kenny and Relationship Manager Dorina Reid. And the Oakland A's spots, which run through October, feature e-deposit and other business services. Additional ads in newspapers and magazines have featured real customers with testimonials about the bank and bankers who serve specific communities. In the second half of the year, the bank will be featured in trade publications that reach specific audiences such as nonprofit organizations and churches.

Alliance Links
In June, the bank hosted its First Annual "AllianceLinks" golf tournament at Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland. This networking event was invitation-only to top customers who qualified with certain deposit or loan criteria, and nearly 100 enthusiastic golfers turned out. Throughout the course, players found treats at selected holes to refresh them-a "Cabo Wabo" hole offering Margaritas, chips and salsa; an "Energy" hole outfitted with trail mix and chilled candy bars; and a "Vintner" hole featuring wine, fruit and crackers. At day's end, everyone gathered for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and a presentation of prizes. Five players won prizes for Individual Net Competition and the top three teams won prizes for Four-Person Scramble. Response from customers and prospects was uniformly enthusiastic, so there will be a second annual AllianceLinks!

SVP Glen Lezama (left) enjoyed a day on the links with bank clients Mike Piasente, and Lisa and Bob Tuck.

Clients Len Goode (left), Jim Falaschi, Ces Butner formed a foursome with SVP Ron Haskins.

SVP Kiran Rai (in green shirt) enjoyed friendly competition with clients Kanwar Bagai and Naresh Kapahi and guest Jai Singh.

Friday, January 11, 2019

How To Earn Much Through Conservative Investing Strategies

We often associate conservative investing strategies with low risk investments like bonds. When we say low risk, these funds do not face the possibility of financial crashes and losses that are seen in other investment types. However, this could also mean that such investment deals would not produce big profits. How then can you make big money out of this conservative and calculating style of investment? Here are some ways to turn this investment strategy into a money-raking machine.

1. Choose bonds and funds that are of quality type. You will be investing a lot of money on such investments. You need to make sure that you get the best deals. If you are a newbie on the investment market, you can seek the help or advice of financial experts to lessen the possibility of errors and making bad investment decisions. Quality types of bonds are those that have a chance for future financial success. Do not gamble that hard earned money on investment deals that will not bring you profit at all. Choose your bonds carefully to ensure that you will not wait for years and realize that your investment is not growing at all. Be wary of your investment deals to get one that will serve your money's worth. In this way, though you choose a relatively slow-paced investment strategy, it is sure to keep big profits rolling in.

2. Develop patience in this kind of investing style. Results do not come as quickly as overnight deal. If you want the rollercoaster type of investments where you can earn and lose money big time, then choose more alternative investment types. Money flows in with a slow but steady pace in conservative investment types. A patient investor who understands this circumstance will gain a lot out of this.


3. If you want success in conservative investing, throw away the expectation that investing is a get rich quick scheme. Conservative investing styles do not work this way. Investment is a way to make money grow and is not an instant agenda. To succeed as a conservative investor, you must cultivate patience and perseverance.

4. Diversify on your investment style. Just because your a conservative investor does not mean that you have to stick with this strategy alone. You should try to diversify your style and place investments on other things. While a huge bulk of your investments are on bonds, a lot on the stock market too. In this approach, you can maximize the advantages of both investment styles. If you try this strategy, you can have stocks that can give instant profits and stable bonds that continue to grow over time. It is like getting the best that the two worlds have to offer.

Conservative investing does not have to mean earning less. To associate conservative investing with low investment returns will no longer be applicable. With the right strategies, you can be a conservative investor who earns more than your aggressive counter parts.

Is Conservative Investing A Safe Financial Strategy?

Nowadays, financial stability is no longer a guarantee once you have an investment. It is not enough that you have investment funds these days. It will not gain a big profit if you allow it on its own. With the issues on inflation and the rising costs of living, you may find your savings to be of lesser value than you expect. You must employ investment strategies that make your investments profitable ones and not just rotting bundles of cash. A strategy that some people use in safeguarding their investments while letting them grow at the same time is called conservative investing.

