West Fair Branch Remains Open Through Renovations

Our branch on West Fair Avenue in Lancaster is undergoing an expansion and renovation project and we couldn’t be more excited.

This project is a direct result of strategic planning that was done by bank leaders and is part of an effort to focus on transforming VCNB branches to meet the needs of customers. EVP of Marketing Audra Johnson explained the purpose behind this work. “Our goal is to update many of our branches in the next few years, not only in look, but in technology and in convenience as well. We want our customers to feel comfortable in our branches, but also to feel like they leave knowing they received excellent service and the resources they need for a better financial future,” Johnson explained.

The West Fair Avenue expansion and renovation will include the rerouting of drive-thru lanes and changes in the customer parking area. A new addition to the building will be constructed to include a new employee lounge and employee restrooms. While the expanded area will not be open to customers, per se, teams of employees that are essential to the success of the bank will be moving their offices to this new space.

“Customers will not be conducting their transactions or meeting with their personal banker behind the doors of the expansion, but rest assured that the space will be put to good use. We are starting to outgrow many of our branches and also our operations centers. This is a great problem to have because it means we’re growing, we’re employing more people and we’re ensuring we will be there for our customers in the long run,” Johnson said.

In addition to the expanded square footage, the building will receive some cosmetic upgrades as well as changes to the way customers and employees interact. A new roof and face lift to interior design and décor are in the works. More importantly, there will be a new style of employee office meant to create more privacy as well as new teller pod stations instead of the traditional teller line. Finally, the lobby will be outfitted with new technology that will allow customers to interact with the bank’s online and mobile platforms inside the branch.

“To say that I am excited about the upgrades we are making is an understatement. We have a mission to be the best for our customers, shareholders and employees. This is just another step toward upholding that mission,” Johnson concluded.

Customers should rest assured that this office will remain open during construction. “It’s business as usual at our West Fair Avenue office. Our staff there is ready to assist you with all of your banking needs.”

 

Celebrating Success: Stout Graduates From Stonier

Cassie Stonier Class 2018
Cassie Stonier 2018The VCNB Family has a reason to celebrate!

VCNB Regional Retail Manager Cassie Stout recently graduated from the American Bankers Association (ABA) Stonier Graduate School of Banking, following in the footsteps of countless VCNB leaders who completed this challenging piece of their banking education.

Stonier is an elite program for the nation’s best and brightest bankers. The three year program prepares future industry leaders with curriculum covering a wide variety of industry topics. Taught at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia, the program also provides a series of leadership sessions.

Stout explained that she has been completing off-site work for the program for the last three years. Then one week a year the class convenes at the Wharton School in Philadelphia for an intense period of classes and networking. “They cram a lot into those weeks we are there. It’s a very intensive week we spend there every year,” she explained. She indicated that students choose from a catalog of banking courses and are encouraged to select those that are most appropriate for their financial institution.

They also take Wharton School leadership classes that are taught by Wharton professors. While they aren’t specific to banking, they teach skills useful in all lines of business. Wharton is widely regarded as one of the world’s top institutions for business education and the Stonier School attracts bankers from all over the country and around the world.

“I have learned a lot about banking and about bank management through this process,” she said before naming some of the topics she learned about and how they apply to her role at VCNB. She also praised the connections she has made through Stonier and the efforts made to pair bankers with others who are from similar institutions but not from competing institutions. “They are very selective in how they pair bankers so in the end you have a nice network of bankers you can call on to bounce an idea off of or to just have someone to talk with.”

The class of approximately 240 graduated on June 14 with a Stonier diploma and a Wharton leadership certificate.

She indicated that she has already put to good use some things that she learned at Stonier on both special projects and on daily tasks. In fact, just last week she used a Wharton exercise during a meeting with the branch managers who she supervises.

