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How to Improve Your Credit Score

Yes, life happens! If your credit score has seen better days, it can hurt you when borrowing money. Maybe you get turned down or must pay high-interest rates.

How credit reporting bureaus calculate credit score is a little complex. In this short video, we share some things you should know if you are trying to improve your score.

  1. It’s not good to have no credit cards or cancel all of your cards.
  2. Conversely, don’t open credit accounts you don’t need.
  3. If you have credit cards, keep the balance at less than 50% of the available balance (30% is even better).
  4. Closing an account doesn’t make it go away, as it can still appear on your credit report.
  5. If you’re behind on any accounts, get current, and pay on time as long as it is possible.
  6. If you have an account that goes to collections, that will stay with you. In ...


David Boulware, Mortgage Loan Officer at First Reliance Ban
David Boulware, Mortgage Loan Officer at First Reliance Ban

David Boulware, Mortgage Loan Officer at First Reliance Bank, has been named the “Best of the Pee Dee’s 2022 Best Mortgage Lender" Winner.  

Boulware began his finance career in 1998 before moving into mortgage-related finance in 2000. He operated his own brokerage and was a mortgage lender with two of the nation's largest commercial banking institutions before beginning his career with First Reliance Bank in 2014.  

“David is an experienced lender focused on new construction, government lending, and purchase loan transactions,” shared Chuck Stuart, President of First Reliance Mortgage. “David provides exceptional customer service, and his knowledge of the Pee Dee and Carolina markets is invaluable to our clients. He’s one of the best.” 

“David Boulware excels in leading our mortgage lending efforts as a top producer in the Greater Florence area,” said Rick Saunders, Founder/CEO of First Reliance Bank. “He rightfully earned the recognition of “Best of ...


South Carolina Bankers School students from First Reliance Bank (left to right ) Thomas Floyd, David Mullins and Weston Peters, and graduate Nathan Ruth with Robert Dozier, First Reliance Bank Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
South Carolina Bankers School students from First Reliance Bank (left to right ) Thomas Floyd, David Mullins and Weston Peters, and graduate Nathan Ruth with Robert Dozier, First Reliance Bank Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Four associates from First Reliance Bank recently completed courses at the South Carolina Bankers School on the campus of Lander University in Greenwood, SC. Nathan Ruth, Sunset Branch Manager, West Columbia, SC, completed the progressive three-year BankExec program and was awarded his diploma during graduation exercises.

The South Carolina Banking Association (SCBA) annually sponsors the South Carolina Bankers School. The SCBA is a professional trade association organized to effectively represent the common interest and welfare of the banking industry in South Carolina and to promote the professional development of its members and their employees.

Talking With Kids About Money

Do your kids talk about how they can get money? Whether from you or from others, helping kids handle their money better is never dull. First Reliance Bank may not have all the answers to helping kids earn or save money, but we do have a few suggestions. Before they ask again, consider sitting down in advance of their want and share these tips.

It is possible kids will learn how their parents or family members may be more likely to give them money if they first learn how to be responsible with it. Letting kids know that going to the toy or game store with every dollar may not be the smartest thing to do; however, giving them a plan may guide their current spending as well as develop good habits for the future.
 

Charity, Savings, and Spending

Give your kids three envelopes and have them mark one ...


William Jack McElveen, Jr.
William Jack McElveen, Jr.

William Jack McElveen, Jr. has been named to the First Reliance Bank Board of Directors. Before his retirement, McElveen served as the bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer. He was responsible for overseeing all credit administration functions, and providing direct supervision and accountability, for Credit Administration and overall asset quality. 

McElveen replaces former board member Dale Porter, who was instrumental in helping launch First Reliance Bank in 1999. Porter retired earlier this month. 

“Dale Porter was instrumental in helping us start the bank. He was a trusted and reliable leader who served in many facets of our financial institution. We will miss Dale and wish him well in his retirement”, shared Rick Saunders, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Reliance Bank. 