A "Play It Safe" Approach to Investing

Conservative investing is considered a safe approach because it faces fewer risks as compared to other investment styles. Investors using the conservative approach place their money on investments that are slow to gain profit. However, this slow and steady pace comes with the assurance that the principal or capital will not be lost in the inevitable highs and lows of the financial market. It is safe in a sense that it does not fluctuate in value as compared to the aggressive behavior of the stock market. Investors who are conservative in their approach to finances will move away from the risky potentials of the stock market and other investments that could make you absolute winners or total financial losers at the end of the day. This approach is taken by people who are not ready to see their money disappear in the drifts and complexities of the stock world. They are not attracted to the possibility of big profits of the aggressive forms of investment. They proceed with caution because they understand that this benefit may come with the possibility of losing all the investments in a sudden financial market shift.


Controversies on the Safety of Investing the Conservative Way

However, people are also questioning the reputation of conservative investing as a safe investment technique. Is this financial strategy safe? Is there really no risk involved in such approach? Like everything else in the financial world, this strategy also has its own share of risks and dangers. Long-term stocks like bonds are one of the most expensive types of investments. No matter how beneficial it is, the simple investor may not be able to afford it. Hence, many starters may plunge into the risks and dangers of aggressive investing because this type of investment is the only one they could afford. Another danger is the length of waiting time before real profits can be noticeable. This could be a pitfall if so many years passed and your investment has not grown at all. A lot of precious time and moneymaking opportunities could have passed you by as you wait for the maturity of bonds that never reach realization.

Finding a Middle Ground

Conservative investing may be a safe investing strategy but it is not an absolute one. It also comes with its own dangers and risks. If you wish to adopt a conservative investing technique, consider the risks and benefits involved. If it fits your funds and you are comfortable with it, then it can be the best financial strategy for you.

WAYS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS TO BUILD CREDIT

These days, having a good credit score can spell the difference between borrowing with ease and facing major roadblocks every time you apply for a loan. In fact, about 90% of US lenders use FICO, the country’s largest credit score provider, to decide whether you’re a good candidate for a mortgage, apartment lease, or auto loan.

Now it’s one thing for adults who have put in their time in the working world to establish good credit, but for college students, building credit is a whole other challenge. Many college students actually earn negative money during their college years, as the amounts they take home from their part-time (or even full-time) jobs pale in comparison to the bills they rack up on the road to getting their diplomas.

Nevertheless, building credit is important for college students, and there are ways to get there. Here are some steps to take early on:

Open up a credit card and use it regularly. Most credit card companies won’t issue you your own card until you reach the age of 18, but once you’re old enough, get a card in your name and make charges on it every month.
Pay your credit card bills on time every month. Even if you have no choice but to only pay the minimum amount due, it’s imperative that you avoid late payments, as these can wreak havoc on your credit score. That said, it’s also important to keep your month-to-month balance as low as possible. Carrying a high balance looks bad from a credit perspective, but worse yet, the longer you owe money, the more interest you’ll wind up paying.
Avoid the lure of additional credit cards. Some credit card companies like to target college students by setting up shop on campus and offering free incentives to those who apply. Your best bet, however, is to stick to one or two credit cards at the most.
Check your credit score every year as a student to see how you’re doing. There are three major credit bureaus that offer free annual reports: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. While it’s important to review these, know that they won’t contain your actual credit score, which is something you’ll need to see. Keep in mind that while 850 is technically the highest credit score available, most people aren’t able to sustain that number. However, if you manage to keep your score at 720 or above, you’ll be in pretty good shape when applying for a loan. While you may have to pay a small fee to access your credit score, it’s a worthwhile investment, especially if you find that your score isn’t as high as you’d like it to be. The earlier you take steps to remedy the situation, the less of an impact your low score is likely to have.
Remember, once you graduate college and enter the working world, there’s a good chance you’ll need to rent an apartment or secure transportation—prospects that become much easier if you have a good credit score to back yourself up. By being responsible in college, you’ll be setting yourself up for a smoother road to borrowing as an adult.These days, having a good credit score can spell the difference between borrowing with ease and facing major roadblocks every time you apply for a loan. In fact, about 90% of US lenders use FICO, the country’s largest credit score provider, to decide whether you’re a good candidate for a mortgage, apartment lease, or auto loan.