Stout began her career with VCNB in 2006. Many customers will remember her as the Branch Manager at our Ross County Banking Center on Main Street in Chillicothe. Today she serves the bank in a different kind of role, overseeing managers of branches in Vinton, Hocking, Jackson and Ross counties.

“I am grateful for the opportunity and appreciate that the bank gave me this opportunity,” she said.

VCNB Head of Retail Brenda Doles expressed pride in Cassie’s accomplishments both at the bank and at Stonier. “I am so very proud of Cassie. When she sets her sights on a goal she can accomplish anything,” Doles said. “She truly manages her time. Through all of this she managed her branches, she managed her personal life, she managed her course work without missing a step and without ever letting anyone down. She’s someone I hope will go far for us.”

AEP Recognizes VCNB Improvements

VCNB was recognized earlier this year by AEP Ohio for their work to improve energy efficiency and environmental impact at several bank branches. This was a result of a lighting project which has made work spaces lighter and brighter and that will save the bank money over time.

New lighting was installed at offices in McArthur, Circleville, Grove City, Chillicothe, Bremen and at one Lancaster location.

As a result of this project, the bank will save 61,868 kWh or 47.4 tons of CO2 annually. This is equivalent to:

– Ten cars off the road per year
– Annual C02 generation of five single family homes
– 1,228 tree seedlings grown for ten years.

According to AEP Ohio, commercial buildings account for nearly one-fifth of the total energy used and one-third of end use electricity. They point out that the benefits of improved building energy efficiency and lowered energy costs are widely recognized and they commended VCNB for working to be part of this movement through their savings incentives programs for businesses.

VCNB Says Farewell To Longtime Employee

 

Sandy Bates Retires 2017 croppedA longtime familiar face at the Depot Drive Thru in McArthur will soon retire. Sandy Bates, a 33 year employee of Vinton County National Bank will retire this Friday.

Even on a slow day, scores of vehicles line up in Sandy’s lane to be waited on by the friendly woman who seems to always wear a smile. She asks customers about their kids, talks about the car they just bought and passes out dog bones to customers of the canine variety. Often times she knows what the customer wants before they even ask.

She’s recently begun telling regulars that she won’t be with the bank much longer. “I retire in eight days” she exclaimed to one regular customer.  “One man seemed a little upset when I told him I was leaving. I didn’t even know him that well so I was kind of surprised,” she explained.

Sandy began her career at the bank in the Bookkeeping Department. “Bookkeeping wasn’t quite what I thought it was,” she offered with a laugh. “I filed checks all day, every day! I worked at that quite a while before I went to Mr. (Bob) Will and asked to do something else.”

She has worked as a teller since, spending some time in the bank lobby but most of her career in the Depot. “I have enjoyed it here. It’s nice and quiet here and I feel close to the customer waiting on them here,” she said. “I get to see their kids and their animals and a lot of things I would miss in the lobby. Little kids will talk to me, dogs know they’re going to get a bone. I’ve seen people grow from car seats into parents.”

It can be a stressful job at times, especially on busy days. However, Sandy said she received some very good advice from another VCNB retiree who trained her. “Ruth Molihan always said that the customer in front of you is the most important person right now. I’ve always made that my policy and I think it’s a good one,” Sandy said.

She reminisced about many of the changes in bank personnel and in changes to banking and society that have taken place over the years. “I started out filing checks all day and now you just don’t see that many checks,” she said. She also expressed great respect for late VCNB President Bob Will who she said “was quite the visionary” for his early adaption of new technologies.

Sandy said that her retirement is bittersweet. “I have enjoyed working here and am sad to leave but a little happy too. I’ll miss the customers and the people I work with but it’s a good time to go while I still have my health and can get out and enjoy life.”

She looks forward to spending more time with family and is especially excited to spend more time with her grandchildren.

