Call, Click Or Come In!

How do you define easy? Here at VCNB we work hard to make it easy for you to get your new mortgage loan. We know that not everyone can come to the bank and that you still need to get your mortgage loan application started and the process underway.

That’s why our mortgage lenders are happy to do business however you like to do business. Want to come inside and sit down with a lender? Do you prefer to do things online? Does a phone call simply fit better with your schedule?

Whatever your choice – call, click or come in and our mortgage lenders will be happy to help!

Call 1.800.542.5004, click on VCNBfamily.com or visit your neighborhood Vinton County National Bank to get started. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

What Do Our Lenders Wish Customers Knew About Home Loans?

Building or buying a home can be stressful. There are countless decisions to be made and processes to follow that customers typically don’t experience often. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced banker who can show you the way. We asked some of our experienced lenders what they want customers to know prior to financing a home.

Mortgage Loan Officer Brooke Adams works at our Ross County Banking Center in Chillicothe where she provides borrowers with a checklist of items she will need to start their loan application.

She pointed out that there are many moving parts and pieces of any mortgage or construction loan process at the bank as well as through other individuals including appraisers, surveyors and the title company. Working within their individual timelines can create some challenges. “Each person involved in the many steps of the process have the same goal  –  to help the person close on their loan. However, in this big mortgage boom, we all have to be patient with turn-around times.”

Chad Meadows, a Mortgage Loan Officer at our Friendly Banking Center in Lancaster spoke specifically about the effort involved in building a home. “It’s always a pleasure to help customers realize their dream of building a home which will probably be their largest investment within their lifetime,” he said.

He suggests that customers speak with a lender prior to meeting with a builder to insure they are setting realistic financial expectations. “Realizing this dream and making it a reality requires coanstant communications between the homeowner, builder and lender. The continuity of this team is paramount for a successful project. It is most helpful to speak with a lender prior to meeting with the builder to accomplish realistic financial goals from the start.”

He elaborated on why this is important. “Items such as property taxes, insurance and monthly mortgage payments are a necessity to set realistic expectations for their dream home. This also helps the builder to save time and resources to effectively initiate the project on the right path. Accomplishing these few objectives in the beginning along with the team communicating consistently will make for a smooth and effortless construction project.”

Salt Creek Banking Center Senior Retail Lender Doug DeLong said that there is never a perfect time to take the leap but that there are practical reasons that make this the right time. “I would tell customers that now’s the time to do it! Rates have literally never been lower. With the costs of construction materials pretty high right now, the customer can more than make up for it with the extremely low interest rates.”

Still not sure if you’re ready to take the first step toward buying or building your next home?  Our lenders will be happy to answer your questions. “It is pure joy at the end of the day to watch a borrower achieve the dream of owning a home or buy that next home to grow their family.” Adams said.

Contact our Customer Service team at 1.800.542.5004 or contact a lender close to you!  

Your Dreams Matter To Us

At Vinton County National Bank, we have spent over 150 years helping customers reach for their dreams. It’s actually our favorite thing to do.

There’s nothing more fulfilling than helping a young person buy their first home, a family take their dream vacation, or to see eyes light up when a customer realizes their dream home is within reach.

But dreams can be lofty and it’s not always easy for individuals to know where to start. That’s ok because we have experienced, proven lenders who not only know where to start but who can also guide you down the road ahead.

There are few dreams bigger than building a house. Most customers have a floor plan, they have a vision of a big kitchen with a farm sink or a living room with just the right spot for the Christmas tree. Few are experienced with choosing a contractor or the hiccups that come with every home built.

We will guide you through this process because your dreams matter to us.

Ready to build? Now is a great time to start! Visit VCNBConstruction.com to get started.

Looking Back On A Year Of Giving

Looking back on 2020, we can say this year has been unlike any other we’ve seen in our 153 year history. This global pandemic has changed the way we do business, how we are entertained, how we interact with loved ones, and in countless other ways.

It has been challenging and scary for many who are suffering economically or because of their health. That’s why we have committed to working with our customers who have struggled due to income loss this year. We also continue supporting our communities in the best way we know how – through volunteerism and monetary donations.

Our employees log hundreds of hours volunteering in their communities every year and have continued to do so when safe this year as well. You’ll find them helping at food pantries, serving on boards and lending a hand at animal shelters. They give blood, are leaders in their churches, visit nursing homes and seek other ways to make a difference.

