We Have Moved!

Our blog has moved and is now part of our bank’s new and improved website.

While we will no longer be publishing here on WordPress, we invite you to visit our new blog and to stay engaged with us by subscribing. Just enter your favorite email address in the box in the upper left corner of the new blog. That way you’ll still receive a notification every time we publish something new.

While you’re there, take a look around our new site. We have worked hard to make it easy to navigate and to populate it with lots of useful tools and information to make your banking life easier. This new site will also be safer and more secure for both the bank and for you thanks to the new .bank domain. After all, nothing is more important to us than your online security.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that we plan to still bring you great content like tricks for saving money, tips for best using our banking products and stories about our customers!

What are you waiting for? Click here to visit our new home now!  

Tricia Kight Joins VCNB Family

Vinton County National Bank is pleased to announce that longtime southern Ohio banker Tricia Kight has joined the VCNB family. Bank customers and employees are expected to benefit from her 32 years of experience in local and regional banks and credit unions.

Tricia Kight, Regional Manager

Throughout her career, Kight has held a number of positions including as branch manager, teller and mortgage loan processor. She has also worked in marketing and business development, helping her gain expertise throughout the world of banking. Most recently, Kight was a Branch Manager for another area bank.

In her free time, Kight serves on the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce Board and the Jackson Rotary Board. She also serves on the Policy Council for Jackson Vinton Community Action Head Start and belongs to the Jackson Amvets. As a member of the Jackson Elks, Kight holds an office of Lecturing Knight. The Jackson native has one daughter, Caitlin Barr, and two young grandchildren. Kight enjoys golf and jeeping with her fiancé Rod Miller.

She is excited to begin her work at VCNB. “I am thrilled to join the VCNB family where I am reuniting with many friends and colleagues. I look forward to being a part of this community bank,” she said.

VCNB Announces Plans For New Facility In McArthur

VCNB is pleased to announce plans to build a new facility in downtown McArthur. This new office represents a historic investment in the bank’s hometown. The new build will be located at 203 West Main Street, at the former McClure’s Family Restaurant property. It will house only the retail bank employees who serve customers while back office employees will remain in their current locations in the bank’s existing two facilities.

VCNB President Mark Erslan said the approximate 7,000 square foot building will be two-story and is planned to be an attractive addition to downtown. It will offer a more pleasant, convenient environment for employees as well as features designed with the customer in mind. One major upgrade that customers are expected to appreciate is an expanded drive-thru system. This will include a lane for a drive-up ATM and Express Drop plus three drive-thru lanes to keep traffic flowing more efficiently. A fifth “escape lane” will allow customers to quickly exit the parking lot even when the drive-thru lanes are occupied.

Tellers will serve customers from a central lobby that is surrounded by offices where staff can help customers with their banking needs. The second floor will feature offices, a conference room and a pleasant lunchroom for employees to enjoy at break time.

The current bank building will continue to house administrative and back office employees but will no longer be open to the public for banking business. This 1925 era building has been expanded, remodeled and reimagined in countless ways over the decades but is overcrowded and not suited to meet a growing need for more employees in back office positions.

The bank employs more than sixty individuals who work in McArthur in a various departments including Audit, Operations, Loan Servicing, IT, Human Resources, Marketing, Accounting, Deposit Operations and Customer Service. Erslan said that most people do not realize how many work in the bank’s two existing McArthur facilities. “We are full in this building. It’s possible that the public doesn’t perceive that but our need for more employees has grown as the bank has grown,” Erslan explained.

Erslan said that plans are to break ground this summer. “We are excited to start this new chapter in our history here in Vinton County and think the investment in the community will be beneficial to customers, employees, and shareholders in the long run. We hope our customers will see the new construction as an exciting sign of growth in the community.”

VCNB Small Business Spotlight: Red Woof Inn

Being a small business owner is a tough job! That’s why we feature a different small business in our Small Business Spotlight every month. Today we visit with Megan Coleman whose passion is caring for pets at The Red Woof Inn near McArthur.

Everyone knows that pets are like family. That’s why it’s so hard to leave them behind when we have to travel or be away from home for a while. For pet parents in Vinton County, there’s a family owned option for boarding dogs and cats for short term and long terms stays. The Red Woof Inn has been owned by Megan and Josh Coleman since last summer.

