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As a local bank, we understand the importance of supporting the communities in which we serve. Through monetary contributions and the volunteer efforts of our employees, I am very proud of our record of community service. 

You can imagine how pleased I was to learn that Voyager Bank was recently named Community Banking Champion by the Minnesota Bankers Association.

Some of our community activities that helped us earn the Community Banking Champion award for 2013: 
> 63 of our 68 employees volunteered at Feed My Starving Children
    producing 21,384 meals--enough to feed 59 children for one
> 17 used flat screen computer monitors were donated to The
    Whole Learning School.
> We donated $2,000 to Chaska High School to create emergency  
    classroom buckets.

This year we hope to accomplish even more because our goal is to continue to make a positive impact in each of the communities we serve.


Scott Weaver 



Target Breach Update 
U.S. banks have spent more than $153 million replacing debit and credit cards.

The Consumer Bankers Association announced the numbers Tuesday, saying that as more retailers announce breaches, the price tag for banks could grow to "hundreds of millions of dollars, and possibly billions." 
> more details

Cybercrooks used stolen vendor ID to hack into system

Target said that the huge data breach it suffered late last year happened after an intruder stole a vendor's credentials and used them to gain access to the company's computer system. 
> more details

Government is committed to tracking down the thieves

In an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the government will hunt down any people and groups that exploit the stolen data through credit card fraud.
> more details 



Economic Outlook for 2014
Slightly more Federal Reserve officials see the central bank waiting longer to start raising short-term rates. The latest projections highlight the central bank's plans to keep interest rates low long after it starts winding down its bond-buying program.

The Fed has held short-term rates near zero since December 2008 to help the U.S. economy recover from a severe recession. The projections call for the rates to rise only modestly when they do increase. 

The unemployment rate fell steadily in 2013, falling to 7.0% from 7.9% in January. The decline represents steady hiring by businesses and a decline in the number of workers in the labor force. 

Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in December, compared with November when spending had increased an even stronger 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The Fed expects the economy to grow moderately in the Ninth District. Faster growth in North Dakota, where a boom continues in oil, gas drilling and production with the strongest gains expected in natural resources and mining (21 percent). Other areas of growth should be in construction (3.8 percent), leisure, hospitality (3.5 percent) and professional business services (2.5 percent). 

Residential real estate markets continue to recover with increases in home sales, prices and construction. In Minnesota, the number of home sales increased 5 percent through November compared with a year earlier. 

Rental housing has driven the construction recovery, and January was no exception. According to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, there was a 15 percent increase in permits, a 51 percent increase in new units, and the best January since the housing bust.

Construction of single-family houses also was up, with a 15 percent increase over last year. Most of those permits were issued in Lakeville, Prior Lake and Woodbury, where more than 100 new houses were planned. 

Wall Street Journal  12/18/13 
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Fed Gazette  1/16/14 
Minneapolis Star Tribune  1/31/14

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