McArthur Branch Manager Jane Nickels said that Sandy’s absence will be felt by the bank and by her customers. “Once the customers find out she’s going to be gone, many will be very disappointed. That first lane is always lined up when the second lane has no one in it because Sandy tends to be everyone’s favorite,” Jane said. “The drive thru seems to be her niche. We’ve asked her to come into the lobby before but she enjoys the challenge and seems to genuinely enjoy how busy she is with her customers at the drive thru.”

Jane complimented Sandy’s professionalism, noting that at the age of 79 she still works every day in high heels. “She’s a lady. She’s a lady who cares about her customers, who has built relationships with her customers. We wish her the best but her absence will be a loss to the customers and to the bank.”

Friday will be Sandy’s last day on the job. The entire bank family wishes her a long and happy retirement!

VCNB Opens New Jackson County Office

Jackson Office October 2017

We are thrilled to say that we have an office in Jackson! The Jackson County Banking Center is now open for business at 920 Veterans Drive in Jackson.

VCNB has operated a loan production office at this address since 2016. Bolstered by the enthusiastic support of customers who wished to have a more extensive relationship with VCNB, Bank President Ron Collins said the choice was clear. “We were seeing more and more customers from Jackson County who wanted to bank with us and we wanted to open an office that is convenient for them,” Collins said. “Our roots are in southern Ohio and we are very excited to be in Jackson.”

This office employs local bankers who know Jackson County and who will are excited to serve their neighbors and the entire community. The staff includes Branch Manager Josh Palmer, Dale Massie, Darrell Boggs, Fred Wright, Jordan Stepp, Kelly Halley and Laura Ellenberger.

Many Jackson Countians are familiar with VCNB and have done business with the bank which was founded in McArthur in 1867. The bank now operates seventeen offices, embracing the values and identity of each community where it does business. While the bank branches identify with different names, such as Jackson County Banking Center, all branches are part of the VCNB Financial Family and customers can do business anywhere they see the bank logo.

The new Jackson branch has a walk up ATM, night deposit access and courteous staff who can help with all their banking needs, including loans and deposit products. Customers can learn more and even open accounts online at VCNBfamily.com. The community is invited to stop by the bank to meet the staff and see the newly remodeled facility.

Stop by and have coffee and snacks with your bankers Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. We’ll also have a drawing for $150 cash.

We would love to meet our neighbors so stop by and say hello!

VCNB Employee Celebrates New Book Release

Chat with VCNB employee Nicole Scott and you can easily see that her life philosophy is summed up in the dedication of her new book. The dedication of “Replacing Angels: When The Smoke Clears” was written to her children: “May you always aim high, stand strong, dream big and live every day with purpose.”

Nicole Scott

VCNB employee Nicole Scott holds up her new book “Replacing Angels: When The Smoke Clears.” It is available for purchase on Amazon and twenty percent of the profits on each book sold in September 2017 will be donated to a VCNB coworker who recently suffered a house fire. 

Nicole has been with the VCNB Financial Family for almost nine years, working most of that time in the bank’s Operations Department. Hustling behind the scenes with a focus on IRA and HSA administration, Nicole has endeared herself to many coworkers with her professional expertise and true passion for life. What many people don’t know is that she is a talented writer devoted to telling a meaningful story.

Nicole said that she writes to inspire people. “This is a story about loss and love and how it’s possible to rebuild and move on even after we have faced the worst. Most of us, in our lives, have been in a place where we thought we couldn’t get up and keep going. I know I certainly have,” Nicole explained. “As corny as it sounds, I think love makes all things possible.”

The journey to publishing this book was a long one. She began writing in 2012, just a year after publishing “Intuition,” a novel aimed at a teenage female reader. “I started writing this one for a somewhat older female reader, hoping to create something that would make the reader feel something.”

She wrote about three fourths of the book before life got in the way of finishing it. The mother of three said that she left it for a period of years. During that time, Nicole’s family experienced a series of tragedies including an accident that left Nicole’s own well-being in the balance. With an uncertain prognosis and too much time to think, she contemplated all the things she hadn’t done with her life.

Finishing the book was on that bucket list.

