Financial Blog

Financial Blog

Market Viewpoints – Summer 2021

Keith Bonjour, Portfolio Manager
Keith Bonjour, CFP® Vice President, Portfolio Manager

U.S. stocks continued to show strong gains this year with the S&P touching new highs at the end of June on strong company earnings and increased consumer spending. Bond yields have also come down in the second quarter after the large increase to start the year. This helped bonds reduce the losses they suffered during the first quarter on rising yields and inflation fears. Inflation fears have been dominating headlines and worrying investors due to the large increases in demand in multiple parts of the economy leading to higher than expected inflation readings. Supply issues have continued to constrain companies from getting back to full capacity due to a lack of workers, supply chain issues, and pricing pressures. The economic recovery remains intact with GDP continuing to show a very robust rebound from the COVID induced shutdown last year. The U.S. is on track to post the strongest GDP figures in decades this year as long as the recovery continues as expected in the second half of the year. COVID-19 infections have come down meaningfully in the U.S.; however, the new Delta variant is of particular concern for its highly infectious characteristics especially for the pockets of the U.S. with the lowest vaccinations rates. This will be something important to track as the year progresses.

Consumer demand has been robust this year after last year’s lockdown measures with many consumers eager to resume spending on dining out, travel, home and auto purchases, and many other retail sectors as the economy reopens. This put a lot of pressure on companies to increase capacity quickly, but many were caught flat-footed and were unable to ramp-up production, obtain the supplies they needed, or hire back enough workers to meet the robust demand. These constraints have caused spikes in inflation along with surging prices in many different areas of the economy. However, there are signs that supply can catch-up with demand eventually noting that the prices of lumber came down over 40% in June as production increased after an extraordinary run-up in lumber prices over the last year. The Fed still views inflation as transitory expecting that the recent sharp increases should eventually subside and average inflation coming back down to more acceptable levels into 2022. We will monitor this area closely in the months ahead as new inflation indicators become available.

Congress is continuing discussion on trying to get a new infrastructure package approved. The Biden administration along with a bipartisan group of senators agreed to a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, made up of almost $600 billion of new spending and the rest from dollars earmarked for previous unused coronavirus relief funds. The package proposal aims to spend the funds on infrastructure projects over a period of eight years; however, it faces a tough path forward to win approval from Congress. The proposal includes billions of additional spending to improve our nation’s infrastructure with a focus on traditional infrastructure projects benefitting roads, bridges and rail, water systems, and broadband internet access.

We maintain our view to be mindful of risks facing the market in 2021 as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, and stocks and bonds still trade expensive compared to their historical averages. However, central banks and governments continue to provide massive amounts of stimulus that are driving up asset prices. We continue to recommend staying the course with your investment objective and to rebalance your portfolio by selling strengths and buying into weaknesses to adjust to movements in the market over time. We also recommend determining any short-term cash needs that you may need over the next six months. Creating this cash can help protect against an increase in volatility and short-term moves in the market. We recommend maintaining a more long-term focus on investment goals and objectives, and not reacting to short term up or down movements in the market.

In the Community – Summer 2021

Our Non-Profit Community Spotlight

The Putnam Museum World Culture Gallery

By Rachael Mullens, President/CEO

The Putnam MuseumThe Putnam Museum and Science Center recently unveiled its new World Culture Gallery showcasing cultures from around the world as reflected in the museum’s historic collection. As a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate, the Putnam houses a collection entrusted to the museum by seven generations of Quad Citians, including objects from the world travels of some of the museum’s founders including the Putnam, Palmer, and Figge families.

The World Culture Gallery’s inaugural exhibit, The Colors of Culture, explores the meaning of color to people of different cultures, including the symbolism of color in adornment, home, and celebration. Raising awareness of the rich cultural diversity found right here in our own community, the exhibit is a partnership with World Relief Quad Cities and includes artifacts loaned by families from the organization’s refugee resettlement program.

The World Culture Gallery is the first of its scale since the opening of the Science Center in 2014 and was made possible by support from Bechtel Trusts, Scott County Regional Authority, the Putnam Museum Guild and numerous private donors and Trustees. Longstanding and generous support of community partners including Northwest Bank & Trust Company are how the Putnam has been able to serve the community for over 150 years.