The lifelong animal lovers are Vinton County natives who had moved away for work. They jumped at the opportunity to come home when they learned that this business was available. “I’ve had a lifelong passion for animals, especially dogs,” Megan explained. “We had talked about starting a kennel in the Columbus area but when this came available, it was just too perfect to pass up.”

The climate controlled facility on Old Dixon Road provides each pet with a cot for their comfort and plenty of love. Everyone is walked and played with at least four times a day. “I absolutely love getting to know them and playing with them, helping them understand their owner will come back. I love getting to know their personalities and the little things that make them unique,” she said while describing some of the special situations that she’s faced so far. One of those included a former shelter dog that clearly was struggling when dropped off in this strange place. “I took extra time. He wouldn’t eat or drink and I wanted him to know that he was safe and that it’s ok. His owner would come back.”

She does have frequent flyers as well as some who come just when their owner is traveling. She is always on the lookout for new customers. 

Pet parents must provide their animal’s food, treats and shot records. Families can be kept in a kennel together to make their stay more enjoyable. She sends daily pictures and reports to the owners to maintain communication and assure the owners that all is well with their pet family.

They do have a lot of repeat customers and she indicated that word-of-mouth has been their best form of advertising. “When someone sees that you care for their dog like you would your own family pet, they feel better trusting you and are more likely to recommend you to someone else.”

Megan said that she knows how important it is to trust the people who look after your pets. She and Josh are pet parents too. They have three dogs and two cats that she says are “spoiled rotten.”

“I just love animals and want them to be safe and well cared for and to know they’re loved. I have found my calling.”

What does she love best about this job? She said it’s hard to say. “I love to see how excited they are when their owner comes home…. but there’s no better feeling than winning the love of a shy dog, a timid dog. That’s the biggest accomplishment, the best feeling,” Megan said with a smile.

Want to know more about the Red Woof Inn or schedule your pet for a stay? Follow them on Facebook or call Megan at 740.649.8640.

Lynn Waters To Retire Friday

Ask Lynn Waters about her retirement plans and she radiates pure joy. That’s because she has just a few days of work left at VCNB and much to look forward to in her soon-to-be free time.

Lynn Waters began her VCNB career in 1996.

Lynn came to work at VCNB in the fall of 1996. She had stayed home with her two daughters when they were young and was looking for a job since they had gotten older and more independent. “I loved staying home and being a homemaker, mama and caretaker of our space. Music and walks in the woods and all the beautiful things of being a mama, I loved it all. But it was time to find a job,” Lynn explained.

Her daughter Melissa was a student and working at our Ross County Banking Center at the time. She suggested her mom might apply for a teller position. Thus, Lynn began her career in banking as a teller. She went on to work in Collections and then Customer Service before finding her niche working with the bank’s new overdraft program in 2005.

As Senior Accounting Processor, Lynn has a number of responsibilities but her biggest is in overseeing overdrawn checking accounts. “It’s a lot of problem solving and asking questions because you have to find the cause and look for a solution. Do you call the customer or have their personal banker contact them? Is it a repeated occurrence or is something out of the ordinary happening?”

When asked what advice she has for someone new to banking, Lynn talked about why it’s important for an employee in any job to take ownership of their work. “Do the best you can and learn the job the best you can. It’s important to take the time to learn it correctly the first time so you can do it right,” she said. “That’s the goal, isn’t it? To do the job correctly. We all make mistakes and just as important as learning the job is being able to own your mistakes and learn from them so they don’t happen again.”

As her final weeks of employment have been winding down, Lynn said that her attitude toward retirement has evolved. It used to seem so far off. Then it started to feel scary as the time has approached but now I’m getting excited!” she exclaimed.

That’s because Lynn has much to look forward to in retirement. She beams when she mentions her family, especially her grandkids who live in Chillicothe and Jackson. Her partner Dale will continue working so she plans to help him with some of his projects but looks forward to traveling after he retires.

Lynn plays the bass guitar with the Band Riff Street and wants to prioritize improving her musical skills. She enjoys the outdoors, getting her hands dirty and exploring the world around her. An avid fan of microgreens, she is setting up an area to grow them indoors so she can have year round access to these natural health boosters.

