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.
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 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.”
There’s nothing worse than the stress of last minute holiday shopping. Why not start preparing now so you can enjoy the holiday season without stress later? After all, Christmas shouldn’t be defined by crowded malls, shipping worries and hassle. It should be about time with the people who matter most to you and the things you love about the season.
What You Can Do Now
Gather Wish Lists – Ask your kids and spouse what they want for Christmas. Ask them to write it down or send you links now. Begin to brainstorm gifts for other family members, the mail carrier and coworkers.
Make A Game Plan – Start by making a list of all you need to buy and do. We all think about gifts but what about wrapping paper, tape, bows, cards and stamps? That favorite box of Christmas chocolates that you order from the local candy shop? Write it all down and start prioritizing. You can buy wrapping paper almost anywhere but your child’s one request may need to be ordered now to guarantee Christmas delivery.
Just Do It – Set aside some time to shop. Make a date with a friend to knock it all out on a Saturday and make it a fun day. Instead of scrolling endlessly on social media, use your downtime to order gifts. Spend your lunch break browsing the cute small business down the street for unique gifts that you won’t find in a big box store.
Set A Deadline – Make it a priority to have the bulk of your shopping done before Thanksgiving. If you love Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, you can still go pick up some things but there won’t be so much pressure to find the right gifts amidst the crowds.
What To Do Later
You may be surprised to learn how fun the holidays can be when you enter December with the shopping under control. You may have more time to spend with loved ones or to enjoy some me time. Here are some ways to use all that free time and celebrate the season:
Turn up the Christmas carols, make some hot chocolate and wrap gifts.
Bake cookies! Who doesn’t love warm cookies?
Attend a holiday event like a church service, play or school concert.
Load up the family in the car and drive the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.
Decorate! Brighten your own neighborhood with a few lights and decorations.
Gather the family or some friends for game night, a holiday movie marathon or a potluck.
Brighten someone else’s season. Visit an elderly neighbor and take them a plate of food or a tin of cookies.
The list of ways to observe the festive nature of December is endless but you may also wish to simply enjoy quiet evenings at home. Most importantly, you can sit back and relax, knowing that you won’t be waiting for that last gift to arrive on Christmas Eve.
Being engaged and aware of what is happening in your financial life is the most effective way to improve your personal finances. We have some tips to help you be more mindful of your finances and how your VCNB account tools can help!
First: Know Your Income and Commitments
It is imperative to know how much money comes in every month and where it’s going. The best way to do this is to gather up pay stubs and other income documents. Start by adding up your income. Then make a list of all your expenses and add them up to see how much you have going out every month to create a basic budget. Read our Budgeting 101 article to get started!
Next Step: Get the Right Tools
VCNB offers account holders some user-friendly tools that will make life easier. From checking your balance and paying bills online to turning off your debit card in our mobile app, there are a number of tools for keeping tabs on your finances. Many customers especially love Account Alerts which allow them to receive a text or email for things like when a loan payment is due or each time their debit card has been used. You can even set an alert for when your account drops below a certain balance. Click here to learn more about how the leading technology offered at VCNB can help your financial life!
You’ll also want to review your credit report for accuracy. Download your credit report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. This document will help you spot errors in your credit history which could impact your credit rating as well as your ability to borrow money, rent a home, qualify for auto insurance or even get a job.
As you’re creating your budget, be sure to put in place some maintenance routines. Have a special place for bills that need attention, automate what you can, and designate a time to pay bills and check balances. While you’re at it, be sure to file or scan any paperwork you need to keep.
These are some basic first steps that everyone should take on the path to financial awareness. Here are a few more.
If you know that you spend six hundred dollars on Christmas every year, don’t wait until the holidays and rack up credit card debt. Instead, open a VCNB Christmas Club account to have automatic transfers made from your account into a Christmas Club every two weeks.
Get into the mindset that you will think before you buy and curb those impulse purchases to save strain on your budget. Start thinking about what you want your life to look like and how money can help you strive toward those goals.
Most of all, be mindful and start thinking about how you can put your personal finances to work for you.
