What is a Christmas Club?

Have you heard about our Christmas Club? It’s an easy and simple way to save money for the holidays and we are signing up customers now.

Santa Claus with Armload of PresentsAt VCNB, this is a free savings account where we automatically transfer funds from your checking or savings into a separate savings account. You decide how much you want to save and we transfer the funds every two weeks.

You will receive a check for the amount you saved in October 2015!

This is a convenient way to save money gradually and to generate a nice nest egg. For people who find themselves with a mountain of credit card debt every January, a Christmas Club is an especially helpful tool for staying ahead of the spending game.

This year, customers who open a new Christmas Club or renew an existing club will receive a set of three silicone spatulas with a holiday theme. This free gift is our way of saying thanks for doing business with us!

Christmas Clubs can be opened for as little as $250 or for as much as you want to save. Open an account from the comfort of your easy chair by visiting our website or stop by your local office to get started.

VCNB is Member FDIC.

 

 

Winterization Can Save Money (Even If You Aren’t Handy)

Think you need a handyman to winterize your home? There are many small things you can do at your home today that will make a difference in your heating bill this winter. With heating costs forecasted to rise again this winter, every little bit will help.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Look for leaks Are there cold drafty areas in your home? Seek out these places and consider how you might seal or cover these drafty spots. A three dollar tube of caulking can be used to seal around windows and doors. Those storm windows collecting dust in the garage will do wonders to keep the cold air out. An inexpensive pair of lined curtains from a department store will also keep out a lot of cold air. New weather stripping around doors is easy to install and will make a huge difference as well. A window weatherization kit from a home improvement store is a small investment that could save you big bucks on your heating bill.

Bring the air down – Did you know that your ceiling fan operates in two directions? Counter clockwise rotation will generate a nice cooling breeze but clockwise rotation will produce warm air. Look for a small switch on the side of your fan.

Ditch the window A/C – Do you have a window air conditioner in your home? Chances are the cracks around that unit are allowing cold air to stream right into your home! The U.S. Department of Energy advises removing the unit for the winter. They say it can waste five to thirty percent of your total energy usage each winter month.

Consider your furnace –If you do nothing else, change or inspect your furnace filters once a month during the winter heating season. A dirty filter will impact the health and productivity of your furnace. If you have the money, also consider hiring a professional to seal and clean your ductwork every few years. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that about twenty percent of warm air is wasted because of leaks in ductwork.

Other things to do before winter hits:

-Cut the water supply to outdoor fixtures. Drain fixtures and garden hoses to prevent burst water pipes. Be sure to insulate the fixture and exposed pipe while you are at it.

-Take in or protect outdoor furniture, grills or other items you enjoy during the warmer seasons.

- Clean gutters to prevent clogs that might cause rainwater to back up and freeze. Freezing may ruin gutters by causing them to expand and crack.

- Create an emergency kit for your home and car. If the power goes during a winter storm it may be a while before the electric is back or until you can travel somewhere. Your kit should include a battery powered radio, a first aid kit, flashlights, candles and matches, bottled water and non-perishable food. Keep the same items in your car but be sure to add some warm blankets to the car kit.

 

 

 

Support Battle for Broad Street Blood Drive

As a community bank, one of the things we hold dear is community involvement. We encourage our employees to become involved and volunteer their time. We also believe that we should support good causes as a bank.

That’s why our Friendly Bremen Banking Center is again partnering with the American Red Cross to ask you to make the right play and donate blood!

Each year one of Licking County’s biggest rivalry games takes place on the football field. The “Battle for Broad Street” is the pigskin competition between the Licking Heights Hornets and the Watkins Memorial Warriors. While we have no say over what happens on the football field, we like to carry the competition over to the blood drive.

When you give blood that day, declare your support for one of the schools. The school with the most donors will receive a $250 donation from the Friendly Bremen Banking Center to their booster club!

The blood drive will be held on October 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Pataskala (700 Corylus Dr., Pataskala).

To schedule an appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. You can also schedule an appointment by calling our office at 740.964.5161.

In the Know: Fire Prevention

This week marks a national observance that can literally save lives. National Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record and it runs through Saturday.

In 2011, American fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires that caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths and $6.9 billion in direct damage. Cooking remains the leading cause of home fires, followed by heating equipment.

As winter approaches, home heating and cooking become more prominent concerns for most households, making it a perfect time to assess risks, prevention and escape plans, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

The 2014 Fire Prevention Week theme is “Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.” Did you know that a working smoke alarm will cut your risk of dying in a home fire in half? Whether hardwired or battery operated, be sure to test your alarms twice a year (monthly is better) to ensure they are fully operational. When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.

The NFPA recommends practicing safe cooking as two of every five home fires start in the kitchen. Fires that start with ignition of food or other cooking materials top the list of fire hazards in the kitchen as well as unattended cooking.

In other parts of the home, staying warm in the cold weather months can turn deadly if fire breaks out. Wood stoves and space heaters are common culprits in winter fires. These items placed too close to things that can burn including bedding, upholstered furniture and clothing can be highly dangerous. Failure to clean creosote from chimneys is another common fire hazard.

Smoking and unattended candles in the home are especially dangerous, causing millions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of deaths every year.

Finally, the NFPA recommends having an escape plan for every room of the house. Practice the plan with all family members and focus on improving escape times.

