Barbara Perry Will Retire Friday

Barbara Perry will end her banking career when she retires on Friday.

Barbara Perry’s mother always told her that it is important to be kind. This simple piece of instruction has made her popular among our Pickaway County customers and someone who will be missed when she retires later this week. “I just always try to be kind to people. You never know what someone is going through so a little kindness and a smile can go a long way,” she explained.

Barbara had a career in the medical field before switching to banking to work as a teller in our Pickaway County market for over fifteen years. While she has spent most of her time in Circleville, Ashville customers will remember her as a teller in that office for a few years as well. “I always thought it would be interesting to work in a bank and it really has been. Some things we do get kind of routine but I really like my customers and having a relationship with so many of them,” she said. “You get to know their children and families and jobs. I’m going to miss seeing so many of them.”

The Circleville native graduated from Circleville High School but now lives at Amanda with Terry, her husband of 44 years. Their son Kyle and daughter-in-law Amy have two sons – Drew and Carson – who Barbara calls her “little grandjoys.” She literally lights up when talking about these youngsters and how she looks forward to seeing them as often as possible.

Family is important to Barbara who came from a family of nine kids and she can’t wait to spend more time with her loved ones. “I always say my sister Cheryl is my best friend. I’m looking forward to spending more time with her and with my family.”

The self-described homebody has a number of hobbies to enjoy and aspirations to look forward to in her retirement. She has a large collection of teapots, enjoys cooking and baking when time allows, and enjoys going to flea markets with her husband.

Some of her retirement plans have been put on hold because of the pandemic but that doesn’t seem to have dampened her excitement. She especially is looking forward to a lighthouse tour with her sister once travel is safer. She also wants to learn salsa dancing and try Tai Chi. “They say it helps your peace  of mind, it centers you. I think I would enjoy that,” she exclaimed.

She also enjoys music and loves to sing. “I like to sing and all of us, my family, sing when we get together,” she said. She has sung at weddings and even used that as her talent when competing in the Miss South Central Ohio pageant. “That was a long time ago,” she laughed. “Good memories!”

But Barbara is looking forward to making wonderful new memories in the years ahead. “I’m ready. My husband has been retired for a while and I’m looking forward to not having a schedule and being able to do my own thing.”

Still, she said that retiring is a little bittersweet. “It’s been a pleasure serving my customers and meeting so many people over the years. It’s amazing all the people you meet in this line of work and I will miss that.”

Of those people, she especially has enjoyed serving elderly customers. “I have always had an affinity for older people and marvel at all they’ve seen in their lives. They remind me of my mother who passed away at 93 and all the experiences she had. People need to pay more attention to them because they have a lot of wisdom to share,” she said. “Of course some people might say that I’m elderly now too,” she laughed.

The bank will celebrate Barbara with a party on Thursday night and her last day of work will end Friday at 2 p.m.

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.

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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: Kati Maple

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 Kati Maple. Kati is the Branch Manager of our Pickaway County Banking Center in Ashville.

Katie Maple

Kati Maple is the Branch Manager of the Pickaway County Banking Center in Ashville.

Ask Kati what she likes best about her job and she immediately starts talking about her customers. The twenty-year banking veteran says that her career has always been centered on helping others and that this is the best part of her job.

Before coming to work for VCNB, she had experience working for another bank, was a stay-at-home mom, and sharpened her customer service skills helping antiques venders through the Scott Antique Company. But she describes coming to work for VCNB as “a little like coming home.”

While she has been in Ashville for the last five years, customers in Bremen and Lancaster will know her as well. She started out as a teller in Bremen before being promoted to Head Teller and then to New Accounts Officer before becoming Branch Manager. From there, she moved to our branch on East Main Street in Lancaster to be Branch Manager for five years.

When the bank acquired branches in Pickaway County, Kati’s experience with VCNB and her attention to customer satisfaction made her a good leader for the Ashville office. “I love to offer good customer service. I like to problem solve and love when I can figure out a customer’s issues. That’s rewarding to help and to be a resource for them,” she said. “Even with seventeen branches, we are still a community bank. We’re still allowed enough leeway to help customers in a way that you just don’t find at big businesses. I mean, we all know the Executive Team here. We all know the President. We all are given the confidence and the freedom to work together.”

Kati has a tightknit family and one built around their faith. Her two grown daughters also work in careers of service to others – Haley is a teacher and Lydia is a nurse. She was also proud to welcome a son-in-law, Bryce, to her family last year. As her family’s middle child, she remains close to both her sisters as well.

Her husband Mike is deceased, but Kati remains close to his family and spends much time with her church family where her father-in-law is the pastor. She teaches Sunday School and helps with Bible School every year.

In Ashville, Kati and the staff are involved in a number of community activities. They help with weekend packs of food and snacks for students at Teays Valley Local Schools. The bank provides the chicken for the community’s free Gazebo Gatherings picnic over Labor Day weekend and the staff helps serve. They also pass out water at the 4th of July celebration fish fry. “It’s important to be out in the community and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.

Relationships and people are important to Kati and are at the heart of everything she does. “My home family, my church family, my community family and my relationship with God are the most important things in my life,” she explained. “My relationship with the Lord has brought me to this point and I just want to be a blessing to everyone around me.”

 

Meet Your Banker: Matthew Giroux

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 Matthew Giroux. Matthew is the Branch Manager at our Ross County Banking Center on Western Avenue in Chillicothe.

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Matthew Giroux is the Branch Manager of our Ross County Banking Center on Western Avenue.

Ask Matthew to talk about his role as a community banker and he first mentions his experience working for a big bank. “This is so much more rewarding than corporate banking which is very black and white. In corporate banking, there’s no opportunity to get to know your customers or to help someone who you’ve had to tell they can’t have what they want but that there may be another solution,” he said. “It’s like night and day when you go to work for a bank that actually wants to work with customers.”