Our branches have donated nearly $300,000 to causes important to their communities. Those causes come in many forms. We have supported events like the drive-thru Pataskala Cookie Walk, a Chamber event that gave local families a socially distanced and fun way to welcome the holidays.

We bought livestock at county fairs, supporting the age old tradition of 4-H members learning useful skills and responsibility while caring for their animals.

We’ve donated to some big projects too. The Logan Theater project will provide local teens a place to go after school and a place for movies to roll and the arts to come alive in downtown Logan.

Donations were made to high school programs, libraries, and food pantries. In McArthur, we donated care packages of non-perishable food and snacks to be sent home with local kids when schools were closed.

We even gave away $2,020 to a graduating high school senior from each of the counties where we have a branch.

Supporting our local communities and people and the causes important to them is important to us. As we bid farewell to 2020, we look with hope for the new year ahead. From our bank family to yours, we wish you a new year that is happy, healthy and prosperous.

Make Deposits At The ATM

Need to make a quick deposit or get some cash on the go? You probably knew that you can get cash from the ATM but you can also deposit cash and checks at your local VCNB ATM. The ATMs at all of our branches have updated machines with advanced capabilities.

These new machines can read images. That means that the customer can insert cash and checks without an envelope. Just follow instructions on the screen to receive immediate credit for up to $500 per day. The remainder of the balance will be processed and credit will be given next business day if deposited before 2 p.m. and on the second business day if deposited after 2 p.m.

This service gives customers 24 hour access to deposit funds to their accounts without waiting in a drive-thru lane or making an appointment to visit a branch lobby.

While we are cleaning our ATMs, we do encourage customers to take precautions by using hand sanitizer and washing their hands as soon as possible after using the ATM.

We miss seeing our customers in the branches and are happy to serve you through the drive-thru. However, if you need to make an after-hours deposit or if you wish to practice greater social distancing than you find at the drive-thru, please remember that the ATM may be the right option for you.

VCNB Announces Plan For Reopening Branch Lobbies

We have some exciting news to share! We will begin reopening our lobbies for transactions, new account openings, loan inquires and other everyday banking on June 1, 2020. However, we will be taking extra safety precautions to keep our customers and our employees safe.

Here for You BadgeThe following branch lobbies will reopen on June 1, 2020:

McArthur
Lancaster (East Main Street)
Chillicothe (Main Street)
Canal Winchester
Ashville
Logan
Wilkesville (closed on Wednesdays)

The remainder of our branch lobbies will reopen for business on June 15, 2020.

Business as usual will look a little different when we reopen. Please read carefully so you know what to expect should you visit the branches after they reopen. Remember, the safety and the health of our customers and employees is always our first priority.

  • Masks: Our employees will be required to wear masks in areas where they are not able to maintain a 6 foot social distance or where a barrier is not installed between customer and employee. We strongly encourage all of our customers to wear masks when visiting our lobbies, for the safety and health of our employees and for other customers. Should you be unable to wear a mask due to a valid medical concern, please allow us to handle your transaction in a manner which keeps both you and the employee safe while maintaining distance. It may also be difficult for us to identify you properly while wearing a mask. Because of this, we ask that you please bring your identification with you when visiting a branch.
  • Limited Occupancy: Each branch will have their maximum occupancy posted on the door. Please read all signs posted on the doors before entering. We will do our best to have an employee at each door, directing traffic flow and assisting customers. Should the lobby be at maximum capacity, we may ask that you wait outside or in your car until a customer exits the building. We thank you for your patience when this occurs.
  • Maintaining a Social Distance: Each lobby will have proper 6 foot social distance stickers marking the floor. We ask that you maintain that distance when standing in line to see a teller at their window. In addition, we have installed plexiglass barriers and have some movable plexiglass shields in offices where maintaining social distancing may be of concern.
  • At-Risk Individuals: Those individuals that are the most at-risk may visit each branch lobby between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. During that time, only the at-risk population will be able to enter the branch lobby. The branches will open to the general population at 9:00 a.m.
  • Cleaning and Sanitation: The branch employees will conduct regular sanitation and cleaning throughout the business day. This will include wiping counter tops, door handles, pens and other high traffic areas. Our cleaning companies will conduct a deep cleaning and sanitation routine each night, ensuring that the branch is up to CDC cleanliness standards. We do ask that every customer sanitize their hands on the way in and on the way out of the branch lobby. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the branch.
  • Lobby Restrictions and Signs: Please be sure to review all signs posted on the doors before entering the branch lobby. Additionally, if you are feeling ill or have any symptoms of COVID-19 we ask that you do not enter the branch for the safety of others. You will notice that our branches will look different, with the furniture arranged to maintain a 6 foot social distance. We will not be providing beverages, food, lollipops, dog treats, etc. during this time to maintain a healthy standard.
  • Drive Thru, Technology and Appointments: While the branch lobbies are reopening, we still encourage our customers to conduct their banking business in the drive thru when possible or via “curbside service.” Additionally, the VCNB Mobile app and our Online Banking are available to conduct everyday business. Our network of over 32,000 surcharge-free ATMs through MoneyPass® will allow you to get cash when you need it. Our bankers and lenders will be available to customers by appointment as well.

