VCNB Breaks Ground On New Ashville Branch

PW Campbell, Mark and Tom

From left are Dan Fox and Charlie Sachs of PW Campbell, Community Bancshares Chairman and CEO Tom Will and VCNB President Mark Erslan.

Village Personnel, Mark and Tom

From left are Village Administrator Franklin Christman, Ashville Chief of Police Jeffrey George, Pickaway County Sheriff Robert Radcliff, Ashville Mayor Charles Wise, VCNB President Mark Erslan and Community Bancshares Chairman and CEO Tom Will

VCNB executives, board members, bank employees, local dignitaries and their guests braved the elements Monday to take part in an official groundbreaking event at the site of the new Pickaway County Banking Center in Ashville.

The estimated $2 million facility was designed by renowned financial industry designer/builder PW Campbell. It will replace the former bank building at 26 E. Main Street in downtown Ashville. The branch was temporarily relocated to 18 Long Street to make way for demolition of the old and construction of the new.

VCNB President Mark Erslan said he is enthusiastic about the bank’s future in this Pickaway County community. “The village of Ashville has been good to work with in the planning process and supportive of the project. We are pleased to invest in this community and to grow here,” he said.

Erslan went on to thank the Village of Ashville and its administration for their support through the planning process.

The new one story building will be over 5,000 square feet, boasting soaring ceilings and an open floor plan designed to modernize and simplify the banking experience. With entrances from Main Street and from the parking lot side, accessing the bank will be significantly easier as well. When opened, this branch will use the new VCNB bank model which will put the personal back in personal banking by employing bankers who can each assist customers with nearly every one of their banking needs.

“This new branch will feature a balance of updated conveniences for those customers who like to bank through digital channels along with the in-person service our customers have come to expect,” Erslan explained.

The completion of this branch will be celebrated with an open house in the fall.

Click here to read about our philosophy that an investment in the bank helps the community.

 

VCNB Supports Project Recognizing Ohio’s First Female Sheriff

Alice's House and Sheriff Maude DonationVCNB is pleased to assist the Vinton County Historical and Genealogical Society (VCHGS) by supporting their project to recognize Maude Collins as Ohio’s first female Sheriff. VCNB gave $1,500 to the project which will result in the creation of a Historical Marker at the Vinton County Courthouse, near the Sheriff’s Office where Collins served.

sheriff-maude-collins

Sheriff Maude Collins

Sheriff Maude was appointed Sheriff in 1925 following the death of her husband, Sheriff Fletcher Collins, who was killed in the line of duty. She went on to run for a term of her own, beating male candidates in both Primary and General Elections. Another county has made previous claims that their sheriff was the first Ohio woman to hold this position in the seventies. VCHGS applied to the Ohio History Connection’s historic markers program last year in an attempt to rectify the oversight.

VCNB Branch Manager Jane Nickels praised the efforts to recognize the pioneering sheriff. “We at the bank appreciate your efforts to preserve the memory of Sheriff Maude and to tell her story in a way that generations to come will see and appreciate,” she said.

VCHGS President Deanna Tribe thanked the bank for supporting this project which had already received donations from several local residents and others who wanted to help. “Maude Collins is a significant figure not only in Vinton County’s history, but also Ohio’s history, women’s history, and law enforcement’s history. This historical marker in her honor will make Maude’s story more known to the public,” Tribe said. She also thanked VCNB Marketing Specialist Brandi Betts for assisting in the research and preparation of the marker application.

Supporting Community By Investing In Ourselves

Artists Renderings of the new Pickaway County Banking Center in Ashville

 

Last month we told you a little about our core values – the things we value most and that make us who we are. We talked specifically about how we value community and the things we do to support our communities through volunteerism, donations and encouraging our employees to get involved.

Another way that we support our communities is through investing in ourselves. That sounds a bit self-serving but we believe in taking care of our buildings and putting our best foot forward whenever possible. A well cared for branch that operates efficiently is an investment in the community as well as in ourselves.

