Meet Your Banker: Christina Wine

Today we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Christina Wine. Christina is the Branch Manager of our Salt Creek Banking Center in Laurelville.

When Christina joined the VCNB Financial Family last year, it was in search of a job where community mattered. She had spent most of her career working with customers – first in food service management and then at a home improvement store before receiving a phone call that changed everything.

Christina wine - use

Christina Wine, Branch Manager of our Salt Creek Banking Center in Laurelville

A manager from a previous job called one day and asked if she would like to try being a teller for a regional bank. She accepted the opportunity and the challenge, setting off on the path to become a Mortgage Lender. But Christina quickly learned that she was more interested in the personal side of banking. “I loved being able to change lives by helping people look at the big picture,” she said. “I have always liked to coach and help people grow so it fit my personality really well.”

But there was something missing at her old job. With a longer commute and an employer that took a hands off approach to the local community, Christina was ready to find work close to home where the bank was part of the community. “One thing I really like about VCNB is that they encourage us to get involved in the community, they reward us for volunteering and they want us to know our customers. I never had that before at my old job,” she said.

While Christina is glad to be here, she admitted her timing with the move was poor. She was in her second of trimester of pregnancy at the time so she worked only a few months before taking time off for maternity leave.

But she is actively seeking ways to become more involved in the Laurelville community. Christina and the branch staff had just made arrangements to help unload the food truck and organize items for giveaway day at the food pantry when COVID 19 hit and changed the way volunteers are able to participate.

The Logan High School graduate is a native of South Bloomingville where she still lives. She laughed when asked about free time and mentioned her young family. With a newborn, a four year old and an 11 year old at home, she and her partner Ryan stay quite busy.

“I used to enjoy horseback riding and ATV rides but those things don’t happen too much with little ones.”

She grew up on a small farm with horses, livestock and lots of 4-H involvement. “I was definitely a country girl and practically grew up in a barn. I’d go swimming in the pond and fishing. I loved it and so did my friends. All my friends wanted to come to my house, it was so much fun.”

Today, Christina and her staff are glad to have the lobby open again after being closed for several weeks during the height of the COVID-19 scare. “It has been challenging but we encouraged our customers to remember that there’s so much we can do for them in and out of the lobby. We’re still able to open accounts, to accommodate all your lending needs. We are here for our customers and can do anything our customers need no matter what.”

 

Meet Your Banker: Charlotte McCarty

Today we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Charlotte McCarty. Charlotte is the Branch Manager of our Vinton County National Bank in Wilkesville.

Charlotte McCarty

Charlotte McCarty is the Branch Manager of our Vinton County National Bank in Wilkesville.

Charlotte has spent most of her banking career serving the people of Wilkesville and it shows. That’s because almost everyone knows and respects the Vinton County native who started at the bank more than 25 years ago. After training in McArthur, she took up her post as a part time teller in Wilkesville and has since grown to hold different positions including Assistant Cashier, Head Teller, Branch Service Manager and now, Branch Manager.

She also holds the distinction of being the bank’s first Master Teller, a difficult achievement that proved her knowledge and skill as a Senior Teller. “It’s funny because when I started here I didn’t know anything about banking and wasn’t sure that I could even do the job. But I was very excited to come to work and really enjoyed it,” she reminisced.

“The thing about working in a small community is that you get to know almost everyone and they get to know you. It feels good when someone calls and asks for you. It tells you that that you’re doing something right – that you’ve built a relationship with that person and that they trust you to take care of them,” Charlotte said.

She knows all about building relationships, having grown up in a family of ten kids. “I love being part of a large family. The closeness of a big family is something really special and it’s nice always having so many people around for support. With that said, I didn’t want a large family of my own! I just had two,” she laughed.

Her two – a boy and a girl – are grown now. She has three grandchildren as well. Charlotte stays busy in her free time. Her husband Denver pastors the Fairview Church of Christ in Christian Union. The couple have been active in their church for their entire married life and she has taken on many roles including Sunday School teacher and song leader. She also looks forward to Wilkesville’s events like the annual Fish Fry and the Independence Day parade.

Many people have recently benefited from Charlotte’s generosity and talent as a seamstress. She’s made over 140 masks with sewing supplies she had in her stash. “I had all kinds of fabric here that I hadn’t done anything with and enough elastic to get started with. So when I heard that people needed masks I thought that’s something I can help with!”

She has made many dresses over the years including all of the dresses for her daughter’s wedding party and the wedding gown, embellished with hand sewn pearls. Her granddaughters and their friends benefit from her talent as well as she does the alterations for their special event dresses.