A museum of history, culture, and science, the Putnam has served the Quad Cities region since 1867 and is the Quad Cities’ only Smithsonian Affiliate. The Putnam brings to life a sense of place, time and purpose to ignite human potential and inspire our diverse community to learn about and care for our world and all its people.

Visit and click “Join and Support” to learn about ways you can get involved.

Upcoming Events from our Nonprofit Partners

the catalyst awards

The Catalyst Awards & Auction | July 30, 2021 | Schweibert Park, Rock Island, IL
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area
Join the Arc of the QCA in celebration of the people and organizations who have been a light in the lives of people with disabilities and ignited a passion for inclusion at The Arc’s Catalyst Awards. Visit for bidding and tickets.

Grant Opportunity | LOIs for Nonprofit Capacity Building Grants | Due September 1, 2021
Quad Cities Community Foundation
Nonprofit Capacity Building Grants strengthen nonprofits by increasing their core systems and operations. By improving infrastructure at the organizational level, these time-limited projects help nonprofits more effectively carry out their missions. For more information on how to apply, contact Lisa Stachula at (563) 326-2840 or visit

HANDS Auxiliary Auction | October 2, 2021 | Modern Woodmen Park
Handicapped Development Center
Join HDC for an evening of entertainment, heavy hor’d’oeuvres, beverages, live and silent auctions, a TV raffle, and more. For tickets, contact Mary Egger at or call (563) 391-4834.

BASH 2021 | October 5, 8, and 12, 2021 | Scott Community College Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Center
Scott Community College Foundation
Scott Community College will be hosting three small events on their brand new outdoor kitchen at the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Center. Attendees will enjoy food prepared and served with the help of the college’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management students. A virtual silent auction and an exciting raffle will be held. For more details, visit

Social Security Benefits Payee Representative

Marie Rolling-Tarbox
Marie R. Tarbox, JD Vice President & Trust Officer

As you may recall, with a power of attorney for finances, you name who you want to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so. Interestingly, the social security administration (“SSA”) does not accept powers of attorney. It has its own process for identifying who will receive and manage the social security benefits of the legally incompetent.

The SSA refers to someone who receives payments as a beneficiary. If a beneficiary is under the age of 18, is legally incompetent, or if the SSA determines a beneficiary is incapable of managing or directing the management of their benefits, it requires the beneficiary to have a Payee Representative (PR). The PR is then the person who receives the beneficiary’s payments, and who must file an annual report with the SSA about how the benefits were used. 

Historically, a PR was a person, agency, organization or institution selected by the SSA to manage the beneficiary’s benefits. The SSA vetted an individual who was came forward as a relative, friend or other interested party to serve as the PR. This was sometimes frustrating to an attorney-in-fact or agent properly acting under a beneficiary’s general durable power of attorney, especially when the named agent was not selected as the PR. 

In 2018 Congress passed a law which made changes to the Social Security Act, which included assessments to improve and strengthen the PR program. As the result of that law, and following the required assessments, the SSA now permits a beneficiary to designate who they want as their PR, if one becomes necessary. The designation process is referred to by the SSA as an Advanced Designation. You can even designate alternate PRs, just as you can name an alternate agent under your power of attorney. 

You may want to consider naming as your PR the same person you’ve named as your agent under your power of attorney, with your preferred alternates. If circumstances change, you may change your designated PR. You can complete your Advanced Designation online through your ‘my Social Security account’ (, by telephone (1-800-772-1213), by going to the local SSA office (appointments necessary) or via mail using Form SSA-4547. Your agent acting under your power of attorney cannot complete an Advanced Designation on your behalf. The right to designate a PR is personal to you, and must be done by you. 

If and when the time comes for a PR, the SSA will still vet your designated PR. However, being able to designate your preferred PR to manage your social security benefits is far more similar to naming an agent under your power of attorney than the prior process, when the SSA selected your PR without input from you as a beneficiary. Using an Advanced Designation to designate your PR is another implement in your estate planning toolkit.

Contact Marie: 563.388.2631

Customer Satisfaction Survey

Cody Allen, Investment Management Group
Cody Allen, Senior Vice President

Thank you to all of you that completed our recent survey. We had a wonderful response and we appreciate the time you took to give us feedback. Here are some highlights of what we learned.

You told us how much you appreciate how easy it is to reach us when you need us, and that you appreciate our knowledgeable, friendly approach. You gave us high marks across the board, rating us as Excellent in every category. 