We want to thank each and every customer who has been patient with us while we have made changes and have adapted to a new normal. We always strive to do the right thing for our customers, employees, shareholders and communities. We appreciate you! We miss our customers and hope to see you all soon . . . from 6 feet away of course!

 

Saving Money On Groceries

Money is tight in most households right now. With the kids home for three meals a day, many families have seen their grocery bills unexpectedly skyrocket. You want to feed your kids nutritious foods but you also don’t want to go broke doing it or spend all day in the kitchen. So what do you do?

Here for You BadgeWe don’t have all the answers for your unique circumstances but we have some ideas to help you brainstorm what will work in your house!

Meal plan and make a shopping list – Think of your meal plan as your road map through shopping and meal prep. Jot down what you want that week’s meals to look like. It’s best to base this off of what you already have and what’s on sale. From there you can start a shopping list to insure you buy everything you need.

Shop once – The more exposure you have to a store, the more money you are likely to spend. For example, you run in to pick up milk only to walk out with two bags full of extras. Do all your weekly shopping at once and avoid those extra trips.

Eat in season – Seasonal foods are cheaper and they’re typically more flavorful. Summer is a wonderful time for fresh, affordable foods like sweet corn, cucumbers, berries, tomatoes and melons.

Support your local farmers – Help a neighbor while feeding your family. You might be surprised at how much fresher, cheaper and more flavorful your meals are when food comes straight from the local field to the market. Farmers markets can also be a good source for eggs and other goods.

Buy frozen – If you can’t find or afford fresh meat and produce, hit the frozen section! The produce you find here is still good for you, often picked at peak and flash frozen. Frozen foods will keep for a long time if you don’t need them now.

Be flexible – Brand or store loyalty can be costly when you’re on a budget. If your kid only eats Heinz Ketchup with their chicken nuggets, we get it. But they might not notice the store brand french fries. If you only buy boneless skinless chicken, you might find that another cut of meat is just as good.

DIY – If you’re trying to save money on food, there’s no better way than to cook your own meals. That means reducing the take-out and most prepared foods from the grocery. That pretty little container of sliced berries is way more costly than slicing your own. Most frozen meals are convenient but they’re packed with sodium and often don’t stretch very far for the money. Frozen pancakes are convenient but it’s easy to whip up a batch of cheap homemade pancakes for the freezer. Don’t have time to cook every day? Take a few hours one day to prep some casseroles or meal kits for the freezer. Check out Pinterest or ask friends for favorite recipes.

Slash the snacks – Snack foods like chips, pop and little packaged cakes are so expensive. Try cutting back or offer alternatives. Keep a pitcher of Kool-Aid in the fridge and cut up a block of mozzarella in lieu of string cheese. Even if you don’t want to make something from scratch, a cake mix and can of icing are way cheaper per serving than a box of Ho Hos.

Take short cuts – Lots of folks swear by their Instant Pot or slow cooker. The Instant Pot allows for quick cooking. The slow cooker requires planning but is a good tool for making cheaper ingredients delicious.

Audit your grocery bill – Do you see trends in your spending? What’s the thing that costs the most or that feels like the biggest waste? There may be nothing you can do to reduce this expense but knowledge is half the battle and will help you understand how your family’s choices impact the budget.

What do you do to save money on groceries? Tell us in the comments below! We’re always looking for good ideas!

