A Presidential Portrait: Ron Collins

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!

Collins

Ron Collins has been the Vinton County Bank President since 2009.

Ron Collins is the ninth and most recent President of Vinton County National Bank. As the only President to preside over both the Bremen and Vinton County Banks, Ron has provided a helpful bridge between the two bank cultures and operations.

Ron came to Bremen in 1998 to serve as Head of Lending. Before that, he worked as Field Vice President for ITT Financial Services from 1976 to 1993 and then as Vice President of Consumer Lending for State Savings Bank from 1993 to 1998.

He was named President of the First Bremen Bank in 2001 and served in that capacity until being named President of Vinton County National Bank in 2009.

Ron brought to the bank a comprehensive understanding of the lending world that has benefited the bank greatly. He used this experience and worked closely with the Credit Department to address weaknesses in the bank’s loan portfolio. He has since improved the bank’s loan portfolio to make it both healthy and profitable.

One of Ron’s most noted accomplishments during his time as President at Bremen continues to impact the bank today. Ron oversaw the development of the Canal Banking Center in Canal Winchester.

The bank built this office from the ground up in a location that was outside the bank’s comfort zone at the time. Ron advocated for a location in an up-and-coming commercial area off the highway rather than in a downtown location. The Canal office opened in 2002 and was an immediate success. It continues to be a busy, growing branch.

Ron also oversaw ventures into Licking county where Bremen opened its fifth location. The Friendly Bremen Bank of Pataskala opened in 2006.

After being named Vinton County National Bank President in 2009, Ron set to work softening the differences between the two banks, finding common grounds and seeking ways to streamline and improve the combined operation.

Ron is known as a great communicator and many consider him a “President of the people.” His ability to relate to people of all walks of life have served him well at this bank as he is approachable to all and open to their thoughts.

He considers it an honor to be the bank’s President and calls it “a privilege to follow a long history of outstanding leaders.” He credits current employees and those who have come before with helping grow the bank from one office in one county to sixteen offices in seven counties with assets of $885 million.

Ron says that his greatest accomplishment is being able to work with “all the hard working and dedicated employees in keeping with our bank’s history of
outstanding growth while maintaining our principles of being part of the communities we serve and having a safe and sound bank.”

Born in Dayton in 1955, Ron has been married to his wife Gail for 37 years. The pair have two children, Jill and Ron, Jr. as well as three grandchildren. He is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Ron serves as Board Treasurer for Fox Family YMCA, is a member of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Board and is a past board member for the Route 33 Alliance. In his free time, Ron enjoys traveling, fishing and spending time with his grandchildren.

Daniel Will
Aaron Will
John L. Will
Robert B. Will, Sr.
J.G. Will
Robert B. Will Jr.
George Booth
Steve Hunter

Shareholders Convene For Annual Meeting

Shareholders attending the annual meeting of Community Bancshares, Inc. on Tuesday, April 1 learned that their investment yielded a total return of 8.58 % in 2013. Approximately 135 shareholders attended the dinner meeting held at the Eagles Events Center.

Chairman Thomas D. Will welcomed shareholders and their guests, informing them that 2013 was a strong year and discussing the need to keep up with the needs and demands of customers to insure continued growth. “We will continue to add new products our customers demand and, if we’re going to attract the younger generation, we need a strong internet channel,” he said. “If there’s a better way to deliver services to our customers we want to know about it,” Will explained.

He then turned the gavel over to CBI Secretary/Treasurer Ben Crow. Mr. Crow informed shareholders that total assets grew 1.9 % in 2013 to $750.8 million. Net income rose 3.1 % to $6,790,458, and the book value of CBI stocks is $68.33 per share, an increase of 6.4%.

Vinton County National Bank President, Ronald Collins presented the state of the bank and outlined goals for the coming year.He credited Head of Lending Mark Erslan and his staff for making 2013 a successful year and discussed the release of a new logo meant to unify the bank’s 13 locations. “We spent a lot of time branding our individual hometown branches. Now we need to tie them together,” he explained. Collins went on to inform shareholders that 2014 objectives include actively pursuing acquisitions, improving market share in our current branch network and expanding online banking.

