Find Us Out and About This Weekend!

One of the things we enjoy best about this time of year is having opportunity to see a lot of people outside of the office. It’s always great seeing our customers out and about and we think meeting new people is a lot of fun too.

This weekend is a big one for us as our Ross County Banking Center will be at the Southern Ohio Home and Garden Show and the Vinton County National Bank will be at the Jackson County Business Spring Showcase.

The Southern Ohio Home and Garden Show is celebrating eighteen years and will feature demonstrations, giveaways and more than one hundred indoor and outdoor exhibits. The event will feature a fish fry, live music, a Columbus Zoo show, an American Red Cross Blood Drive and presentations on gardening tips and on beekeeping.

In addition to exhibiting, we are proud to sponsor the Hospitality Suite for vendors again this year.

This event will be held on the Ross County Fairgrounds this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the show is free with a $3 parking fee that benefits Habitat for Humanity & Building Industry of South Central Ohio. Visit their website to view a complete schedule and list of vendors.

The Jackson County Business Spring Showcase is a nineteen year tradition that will feature over sixty vendors and a Taste of Jackson Food Court. There will also be numerous prizes given away in their grand prize drawing.

We are extremely excited to participate in this event for the first time this year!

The Jackson County Business Spring Showcase will be held at the Jackson High School Field House beginning Friday with a Business After Hours for invited Chamber members from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This will be followed by a public preview from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is just $3 but $1 off coupons are available at Wal-Mart, Kroger and other participating Chamber members, including VCNB.

Plan to come see us at one of these shows this weekend!

Good Credit, Better Choices

March is National Credit Awareness Month. Do you know your credit score or how it impacts your financial future? Do you know that your credit score can affect your ability to get a job, how much interest you pay on a loan and even whether you can get a cell phone?

Your Credit Report and Credit Score                 
A credit report is a compilation of everything you are doing with your credit today and what you have done with it in the past. A credit score is a mathematical representation of the information in your credit report. It can tell a creditor, potential employer or even a landlord, at a glance, whether you are a good risk.

What Is Considered On A Credit Report?
Credit reports include data such as payment history and debt to available credit ratio on a lot of things. Included on that list are mortgages, home equity loans, car loans, student loans, credit cards and personal loans. Credit inquiries, employment history, collection accounts and account summaries are also included on your credit report.

What Isn’t Considered On A Credit Report?
Credit reports do not consider on-time utility and phone bills, checks that you have written or cashed, debit cards or daily expenses you pay with cash.

Why Establish Good Credit?
There are countless routine and often life changing activities that are easier and less costly with established good credit. This especially applies to large purchases. When you are borrowing money for a home or car, the terms and rates offered to you will typically coincide with the quality of your credit score and credit history. If you need a cell phone, a small personal loan, insurance or even an apartment, your credit may be considered. Many landlords use credit as a way to identify potential good tenants. Even your career may depend on your credit score. Before an employer hires you they make check your credit rating. That means poor financial decisions can ruin your ability to get a better job.

Keeping It Clean (Or Making It Better)
Talking credit does not have to be a source of anxiety. Improving your credit score or keeping your credit report clean isn’t that difficult with a little effort and common sense.

  • Pay your bills on time- If a bill is paid late it can show up on your credit report for up to seven years
  • Know your limit and never max out your cards – Need we say more?
  • Use your cards wisely – Keep balances low and pay them off every month. It is never a good idea to maintain a big balance on a credit card, even if you plan to pay it off soon.
  • Remember to use your credit – One way to improve a credit score is to use credit wisely. Demonstrating that you can and will pay your bills on time is better than never using your credit at all.
  • Check your credit report- Comb through your credit report three to four times per year, looking for mistakes or for accounts that do not belong to you. Not only is it helpful in maintaining a good credit score, this act can help you identify signs of identity theft. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) says that you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Although you can ask to receive copies from all three credit bureaus at the same time, you also can spread out your requests throughout the year to check for major changes or inconsistencies. To order your free reports, go to AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228.

Overwhelmed? Take a moment this month to see what your credit says about you. Once you know what your credit report says, you can begin taking steps to improve that message and to improve your financial future!

 

Checking + Savings = $150

Banner Slide HomepageThe month of March is beginning to dwindle, as is the time you have left to take advantage of our Checking + Savings promotion! Do you know that you could potentially earn $150 simply for opening new checking and savings accounts with us this month?

Here’s the deal: Open a Checking My Way or Classic checking account and accept a debit card to be eligible for a $100 cash bonus. If you open a Passbook savings account at the same time as the checking, you will be eligible for a $50 cash bonus.

To receive your bonus, you must make a minimum $100 deposit into the checking account and accept a debit card. A $100 deposit will be made into this account within thirty days of the date you meet these requirements.

For the savings account bonus, the $50 cash deposit will be made into the account within thirty days after you make the $100 minimum deposit into your new savings.