We know that a few of you are struggling with our online platform or statements. We are working on some informational videos that we hope will be helpful. We’ll let you know as soon as they are available. Of course, you are always welcome to reach out if there are specific questions we can answer.

We were able calculate a Net Promotor Score (NPS) from this survey. Net Promoter Score measures not just customer satisfaction, but customer loyalty. Currently, the average Net Promoter Score for brokerages and investment firms is 45, which ranks it among the highest of all types of companies. You gave us a 73! We work every day to provide an outstanding experience to every client and are very proud of this score. Thank you for the trust you have placed in us!

Brian Duffy Joins Northwest Bank Board

Brian DuffyJoe Slavens, president & CEO, Northwest Bank & Trust Company announced that Brian Duffy was recently elected to the bank’s board of directors. Duffy is the president and CEO of Per Mar Security Services.

“I’m very happy to have Brian join our board,” stated Slavens.  “He leads a third-generation family business that, like us, delivers services through relationship driven experts.  We share the same values and look forward to leveraging his insights for the benefit of both our customers and team members.”

When asked about joining the board, Duffy responded, “I have always had a lot of respect for Northwest Bank and the Slavens family, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the board of an essential organization in our community.”

Brian Duffy is an active member of numerous security associations locally and nationally. He serves on the board for NetOne and Junior Achievement of the Heartland. In addition, he is active in the Notre Dame Club of the Quad Cities. A native of Davenport, Iowa, Brian Duffy graduated from University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

About Northwest Bank & Trust Company

Northwest Bank & Trust Company is a family and employee owned community bank that has been part of the Quad Cities for over 75 years. The bank offers a full line of banking products and services for both individuals and businesses. We believe in a synergistic approach to meeting the needs of our customers, so in addition, we have an Investment Management Group that has been assisting clients with trust, investment, and estate planning for over 50 years and currently has over $375 million in assets under management. In 2019, Northwest Bank acquired our first accounting firm. Since that time, we have merged more firms to create Centennial Tax & Accounting, which resides on the 5th floor of the Northwest Bank NorthPark Tower. We also have a software company that develops, markets, and services financial operation software to banks and credit unions across the country.

Market Viewpoints – Spring 2021

By Keith Bonjour, Vice President, Portfolio Manager

Keith Bonjour, Portfolio ManagerBoth the stock and bond markets have traded in a more volatile and choppy fashion in the 1st quarter of 2021, with longer term bonds pulling back more than short term bonds on renewed worries over inflation after the additional stimulus measure enacted by Congress. The recent stimulus package, called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, provides an additional $1.9 trillion of stimulus via stimulus checks, extending unemployment benefits, expanding tax credits, along with aid to state and municipalities as well as other payments. The additional stimulus package on top of the large stimulus provided in 2020, along with the global economy gaining momentum on reopening hopes, has created worries in the market about rising inflation and weighed heavy on bond prices in the first quarter of 2021. The Federal Reserve is continuing their accommodative stance and have indicated they are not concerned about increasing inflation expectations. The Fed has stated they feel the increase in inflation will not last with inflation coming back in line with the Fed’s 2.0% mandate in 2022 and that they still do not foresee any increases in the Fed funds rate until at least 2023.

With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, expectations have increased for GDP growth in the United States this year. The market is pricing in a strong recovery in the second half of 2021 as more Americans become fully vaccinated and both businesses and consumers begin to open their wallets due to pent up demand. Consumers are expected to increase their spending on travel and entertainment which has helped drive a shift out of some of the best performing sectors (IE: Technology) in 2020 to the worst performing sectors (IE: Energy and Travel/Leisure). The increase in inflation expectations along with government inquiries into big technology companies have also been weighing on technology stock returns this year. We continue to recommend maintaining a well-diversified portfolio to weather the volatility.

COVID-19 infections rates have come down in the U.S. and vaccinations have ramped up in a meaningful way. However, the increased travel this spring and states beginning to re-open and lift restrictions has caused a recent uptick in infection rates. We are also seeing a more meaningful uptick in Europe and Latin America so even with the increase in available vaccines, the various strains of the virus still pose a risk to growth assumptions this year. It will be important for the market to continue to show signs of positive earnings growth and for the economy to continue its expected strong recovery without any new lockdown measures imposed in the second half of the year. President Biden is also proposing a new infrastructure package in a two-part proposal, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, which could aid GDP growth if enacted this year. However, it will be important to see what tax hikes are in the proposal to fund the infrastructure package and what effects those tax increases may have on corporate earnings.