Now it’s one thing for adults who have put in their time in the working world to establish good credit, but for college students, building credit is a whole other challenge. Many college students actually earn negative money during their college years, as the amounts they take home from their part-time (or even full-time) jobs pale in comparison to the bills they rack up on the road to getting their diplomas.

Nevertheless, building credit is important for college students, and there are ways to get there. Here are some steps to take early on:

Open up a credit card and use it regularly. Most credit card companies won’t issue you your own card until you reach the age of 18, but once you’re old enough, get a card in your name and make charges on it every month.
Pay your credit card bills on time every month. Even if you have no choice but to only pay the minimum amount due, it’s imperative that you avoid late payments, as these can wreak havoc on your credit score. That said, it’s also important to keep your month-to-month balance as low as possible. Carrying a high balance looks bad from a credit perspective, but worse yet, the longer you owe money, the more interest you’ll wind up paying.
Avoid the lure of additional credit cards. Some credit card companies like to target college students by setting up shop on campus and offering free incentives to those who apply. Your best bet, however, is to stick to one or two credit cards at the most.
Check your credit score every year as a student to see how you’re doing. There are three major credit bureaus that offer free annual reports: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. While it’s important to review these, know that they won’t contain your actual credit score, which is something you’ll need to see. Keep in mind that while 850 is technically the highest credit score available, most people aren’t able to sustain that number. However, if you manage to keep your score at 720 or above, you’ll be in pretty good shape when applying for a loan. While you may have to pay a small fee to access your credit score, it’s a worthwhile investment, especially if you find that your score isn’t as high as you’d like it to be. The earlier you take steps to remedy the situation, the less of an impact your low score is likely to have.
Remember, once you graduate college and enter the working world, there’s a good chance you’ll need to rent an apartment or secure transportation—prospects that become much easier if you have a good credit score to back yourself up. By being responsible in college, you’ll be setting yourself up for a smoother road to borrowing as an adult.

What are green investments?


Green investments are traditional investment vehicles (such as stocks, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds) in which the underlying business(es) are somehow involved in operations aimed at improving the environment. This can range from companies that are developing alternative energy technology to companies that have the best environmental practices.

For the stock savvy, there are many pure-play, leading edge green companies that are traded on the major stock exchanges. These include startups that are developing new methods for creating biofuels or solar panels, and traditional market cap heavyweights that are expanding their product lines to include environmentally friendly products (such as General Electric's development of wind-powered electric generators). (To learn more, read Go Green With Socially Responsible Investing.)

Green investing can also be achieved through exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which mimic the stock indexes made up of green companies. Mutual funds can be another alternative, in which case a professional portfolio manager makes the green asset allocation decisions based on the fund's prospectus.

Unfortunately, because individual beliefs on what constitutes a "green investment" vary, exactly what qualifies as a green investment is a bit of a gray area. Purchasing stock in a business that is an industry leader in terms of employing environmentally conscious businesses practices in a traditionally "ungreen" industry may be considered a green investment for some, but not for others. For example, consider an oil company that has the best record for environmental practices. While it is environmentally sound that the company is making the best precautions in preventing any direct damage to the environment through its day-to-day operations of drilling for oil, some people may object to purchasing its stock as a green investment, because burning fossil fuels is the leading contributor of global warming.

Therefore, prospective green investors should research their investments (by checking out a green fund's prospectus or a stock's annual filings) to see if an investment includes the types of companies that fit their personal definition of "green".

Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Ugly Market Limits Picks

"Everything in this market has been poisoned by the Federal Reserve," Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Friday.

The only stocks Cramer believes will work in this market are in infrastructure, oil, agriculture, aerospace/defense, health care cost-containment and gold.

"The Cramer rant heard around the world doesn't really sound too crazy anymore, does it?" Cramer explained. "The Fed has become more than a travesty," he said. "They've been so consistently wrong, they should be ashamed of themselves."

These turbulent markets were very easy to foresee, but the Fed didn't move aggressively last year, Cramer said. He said he tries to be bullish, but admitted it's hard in this environment. Out of the 6,000 stocks he follows, Cramer was able to identify only 40 to 70 names that he now finds attractive.