McElveen has over 38 years of experience in credit administration in the banking industry. He began his career in the financial services industry with Bankers Trust ...


Rick Saunders and Edwin Lesley
Rick Saunders and Edwin Lesley

Edwin Lesley, Chairman of the Business Development Corporation of South Carolina, recognized First Reliance Bank’s excellent performance during their Annual Meeting on May 5, 2022. Rick Saunders, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of First Reliance Bank, accepted the Participating Partner Award for 2021 for the Greatest Number of Loans Approved in 2021 on behalf of the bank.

Saunders said of the award, “I was surprised to receive the award, one that recognizes everyone’s instrumental role in helping our business customers with their PPP loans last year. I have been proud of how our team accepted the challenge and showed tremendous courage to dig in and help the businesses in our communities. I’m proud to serve on the South Carolina Business Development Corporation board that helps businesses across South Carolina succeed, and I am most proud of the team that I represent behind this achievement!”

Michael Edens and Brent Mackie present The Golden Nail Awards
Michael Edens and Brent Mackie present The Golden Nail Awards

First Reliance Bank is pleased to sponsor the Golden Nail category for this year’s Columbia Chamber of Commerce Impact Awards. The Golden Nail Award strives to spotlight the dedication of outstanding organizations and individuals that make the Columbia region a vibrant place to visit, live and do business. First Reliance Bank recognizes the business or property owners who have made exemplary contributions to the physical characteristics of the greater Midlands region through cosmetic or commercial means during the previous calendar year. This year’s Golden Nail awardees are Smoked Restaurant, Hood Construction, Lucas Group, and Midas.

Ways to Save on Groceries

No matter how you approach grocery shopping, one loves it while another dislikes it! One thing is constant – it is easy to spend hard-earned money. Have you ever considered how much money is wasted at the grocery store every year because of impulse buying? You know, picking out weird things you think you MUST have. Here are some ways to fight the impulse and save cash.

 

  1. Shop only once a week. Fewer trips may mean less temptation.
  2. Shop alone. Research shows that you wind up buying 8% more unneeded items when you take someone with you.
  3. Shop with a list and stick with it. Only walk down the aisles stocked with the items on your list. Studies show that wandering up and down unnecessary aisles can increase your spending by 18%.
  4. Consider purchasing fruits and vegetables at a farmer’s market where prices are usually lower than at a ...


Are You Dreaming of a Vacation?

With the Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, who isn’t ready for a vacation? If you are itching to travel or enjoy a long weekend break, Memorial Day officially kicks off a time of spending time away to explore, refresh, and renew.

If you are planning a trip, here are five ways to save money. Some you may not have thought of, but they really work!

1. Join a local travel social media group
It may be a great way to crowdsource your travel savings. Local members will alert the group when an airline offers a sweet deal from nearby airports, for example.

2. Ask for cash and travel-related gift cards for birthdays and holidays
People may be giving you gifts, so why not make it something towards decreasing the cost of your next vacation? This could be a win-win for you and the gift-giver!

3. Establish a travel ...


Martha Cooper, Vice President Residential Lending Specialist
Martha Cooper, Vice President Residential Lending Specialist

Martha Cooper has joined First Reliance Bank as Vice President Residential Lending Specialist. She will be based in Winston-Salem and will help customers with their mortgage financing needs and identify the bank products that can best meet those needs.

“We are thrilled to welcome Martha to our mortgage team,” said Rick Saunders, Founder/CEO of First Reliance Bank. “She is an excellent mortgage lender, and her knowledge of the Piedmont Triad market will be invaluable to our clients.”

Chuck Stuart, President, of First Reliance Bank Mortgage Division, said, “Martha is well known and has an impressive resume of experience in the Piedmont and Triad market. Her passion for mortgage banking will complement FRB’s dedication to delivering highly personalized service. We look forward to the contributions she will make to the growth and success of our business clients and the bank.”

Martha brings more than 15 years of mortgage and residential lending ...


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