We continue to be mindful of risks facing the market in 2021 as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, and stocks and bonds still trade expensive compared to their historical averages. However, central banks and governments continue to provide massive amounts of stimulus that are driving up asset prices. We continue to recommend staying the course with your investment objective and to continue to rebalance your portfolio by selling strengths and buying into weaknesses to adjust to movements in the market over time. We also recommend determining any short-term cash needs that you may be need over the next six months. Creating this cash can help protect against an increase in volatility and short-term moves in the market. We recommend maintaining a more long-term focus on investment goals and objectives, and not reacting to short term up or down movements in the market.

Welcoming Marie R. Tarbox

Marie R. Tarbox joins the IMG Team as Vice President & Trust Officer

Marie Rolling-TarboxMarie joins Northwest Bank as Vice President & Trust Officer after having spent the majority of her legal career in private practice, with the past several decades focused on estate planning. She obtained both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Iowa.

Marie and her husband have two children and two grandchildren. They enjoy spending time with their extended families, gardening, and, in a good year, the opportunity to attend a portion of the NCAA basketball tournaments.

We are excited for the valuable experience Marie will bring to the team and are confident she will continue to provide our clients excellent service.

Contact Marie: 563.388.2631

In the Community – Spring 2021

Our Non-Profit Community Spotlight

The Family Museum Lights a Creative Spark for Lifelong Learning

Family Museum Bettendorf

The Family Museum offers interactive and educational experiences for young children in the areas of art, science, movement, and play. With 44,000 square feet of programming space, the Museum provides hands-on exhibits, drop-in classes, preschool classes, school and community outreach, dance classes, and a variety of programs geared towards children eight and under.

Visitors to the Family Museum’s interactive exhibit gallery discover how food moves from the modern farm to the local store by caring for animals, driving a combine, and moving grain in the Farm exhibit. Guests explore the Mississippi River by adding obstacles and raising or lowering water levels as they watch their boat make its journey down a 28-foot indoor waterplay table resembling an actual stretch of the Mississippi River. Visitors chat with neighbors or wave to the mail carrier in the Town Square exhibit which includes features of everyday life. And our youngest guests make alphabet soup, wash the laundry, and splash around in the virtual pond (without getting wet!) in PlayHouse.

New for 2020 is the two-story Luckey Climber! This artistically stunning structure allows Family Museum guests to climb from the first floor to the second floor while observing photographs of clouds on the platforms on the climb up and aerial photographs on the way down. While intended for young children, all ages are welcome to climb!

The Family Museum and its non-profit foundation depend on community support to serve the children and families in our community. Northwest Bank’s Investment Management Group have provided the Family Museum Foundation with expert advice and endowment support that is both efficient and lucrative. Their advisors and investment options are always supportive and best established to support the Family Museum needs.

To learn more visit

Upcoming Events from our Nonprofit Partners

Annual HANDS Auxiliary Golf Outing | June 7, 2021 | Crow Valley Golf Club, Davenport, IA
Handicapped Development Center
Save the date for the annual HANDS Auxiliary Golf Outing. This years’ event will take place but will be slightly different to provide a safe environment for all participants. Contact Mary Egger at 563-391-4834 or for more information.

The Arc Charity Golf Outing | June 18, 2021 | Highland Springs Golf Course, Rock Island, IL
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area
Register online at

The Catalyst Awards & Auction | July 30, 2021 | Schweibert Park, Rock Island, IL
The Arc of the Quad Cities Area
Join the Arc of the QCA in celebration of the people and organizations who have been a light in the lives of people with disabilities and ignited a passion for inclusion at The Arc’s Catalyst Awards. Visit for bidding and tickets.

Birds and You | A Putnam Museum Exhibit | Open Now!
Birds and You examines the role we all can play in protecting and preserving the birds we see every day in our backyards and fields. Visitors can expect to see a variety of taxidermy mounts, eggs, and nests while learning about the issues facing birds today. Visit

Powers of Attorney

By Marie R. Tarbox, JD, Vice President & Trust Officer

Marie Rolling-TarboxWhen people think about estate planning, they often think of it in terms of having a Will or a Trust, directing disposition of property on their death. There are, however, important estate planning tools that are critical during your lifetime. These tools are powers of attorney. There are generally two types of powers of attorney – the power of attorney for finances and the power of attorney for health care decisions. Today we focus on the power of attorney for finances.