Cramer cited PepsiCo (PEP - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Coca-Cola (KO - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) and Altria (MO - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) as good defensive names, along with Medco Health Solutions (MHS - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating).

Cramer also warned viewers that "we may have lost the tech stocks." He advised sticking only with companies that are able to make their numbers, stocks like Microsoft (MSFT - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating).

Tips From a Mutual Fund Guru

In turbulent markets, one strategy Cramer has found successful is piggybacking off institutional investors with great track records. One such investor is Ken Heebner, manager of the CGM Focus Fund. The fund was ranked No. 3 for the year and posted gains of 79.9% for 2007.

Cramer looked at the fund's recent filings and compared them to less recent filings to see what Heebner had recently bought and sold. He found that Heebner has sold Hansen Natural (HANS - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), MasterCard (MA - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) and Transocean (RIG - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating). Cramer disagreed with the sale of Transocean.

Heebner recently purchased Posco (PKX - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Arcelor (MT - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Vimpel (VIP - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Mobile Telesystems (MBT - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Research In Motion (RIMM - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Canadian Natural Resources ( CNQ - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Suncor ( SU - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Cnooc ( CEO - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr), CVRD ( RIO - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Rio Tinto ( RTP - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr), BHP Billiton ( BHP - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr), Freeport McMoRan ( FCX - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), McDermott ( MDR - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Foster Wheeler ( FWLT - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), and Fluor (FLR - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating).

Cramer said these purchases confirm his bull market theses in mining and minerals, agriculture, oil, and international markets and recommended taking a look into all of these names.

Fooled by the Stock Price

Cramer dispelled two market fallacies with a single stock in his "going-to-the- tape" segment. He examined recent moves in Darden Restaurants (DRI - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), operators of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains, to show investors where they may go wrong in their evaluation of a stock.

The day before releasing its current earnings, Darden closed at $36, he said. The next morning, the company missed earnings estimates by 9 cents a share and lowered guidance, causing the stock to plummet to $28.60. This big move may have led investors to think the stock is too cheap with its 2.7% dividend yield, but that is the wrong conclusion, Cramer said.

"Too cheap means nothing in this market," Cramer explained. He believes Darden has no reason to go higher. The company operates only in the U.S. and has failed to make its new restaurant concepts work, Cramer pointed out. "This is not a stock that's too cheap," he said, noting it is a stock that is making the painful transition from being a growth stock to being a value stock.

Cramer noted that Darden is also a casualty of the ethanol craze. With the company's recent acquisition of Longhorn Steakhouse, it now suffers from the rising raw costs associated with corn-fed beef. "Everything Darden needs requires corn, and corn is getting expensive."
Turning a Profit in a Tough Business

Cramer welcomed Cliff Hudson, chairman and CEO of Sonic (SONC - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), to the show to discuss the company's recent success. He noted that while many restaurants are struggling to make the bottom line, Sonic continues to excel.

Hudson attributed the company's success to innovation and growth, citing its "happy hour," half-priced drink promotion as one way it has sparked growth and increased traffic in a trying time for most restaurant chains. He acknowledged a "challenging environment with commodities and labor getting tougher," but sees price elasticity in many of their markets.

Cramer pointed out that he's been behind Sonic since day one. The company still does not have national exposure but does have an aggressive stock-repurchase program.

In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Halliburton (HAL - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Schlumberger (SLB - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Transocean (RIG - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Oceaneering International (OII - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), FMC Technologies (FTI - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), McDonald's (MCD - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Yamana Gold (AUY - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Barrick Gold (ABX - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), VF Corp. (VFC - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Monsanto (MON - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr), Core Labs (CLB - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating),

Cramer was bearish on Parker Drilling (PKD - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Western Refining (WNR - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), Valero Energy (VLO - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), NetSuite (N - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr) and Dendreon (DNDN - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating)

Want more Cramer? Check out Jim's rules and commandments for investing by clicking here.

For more of Cramer's insights during the Lightning Round, click here.

US coins minted

U.S. minted coins you wanted we have it. We even silver dollars that are sold at a valuable price. Our selection is big but limited to quan...