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.

 

 

 

 

Make Deposits At The ATM

ATM depositThink the ATM is just for withdrawing cash? Think again! You can also deposit cash and checks at your local VCNB ATM. We are in the process of updating the ATMs at all of our branches. This means that machines at some of our branches have more advanced capabilities than those scheduled to be upgraded.

Here’s the breakdown:

New machines are available in McArthur, Logan, Lancaster W. Fair, Pataskala, Circleville, Ashville, Laurelville, Commercial Point, Grove City, and Bremen. Here, the machine is able to read images. This means that the customer follows instructions on the screen and inserts cash and checks to be processed without an envelope. The customer will 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.

The branches in Jackson, Canal Winchester, Chillicothe and on E. Main Street in Lancaster are operating with older machines and scheduled for upgrades. This means that the customer places checks and cash into an envelope for deposit in the ATM. 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.

We are actively and regularly cleaning our ATMs. However, we do encourage customers to take precautions by using hand sanitizer and washing their hands as soon as possible after use.

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 a good option for you!

 

 

Banking Without Coming In

VCNB_V_CMYKWe have customers who have banked with us for years without coming into a branch more than a time or two. Want to know their secrets? We’re going to spend some time in the next couple of weeks doing a deep dive into how all of this works but for today, we’ll give you an overview. You’ve heard of thinking outside the box? We want you to think outside the bank!

Many of our customers receive their payroll, income tax returns, social security income, and unemployment income by direct deposit. This means they don’t wait for a check to arrive. Instead, the funds are automatically deposited into their bank account. No wait, no trip to the bank. It’s just there for them.

Customers who don’t come to the bank use their debit cards a lot and get their cash either at the ATM or at the check-out in the store. Since we have joined the MoneyPass® network, VCNB customers have access to a nationwide network of over 32,000 surcharge-free ATMs. That means, no matter where you go in the United States, you are likely near an ATM where the surcharges are free. Read more about that here.

Those customers make deposits using the ATM, Mobile Deposit on their phones, or even through Express Drop at the bank. Mobile Deposit takes checks and you’ll receive immediate credit for up to $1,000 per day if the deposit is made correctly. Checks and cash can be deposited at the ATM and through Express Drop.

These customers who prefer banking outside the branch also know they can apply for loans, open accounts and find many of their answers online. However, they also know how to reach us if they need us. They know that we’re just a phone call or online chat away.

As community bankers, we like people. We like to talk to our customers and get to know them. We like running into our customers at the ball game or in the store. Unfortunately, this period in our life calls for temporary changes and distance.

We 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 VCNB is here for you and proud to be your community bank.

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Community

together_edited

Our world has changed a lot in the last few weeks. Who knew that concepts like social distancing and press conferences by the governor would be the thing everyone is talking about today? While non essential workers have been sent home and many essential employees are putting in extra hours, one thing hasn’t changed – we are still a community.

All of us here at VCNB are proud to work for a community bank and to be an essential part of your lives. We miss having customers in our lobbies and look forward to the day that it’s safe to return to business as usual. Meanwhile, we’ve been thinking of ways to be positively involved in our communities while maintaining a safe distance.

Here’s some inspiration but we bet you have more ideas!

Phone a friend – Social distance doesn’t mean social isolation. You may not be able to go visit your neighbor but you can give them a ring to chat a while. Connect with friends who you haven’t seen or call that cousin you’ve been missing at reunions. Hearing a friendly voice will brighten your day!

Support those restaurants – Many of our restaurants are trying to stay open and to keep their employees at work. You can’t dine in but you can order carryout or hit the drive-thru. Many are even doing curbside service so you don’t have to leave your car!

Shop local – We encourage you to stay home. However, if you do need to venture out for supplies, be sure to support the businesses in your neighborhood. Do you have a favorite small business that doesn’t sell essential goods? Do they have a website? Can you contact them for a gift card? Support them today so they’ll be here for you later.

Help others – Many people are hurting today. Between job losses and increased costs for childcare, lots of our neighbors could use a helping hand. If you’re in a position to help there are many ways – donate to a food pantry, pick up groceries for an elderly person, or share your supplies with the mom who is at home with her kiddos all day. Mowing season will be here soon. Send your teens to do yard work for a disabled neighbor. Look around and see who could use a boost!

Be nice to others – Lots of people you see working in public are tired and they are scared that they’ll take germs home to those they love. Smile, be patient, be kind. We’re all in this together!

Whatever you do, be sure to practice safe social distancing so that you and everyone around you can stay healthy. Remember – spread cheer, not germs!

 

COVID-19 Update: We’re Here For You

A lot has happened in the last few weeks and here at VCNB we have been working to stay on top of the latest developments. Our goal every day is to provide our customers with the services you need and deserve while keeping our employees and all of you as safe as possible.