Erslan went on to present achievement awards to several Loan Officers and New Account Representatives for their outstanding job performance in 2013. He recognized them individually, informing shareholders of their length of service with the bank and why they are each an asset to the organization. Retail Accounts Vice President Monica Delong gave a brief presentation on Online Banking and the various products and services the bank currently offers.

Perhaps the most memorable moment came when former VCNB President Steve Hunter presented a gift to longtime board member Esther Crownover. Mrs. Crownover recently retired after 30 years of service, helping the bank grow exponentially over her tenure.

Many people know Crownover for her involvement in the local timber industry and for her love of race horses but she has also been a valued member of the board throughout the bank’s growth.

Crownover joined the VCNB board in January 1984 and the CBI Board in March of that year.  “The growth of the bank was just amazing over the years. Incredible, really,” she said.

Among other things, she has been involved in the board’s Audit Committee since 1984. She noted how much the audit report has changed and how complicated it has become compared to when she started.

About board service, Crownover noted “It’s been a good relationship.Everyone has been good to work with and to see the amazing progress the bank has made has been interesting.”

 

Kathy Caudill Retires After Nearly 48 Years With VCNB

Today we are both sad and joyful to celebrate the retirement of longtime bank employee Kathy Caudill. Kathy came to work at the bank in June 1966 and has worked her way up from bookkeeping to be the bank’s Chief Auditor.

When Kathy started at the bank, a gallon of gas cost .32 cents, the Beach Boys were singing “Good Vibrations” and the mini skirt was all the rage.  The bank was 99 years young and had only about a dozen employees in the original McArthur location.  “I can still remember what I wore that day,” Caudill said of the day she came in to ask Bank President J.G. Will for a job. “It was a dress I made with pink and coral flowers. And I wore matching coral colored shoes,” she said.

That was the first and only interview outfit for Kathy as she would stay with the bank for nearly 48 years.

She has seen many changes in technology, society’s expectation of work attire and the size of the bank.  “There were only ten or twelve of us here at the time. We really were one big happy family,” she said.  “That was a time when women wore hose, skirts and no pants and if you weren’t dressed properly you were sent home to change,” she explained.

In this undated photo from Kathy's early career, a group of female bank employees are pictured in their skirts and bank jackets. Kathy is pictured in the front row, second from left.

In this undated photo from Kathy’s early career, a group of female bank employees are pictured in their bank jackets. Kathy is pictured in the front row, second from left.

Kathy’s first job with the bank was in bookkeeping. “That was when bookkeeping was really bookkeeping. We used lots of pencils. And we were excited when we got one of these,” she said, pointing to an electronic calculator which replaced old fashioned adding machines.

Over the years, Kathy has done nearly every bank job imaginable. She described a time before computers when a human touch was necessary for every transaction and when the bookkeeping and proof departments reviewed every check for valid date, signature and matching written and numerical amounts.

She processed payroll and student loans, worked as a loan clerk, answered phones, filled in at the teller window when needed and even worked for a time creating advertising and editing the bank newsletter.  She supervised the Bookkeeping and Proof departments. Most recently she has served as Chief Auditor for the bank.

“I have seen the bank through a lot of changes and a lot of Presidents. There was J.G. Will, Bob Will, George Booth, Steve Hunter and now Ron Collins. Don’t ask which was my favorite, that’s not fair,” she said with a laugh. “And the bank has seen me through a lot too,” she mused, referencing wedding bells, the births of three daughters, divorce, a bout with cancer and other highs and lows that life has brought her way.

When asked about her retirement plans she said “the plan is to not come to work. It’s an un-plan. Guess I’ll have to find some new hobbies.”

“Every now and then I wonder if I really want to do this but I think it’s time,” she said. “It’s time.”

While 48 years with the same company may be a long time, her bank family is still sad
to see Kathy leave.

At her retirement party today, colleagues, family and many retired bank employees gathered to honor the bank’s longest tenured employee. Bank President Ron Collins complimented Kathy’s hard work and dedication to the bank. “Kathy always made me sleep better at night and that’s and important thing for a president. I always had confidence and for that, I thank you,” Collins said.