With a power of attorney, you (the principal) name who you want to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so. The person you name is known as your agent or your attorney-in-fact. The power of attorney may be limited in nature, perhaps to handle a specific matter, such as a real estate closing, or it may be general, to manage all of your financial affairs. Powers of attorney may become effective on a specified future event, such as incapacity, or they may be effective from the moment of signing, and continue regardless of subsequent incapacity or disability. Powers that continue in effect after incapacity or disability known as durable powers of attorney.

Why is a power of attorney a good idea? Sometimes it is simply the convenience of having someone else act on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself. More importantly, though, a power of attorney is the document that ensures that you are the person who determines who will act on your behalf if you are incapacitated or disabled, whether temporarily or permanently. If you become incapacitated or disabled and do not have a power of attorney in place, court proceedings will be required before someone can act on your behalf. The person who is appointed to act for you by the court may not be the person you would select, and the powers granted may not be the same as you would grant.

A power of attorney is recommended for anyone who is of legal age. Even if your accumulated assets are smaller, having a power of attorney means that your chosen person will be the person who takes care of your financial matters for you. It also means that things will be managed in a more efficient manner than through a court proceedings.

The need for a power of attorney may only be an accident or an illness away. Accidents and illnesses can happen to anyone regardless of health or wealth. Again, your power of attorney is a critical estate planning tool that affect use of your finances during your lifetime.

Contact Marie: 563.388.2631

Celebrating Community Banking Month

What makes community banking special? 

community banking monthIf the first word that comes to your mind when you think of community banking is “relationships,” you’ve identified the quintessential ingredient that Northwest Bank & Trust Company and community banks across the country take pride in. That ingredient has never been more apparent than over the past year. During the coronavirus pandemic, banks everywhere have reached out to their communities to communicate that they are open for business and ready to serve in a time of need. 

It is what we have always done at Northwest Bank & Trust Company, where our focuses exclusively remain on delivering the products and services our customers want, while our local roots and accountability ensure our interests remain tied to our Quad Cities neighbors.

At Northwest Bank, we work with our customers to help them realize their financial dreams, whether opening a business, purchasing a home, or planning for retirement. And we nurture our community by donating time and money to important causes and contributing tax dollars that help maintain local municipalities—all of which helps keep local neighborhoods viable and vibrant.

We work hard to stay attuned to the needs of this community and relevant to our customers by remaining on their corner and in their corner. This dedication to creating healthy, strong communities has helped the community banking industry flourish and maintained our well-earned reputation as true relationship lenders. 

Here are the facts:

  • Community banks are economic first responders, processing more than 57 percent or 2.8 million loans as part of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, saving an estimated 33.7 million jobs.
  • Community banks outpace large banks in their average number of banks operating in both rural and urban markets by a 3:1 ratio.
  • Community banks are preferred small business lenders, with a 73 percent net satisfaction score, compared with 58 percent for large banks and 37 percent for online lenders.
  • Community banks have consistently demonstrated their safety and soundness with higher capital ratios and better loan quality than the largest financial institutions.
  • Community banks operate in areas abandoned by others—serving as the only physical banking presence in nearly one in three counties.
  • Community banks focus a relatively large share of their resources on low- and moderate-income tracts.

But it is not just about stats. When customers contact Northwest Bank, they are greeted by a talented team member who is attuned to their needs and empowered to act on their behalf.

And when our employees participate in annual donation drives for United Way or when Northwest Bank contributed over $80,000 in the past year to local organizations, we are working toward our goal to ensure economic prosperity for the community we call home. In the Paycheck Protection Program round one, we were the leading loan contributor in the QCA for our size, providing 6.7 times more loans to local businesses than any other bank or credit union in the area. That’s 6.7 more jobs protected, just another advantage of a community bank partner.

In an era where bigger is not always better, high-tech does not necessarily equate to high touch, and what we think of as “normal” is in flux, we at Northwest Bank & Trust Company pledge to never lose sight of the all-important “relationship” and the personalized service our customers expect. It has been integral to our success for almost 80 years and is how we will continue to build a legacy that endures.