J. M. Pressley
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General Board Puts the "Extra" in Internet

Coming soon—the General Board will be expanding its information services for CBOs, plan sponsors and other business partners with an extranet. This login-protected site will be part of our main website and accessible from any computer attached to the Internet.

The extranet will serve as a conduit from the General Board directly to conferences and plan sponsor organizations for news, documents, online manuals and other relevant content. Making these materials available online will enable us to keep our partners better informed about General Board pension plans and their administration. In addition, moving key literature online means more efficient updates with less cost and greater distribution.

The extranet initiative is in direct response to our communication surveys. We asked plan sponsors what they wanted, and one of the most consistent responses was "more electronic communications." We are addressing some of this demand with new e-bulletins like On Board Express and For Your Benefit Express (available in January). The extranet will further extend our capabilities by providing administrators with the information necessary to excel at their jobs.

We will be adding content and functionality as time goes on. Look for periodic updates on progress in future editions of On Board Express.

General Board to Move in 2007

Since the General Council on Finance and Administration's (GCFA) announcement that it will move its operations to Nashville, TN, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (General Board) has undertaken extensive studies regarding the facilities it has shared with GCFA and other Methodist agencies since the 1960s. The April meeting of the board of directors has resolved that the current location in Evanston will no longer meet the stewardship requirements or organizational needs of the General Board and that the agency will seek another facility in the Chicago area for occupancy by fall of 2007.

The move will mark the end of more than 40 years of occupancy on Davis Street in Evanston. The original Methodist Building at 1200 Davis was built in 1961 and dedicated in April of 1962. In 1988, the General Board purchased and renovated the Rotary International Building across the street. It became the agency headquarters and was dedicated in August of 1992. Cost factors, however, have dictated that the General Board cannot redevelop on either of the Davis Street properties.

The General Board facilities task force will continue its mission of identifying potential sites, researching both existing facilities and available land for construction.

A New IVR Telephone Number

The Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) has a new number, but one that's already familiar to you. You now may access IVR functions through the General Board's toll-free Participant Response Center number, 1-800-851-2201. When you dial the Participant Response Center number, you will hear a number of options, including how to access current information on all your General Board-administered accounts and how to perform Personal Investment Plan (PIP) and Horizon 401(k) Plan (HRZ) account transactions via your telephone.

Using one number for all participant needs significantly improves customer service and keeps the General Board aligned with industry standards.

Why Wait?

Statements are sent quarterly to our participants to let them know how their retirement accounts are performing. But did you know that you can get information about account and fund performance at any time on the Internet? The General Board provides daily fund updates in the Investments section of our Web site (http://www.gbophb.org), and participants can access their accounts using our Online Account Services Information System (OASIS) at https://oasis.gbophb.org. Through our Web services, you can stay informed around the clock.

New Participant Resources Directory on the Web

On November 1, 2004, the General Board replaced the Online Services and Resources directories on its Web site with a new directory titled Participant Resources. This new directory will make it easier for participants to locate our brochures, videos and newsletters. In the future, Participant Resources also will contain participant help documentation, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), checklists and other materials designed to aid participants in understanding their General Board-administered benefits.

Pension Projections via OASIS

It's easy to generate a personalized pension projection online using OASIS (Online Account Services Information System). Just log into OASIS using your Personal Identification Number (PIN), click the “Pension Projections” button on the Account at a Glance screen, and let OASIS fill in your most recent account balances and personal information for you. You can visit OASIS at http://oasis.gbophb.org.

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