Back at work, Charlotte said she and her staff continue working to serve customers and to prevent disruptions for customers through these challenging times. “We are still able to help customers with anything they need even though our lobby wasn’t open for a awhile. We just want to keep everyone safe in the process and to do everything we can to satisfy our customers,” she said. “It has been different but we’re making it work.”

 

 

Meet Your Banker: JJ Wright

Some of our lobbies are open while others are available by appointment only but we are still here to help with what you need! Today we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with JJ Wright. JJ is the Branch Manager of our Hocking Hills Banking Center in Logan.

While JJ has worked in our Logan office since 2018, customers in three markets will recognize him. That’s because he’s also been the Branch Manager for our Canal Banking Center as well as the Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster.

JJ Wright

JJ Wright is the Branch Manager of our Hocking Hills Banking Center.

The 2006 Lancaster High School graduate has a degree in Business Administration from Liberty University. His career has been spent in banking, starting out as a teller and working his way up through the ranks at another bank before moving to VCNB in 2015 to be the Branch Manager in Canal Winchester.

“It’s going to sound cheesy but I love helping people, especially the problem solving aspect of what I do,” he explained. “I appreciate that we are taught about why a policy or procedure exists and the bank gives us the tools and leeway to work with our customers. We’re sometimes able to find ways to help the customer whether it’s helping them get approved for a car loan because their car just blew up or finding ways to help them stop over drafting an account,” he said.

JJ grew up in Lancaster but has lived in Hocking County for the last ten years. He and his wife LaBreeska will soon celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. The couple have two children – McKenna, who is five and Jayce, who is three.

In his free time, JJ has taken up woodworking, a hobby which he is able to share with his wife. “I do the building and she’s phenomenal at the finishing – whether it be with stain or paint. So a lot of times, I’ll be working on a project and she’ll be over there finishing another,” he said while describing the blanket ladders, tv stand and other pieces they have completed. “It’s just a really good way to let go of stress after a long day. It’s nice to have that creative outlet and to have that sense of accomplishment when you can see what you’ve done.”

He is also very involved in the New Life Christian Center, belongs to the Logan Rotary Club, and serves on the United Way of Hocking County Board.

Many Hocking County Fair supporters will recognize JJ and the Logan staff for their work organizing and running the fair’s livestock sale. “This is a ton of work that extends beyond the fair but it’s an incredibly rewarding thing to do. Those kids have worked so hard on their 4-H projects. We love the small part we play in helping them sell their animals at the livestock sale.”

While VCNB has taken numerous safety precautions, the Logan branch did have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in April. While everyone is healthy, they continue to operate with drive-thru service only. “We are profoundly grateful to our customers for their understanding and willingness to let us work with them to best serve their unique needs and circumstances. So many of them have been concerned about our health and I honestly can’t stress how grateful we are for their caring and cooperation.”

Meet Your Banker: Megan Cline

Our lobbies are available by appointment only but our bankers are still here to help you! Today we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Megan Cline. Megan is the Branch Manager of our Pickaway County Banking Center in Commercial Point.

Megan Cline

Megan Cline is the Branch Manager of our Pickaway County Banking Center in Commercial Point.

Ask Megan to describe her job and she immediately hones in on the people – the customers, community and bank employees she interacts with daily.

She started in banking at the age of 18, fresh out of high school and ready for a career. She worked as a teller at another community bank before moving on to a credit union and another corporate bank, gaining supervisory experience along the way. In all, she’s been a teller, a teller supervisor and a personal banker. She actually worked for the Citizens Bank of Ashville at the time this bank joined the VCNB Financial Family in 2014.

Megan has been the Branch Manager at Commercial Point since last fall and says that supervising and helping others in their career is one of the most rewarding parts of her job. “I like a lot of what I do but the biggest part for me is helping people get what they want out of their careers and helping them advance,” she said.

She also enjoys spending doing good in the community. “We were really excited because we had just formed a partnership with the Pickaway County Dog Shelter when all this started. We’ll be donating our time at some of their events and donating money to help with things they need. That’s the best part of the job – just being able to help others.”

She also serves on the board for Fishing Has No Boundaries, an organization that provides people with disabilities the opportunity to go fishing and promotes this recreational activity as something accessible to all. She had been looking forward to helping with their spring event and to the bank helping sponsor the event until COVID-19 forced its cancellation. “It’s a great cause and helps all kinds of people with special needs. I just love it.”

The Ashville native is a graduate of Teays Valley Local Schools and has two little boys. “They’re four and eight so I’m busy with them. They’re pretty much my whole life outside of work,” she laughed.

Back at work, Megan said that limited access to the lobby has been a challenge for employees who miss seeing their regular customers. “We’ll be glad to see everyone again!” she said.