While still healing from surgery, Nicole set to work finishing her book. “I had a much deeper grasp of loss and grief. I had a better sense of who I am and what I most wanted to communicate.”

Nicole's book coverIt was published in August, just one day before another member of the VCNB family lost his home to fire. Nicole saw the aftermath of the fire and has felt drawn to help this coworker who she holds in high regard.

That’s why, through the month of September, she has committed to donate twenty percent of the proceeds of every book she sells to this coworker who is recovering from his own loss. “It’s just a terrible thing to suffer through and I want to help in any small way that I can,” she said. “You spend so much time with your work family. I definitely think of the VCNB family as my own. That probably sounds silly to some people but I think that’s the way it should be. And the VCNB family has been good to me over the years. I want to do this for someone else.”

Nicole says she has a lot to be thankful for and is excited to soon begin a new role with the bank family. She is now training to be a Retail Banker and expects to shortly be working at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Bremen.

Find Nicole’s book “Replacing Angels: When The Smoke Clears” on Amazon.  

Celebrating 150 Years and Counting

Big Flag

It isn’t every day that a bank celebrates a big milestone anniversary like the big 1-5-0 so we threw ourselves a big party earlier this month. If you attended the festivities, we thank you for being part of our celebration. We can’t tell you what it meant to have so many of our customers and friends come out to support us.

When we started planning our festivities, we knew we didn’t want it to be all about us. We’re a community bank so we wanted to do something for the community that gave us our start. Since we’re an all American company, we chose to partner with the folks who stage our July 4th celebration and to give their event a little boost.

The results were fantastic.

Wills with flag

Members of the Will Family are pictured outside the Bank during the 150th Anniversary Open House.  Photo Courtesy The Vinton County Courier

Working with the Vinton County High School Athletic Boosters to enhance and support their event was a great experience. They were open to letting us add some things to their schedule that we might not ordinarily have. They also were kind enough to name the bank and the Will family grand marshals of their parade.

It was a real thrill to have the Will family come home from places both near and far to ride in John Hutchinson’s horse drawn wagon while our employees passed out what else, but American flags! This parade is always fun because it includes all the student/youth athletes, classic cars, queens and clubs that are willing to walk, ride or march the route through downtown McArthur.

The next day we had an open house that brought together so many familiar faces – it felt like a family reunion! The ladies of the McArthur United Methodist Church served some of the most delicious homemade pie you’ll ever taste and the Adelphi Band (which has been around for over 130 years) was kind enough to provide a lively soundtrack for the day. The speeches were short and the smiles were big as we officially opened the Bank’s new museum and asked our guests to vote for their favorite photo contest entry (more to come on that next week).

Special thanks to our friends Vinton County Juvenile/Probate Judge Bob Grillo and Pastor Carl Radcliff for joining President Ron Collins, McArthur Branch Manager Jane Nickels and VCNB Board Chairman Tom Will in speaking to the open house attendees in a brief ceremony.

That night we sponsored a concert by Jason Michael Carroll, a country artist who has enjoyed some commercial success and who put on a first rate show. The crowd loves this guy and we think he loved Vinton County.

The next day we set up shop at the Vinton County High School where we hosted something a little different – we hosted a Civil War themed day for the family! Since the bank was born in the years following the war, we thought it would be fun to play some nineteenth century baseball and invite some special guests including President Lincoln, General George Armstrong Custer, Steve and Lisa Ball who provided beautiful music for the day, and a gentleman who taught us about the life of an Ohio soldier during the war.

The Ohio Village Diamonds womens’ team played a rousing round of softball that ended in a tie with our local team of alumni softball players. The Ohio Village Muffins mens’ team eeked out a win over our team of bankers and local school employees. In the nineteenth century, they played ball by different rules (think no mitts and you can’t run past a base) so there was a learning curve for our local players. But at the end of the day, they were happy, if not a little worn out from playing baseball in the hot sun in old fashioned uniforms.