Resource Roundup: Free Fun For Kids

Schools have been closed for a while and many of you parents have made a great effort toward entertaining and educating your kids. We have some good news. Big name attractions and a few you probably haven’t heard of are making some resources available for free!

Read on for some resources we think your kids will enjoy and you may even like them too!Here for You Badge

The Kennedy Space Center is offering free science lessons about rocketry for kids and teens via Facebook Live! The videos are archived on their page or you can watch along live every day. Parents even have online access to activity sheets and experiments. There are sessions for young kids as well as high school aged students.

Does your older child dream of someday being a Disney Imagineer? Disney is now offering something called Imagineering in a Box, a free course that features 32 videos showcasing real Imagineers from around the world. They share their skills and passions and give some insight into the magic of Disney.

Closer to home, the folks at COSI are delivering family friendly videos and hands on science through videos on their website. You can follow them on Facebook or sign up for an email that provides a weekly digest of upcoming activities.

Even the Peanuts gang is getting in on the action, offering activities and fun for grades K- 8.Learn about space, celebrate spring, reinforce a positive mindset and focus on goal setting with Snoopy and the gang!

Are your kids readers? The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress invites kids and people of all ages to discover the books available on their website. Among other things you’ll find an interactive version of Aesop’s Fables as well as classic literature for all ages.

Why does soap make bubbles? Can a turtle live outside its shell? Does your child have a lot of questions? Mystery Doug has the answers! Sign up to receive a free weekly email that answers these questions and more!

Scholastic Learn At Home offers some free lessons to keep kids reading, thinking and learning. Find free resources for all ages as well as some tips for parents who are homeschooling for the first time!

When all else fails, who doesn’t like to color? Find hundreds of free nature themed coloring printables here!

There are tons of videos and websites out there now, all devoted to keeping youngsters engaged and learning while having fun. These are just a few. Do you have a favorite? Tell us about it in the comments!

We Are Here For You

These are challenging times for Americans. Whether you’re an essential employee, working from home, or not working at all, everyone has dilemmas ahead. Some of you are homeschooling your kids for the first time and need ways to keep them busy. Some of you are quarantined alone and need ways to keep up morale. Many of you are essential, working overtime, and fearful of what will happen if you get sick.

Here for You BadgeSome of you are struggling financially and in other ways.

We want you to know that we will be here for you no matter what the future holds. The wonderful thing about being a community bank is that we are able to quickly change with the times and adapt to the needs of our customers.

VCNB President Mark Erslan praised bank employees for how well they have adjusted in changing times. “I’m amazed at how quickly our employees have been able to adapt to this fluid situation. We’ve had a mix of employees working from home and in our limited access lobbies doing what we can for our customers. Whether we’re discussing options for payment relief or how to bank remotely or helping a customer refinance a mortgage without physically coming in the bank, our employees are working hard to adapt and do what they must to get the job done,” Erslan said. “We’ve been handling routine requests in new ways and our volume has been significant.   Our customers have been very understanding and patient with us as well.”

Our lobbies are available by appointment only and transactions are handled through the drive-thru, except in Jackson where they are practicing social distancing in the absence of a drive-thru. Some of our branches have made some small changes to their business hours as well. We are encouraging customers to take advantage of all the tools that allow them to bank and communicate with us from home. That’s for your safety and ours as we do our part to flatten the curve in our state.

With that in mind, we have been working to educate customers on the various ways they can safely do their bank business. For example, we recently wrote about the ins and outs of banking outside the branch  and about how the ATM can be used for more than accessing cash and account balances.

We have been interviewing our branch managers for a blog series called “Meet Your Banker.” It’s been fun telling their unique stories. It’s also been heartwarming to hear very similar messages from them all about how they love getting to know their customers and helping people.

As community bankers, we love people and we are committed to being here for you – not just when times are easy – but all the time.

That’s why we’re offering relief options for both personal and business customers. If you are experiencing financial difficulty related to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to ask for help. Simply call our Customer Service Team at 1.800.542.5004. They will be happy to connect you with the right person who can explain your options and help you best.

We look forward to the day things go back to normal and we are able to greet you in our lobbies. Meanwhile, we encourage you to stay safe wherever you are and know that VCNB is still here for you.

As always, thank you for your patience and for allowing us to be your community bank through this challenging time. Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to this blog to keep up to date with all the ways we are here for you and proud to be your community bank.