Want to teach your kids about fire safety? The NFPA has a great page for kids where they can play games and learn about fire prevention. Click here to visit their page!  Want to learn more about fire safety? Click on the images below to read safety tips for preventing home fires.

Enter “Thousands of Prizes” contest through VCNB

Fiserv

We are excited to announce that VCNB will participate in the Fiserv “Thousands of Prizes” contest this fall.

From October 1 through November 30, VCNB customers who use Online Bill Pay and Popmoney ® personal payment service on the VCNB website will be entered in a drawing for prizes.

Fiserv will give away thousands of prizes nationwide including iPads ® and gift cards for Amazon.com, Starbucks and Restaurant.com.

There are a host of ways to use Online Bill Pay and Popmoney. If you need to pay the dentist, your electric company or your homeowner’s insurance, Online Bill Pay is a quick and secure way to send payment. This service is free as long as you use it at least one time per month. Otherwise it costs $3 per month.

If you need to pay a friend or relative, Popmoney is the way to go. For just .50 cents per transaction, you can send money to anyone using just their mobile phone number or email address. You can also request funds from someone using Popmoney. So if your roommate owes you rent or friends owe for concert tickets, just send them a request!

Best of all, you will automatically be entered in the drawing with each Bill Pay or Popmoney transaction you make.

So what are you waiting for? Sign in to your VCNB Online Banking or Mobile Banking and look for the Online Bill Pay section to get started today!

Contest runs through November 30. See terms and conditions here.

VCNB sponsors financial literacy program in local schools

AT VCNB we believe that financial literacy is one of the most important tools that we can give a child. That’s why we offer a program called Financial U, provided by EverFi, to area high schools. Financial U is a web-based platform that teaches students practical skills to help them use and manage money as they grow into young adulthood.

Financial U combines the latest technology like video, animations, 3-D gaming, avatars, and social networking to bring complex financial concepts to life for young people. Topics covered include credit score, insurance, credit cards, budgeting, taxes, investing, savings, 401Ks and mortgages.

Teens embrace financial education through Financial U because it combines learning with technology.

Teens embrace financial education through Financial U because it combines learning with technology.

Students are able to apply their knowledge in a virtual environment where they can weigh the consequences of their choices and learn to make good decisions. Assessment data helps the teacher determine where additional classroom learning is necessary.

Essentially, Financial U makes money and finances fun while providing a rich learning experience.

VCNB Marketing Director Audra Johnson said that VCNB offers Financial U to local schools to help shape the next generation of youth into savvy consumers. ”Financial literacy is of critical importance to today’s youth. It teaches them life skills and better prepares them for their future responsibilities. We want the next generation to be savvy consumers and to have the skills to manage their money,” Johnson explained. “Our schools are the perfect access point to reach the young generation Financial U, being a web based platform, is the perfect program to do so,” she said.

Johnson also pointed out that Ohio law now requires financial literacy education at a time when school districts are struggling to stretch their classroom dollars to provide pupils the best quality education. Sponsoring Financial U helps to bridge that gap for school districts.

At this time, VCNB sponsors Financial U in nine schools including Logan, Berne Union, Southeastern, Chillicothe, Vinton County, Canal Winchester, Watkins Memorial, Fairfield Union and Teays Valley. There are plans to expand into additional school districts.

Do your kids understand how to manage their finances? Are they prepared for the financial responsibility that will come after high school graduation? Would you like to see Financial U offered in your teen’s high school? Tell us what you think in the comments section!

 

 

Coloring Contest Ends Soon!

Coloring Contest 2014

There are still a few days left to submit your child’s entry to the VCNB Fall Coloring Contest. Just print this coloring sheet or pick up a copy from your local branch. Then turn in their finished entry to your local VCNB office. Be sure to have your child write their name and phone number on the back so we know how to contact them if they win! A prize will be awarded at each VCNB Office. Hurry though! Contest entries are due by September 30, 2014.

Fall Means Fun For Everyone

Fall is almost here, bringing with it cooler temperatures, brilliant fall leaves and an open invitation to go outside and enjoy Mother Nature. Fall also provides ample opportunity to have fun with your significant other or entire family without breaking the bank.

Central and Southern Ohio are fortunate to have miles of walking and hiking trails in state and metro parks for people of all skill levels to enjoy. This is a free activity that’s good for your health and a great opportunity to enjoy the foliage and fresh air.

playground kidsIf you have little ones, a trip to the park is always a great way to pass a Saturday afternoon. Pack a picnic and turn the kids loose on the playground equipment. While you’re outside, if it’s a windy day, remember that kites aren’t just for spring. Fall winds provide a perfect opportunity to fly a kite. An inexpensive department store kite and an open area on a windy day can provide entertainment for kids of all ages.

If indoor activities are more your speed, think about creative ways to enjoy being inside. One great way to do that with kids is to camp inside. Whether you have a real tent or just blankets to drape over chairs, the kids will love their new tent or fort or whatever you choose to call it. Make it really special by baking cookies, playing games or watching a movie the entire family will enjoy.

Another fun way to enjoy fall indoors is to make a pot of chili and invite friends over to watch the big game. Set up a chili bar with fun toppings and ask your guests to bring a dessert to share.

Fall is great time to get out and play or to cozy up indoors without spending a lot of cash. Leave a comment and tell us your favorite fall activity!