The weather forecast was questionable but turned out to be perfect at all the right times throughout the weekend. We’re grateful for that. We’re also grateful that so many people came out to our events and had a good time. That’s what it’s all about. We think 150 years is pretty important but for this weekend, what was more important was knowing that our guests and all the folks who participated in the festivities had a great time.

In the grand scheme of things, the weekend was short but the memories will last a lifetime. We expect this anniversary to live on in our bank’s history for a long time to come and we were honored to take our place in history as the employees who got to be there for it.

See below for a few pictures from the festivities!

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Tom Will is a fifth generation banker whose ancestor Daniel Will founded the bank. Here’s the complete text of his speech from the open house:

In 1867, shortly after the Civil War had ended, two union officers Captains McDowell and James W. Delay opened the Vinton County Bank. Within in a few months my three great uncle Daniel Will opened his own bank. The next year the banks combined with Dan becoming the President of the bank. Uncle Dan was President of the Vinton County National bank until 1924. He died at his desk in the bank at the age of 92. I will tell you right now, I do not plan on working at the bank that long.

My dad, Bob Will stated that the main reason why Dan became a banker was that he first started in business with a general store. His store had a safe and it was a secure place to keep money.   So, Dan would keep some customers cash in his safe, and he made loans to customers to buy merchandise.   Safe keeping customer’s deposits and making loans is the core of community banking. 150 years later we are still performing the same service.

Dan did not marry or have any children, so he left the care of the bank to his two nephews. Aaron Will, my great grandfather and John L Will, Christyne’s grandfather. Since Dan, the bank has had eight other presidents. I have had the pleasure of knowing six of them.

150 years is a long time to remain in business for any company. According to Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, their scientists state that the average business will last about ten years. Our bank started before there were light bulbs, cars, telephones, and radios.

I compared the largest 25 banks currently chartered in Ohio and only 6 banks of those banks were older than VCNB. Of those six, only two were more than four years older than us. The oldest bank now chartered in Ohio is Chase bank in 1824. Chase was started in New York with the help Aaron Burr under the name of the Manhattan Company. Yes, that Aaron Burr who that the famous duel with Alexander Hamilton.

The second oldest bank is Key bank which also started in New York state in 1849.

The other four large Ohio banks that were started after 1863 in order were U.S. Bank (the former First Cincinnati), 1st Financial of Hamilton, Fifth Third, and Huntington.  

Currently we are the 24th largest bank in Ohio out of 191 banks. The number of banks in Ohio and nationally, continues to decrease as a result of more government regulation and automation.

I sometimes wonder what Uncle Dan would have thought about what has happened to his bank after 150 years. I hope he would be pleased, as the bank grown and remained strong and profitable. Some things have changed, like computers, cards and mobile banking. But others have not, people still want loans for homes and to start a business. They want a safe place to keep their money. And we still have a safe or vault.

They want to speak with a knowledgeable person with the bank if they have a financial problem.

I think we have done pretty well with adapting to change over the last 150 years.   But a lot more change still needs to occur.

Today, we are investing more capital into trying to provide our customers with better service. By the end of the year we hope to allow customers to apply for credit cards and auto loans at home via the internet. We have stream lined our home loan process by allowing electronic signatures for disclosures.

I am excited about our new Jackson County Banking center which will offer full branch services later on this year.

Uncle Dan started a good business 150 years ago and I look forward to seeing that it is ready for the next 150 years.

 

 

A Presidential Portrait: Remembering Robert B. Will

In honor of our 150th anniversary in 2017 we are taking a look back at bank history and the people who have helped to shape our bank into the successful, secure institution that it is today. Read on to learn about one of our former presidents!

Robert B. Will Sr.A lifelong McArthur resident, Robert Sr. was a prominent citizen of the community whose personal history was closely entwined with the bank’s history like many other members of the Will family both before and since.