That’s part of the reason we have been undergoing upgrades at some of branches for the last several months. Last year we updated the storefront of our Circleville location and we’re putting the finishing touches on work at our Grove City branch while renovation projects are in full swing at our Laurelville and Lancaster West Fair locations. We recently finished demolition and clean-up of our Ashville building to make way for a brand new facility.

Plans are in the pipeline for improvements at other branches in the coming years.

Supporting the community means being good neighbors and we hope you’ll be happy with the results as we modernize and improve our locations in the coming months and years. The next time you’re in one of the branches under construction, be sure to ask the staff about the plans and have a look at the artist’s renderings of the new work!

Kathy Cooper Retires This Week

kathy cooperWhen Kathy Cooper talks about her years as a banker, it’s clear that this has been a career and a passion rather than just a job. She will retire January 31, closing a 35 year chapter of her life’s book. But she insists this is just the end of a chapter and that she still has a lot of life and maybe even some new pursuits ahead of her.

Kathy has been with Friendly Bremen Banking Center since 2001 but had a varied and interesting career with other banks prior to that. In fact, she began her banking career in 1983 when she started as a part time teller at Equitable Federal Savings and Loan in Lancaster. Six months later she moved into middle management and hasn’t looked back since.

Kathy grew up in Lancaster on what she calls “Main Street USA.” Her father owned retail businesses in downtown Lancaster which she said was a quintessential small town. She wanted to be an educator but, after some time in the education program at Ohio University, decided this was not the career for her and took that first position as a part time teller.

Customers in Bremen often think of Kathy as the face of the bank as they often see her out and about in the community and because she is a veteran Bremen banker who has helped many of them realize their life’s dreams as their lender.

She has worn many hats in the world of banking and says that she has seen and done almost everything. From a bank run in the early eighties to changes in banking culture to holding a stock broker’s license for one of her prior employers, she said that every job and each person she worked with over the years taught her something. “I’ve been fortunate to have great individuals, maybe you would call them mentors, who took the time to ask questions and give feedback and to help form me,” she said. “I’ve met many interesting individuals who have helped me in some way and I’m grateful for that.”

When it comes to banking in general and lending in particular, Kathy has some strong opinions about what it takes to be successful in a hometown atmosphere. “You have to be approachable and be able to talk to people on their level so they feel comfortable using you as a resource. You have to be knowledgeable about all products and be able to help them with the big picture. You have to ask a lot of questions and be able to identify what’s best for the customer and any weaknesses that might become problems,” she said.  “Availability is key too. Customers know where I live. They have my cell phone. They know I’m tied to the community and that I’m here for them always – evenings, Sunday mornings – when they need me. And most of all, you have to treat people in an honest manner. That’s extremely important.”

Once she retires, Kathy said she has plans for projects around the house and yard. She also looks forward to a little light travel and some volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and the Fairfield Heritage Society. More than anything, she looks forward to spending time with family including daughter Sarah, son Zachary and her four grandkids. In fact, her eyes light up when she talks about Marin, Joseph, Isabelle and Camden, her grandchildren who she says are involved with a host of activities.

While time off work sounds appealing, she doesn’t expect retirement to last forever. “I’m just taking off my Peter Pan cape for a while. You never know what I’ll do next but I can tell you this. I’m like a bad penny. I just keep rolling back,” she laughed.

“It’s been great! It’s been a fun ride but now it’s time to turn the page,” she said.

Finding Money To Save (Even When You Think You Can’t)

expenses cut.jpgIt’s that time of year when we all resolve to put a lid on our spending and save more money. The internet is full of articles like “Five Ways To Save $1,000 This Year” and advice for folks to save $30 just by cutting back to eating out just three days a week.

But what if you don’t eat out every day and you’re sure there’s not hundreds of dollars in savings to be found in your budget? We don’t claim to have all the answers in this one little story but we do have some things for you to think about and maybe kickstart your way to savings this year.

Think About Your Spending
We all spend money on things we don’t need and sometimes on things we don’t really want. The first thing you need to do is study how you’re using your money. Do this however you like. An easy way is to save your receipts and keep a slip of paper to jot down every time you drop a few bucks in the work vending machine because you’re craving Diet Coke and Peanut M&Ms. Then study your habits and think about ways to cut costs or change behaviors. If you’re buying candy and drinks every day, it might be smart to bring a snack from home.  This is an easy behavior change that could save several dollars a week.