Sandy Wachenschwanz was just a teenager when she took her first job in the banking industry. Forty two years later, she has worked in several aspects of local banks and recently transitioned into a new one here at VCNB. She is the bank’s newest Retail Lender in our McArthur location.
Sandy began her career serving in the Operations Department of a bank in Athens where she was a jack-of-all trades in the days before computers. “We did everything by hand. Returned checks, wires, balancing the general ledger. It was all done manually,” she recalled as she reminisced about the reasons she fell in love with banking. “I liked the logic of it all and solving problems,” she said.
After nineteen years in that department she moved into mortgage lending and also assisted commercial processors with some duties. She moved up the ladder to work as a branch assistant manager while continuing to hone her mortgage lending skills. Along the way she learned well all sides of banking and the ways banks can help customers.
Sandy came to VCNB’s McArthur location in 2019 as branch Assistant Manager but was pleased this year to move back into her lending roots as a Retail Lender. “I really enjoy helping people achieve their goals and helping people figure out their finances so they can make their lives better. That’s a lot of fun and something I have always enjoyed,” she explained.
She credits having good teachers over the years, other bankers who led by example and helped her be a better lender. The Albany area resident has three children and three step-children. She and her husband Robert enjoy their nine grandchildren and the benefits of having a big family. She is actively involved in her church as a Sunday School teacher and Church Secretary.
“I’m happy to be here in McArthur helping local people achieve their dreams and build better lives. I invite anyone seeking a loan or who is not sure where to start to get in touch so we can talk,” she said.
Whether you are a spender or a saver, one of the scariest words in the English language is the word BUDGET. Where do you start? Is it hard to make one? What’s it really meant to accomplish? More importantly, how do you stick to a budget?
First, take a deep breath and know that there is nothing scarier than not knowing what happens to all your money. Your budget is just a tool to help you determine where your money goes. It’s that simple.
The best way to get started is to work on one month at a time.
Before you begin
Choose your tools – You need to decide if you want your budget to be digital, say in a budgeting app or an Excel spreadsheet, or if you’re going old school with paper and pen. There’s no right answer to this. Some people prefer the pretty graphs and automated math features found in an app. Others find it grounding to sit down with a piece of paper and a calculator.
Gather documentation – To make an effective budget, you must know how much you make and how much you spend. So take the time to gather up all your bills including utilities, rent or mortgage, car payments, insurances, daycare bills, tuition payments, and anything else you pay. Do you have things that you pay less than monthly? You’ll need to plan for annual property taxes or quarterly car insurance too.
Make a list – Make a list of every bill you will pay this month, estimate the cost and add it all up. Now add up your income and take a long, hard look at how much money is left after you pay your bills.
Non-bills – What else do you buy each month? You will need groceries and gas for the car. Do you have a gym membership? What about clothes, movies, eating out and other fun purchases? Don’t forget about birthdays, vacations and holiday gifts. Make a list of everything you spend money on. Are there big purchases that you need to save for every month? Do you even know how much you spend on these things? Look back through your credit card and bank statements to get an honest feel for how much you’re really spending on these extras
Pay yourself –Saving money is important so don’t forget to save for retirement and emergencies. Most Americans are woefully unprepared for even a $500 emergency but tucking away a little each pay will help you be ready.
Add it up – Take a moment to add up all these bills, discretionary spending and saving. How does it look? Is your spending outpacing your income? Are you incurring credit card debt for clothes, dining out and vacations? This can be a sobering moment in the budgeting process and will determine your next steps.
The reckoning – How do you feel about what you’ve learned so far? Did you realize you were spending so much on food? Do you see room for cutting expenses? Are you pleased with where you are? For most first time budgeters, there is something shocking about this complete snapshot of their spending habits. Once you reach this point in the process, it may be time to go back and start making some edits.
Working the puzzle – Most Americans are living at or above their means. If this is the case for you, building an effective budget will be like working a puzzle. You may need to look at cutting some costs to make that puzzle fit together more easily.