“I don’t want my life to be just one thing. I want it to be more and to have time for free days to do as I please but to also have days to spend time with my grandkids. They won’t be young forever and I want to take advantage of the time we have to make memories,” she said.

While she has much to look forward to, Lynn said she will miss the friends she has made over the years and that she’s glad for the career she had at the bank. “This has been a pretty good company to work for. The way they handled the pandemic and our workers has been great and I appreciate it.”

Lynn’s last day will be Friday and the bank will celebrate with a luncheon for her coworkers and family.

Spring Clean Your Finances

Getting your financial house in order is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Trust us when we say your future self will thank you. Since we associate spring with new growth and at least cleaning up the old, we think this is the ideal time to spring clean your finances. Don’t know where to start? That’s ok – we’ve got you covered!

Start Here

We know that no one likes the ‘B’ word but you really can’t get your financial house in order until you have a budget. You have to know how much money you have and how it’s being used. It’s that simple. Americans spend way too much money without thinking or planning and it can get them into trouble.

Budgeting isn’t scary and it doesn’t have to be hard. We’ve written about it in the past and will provide some links in the Resource Guide below. Whether you use an app or old school pen and paper, your goal is to list your income and every expense you can think of including regular bills, annual expenses, walking around money and how much you are saving for the future. If you have kids in school, your summer budget needs to include school supplies and clothes. If you enjoy travel, there needs to be a line item for those expenses too.

Now look at what you have. Are you spending more than you make? Are you saving for a rainy day? Are you trying hard to not look too closely at your credit card bill when it comes? Be honest with yourself. If you have a spending problem and no way to pay for it, now is the time to get help. If you make plenty of money but still can’t seem to save anything, look for what’s holding you back. If you are living paycheck to paycheck and there’s nowhere left to cut, maybe it’s time to increase your income.

Next Steps

  1. Find more money. If your budget is ugly at first, there’s no reason to be ashamed but this is the time to find more money. There are two basic avenues for this. Cut expenses or make more. Cutting expenses is an easy place to start. Call your insurance company and ask them to shop your policy. This alone could save hundreds a year. Are you spending money on a vice or maybe on extras that you don’t care about? Cut that gym membership and start using free online resources or hike a local park. Costs are on the rise but how much food do you throw away out of neglect and poor planning? Most employers are desperate for good workers and are willing to pay more to keep a good employee or to entice someone new to accept a job. Ask for a raise or dust off your resume and find something that’s better for you. Look for things to sell or deliver pizzas a couple of nights a week. Finding money is hard but it can be done!
  2. Pay off credit card debt. Many Americans would be ok if not for the enormous mountain of credit card debt they face each month. Before you do anything else, take control of this debt that’s keeping you awake at night. Use any extra money to pay it off for good and begin using that credit card only when you know you can pay it off.
  3. Save for emergencies. Everyone needs an emergency fund. Emergencies, both large and small, happen every day of the week but if you have no savings to help, even the smallest problem can feel like a catastrophe. Save whatever you can and accumulate as much as you can. Most everyday unexpected expenses are going to come in at less than a thousand dollars so that’s a great savings goal to start with. A long term goal would be three to six months of living expenses. Just remember that you are saving this money for a rainy day so be sure to save it and forget about it until the need is important.
  4. Save for your future. When you’re young, the future sounds so far away. However, time has a way of speeding up as you age and life gets in the way. Get into the habit of saving for your future as young as possible so that you can someday enjoy life as a retiree!
  5. Gather important documents. We all like to think we will live forever and that we will always live independently but life is full of surprises. Gather important documents in one place and make sure your next of kin know where to find it. That means insurance policies, deeds, bank information, investment firm contacts, will and power of attorney. Don’t have a will? Now is the time to have one made.

Spring cleaning your financial house is a chore but it’s an important one and we hope that you will be inspired to start working on these steps. Remember, it doesn’t all have to be done in a day. Begin with the budget and start accumulating a list of opportunities for you to spend more wisely, save more consistently and be prepared for troubles someday.

Resource Guide

Click the links below for more guidance on budgeting and saving money!