The Passbook savings account has an Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of .10%. The Classic checking account has an APY of .10% for balances over $250. The Passbook savings account will incur an early close penalty of $20.00 if it is closed within 60 days of opening. Rates current as of 02/01/2015 and are subject to change. Fees could reduce earnings.

These accounts can be opened online or, with coupon, in one of our seventeen banking centers. Read full terms and request a coupon here.

If you have been thinking opening an account with us, now is the time. Offer expires March 31, 2015.

Building a Home? Start With Expert Advice!

New ConstructionBuilding a home can be one of the most rewarding things you do in your lifetime but it can also be extremely stressful. That’s why it is important to speak with an expert before you start. VCNB decided to help you in the process by talking to a builder who has decades of experience. We asked him about the things he wishes everyone knew before they begin building their new home.

Bob Brown, owner of Brown Builders Custom Homes, is not only a skilled builder of homes but a builder of dreams. He works with clients all over Ohio, helping them build their dream home. When we sat down with Bob, we wanted to know how someone who has never been through the home building process could get from start to finish with their sanity and their wallet intact.

Bob told us you should involve a builder as soon as you begin looking at land for your new home. He recommends talking with a couple of builders of your choice before deciding who you trust to do the job. “The builder you select must make you feel comfortable, should not pressure you and should never tell you that you cannot do something you want to do. If you hear them say ‘you can’t do that’ during the initial get-to-know-you process, you should be wary. This project is all about you, about what you want, not about the builder,” Bob explained.

The initial meeting should last an hour or two and should be your opportunity to assess the builder. “It’s kind of like a marriage,” Bob said. “You must completely trust this person to have your best interest at heart at all times. This is probably the most money you will spend on anything in your lifetime and you want it to be exactly what you want for you and your family.”

Bob also recommends taking the builder to the lot you are considering for purchase. “It is important for the builder to see the lot, to discuss it with the buyer and to get a feel for exactly what the buyer has in mind. Sometimes, the lot is not conducive for the type of house they want to build and we can tell them that. We can also discuss different options they may have never thought about before,” Bob explained.

The next step in the process is financing. Your builder will want to see pre-approval from your bank so that he or she knows exactly how much you can spend on your new home. From there, you will move into financing the lot and begin talking construction costs. This process could take three to four weeks or, sometimes longer. Patience is virtue during this process. From start to finish, a home can take anywhere from five to nine months – or more to complete. “It depends on each individual house as to the time-frame. Some take less time, some take more. It depends on the client and whether or not they want a custom, semi-custom or production built home. Your builder should review these options with you upfront,” Bob told us.

Once your financing is secure and you break ground on your new home, the planning game turns into a waiting game. “If you are working with a sound builder, they should plan your project up front. They should tightly manage the scope, time-frame and budget. I give my clients weekly progress updates and ample time to make decisions about things. I don’t want there to be any surprises. It should not be a guessing game,” Bob added.

Keep in mind that the process of building a new home and selling your current one can result in life disruptions. That means you may need to find alternative housing if you sell your home before the new one is move-in ready. “The best time to sell your home is between March and August. If you want to be into your new home before the holidays, plan accordingly,” Bob explained.

Bob recommends that you select a reputable builder and lender that you trust. It is also key to always communicate your needs. “Communication is king when building a house. It can make the process much smoother, can erase any fears or doubts and can keep a project on track. It is the most important ingredient in a builder/client relationship,” Bob said.

At VCNB we pride ourselves for working well with our customers and their builders. If you follow Bob’s tips and if you work with VCNB as your lender, there is no need to be apprehensive about building your new home. We are here to help.

The next step in the process is financing. Your builder will want to see pre-approval from your bank so that he or she knows exactly how much you can spend on your new home. From there, you will move into financing the lot and begin talking construction costs. This process could take three to four weeks or, sometimes longer. Patience is virtue during this process. From start to finish, a home can take anywhere from five to nine months – or more to complete. “It depends on each individual house as to the time-frame. Some take less time, some take more. It depends on the client and whether or not they want a custom, semi-custom or production built home. Your builder should review these options with you upfront,” Bob told us.

Once your financing is secure and you break ground on your new home, the planning game turns into a waiting game. “If you are working with a sound builder, they should plan your project up front. They should tightly manage the scope, time-frame and budget. I give my clients weekly progress updates and ample time to make decisions about things. I don’t want there to be any surprises. It should not be a guessing game,” Bob added.

Keep in mind that the process of building a new home and selling your current one can result in life disruptions. That means you may need to find alternative housing if you sell your home before the new one is move-in ready. “The best time to sell your home is between March and August. If you want to be into your new home before the holidays, plan accordingly,” Bob explained.

The building process can be hair-pullingly stressful and can take months to complete. Remember though, it is worth it to have the home you have always wanted, the home of your dreams. Bob recommends that you select a reputable builder and lender that you trust. It is also key to always communicate your needs. “Communication is king when building a house. It can make the process much smoother, can erase any fears or doubts and can keep a project on track. It is the most important ingredient in a builder/client relationship,” Bob said.