He was born to Aaron Will Jr. and Blanche Buskirk Will on June 15, 1906. He married Helen Burson Will with whom he had two children, Robert B. Will Jr. and Sara Will Crow.

Robert Sr. graduated from McArthur High School and attended Ohio University. He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in McArthur, various sportsmens’ organization, the Ohio Bankers Association, the Square and Compass Club of Ohio University and was an Advanced Conservationist.

He also was prominent in Republican political circles in Vinton County and in the region, serving as Secretary of the Republican Executive Committee of Vinton County and serving as Vinton County Commissioner.

In addition, he was prominently identified with the Masonic bodies of two counties. He was a member of Delta Lodge No. 207, F. & A.M. of McArthur, McArthur Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of McArthur, Wellston Council No. 120, R. & S.M. of Wellston and Jackson Commandery 53, Knights Templar of Jackson and Scioto Consistory, Scottish Rite.

Robert Sr. served as bank President from 1951 until his death in November 1965. An avid sportsman, Robert Sr. suffered a fatal heart attack while hunting with close friend John Gill, owner of Gill’s Chevrolet in McArthur.

During his tenure, the bank building was remodeled and enlarged in 1952 and again in 1964. This second renovation brought about the back lobby known as a Quick-Service Lobby, a one-window drive-in and the present brick frontage. The drive-in window was cutting edge for its time and provided customers a convenient, fast way to conduct simple bank transactions without exiting the car.

He also acquired the former Gill’s Chevrolet lot which he turned into a customer parking lot, providing customers ample opportunity to park and bank in addition to the on-the-go service offered at the drive-in.

Another contribution that Robert Sr. made to the bank, which is still felt today, is the creation of the bank’s Management Trainee Program. A student at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Banking, Robert Sr. wrote his graduate paper on how to recruit talented college graduates at community banks. His idea was to recruit the best and brightest young people and to give them challenging work. This program has produced a number of the bank’s finest leaders over the decades and the program continues to leave its mark on the bank more than sixty years since its inception.

Learn more about our 150th year here and about Bank Presidents Daniel Will , Aaron Will and John L. Will.  Find details on our 150th Anniversary Bash in McArthur here.

VCNB Announces Photo Contest

Vinton County National Bank is asking local history buffs to dig through their old photographs for their best images of Vinton County! A contest will be held to choose the best antique/vintage pictures and prizes will be awarded. This contest is being held in conjunction with the bank’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Pictures of local life from Vinton County’s past are welcomed including streetscapes, landscapes, architecture, people, industry, nature and all other aspects of local life during our bank’s history. Pictures should be at least 40 years old.

This competition is meant to give the owners of historic photos a way to bring their pictures out of the attic and into the public eye. All of the photos entered in the contest are subject to be included in a compilation presented on CD to local schools, historical society and the library for generations of future researchers to enjoy and learn from.

Pictures may be submitted digitally either on a disc or by emailing brandi.betts@vintoncountybank.com. Pictures submitted in person should not be matted or framed and can be submitted to Vinton County National Bank at 112 W. Main St., McArthur, OH 45651, ATTN: Brandi Betts. All submitted pictures will be carefully scanned and returned to the owners. Originals will not be kept. However, if the owner wishes to relinquish ownership we will help facilitate a donation to the historical society.

The very best pictures will be printed for use in a display in the bank’s McArthur office during our 150th celebration in July. Entries are due by June 2 and the contest winners will be announced during an Open House at the bank on July 1. There is no limit on the number pictures one person can submit however every picture must be accompanied by an entry form. Complete rules and entry forms can be picked up at the bank or found below. See below for complete rules, categories and prizes.

The bank is celebrating 150 years in business with events, specials and activities throughout 2017. The public is encouraged and invited to take part in the celebrations. For more information on the 150th, the bank’s history or the contest, visit http://www.vintoncountybank.com/150/.

 

Photo contest entry form and guidelines.jpg

Click to enlarge and print.