While he’s relatively new to VCNB, Matthew has close to sixteen years of experience in banking and a degree in Finance from Ohio State University. The Chicago native’s father attended OSU  and so Matthew said he always knew that’s where he wanted to study.

With sixteen years in banking around central Ohio he said that he especially likes working with business customers and small business start-ups. “New businesses are exciting. They’re usually starting a business with a purpose and they’re doing it because they’re passionate about something .  . . they’re doing it because they want to, not because they have to.”

However, he pointed out that many small business customers don’t know where to go for an EIN or to register their name. “They don’t know where to start but it’s something we deal with every day so it’s easy for us. It’s a lot of fun to guide customers to where they need to be,” he said.

Matthew and his wife Beth will celebrate their ninth wedding anniversary in May. They have a four-year old son.

In his free time, he is an avid OSU fan and is proud to be a 23 season ticket holder. He is also the Treasurer of the Ohio State Alumni Club of Ross County, belongs to the Chillicothe Rotary, and helps with concessions for the Zane Trace Athletic Boosters. He also represents the bank at the quarterly Ross Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce New Member Breakfast that the bank sponsors.

Until the pandemic caused disruption to daily life, Matthew was volunteering with the United Way, doing taxes for people through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program which provides free tax preparation services to low to moderate income tax payers in the community. “I was having a lot of fun doing taxes for people a few nights a week and some Saturdays,” he said. He laughed when teased for calling tax time fun. “It IS a lot of fun. You get to meet a lot of people and help others. Plus, I got to expand my own knowledge so I think the program is great,” he said.

“The pandemic has complicated the way we do some things but we are still here helping customers. I’m just a phone call away and we can accomplish everything a customer needs even though the lobbies are closed.”

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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

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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!

 

Elaine Prater To Retire This Month

Elaine praterWhen Elaine Prater started at the bank in Richmond Dale, she was a part time teller with no thoughts of making it a career. The bank was close to home and to her kids’ school, providing a convenient opportunity to make some extra money.

More than 38 years have passed since then. She’s now the much beloved manager of that branch and is looking forward to her retirement on January 31. “In the beginning I worked as part time teller on Monday, Friday, Saturday and on the first and third of the month. I covered vacations too,” she laughed.

“I discovered that I really enjoyed the people and I never left,” she said.

The branch changed hands a few times over the years before joining the VCNB family in 2008. Over time she worked her way up to Branch Manager, a position she’s held since 1997. “I’ve been a banker for 38 years and worked for four banks but I’ve done it all right here!” she exclaimed.

During that time she’s witnessed significant changes in the industry and the way customers want to bank. “When I started we didn’t have a single computer in the branch. Then we got a computer for behind the teller line and now we all have computers. It’s really changed the way we work,” she said.

Elaine also remembers when ATMs and online banking were introduced. “Our customers loved the ATM but the thing that impressed them the most was online banking. Customers were quick to adopt to banking with their own computer, being able to do things for themselves,” she said. “Some of our older customers still don’t use online banking and we have people who can’t get internet at home but that’s ok. We can help them in other ways. That’s the beautiful thing about being a community banker,” she said.

She went on to talk about the many ways community bankers can look out for their customers. “Sometimes we balance checkbooks. We know the families including all the kids and grandkids. Sometimes we just visit with them,” she said. “When I ask a customer how they’re doing, it means something to me. It means a lot to know that they’re ok or that I can help when there’s a problem. It means something knowing that I can be happy for them when there’s good news. They’re not just customers. They’re all important to me,” she said.

Elaine looks forward to having the free time that comes with retirement but doesn’t necessarily intend to slow down. For example, she hopes to volunteer at the hospital. “It sounds kind of corny but I want to give back. I want to give comfort” she explained while remembering a time that her grandson was quite ill while in Guatemala, waiting for his adoption to be finalized. “I was so thankful he had compassionate people to care for him. He needed the surgery by the time he was six months old. When they stepped off the plane, he was already scheduled for surgery two weeks later, on the day he turned six months.

Elaine and her husband Gary recently celebrated 51 years of marriage and she’s looking forward to having more time with him. The pair work together running a concessions business that takes them to events across Ohio and Kentucky. They have two grown children and four grandkids. Two of those grandchildren live in California and it is her hope visit them soon. She would also like to continue volunteering with Salvation Army and remain active with her church.

She laughed when she talked about coming back to “visit with the girls” at the branch. I worked with Brenda for 22 years and Lauren for seventeen. That’s a long time to just stop coming around!”

“It’s hard to believe that it’s been so long. It’s been fun. We all have those days that it gets overwhelming or that it isn’t fun but I’m grateful for every single day. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here. I’ll miss the people but I think this is the right time to go,” she said.

Elaine’s last day will be on Friday, January 31. Customers can stop by the branch on January 29 to have cupcakes and visit with her.

Bank Where You See Our Logo

Do you know how to spot a VCNB branch?

We have seventeen locations in eight Ohio counties and they operate under a few different names – Friendly Bremen Banking Center, Canal Banking Center, Hocking Hills Banking Center,  Jackson County Banking Center, Pickaway County Banking Center, Ross County Banking Center and, of course – Vinton County National Bank.

Embracing a community name is our way of embracing our communities!  While they may operate with different names, all of these bank branches are a part of the VCNB Financial Family and all embrace the same values and priorities that have been developed since our first bank opened in McArthur in 1867.

But how do you recognize a VCNB branch? That’s easy. Just look for our logo!

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Regardless of which VCNB branch you went to when opening an account, you can bank anywhere you see our logo. Need help finding a VCNB office? Click here!