Once you know what you’re spending money on, ask yourself some questions. What are you buying that you don’t need or that you buy out of habit? Are you actually using what you buy? Is it truly a need or a want disguised as a need?

When our bankers visit third graders to talk about spending and saving money, they typically understand the difference between a need and a want. For example, you need shoes but you want Nikes. However, when we talk to teens, we find they think they need Nikes and that no other shoes will do. What do you truly need?

Food is a major money leak for many American households as so much of what we buy spoils before we use it. If you find yourself throwing away most of the celery every week, it might be time to ask yourself if you’re buying celery because you like it or because you always buy it (or because it just looks good in the cart).

Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning is half the battle when it comes to spending and saving. How many times have you gone to the store and couldn’t remember what you need to buy so you just buy a bunch of stuff that sounds good? Whether it’s school clothes, groceries or holiday shopping, make that list and stick to it.

Also, be sure to research your purchases ahead of time. Find out what’s right for you, what’s most economical and what’s most likely to last so you’re not buying a replacement next year.

Planning a purchase also may involve delaying a purchase. In this world that delivers up to the second news and overnight packages from across the country, delayed gratification is becoming a lost art. Do your research and think about how badly you really want or need what you wish to buy. How many hours must you work to pay for it? This question alone may impact your views.  Sleep on it and revisit the purchase later. You may find you were more excited about buying something new than you were about the thing itself.

Don’t Overlook The Big Stuff
You need homeowners insurance but when was the last time you read your policy or comparison shopped? You need a car but can you afford your car when you consider the cost of insurance, maintenance and monthly payments? You need a place to live but could you downsize or find a more affordable neighborhood?

These changes may seem drastic but if you’re serious about saving money, the effort could be worthwhile.

Once you’ve found ways to plug those money leaks, both big and small, be sure to actually have a plan in place to save that money and make sure your budget reflects any changes in spending. If you are saving $50 a month on your insurance, why not set up an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings account?

Saving money isn’t always about the obvious advice to avoid the expensive cup of coffee. It also involves some thinking, research, planning and maybe even a little soul searching to figure out what’s best for you and your finances.

Do you have tips to share? How are your savings efforts working out in this new year? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Who We Are: Embracing Community Through Our Core Values

The theme of 2019 here at VCNB will involve something extremely important to us. We’ll be talking about our Core Values throughout the next twelve months.

You already know that we are a community bank and that we’ve been serving customers for 152 years but do you really know what we believe in and what we value? Our Core Values answer that question. They say that Community, Leadership, Integrity, Progress and Relationships are important to us.

Today we want to tell you a little about our Community philosophies and how we apply them.

When we have a branch in a community, we are there because we want to be part of that community. We want to be thought of as the neighborhood bank that looks after its customers, that provides jobs for locals when possible and that invests in the community where there is opportunity.

We leave it up to the management of local branches to determine how their community funds should be spent and we encourage our employees to be active through volunteerism and supporting local events.  In fact, we offer our employees some incentive to get involved – they can volunteer on bank time or receive a little time off when they volunteer on their own time.

It’s rewarding to hear about all the things our employees are doing in their communities. Some volunteer with food pantries and animal shelters while others are working with community theaters, helping out at events and even serving on boards.

Our public relations donations are spent in a number of ways. Large donations have been given in recent years to school programs, foundations and to groups that help seniors. Small donations are given to almost every type of event, fundraiser and organization imaginable.

We try to be good neighbors, to keep our offices looking nice and to be known in the community as a resource, not just for bank business, but for the community as a whole. We thank you for supporting us in your community.

VCNB Business Support Team Works For You

As a business owner, you need every dollar and every minute to work for you. Your bank also needs to work for you. Here at VCNB, we understand that and we provide a Business Support Team to help you with business problems and solutions.