At VCNB we pride ourselves for working well with our customers and their builders. If you follow Bob’s tips and if you work with VCNB as your lender, there is no need to be apprehensive about building your new home. We are here to help.

Local Business Spotlight: From Kitchen To Storefront

We understand that being a small business owner is tough. That’s why we plan to spotlight a different business each month to help you learn about unique businesses in your own back yard.  

One local woman is taking her passion for baking from kitchen to storefront. Country Cakes and Bakes owner Beth Spangler will soon open a retail location after years of tempting Pickaway County sweets lovers with her home baked goods.

From elegant wedding cakes to Bob the Builder on a little boy’s birthday cake, Spangler is known in the community as someone who can do it all. While her specialty is custom designed cakes, she makes other baked goods by request including cookies, brownies and other temptations in small, made-from-scratch batches.

Spangler started her culinary journey at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh, a Le Cordon Bleu school. After graduating in 2007 she completed an externship in Wisconsin. She then returned to Ohio to work in a Columbus bakery and sell baked goods at farmer’s markets in Circleville and Chillicothe.

Spangler said she loves being responsible for her own income and being her own boss and she enjoys the flexibility that comes with owning her own business. The most difficult part, she said, “is doing 17 jobs at once.”

She continues to bake from her home while preparing to open a storefront retail location in New Holland. The new store will be at 409 W. Front Street and is expected to open at the end of March.

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Planned retail hours will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday as well as other times by appointment for customer pick-ups. Once settled in the new retail setting, Spangler plans to expand her offerings by producing cheesecakes, pastries and single serve items.

Check out Country Cakes and Bakes on Facebook. You can place an order at 740-497-6370 or via email at bethspangler@live.com.

Earn Great Rewards With a VCNB Platinum Card

If you have a VCNB Visa Platinum Card you are earning rewards points every time you swipe that card. But did you know about the great things you can acquire with those points?

Gift Cards – Redeem points for gift cards to the stores and restaurants you love. Popular gift cards include Applebees, Kohls, Shell, Starbucks, Bath and Body Works, Subway, Lowes, Amazon.com and Auto Zone.

Merchandise – There literally is some kind of merchandise for every taste through UChoose. Items for baby, your car, your kitchen and your office are available. Then there’s all the electronics, books, music, musical instruments, software and gaming systems. And don’t forget to check out the sporting goods, luggage, apparel, jewelry, watches, tools, beauty items and more!

Travel – UChoose can make travel better! Hotels, flights, cars, cruises and package deals can be booked from the UChoose site.

Event Tickets – Enjoy tickets for the theater, sporting events, concerts and even NASCAR races thanks to points you earn from everyday purchases.

Activities – If you like getting out and about, there are tons of options for activities. Universal Studios tour tickets, spa getaways, New York City sightseeing tours and wine tastings in California Wine Country are popular rewards. Tickets to the Carolina Opry, Vegas shows and white water rafting adventures are available as well. In fact, the adventures to be had seem almost limitless!

Want to shop the UChoose rewards program? Visit the UChoose website to register your card and start redeeming points.

Don’t have a Visa Platinum Card? Learn more by clicking here. Just click on credit cards to see the details.

If you’re ready to apply, contact your local office today.

 

Clean Your Computer Today

When was the last time you cleaned out your computer? You may not know it but the second Monday of February each year is National Clean Out Your Computer Day.

Messy Paper Stack free images

Having unorganized files on your computer or mobile device is the equivalent of having a messy stack of papers on your desk. Can you easily find what you need?

It may seem like a silly thing to mark with a holiday and an even sillier holiday for your bank to observe but we think it’s very timely. In this age of technology where so much of what we do for work, play and life in general relies on our devices, it’s a good idea to maintain that equipment just like you would change the oil in your car or clean your house.

Think about, not just your computer, but your tablet and phone as well. How much content do you have stored on those devices and how much is unnecessary or difficult to find?

Take a look at the files, programs and apps on your device. Do you still play that Angry Birds game on your phone? Have you ever used the calorie counting app you downloaded on the first day of your diet? No? Delete them. Unused and useless apps and programs eat up a lot of space and clutter up your screen.

Take a closer look at your files. Are you holding on to files that you will never use again? Do you have duplicate files? Do you have junk files or empty folders? This is a good time to get rid of all that stuff. The more content you have, the harder it is to find what you need.

While you’re at it, consider the organization system you have for all that stuff. Can you find what you need? Is it organized into folders or just thrown into one big folder? Take a few minutes to sort all that stuff into a system that makes sense.

A word of caution: Remember to safeguard the things you love and need. Invest in a back-up system of some kind to store treasured family photos or important documents. A back-up device or even storing content in the cloud will save you a lot of heartache if your device crashes or if it is lost for some reason.

When you’re done, clean the exterior of your phone, tablet or computer and you’ll feel like you have a completely new device!

We know you’re busy but take a moment today to do a little cleaning. You’ll be glad you did!