Budgeting 101

Why Your Budget Doesn’t Work

Emergency Fund 101

31 Ways To Save Money

Be Organized To Save Money

No Spend Challenge

VCNB Introduces Limited Time $1,000 Closing Cost Credit Special

Is a new home on your wish list? How long have you been waiting? More importantly, why are you waiting? Here are VCNB, we understand that buying a home or building a new home is an intimidating task. It’s also one of the most important investments you’ll make for your future.

That’s why we have people to help you through. Our experienced mortgage and construction lenders understand the excitement and the nerves, the potential and the worry. We understand you need someone to look out for your interests and to guide you through the process of financing your new home.

Whether you’re building your dream home, buying your starter home or downsizing to a tiny home, you’ll find that our lenders will replace the stress and worry with understanding and anticipation of what’s to come. Best of all, VCNB is currently offering a special to make the process that much sweeter!

This special is for $1,000 toward closing costs on real estate purchase or construction applications received from April 1 through June 30, 2022 that result in a closed loan with VCNB by September 30, 2022. *See terms below for complete details.

Ready to get started? There’s no reason to wait! Contact your local branch or call 1.800.542.5004 to make an appointment with a mortgage or construction lender today!

*The $1,000 Closing Cost offer is valid for Real Estate purchase or construction applications received April 1, 2022 through June 30, 2022 that result in a closed loan with VCNB by September 30, 2022. Offer is only available for conventional purchase or construction transactions of an owner-occupied primary residence. Offer is not available on Brokered Loans, Refinances, Home Improvements, Land Purchases, Home Equity loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit. The $1,000 closing cost offer will be in the form of a lender credit and will be applied at the time of closing. Offer cannot be redeemed for cash. All loans are subject to underwriting and property approval. Not all applicants will qualify for this promotional offer. Other terms and conditions may apply. Offer cannot be retroactively applied to previously closed loans or loans currently in process. Offer is subject to change or end without notice at VCNB discretion. NMLS #483350

Cheryle Lange To Retire After 36 Years

Ask Cheryle Lange about her career in banking and the conversation that follows sounds like a lesson in Community Bank Lending 101. That’s because she has worked in nearly every role related to lending. From loan processor to lender to credit manager, Cheryle has done it all and seen it all. The veteran banker clearly loves her work but she will retire on April 8 after 36 years with VCNB and the Friendly Bremen Banking Center.

Cheryle didn’t plan to be a banker. In fact, she had her sights set on being a high school mathematics teacher. As so often happens, life got in the way and she pursued a different path at Bowling Green State University where she majored in Business. The Medina native came to Lancaster after getting married and following her husband to Fairfield County for his job. Here, she found work with another local bank, first filing checks and later taking on different roles related to lending.

She moved to Friendly Bremen Banking Center in 1986 when her old boss Ned Hinton suggested Cheryle for a job as his loan processor. Three years later, she left on maternity leave and returned to work with a promotion to Loan Officer. Over the years, Cheryle grew as a banker, taking on more responsibility managing our West Fair branch, then as a lender who worked in every type of loan the bank offers.  She said she really enjoyed mortgage lending and that she had a great construction loan following but she made a shift into commercial lending when Ned retired in 2008. While she inherited his portfolio, she found her way by building her own customer base. She called it “a hectic but rewarding time.”

A few years later, Cheryle was given a choice to continue as a commercial lender or to take on a new role as Credit Manager. “I felt I had been producing loans for so long it was time to change things up, so I went with the credit manager position,” she explained.

While she has enjoyed the various stages of her career, her favorite work was in mortgage and commercial lending. Cheryle, who has a bit of a competitive spirit, said she enjoyed the challenge of seeing how much she could do in comparison to her coworkers. “It was exciting to look at monthly reports and see where I stood among the rest of the lenders. But probably the best personal feeling was the accomplishment of helping our customers complete a project. Home construction and purchases were the best because I got to see customers really be excited about a dream come to reality,” she recalled.

Once a young mother learning the ropes of lending, she is now a seasoned professional who seems to enjoy mentoring others.

“I try to help others, to help them learn from what I’ve learned. Our job is to take care of customers, to look out for them and to be helpful. That’s what community banking is all about and I think part of my job is helping others here remember that,” she mused.