We recently sat down with Monica DeLong, Vice President of Retail Accounts at VCNB, to talk about what sets VCNB apart in the world of business banking. She had a lot to say on this subject.  “Most banks offer basically the same products so the things you find at big banks or regional banks are the same products we have here. What sets us apart from all the others is the dedication we have to our business customers and the services we provide them,” DeLong said.

In fact, VCNB offers a dedicated support phone line that rings into the Business Support Team. “When they call, they will hear a familiar voice, someone they’ve likely worked with before and someone who understands their business and what they need,” DeLong explained.

Another thing that makes VCNB unique is the complimentary set up services and training provided by bank employees. “If you sign up for Remote Deposit Capture, we don’t just ship the equipment to you. We actually go and set up for you. We demonstrate it, we help you learn how to use it so you’re comfortable and are ready to make those deposits from the comfort of your office. The same goes with payroll. If you use our payroll services, we come to you and we train you to use it. Then we offer support if you need it later.”

She pointed out that VCNB is also one of the few banks that offers Rewards Points for business checking customers. These points can be earned by using bank products and a debit card. They can be redeemed for cash back to the account, making it easy for business customers to earn a little extra cash just for doing their banking.

Another quality that many customers appreciate is the flexibility in online and mobile banking. With online banking, the account holder can assign as many people as needed to use online banking and to see as much or as little of the online banking content as necessary. So the employee responsible for payroll can be given access only to the payroll portion of online banking while another employee may only be given access to wire transfers. Checks and balances can also be put in place so that one person initiates something but a second person has to approve it.

“It’s our service that sets us apart,” DeLong pointed out. “We want the entire relationship with the customer so we want to make sure the entire process is a positive one. You’re never just a number, you’re a name and we know who you are.”

Ready to move your business relationship to a bank that really wants to work with you? Find your closest branch here! 

Rita Teeters To Retire Thursday

When Rita Teeters talks about her upcoming retirement from Vinton County National Bank, she doesn’t seem as eager to leave work as she does to simply have free time to do as she wishes. Rita will retire Thursday after accumulating 35 years over two stints with the bank.

She started her career with VCNB in 1964. Back then, the bank was still small with just one location in McArthur and a modest staff that included only a handful of women. “One person answered the phone. That’s how small we were,” Rita said. “And there were just a few of us girls in the Accounting Department.”

Rita Teeters Retires croppedThese were prosperous years and, as the bank grew, so did the presence of other women. Rita’s job was to operate the proof machine, a large piece of equipment used to process transactions and ultimately make sure the bank was balanced at the end of each day.

She worked in the Accounting Department until leaving in 1979 while expecting her first child. “When Carla came along, I never expected to keep working. That’s just what you did back then. You stayed home and raised kids,” she explained. “But when I left, Bob Will told me I would always be welcome if I ever wanted to come back.”

Nineteen years later when Carla was in college and son Kevin in high school, Rita found herself looking for work to help her family through a rough patch.  “I answered an ad in the county paper because someone was looking for a proof operator. That’s what I did for the bank so I applied for it. Well, never did I guess it would bring me back here,” she said.

That was 1998 and she says a lot had changed during her nineteen year absence. “They had changed to a ten key proof machine. It was so small! And different! I had to learn it all over again!”

The bank had also embraced technology during her absence and she had to learn computers for the first time. “Kids today just grow up knowing these things but I had to learn. They were patient with me and I was grateful,” she laughed.

She has seen even more changes in banking since that day. Now she works in the bank’s Operations Department as a Senior Operations Processor. “We do a lot of the same things but the way we do them has changed. Computers have taken a lot of the labor out of what we do,” she said while citing some specific examples including how customer account statements are created. Today, statements are automatically generated by computers. Then, they were created manually by people. Returned checks were filed daily, checked off the customer’s statement and then mailed with the statement to the customer.

Rita also reminisced about the people and other aspects of the bank. As a young woman, she worked for Belle Jenkins, the bank’s first female employee who was known for her no-nonsense approach to work and impeccable style. “A lot of people were intimidated by her but I really liked Belle. She was a good role model for us all,” Rita said as she talked about the day the bank ladies learned they could wear pant suits to work. “I never saw Belle wear anything but a dress or skirt but she wore a pant suit to work one day. She came down to the basement and announced that we would be permitted to wear pantsuits but that the bottom of the jacket had to come to our wrist when we stood,” she explained.