Looking ahead – If you have large quarterly or annual expenses to plan for, it’s smart to look ahead and consider the best ways to do that. Often, the easiest thing is to budget a little every month and then use automatic transfers from your checking to savings so that you’re not bearing the burden all at once.
Every month – You will need a budget for every month. Eventually, you may find that it’s easy to simply copy last month’s budget with some small changes while other months require more work. It’s often most effective to budget an entire quarter at once so that you get a broader view of your needs.
The Hard Part
The hardest part to any budget is sticking to it. It’s easy to get carried away on vacation or to forget all about it when the kids need shoes. That’s why it’s important to check in with your budget before making purchases and to make needed adjustments. Remember, your budget isn’t carved in stone. It’s a living, breathing document that is most effective when it’s kept updated and when it’s used.
Are you ready to get started with a budget that will put your money to work for you? There’s no better time to start than today!
It’s a new year and soon to be a fresh start for Debbie Pickett who will retire tomorrow. She joined the bank family nearly twenty years ago when she came in to do some business and was invited to apply for a job. That was twenty years and a few job titles ago. While she still enjoys her job, she says it is time to go.
“I had it in my mind that I would retired at 65 and I’m almost there,” she said. “After all, you have to weigh how long you want to work with what you want to do when you finally retire and have time to do the things you enjoy.”
Debbie started out as a teller at the Friendly Bremen Banking Center on West Fair in Lancaster. Since that beginning in 2001, she has taken on other new and challenging positions both on the front line and behind the scenes. “Friendships grew with staff and customers. I have deep respect for those working on the front line. I became the receptionist there before moving to the East Main branch as Ned Hinton’s processor for several years. I learned so much from different seasoned employees which helped me later as I was promoted to a loan officer.”
She went on to serve as Branch Manager at our West Fair location but had developed a curiosity about the bank’s Indirect Department.
“I thought it was interesting, working with all our dealers. I was able to join the department full time in 2015 and have enjoyed working with our dealerships to grow our relationships for auto and other financing opportunities,” she recalled. “I like the relationship that we build with our dealers that provide trust and loyalty to us which in turn provides us with new customers to offer our services to. They choose to do business with us from our personal attention and reputation of good service.”
Before joining the bank family, Debbie had a varied career that started when she was a young car hop at Kenny’s, a popular hangout on Memorial Drive before she went into office supplies and even funeral planning. “I have always worked. It’s exciting to think I won’t have to anymore but it’s strange at the same time. What will it be like to not get up and go to work for someone else?”
The good news is that Debbie has a lot to keep her busy. She has been saving projects for around the house and especially looks forward to having more time with family including her husband Mark, a daughter, a son, and grandkids.
“I often work after hours and on Saturdays so it will be wonderful to have more free time when the kids are not in school. I won’t have to wait for a day off to plan time with them. It’s also important to be available for my little granddaughters to come over to visit and to spend time at my grandsons’ sporting events. Being involved in their lives means a lot to me.”
Debbie has worked from home for much of the last year and says this time at home has aided in the transition to retirement. “I miss spending time at the office and the people I see there. But maybe having this separation from the office will make the shift to retirement a little easier,” she said. “I have developed friendships with so many of my coworkers. I’m sure to miss all those people.”
She expects to make a cake with her family to celebrate tomorrow night. “Every time we make a cake lately, my granddaughters want to sing the Happy Birthday song. I can hear them changing the words to ‘Happy Retirement to you!” she laughed.
“I have a lot to look forward to and I’m going to enjoy just enjoying life!”
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.
The American Bankers Association sponsors Get Smart About Credit Day every October to help consumers understand the role that credit plays in their life and how to smartly build good credit. Many people don’t realize that their credit score impacts their ability to rent an apartment, buy affordable car insurance and even find employment. Here’s a refresher on credit!
What is a credit score? A credit score is a number that represents a person’s creditworthiness. The higher the score, the better a consumer looks to potential lenders.
Why is it important? Your credit score and credit history affect a number of practical areas of your life. Credit worthiness determines what loans you qualify for and the interest rate you pay. Typically, the higher your credit score, the better your interest rate. It can also impact your ability to rent a home, qualify for a credit card, buy a car, get good car insurance rates or even get certain kinds of jobs. In other words, a good credit score can save you money and even improve your life!