She talked at length about helping customers better themselves. “People sometimes come in asking for something that isn’t right for them. It’s your job as a lender to figure out what they actually need to be successful and how to get them there. Sometimes what they need or want isn’t within their reach for one reason or another. If that’s the case, you need to help them understand what it will take to get there. Explain to them why they are being told no and help them understand what they need to do,” she explained. “Take a few minutes to talk with them about how they can improve their finances and give them tools to better themselves. Then tell them to come back when they are ready. You would be amazed at how many people will tell you that everyone else just told them no. They will appreciate you and when you tell them to come back when they’re ready, they will do it and they will be loyal customers.”

Cheryle is grateful to the bank and her job for the life she was able to build for herself and her boys. “The bank has been good to me and loyal to me. I will always be grateful for my career here and I will always have the bank’s interests at heart, retired or not,” she exclaimed. “I’ve had a good life because of my job at this bank.”

She’s now an empty nester. The mom of three grown boys lives in Pickerington with her little dog Bella and is in the process of downsizing into a more efficient home. Cheryle is an avid reader, enjoys walking, Zumba and worship at her church.  She hopes to find a volunteer organization that could use her helping hand. “I want to get involved, to give back and do something for someone else,” she said.

While she looks forward to the road ahead, Cheryle dreads leaving for the last time and hopes she has done enough. “The people. I have some truly wonderful friends here, people who have been there with me through everything. I can’t imagine not having them in my life so I am already planning for how we can stay connected,” she said. “When you look back on your life, I think you just hope you did a good job. I think I did.”

Cheryle will celebrate her last day on April 8. Customers are invited to stop by and give their congratulations.

Why Your Budget Doesn’t Work

There’s a reason why people don’t like to budget or even think about money. That’s because it’s hard work making a spending plan that is reasonable and that you can stick to in your daily life. We’re willing to wager that most people who make a budget plan to stick with it but fail for a handful of reasons.

The Problem:

It’s Unrealistic– Many people write out the budget they think they should have but set unrealistic expectations for themselves by not budgeting fairly for every expense. Be honest. If you spend $10 on lunch every workday, that’s $50 a week. Don’t budget $25 thinking it will force you to change your patterns. It will not.

The Fix– Plan for all of your expenses. That includes your weekend entertainment, school clothes for the kids, birthday gifts and whatever guilty pleasure that makes your life happy. Ignoring these expenses won’t make them go away but you will be unprepared when they pop up.  Also, with the cost of everything on the rise, budget a little high to make sure you have enough.

The Problem:

You’re Not Really Committed – A budget is meant to be your spending plan. Unfortunately, it you’re not committed to actually following through with that plan, it will fail. It’s up to you to put that plan to work by monitoring your spending within each category. You can either adjust your spending or adjust your budget to accommodate your spending. If you make a budget but never open it, you’re not really committed. If family members aren’t aware of the budget or ignore it, their lack of commitment will be a hurdle as well.

The Fix– Factor the budget into your daily life. Every time you want to spend money, ask yourself if it’s in the budget. Check in on the budget every day or every couple of days to make sure you’re on track. Better yet, check in every time you spend money by logging every dollar and dime as you spend it. Talk to your spouse and use it as a teachable moment to help your kids understand how money and spending work when you are running a household.

The Problem:

Poor Budgeting Method – There are numerous methods you can employ to build your budget. Some like pen and paper. Lots of people like to enter the data into spreadsheets and even more seem to appreciate websites and phone apps that can automate the process. If you carry your budget around with you on your phone, it’s easier to track expenses and to remain conscious of how much money you have at your disposal. But if you choose an app when you’re really into something old school, it is harder to be enthusiastic.

The Fix – Don’t be afraid to experiment or to combine methods. A paper budget can be kept in a visible area where you will see it every day but you may benefit from tracking expenses in an app on your phone. Don’t give up! Experiment until you find the right method for your lifestyle.

The Problem:

You’re Short On Money – You can write down anything you like but, if you’re short on funds, it is hard to make a budget where you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Remember, your budget is about money in and money planned to go out.