She reminisced about other aspects of the changing dress code including the official bank blazer that every employee was expected to wear every Friday. Many bank customers might remember them in different colors over the years including burgundy, navy blue and gold. “We had to wear them every Friday. That was dress up day,” she said.

Rita talked about others who have come and gone from the bank since she started. “So many of them have passed,” she said while talking about popular bank personalities like Jerry Griffith who was a favorite banker of so many customers that his line would stretch through the lobby while other tellers stood with no customers to wait on. She smiled at the memory of Bob Will, Jr. who carved out time each day to speak to every employee. “He always made you feel like you were important,” she said.

During her time with the bank, Rita has worked for five of the bank’s nine presidents. She has witnessed the bank’s growth from one small community branch with only a handful of employees to a large operation with seventeen branches and close to 250 employees.

“I have enjoyed working here. They’ve been real good to me but it’s time to go. It’s been 35 years and I’m ready to have some freedom, to not have a routine. I told the girls the other day, it’ll be nice to not have to go out into the cold in the mornings,” she laughed.

Rita plans to spend some time on sewing and quilting projects and looks forward to spending more time outdoors next summer. She says she’s “the gopher” for the family farm and is most enthusiastic about spending more time with family. She has been married to her husband Kayle Teeters for forty years and she hopes to spend more time with him, their children and three young grandsons.

Rita, we wish you all the best in your retirement and hope you enjoy your newfound freedom!

Pataskala Banker Embraces Spirit Of Holidays Through Music

Friendly Bremen Banking Center Personal Banker Mitchell McCrady has a busy month ahead of him. By day Mitchell helps customers in our Pataskala branch with everything from cashing checks to opening accounts. After hours he is a passionate musician who plays French horn with three different Central Ohio symphonies and a local opera company. This month, he will be especially busy with Christmas performances in and around the Columbus area.

In fact, he will take part in four Christmas concerts and a New Year’s Eve fundraising gala this month!

beautiful poinsettia in flowerpot, gifts and Christmas ballsMitchell began playing French horn at the age of ten, learning the instrument with the school band at Berne Union in Sugar Grove. During his teen years, Mitchell took lessons at Ohio University in Athens and further developed skills that he carried into college. In fact, he holds an undergraduate degree in Music Performance from University of Dayton and a Masters of Music in Horn Performance from Indiana University.

He is a member of the New Albany Symphony, Central Ohio Symphony, Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra and Opera Project Columbus and participates in some seasonal projects as well.

Mitchell came to work at VCNB in 2015 and has since worked in our branches in Lancaster, Canal Winchester and now Pataskala, learning the ropes in retail banking and customer service.  “I feel lucky to work at the bank and pursue my passion at the same time. I’m so appreciative of that,” he said.

Here is the schedule of Mitchell’s upcoming holiday shows:

Central Ohio Symphony
Holiday Concert
Sunday, December 9 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Gray Chapel, Ohio Wesleyan University

New Albany Symphony
Santa and the Symphony***Sensory Friendly Concert***
Saturday, December 15 at 11:30 a.m.
Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts
This is a short 45 minute program; perfect for little kids and those with special needs.

Holiday Spectacular
Sunday, December 16 at 3 p.m.
Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts

Columbus Dance Theater
MATCHGIRL
Friday, December 14 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 15 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Otterbein University, Fritsche Theatre – Cowan Hall

 
Weathervane Playhouse/Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra
New Year’s Eve Fundraising Gala
Monday, December 31 at 8 p.m.
Weathervane Playhouse (100 Price Road Newark, OH 43055)

Mitchell invites everyone to come out and support, not just these shows, but other local performances in the area. “Every show is different and I would encourage people to go out and support as many as you can. These are local musicians in your own community and we enjoy giving great performances for people,” he said. “We’re lucky to have such a rich, thriving art scene in Columbus and in areas all over Ohio.”