Kim Carpenter Will Retire Friday

Kim Carpenter has spent her entire career in banking and it shows. The drive thru window teller will retire Friday from her post at Ross County Banking Center on Main Street in Chillicothe after spending years developing a loyal following of customers.

Customers know Kim as the friendly woman who remembers how they like their change and who knows the names of all their dogs. What some may not realize is that she hasn’t always worked in a customer facing job. She actually started out in the operations department of a bank in Homestead, Florida at the age of 17. “When I was a high school senior, I went to school in the morning and went home for lunch. Then I would go to the bank where I worked part time in bookkeeping. I loved that job.”

Kim Carpenter will retire this week after 22 years at Ross County Banking Center in Chillicothe.

After graduation, she got married and went full time at the bank before eventually taking time off to have children. “I tried to go back to work after my first son was born but I kept hearing about his firsts from other people and I didn’t want to hear about those things. I wanted to be there to see him grow up.”

By the time she returned to the workforce in the early eighties, a lot had changed. She recalled being assigned to use a computer for the first time. “I had been there a while and thought I was doing a good job but one day this message popped up that my password was going to expire and I thought that meant I was being fired,” she laughed. “I worried about that for two days before I worked up the nerve to ask someone about it. They got a big laugh out of it because it’s just standard procedure in a bank. But I didn’t know! I hadn’t worked with computers before!”

In 1995, her sons were grown, she was divorced and had an opportunity to return to Ohio. Her family had moved to Florida when she was in the first grade but her heart remained in the Buckeye state. In fact, she fondly recalls childhood summers spent visiting her grandparents’ farm where they raised crops and animals. “I looked forward to it all year. It was old school farm life and I think that’s where I really learned to love animals. I got that from my grandparents.”

After coming back to Ohio, she briefly worked another job before returning to her banking roots, this time as a teller. And the rest, as they say, is history.

“I had never worked as a teller or with customers so I really didn’t know if I could do it but I’m so glad that I came here.”

Starting part time, she quickly was offered a full time position and eventually moved to the drive thru window where she has stayed for about 18 of the 22 years she has been with the bank.

Here she has gotten to know customers from a different perspective. “The drive thru is different than meeting people at the teller window. You see a little bit into their world. You see their kids grow up in the backseat, meet their dogs. I‘ve been offered opportunities to do other things but really love working the drive thru and didn’t want to leave.”

She recalls how children who loved getting suckers when they came through with their parents are now adults bringing their own little ones to the bank. One little girl didn’t want her mom to even stop at the bank “unless my Kim is working” –she still banks with Kim as an adult.

While Kim loves her work, she looks forward to having free time to spend as she wishes. “I want to just be home, to take care of things I’ve been putting off because I’m busy. And I want to have more time with my animals,” she explained.

In fact, Kim’s eyes light up when she talks about her animals like her little dog Mandee, a pony named KT and a host of others including chickens, cats and goats. She and her husband Jeff have a small farm complete with a garden that she looks forward to working in more. “I love being outdoors. If I’m home, I’m not in front of the tv. I’m outside with the animals or mowing – there’s always something!” she said. “We like going to auctions and yard sales on the weekends so it will be nice to get things done during the week and not feel bad about going out to have fun on the weekends.”

Kim and Jeff have been married for almost 23 years. She has two sons, four stepchildren and five grandchildren. She soon will be a great grandmother.

Her last day of work will be Friday. “I will miss my customers and I’ll miss a lot of coworkers too,” she said. “The people here are so nice, so friendly. I will miss that aspect but I think this is a good time to go and I’m looking forward to my freedom.”

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?”

 

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.”

 

VCNB Team To Compete In The Buck Fifty

When the Buck Fifty kicks off in Chillicothe Friday afternoon, a team from VCNB will be among a field of nearly a hundred teams hoping to conquer the challenging overnight relay race through Ross County. The course winds through several communities, along back roads and through the area’s state and national parks. While the region’s rolling hills and winding roads make a scenic backdrop for a run, the course is a grueling 150 miles of physical and mental challenges.

But this relay race isn’t just about winners and losers. It’s also about raising money for an important cause in Ross County. Buck Fifty proceeds benefit the Drug Free Clubs of America Program in Ross County.

VCNB Head of Consumer Lending and VCNB Team Captain Tom Oyer said that helping raise money for this important cause was part of the reason the bank wanted to participate. “It’s an important cause here in Ross County. All the money raised is used to combat the drug problems in the community, specifically young people in schools,” he said.

Race jersey

Look for the VCNB team jerseys during the Buck Fifty Friday and Saturday!

The bank’s participation in this third annual event was actually the brainchild of VCNB President Mark Erslan and Personal Banker Dustin Nusbaum. An avid runner, Nusbaum logs ten to twenty miles every week and has supported the Buck Fifty since its inception three years ago.

The Buck Fifty funds this program which has attracted 65 percent of all Ross County high school students, using a drug free pledge, education and incentives to keep kids clean.

The race begins on Friday and ends Saturday, mainly with ten person teams and just a handful of elite five person teams. The bank’s team consists of ten people from Chillicothe and other areas where the bank has branches.

Each ten person team is divided into two vans, with one van on the road at all times while one person is running. While the terrain is challenging, the schedule is grueling. It calls for participants to run several miles at a time, at three different times during a 24 hour span.

By day, Bryan Radabaugh works as Vice President of Operations at the bank’s McArthur office. In his free time he’s been training and looking forward to some family time with his two grown children who have also joined the bank’s team. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m in the same van as my kids so we’ll get to have some family time,” he said while describing the competitive spirit of son Bret, age 23, and daughter Hannah, age 20.

While Nusbaum has experience running this course, it will be a first time experience for the rest of the team. “It should be interesting for all of us. It’ll certainly be a challenge. You know, running is physical but it’s a mental thing too. Your body is saying ‘I can’t. I don’t want to do this.’ But you have to stay focused and use your mind to keep going,” Radabaugh said.

The VCNB Buck Fifty team consists of:

Mark Erslan, Chillicothe
Bryan Radabaugh, McArthur
Tom Oyer, Chillicothe
Mike Thurston, Pataskala
Gracie Rarick, Pataskala
Keirstan Mirgon, Lancaster
Josh Palmer, Pataskala
Dustin Nusbaum, Chillicothe
Bret Radabaugh, McArthur
Hannah Radabaugh, McArthur

“We’re all just proud to represent the bank and hope to do a good job,” Oyer said. “More than anything, we’re happy that the money raised at the Buck Fifty will be used for such a good cause.”

Best wishes to all of these volunteers who make up our team. We are proud of the work you do for the bank and look forward to seeing you compete this weekend! Want to learn more about the Bucky Fifty and how the money raised will be used locally? Click here for details.