What Factors Affect Your Credit Score? – Payment history, including the number and severity of late payments. – Your Credit utilization rate which is the amount of revolving credit you are using divided by the total amount of revolving credit you have available. A lower credit utilization rate shows you are using less credit than is available to you. – Type, number and age of credit accounts. – Total amount of debt. – Bankruptcy. – How many credit accounts you’ve recently opened. – Number of inquiries for your credit report.
What is a good credit score? Excellent 800-850 Very Good 740-799 Good 670-739 Fair 580-669 Very Poor 300-579
How is my credit reported? Your credit is reported to three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Any time you apply for a credit card or loan, apply for each insurance, pay a bill late or on time, or pay off a line of credit, this information is reported to become part of your credit report. Visit a reputable site like http://www.annualreport.com to obtain your free annual credit report. Review your report for accuracy by making sure that you are familiar with every account listed and that the information is correct.
How do I improve my credit score if I have already made mistakes? – Pay your bills on time. – If you have missed payments, get current and stay current. – Avoid being sent to collections because a collection account will stay on your credit report for seven years. – Keep balances low on credit cards. – Make a budget and a plan to pay off your debt.
Having good credit is important but building good credit doesn’t have to be hard for the average person. Simply show that you can handle your debts responsibly and your score will naturally grow.
Our bankers spend a lot of time in local schools during the spring. We talk to little kids about spending and saving money and to high school kids about topics important to them. As they’re about to venture out on their own we give them an overview of real world money topics like how to open a checking account, how to apply for a loan, and what it takes to build good credit.
We can’t go to the classrooms so we wanted to bring the credit talk to the blog! Since every consumer needs credit for a variety of reasons, this is helpful information for everyone – not just those high school students!
What is a credit score?
A credit score is numerical summary of a person’s credit worthiness. It takes into account several factors including length of credit history, outstanding debt, pursuit of new credit, types of credit in use, and payment history. The higher your score, the better your credit.
Why do I need good credit?
Your credit score will be considered when you apply for a loan or a credit card. Many employers look at your credit as do insurance companies, landlords, and even cell phone companies. In other words, your ability to get a cell phone, rent an apartment, get a credit card, insure your home, start a new job or afford a loan for a car is tied to your use of credit. In the world of borrowing money, someone with excellent credit may qualify for a lower interest rate than a customer with good or acceptable credit. Good credit can literally save a customer hundreds if not thousands of dollars in their lifetime.
How can I improve my credit?
– Pay your bills in full and on time every month.
– Use 25% or less of your available credit. In other words, if your credit
limit is $10,000, carry a no more than $2,500 of debt.
– Maintain steady employment. You will be perceived as being reliable and
better able to pay bills if you are able to hold down a steady job.
What negatively impacts my credit?
– Late or missed payments.
– Using more than 80% of your available credit.
– Liens or foreclosures.
– Periods of unemployment.
– Too many requests for new lines of credit.
How do I establish good credit and keep it that way?
– Pay your bills, on time every month.
– Open a credit card and pay it off every month, or keep a very low manageable
– Do not open too many credit cards or credit accounts at one time.
– Avoid using the mantra “I’ll pay it off later” as a crutch for going into
debt for things you cannot afford.
– When it comes to credit cards, only charge things you can afford.
– Only apply for loans where the payment is manageable using your current
– Do not stretch your budget too thin. Ask yourself, could I afford this car
loan if I lost my job or got sick and couldn’t work?
What is a good credit score?
740 – 850 Excellent Credit
680 – 740 Good Credit
620 – 680 Acceptable Credit
550 – 620 Subprime Credit
300 – 550 Poor Credit
Who tracks my credit?
Your use of credit is reported to three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Each time you pay a bill, apply for insurance, change jobs, or exceed your credit card limit, that information becomes part of the permanent record known as your credit report. You are advised to request a free credit report annually through www.annualreport.com. This report is a snapshot of your credit worthiness. It is important review regularly for accuracy.