The Fix –  The solution may not be easy but you need to either lower expenses or increase your income. That could mean refinancing your home, selling a vehicle or buckling down to pay off old debt. It could mean finding a higher income job, taking on a side hustle or selling some things to help you get caught up. If you are accumulating credit card debt because of extravagant purchases or vacations you cannot afford, it’s time to stop those bad spending habits cold turkey. In other words, your budget problems may not be about money so much as changing habits. Most likely, you will need to employ a few strategies to make ends meet.

Do you recognize any of these problems? How will you take control of your finances to build a budget that works for you?

VCNB Banker Rescues Horses In Her Free Time

VCNB Senior Business Banker Sue Ross proves that real heroes don’t wear capes. Sometimes they wear their business suits to the office and muck boots after work. That’s because the veteran banker has spent the last twenty years rescuing horses in her free time.

Many customers know Sue as the friendly banker at our Grove City branch. What they may not realize is that she and her husband Donald have what she calls a five acre ranchette where they care for rescued horses. Just this winter, they took in Waylon, an elderly horse who Sue wasn’t sure would even survive. Today, he is bright eyed with a strong will to live. He’s the fourteenth horse that Sue has rescued.

Sue grew up around horses on her family’s hundred acre farm but she spent many years without any horses in her life. “When 9/11 happened, it occurred to me that life is too short. I looked in the mirror and asked what I enjoy doing and what would make me happier. I’m most happy and content with horses.”

Around the same time, she read about the Last Chance Corral, an Athens based organization that offers a safe haven for rescued horses and orphaned foals. “I read about them and said I want to do that! I wanted to rescue a foal!” she exclaimed.

Since then, she has rescued seven foals. “I just love them. Babies are like kittens and puppies. You can run with them and play with them,” she explained. “They’re so much fun.”

When Sue heard about Waylon, she already had three horses in her care but felt compelled to help this elderly gent who was living in rural Ross County without shelter, enough to eat or even a tree to provide protection. She said his owner, though well meaning, lacked the resources to give Waylon the care he needed.

His feet badly needed attention and his teeth were all either missing or broken after at least seven years of neglected dental health. He was emaciated, coming in at about 400 pounds underweight for a horse of his age and stature.

She rescued him on the same day the ice storm hit Ohio, headed up Route 104 with Waylon in tow, just as the sleet began. She set to work, employing all the tricks in the book she had learned over her years of dealing with neglected horses. She credits her vet for providing top notch care, a healthy diet designed to help him gain weight, and much one-on-one attention for his gradual turn around.

Extra care is taken to give Waylon plenty of time to eat his special blend of hay and grains, adapting the routine of the other three horses to make sure Waylon can be included in their activities. He gets other allowances like a heated water bucket, more frequent brushing, a blanket and more frequent stall cleaning because he goes more than the others. “The other horses just look and I’m sure they’re wondering why that old man is getting all the attention,” she laughed.

“Our horses are like pets. They have big balls to play with and they all have distinct personalities,” she said as she began describing one that is particularly skilled at using his nose like fingers to unlock stall doors or to grab the clothing of his humans. “Ask them if they are ready to eat dinner and they’ll answer! They’ll carry buckets even when you don’t want them to and they love to play. They’re just a lot of fun. Like 1,000 pound dogs” she said.

For anyone interested in owning a horse, Sue warns that they are a rather costly investment, with monthly feeding/farrier/worming/vaccines topping out at around $200 for an average horse. She gets up at 5:30 or earlier to clean stalls and feed everyone before work. Then it’s the same routine in the evenings to clean and feed again. She credits a friend who is sponsoring Waylon to help offset some of his costs.

She also recommends visiting Last Chance Corral to get involved in their rescue efforts and to learn more about horses. She has worked with the Ohio ASPCA and touts them as great resources for information and for helping abused, neglected and abandoned animals.

Sue said she has no illusions that this elderly horse will live many more years but that won’t stop her from giving him her all. “He’s my baby and I know that nothing lasts forever but I can be sure he has a full belly and will be loved for as long as he’s here,” she said. “I hope that he makes it to spring and gets to lay out in the sun. Horses love to sunbathe and I want that for him, to soak in the sun with a full belly and knowing that he’s safe and loved.”