As you know, the Ohio Department of Health has issued a Stay at Home mandate that is effective through April 6. Banks are a vital part of our country’s infrastructure and we offer important services to you. At this time, our lobbies are currently closed, but our drive-thrus are still open. In order to minimize face to face contact, we are encouraging our customers to use our online banking, mobile banking and local branch ATMs and drive thrus. We realize that may not always be possible, so we are allowing customers into our lobbies by appointment only in order to limit the face-to-face exposure for both our customers and employees. Should you need to make an appointment, please contact your local branch or call 800.542.5004. We appreciate our customers patience with us during this time.

We are taking steps to keep the drive-thru tubes and ATM keypads clean but we still encourage you to keep hand sanitizer in your car as a precaution.

Safety for our people is a priority that we take most seriously. That’s why we have been proactive in practicing social distancing and in encouraging employees to keep work areas, common employee areas, and public spaces as clean as possible.

Many of our employees must report to the office but there are a lot who can telecommute and we are actively deploying technology necessary for them to do so. Meanwhile, we have also eliminated travel among our branches and are encouraging conference calls or web meetings instead.

We know that many of you are experiencing financial hardship and uncertainty related to COVID-19. With that in mind, we do have some relief options available to personal and commercial customers. If you think you may need help, do not hesitate to ask. Simply call our Customer Service Team at 1.800.542.5004 and they will direct you to the banker who can best help your individual situation.

No matter what you do, be sure to wash your hands often and don’t touch your face after handling anything in public. If you’re on the front lines working in vital areas like farming, retail sales, the food industry, trucking, health care, first response, or one of the many other areas that’s keeping our state going, we thank you. Be safe and take care of yourself.

Please know that social distancing isn’t the same as social isolation. Your bankers are still here for you. Have a question for your banker? Call us at 1.800.542.5004 or chat with us from our website. Member FDIC.

COVID-19 Update: Working To Serve You

VCNB_V_CMYKPart of being a community bank is being a good neighbor and steward of the communities where we do business. That’s why we have taken steps to protect our employees, customers and neighbors against the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, we made the very difficult decision to close lobbies and to direct all customers to our drive-thru. Our customers who require in-lobby assistance can complete their business simply by calling to discuss options or to make an appointment. Call your local branch or our Customer Service Team at 1.800.542.5004.

Much of your business can be completed online or with VCNB Mobile. You can access accounts, transfer funds, open accounts, and apply for a loan online. You can even deposit a check using the mobile app and skip the post office using Online Bill Pay.

Our Customer Service Team is also waiting for your calls at 1.800.542.5004 and prepared to chat online, a service available from the homepage of our website.

We often say that we have seen it all in our 153 year history.  However, none of us can recall a time that we’ve limited lobby access to customers at our branches for a pandemic. Despite the uncertainty you may be feeling, we can assure you that your money is safe in the bank and that we’ll be here for you whenever you need us.

Relief Options
We understand that many of our customers will face financial uncertainty due to the events surrounding this pandemic. VCNB will offer some relief options and will be happy to discuss with you all your individual needs and concerns. If you are experiencing hardship caused by COVID-19, please call our Customer Service Team at 1.800.542.5004. They can direct you to the right person to discuss relief options available regarding your particular situation.

Banking Options
Online Banking – Many of our customers already choose to bank online with us every day. With Online Banking, you can open accounts, apply for loans, transfer funds, pay bills, and do much more. If you haven’t used it before, click here to view a tutorial and to register for Online Banking today.

VCNB Mobile – Carry the bank with you in your pocket!  Download this mobile app from the app store on your mobile device. Here you can pay bills, transfer funds, check balances, open an account and even deposit a check using your camera’s device.

Mobile Deposit – Customers who use VCNB Mobile can deposit a check from anywhere in the world by using the camera on their mobile device.  Want instructions? Click here! It’s a free service!

Telebanc – Our Telebanc telephone service is also available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simply call 1-800-317-5990 and you’ll have access to all of your accounts at your fingertips.

By Appointment – We have closed lobby doors to slow spread of the virus. However, you can still access in-lobby services if you require them. Simply call your local branch or our Customer Service Team at 1.800.542.5004 to discuss your options.  You will still receive the same great service you have come to expect from your neighborhood VCNB branch. We just have to be smart about how we serve you until this threat has passed.

Scams
Sadly, times of crisis and hardship often bring out the worst in people. Be aware of potential scams. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is and always question the motives of someone trying to gain access to your home or who is asking for money.

We know these are uncertain times but please understand we are still open and here for you. Our core values guide us as we attempt to always do the right thing, to honor the relationships we have with our customers, and to be forward thinking in how we offer you the best service possible.

We will continue to monitor the advice given by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health as well as the CDC. Please continue to look here for the latest news on our bank and how we are working to serve you through the challenges to come.