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!