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!

 

Meet Your Banker: Brittany Walters

Our lobbies are available by appointment only but our bankers are still here to help you! Today we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Brittany Walters. Brittany is the Branch Manager of our Ross County Banking Center on Main Street in Chillicothe.

Brittany Walters

Brittany Walters is the Branch Manager of the Ross County Banking Center on Main Street in Chillicothe.

Brittany started her career, not in banking, but in customer service. She first worked for a major cell phone provider before becoming a personal banker at a big bank. Consequently, care for customer satisfaction is evident whenever she talks about helping customers.

She talks a lot about educating customers so that they can help themselves. “I don’t want to just tell a customer what kind of product they need. I like to guide them and help them feel comfortable with their choices,” she said. “It’s rewarding to educate someone about how their choices effect their credit and then to see their credit score go up because of their hard work.”

Brittany believes that offering this kind of education to customers is an important part of community banking. “You don’t find that community feel just anywhere but our involvement in the community allows us to be a resource to customers,” she said. “That extends to employees too. When your staff and coworkers feel like family, you all work together better. You help each other out more and you feel like we’re all in this together.”

The Jackson native went to Shawnee State University. She has been married to her husband Tim for eight years and the couple have two young boys. They live just outside Chillicothe where they have spent the last few years transforming their property with fruit trees, berry bushes and garden space. They even raise chickens for the farm fresh eggs and have enjoyed having baby chicks this spring.

She said they attempt to expand their crop every year and work to preserve beans, spaghetti sauce and other goodies to enjoy later. “We love doing anything outdoors! We especially enjoy hiking and spending time in the woods as a family,” she said. “And we love our garden! It’s a lot of work but it’s so rewarding to eat the food you grew yourself!”

Brittany is also involved in the community through annual events like Salvation Army bell ringing each Christmas and working the Buck Fifty. The Ross Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce is another organization she is involved with. She especially enjoys the Chamber’s quarterly New Member Breakfast which the bank sponsors. “It’s a lot of fun to network with new members. There’s good food and you get to hear about their plans for their businesses in the community and about how the bank might help,” she explained.

“And after all. Isn’t that what community banking is all about? Getting to know your neighbor and seeing how you can help?”

 

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!

Meet Your Banker: Nicole Scott

Our lobbies are available by appointment only but our bankers are still here to help you! Here we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Nicole Scott. Nicole is the Branch Manager of our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Bremen.

Nicole Scott

Nicole Scott is the Branch Manager of our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Bremen.

When Nicole talks about life as a community banker during COVID-19 the conversation quickly turns to others. “I miss seeing our regular customers and I worry about many who are struggling. In fact, I really miss a lot of the face-to-face contact that we’ve always taken for granted,” she said. “Most of all, I miss being able to shake hands with my customers.”

Nicole’s path to Branch Manager was somewhat unusual. She has a degree in Human Services and Corrections from Hocking College but she took a job with another bank’s operations department about fifteen years ago. The work suited her and she moved to a similar role at VCNB four years later. She calls her time in that department “rewarding and training like no other.”

In 2016, Nicole was involved in an accident that put her on a year-long path of recovery, nearly causing the loss of her arm. “I did some soul searching. That kind of experience makes you wonder what will happen if you don’t get better. It makes you question if you’ve done everything you should be doing” she said. “I define failure as making the choice not to do more when you know you can do more. So when I felt like I hit a plateau in my position in operations, I knew it was time to challenge myself and set new goals.”

She believed her purpose was to help customers. So she took the leap into the VCNB Personal Banker Program and worker her way up to Branch Manager in Bremen. Today she enjoys leading her branch employees and helping them grow. She also has strong feelings about community involvement. “I just love helping where I can.”

Nicole is Vice President for the Bremen Area Chamber of Commerce and will soon graduate from the Fairfield Leadership Program. She also seeks opportunities to show kindness to others both in her personal life and through charitable giving at the bank. For example, when she heard about an effort by the Mithoff to provide Fairfield County families with Easter baskets and holiday dinners, she jumped right in to help. “They provided dinners for about six hundred families and baskets for several hundred kids. What the bank was able to contribute, what I was able to contribute, was very small in the context of so many in our community who stepped up to help,” she said. “I was in awe of what they were able to accomplish with everyone pitching in.”

Nicole has three children and is the author of two published novels. She also enjoys long range rifle shooting and is proud to say she can hit a target at a thousand yards. An avid traveler, she seeks out unique and memorable experiences.

She looks forward to the day lobby doors are again open to customers. “We try to check on many of our customers now. We want them to know we are thinking about them but it will be a joyous day when we can open our doors and see them again!”