Savings Tips From Saver Squirrel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur friend Saver Squirrel loves to “squirrel away” cash and is always excited to talk to other savers about their habits. Today, he’s offering some advice to anyone trying to get started with their savings goals!

Open a savings account: Saver says it is important to keep your savings separate from the money you use for paying monthly bills and daily expenses. Keep it safe from temptation and put it in a savings account. At VCNB, we offer a Passbook Savings Account that gives you online access to your funds. Read more about Passbook Savings Accounts to learn about minimum balances and how to access your money.

Automate, automate, automate: Schedule automatic transfers to your new savings. This makes it like any other bill you would pay and removes the burden of remembering to do it. With the online access you receive when you open a Passbook Savings, it’s easy as pie to schedule a regular transfer from your VCNB checking to your savings.

Start small: Saver likes to say that every acorn counts! Start saving what you can spare. Just $10 a week will add up so don’t be embarrassed if this is where you have to start. Saver has found that the more he saves, the more he wants to save. He thinks when you see your own savings start to add up, you may be inspired to stash away more.

Make it a game: If you have a little more to spare, make it a game. Some folks save every $5 bill they get. Others toss their change in a jar every day. Someone told Saver the other day that when they are tempted to buy something they don’t need, instead they skip the purchase and transfer the funds into their savings account. Save a dollar a day or find a fun savings chart to follow. Pinterest is a great source for this kind of inspiration.

Keep a goal in mind: Saving money for the sake of having it doesn’t always inspire us to stick to make spending cuts or to even stick to a plan. That’s why it’s important to know why you’re saving. Most Americans don’t have an emergency fund. Maybe you want to save money so you’re prepared the next time Murphy’s Law comes knocking and an appliance breaks or you get sick. If you are planning a big vacation or saving for a house payment, keep visual reminders around or stop and think about how nice it will feel to take your family on that summer vacation.

Track your progress: Saver thinks that the best way to stay focused is to assess progress. He recommends checking your account online periodically to see the dollars add up. Better yet, keep a chart on the refrigerator or a spreadsheet with your budget so you can celebrate your successes!!

While saving comes naturally to Saver Squirrel, it’s not so easy for everyone. Start small, make it easy on yourself and celebrate your accomplishments! Before you know it, you’ll have some cushion in the bank and you’ll be on your way to being just like Saver Squirrel!

Looking Back On Our 150th

This has been a big year here at VCNB as we have been celebrating our 150th anniversary. We did this through a variety of means including events and sponsorships  throughout the eight counties we call home. We’ve celebrated our entire 150 year history with a museum in our McArthur office and focused on our post-Civil War birth with big events over the 4th of July weekend in Vinton County.

However, 2017 hasn’t been just a year of living in the past. It has also been a year of reflection for the employees and Directors of Vinton County National Bank. We have spent 2017 working on a plan for the years ahead and have been contemplating the bank we want to be, the bank our customers need us to be for the next 150 years.

We opened a new banking center in Jackson this year and continue to focus efforts on improving our mobile and online services to make banking with VCNB simpler and better. We have developed many plans to make VCNB a better place to work and a better place to do business as well.

If you are a VCNB customer, we thank you for your business. If you are not a customer, we ask that you give us a chance to become your bank. We have been successful these 150 years because of our customers and because of the fine communities where we do business. We would love to bring you into our bank family as well.

We’re about to turn the page on the calendar to a new month, a new year and to countless opportunities to grow this bank and to help our customers realize their dreams. What’s the old quote?

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among stars!”

Thanks to all of you for supporting Vinton County National Bank and for allowing us the privilege to be your bank. Together, we’ll shoot for that moon!

VCNB Says Farewell To Longtime Employee

 

Sandy Bates Retires 2017 croppedA longtime familiar face at the Depot Drive Thru in McArthur will soon retire. Sandy Bates, a 33 year employee of Vinton County National Bank will retire this Friday.

Even on a slow day, scores of vehicles line up in Sandy’s lane to be waited on by the friendly woman who seems to always wear a smile. She asks customers about their kids, talks about the car they just bought and passes out dog bones to customers of the canine variety. Often times she knows what the customer wants before they even ask.

She’s recently begun telling regulars that she won’t be with the bank much longer. “I retire in eight days” she exclaimed to one regular customer.  “One man seemed a little upset when I told him I was leaving. I didn’t even know him that well so I was kind of surprised,” she explained.

Sandy began her career at the bank in the Bookkeeping Department. “Bookkeeping wasn’t quite what I thought it was,” she offered with a laugh. “I filed checks all day, every day! I worked at that quite a while before I went to Mr. (Bob) Will and asked to do something else.”

She has worked as a teller since, spending some time in the bank lobby but most of her career in the Depot. “I have enjoyed it here. It’s nice and quiet here and I feel close to the customer waiting on them here,” she said. “I get to see their kids and their animals and a lot of things I would miss in the lobby. Little kids will talk to me, dogs know they’re going to get a bone. I’ve seen people grow from car seats into parents.”

It can be a stressful job at times, especially on busy days. However, Sandy said she received some very good advice from another VCNB retiree who trained her. “Ruth Molihan always said that the customer in front of you is the most important person right now. I’ve always made that my policy and I think it’s a good one,” Sandy said.

She reminisced about many of the changes in bank personnel and in changes to banking and society that have taken place over the years. “I started out filing checks all day and now you just don’t see that many checks,” she said. She also expressed great respect for late VCNB President Bob Will who she said “was quite the visionary” for his early adaption of new technologies.

Sandy said that her retirement is bittersweet. “I have enjoyed working here and am sad to leave but a little happy too. I’ll miss the customers and the people I work with but it’s a good time to go while I still have my health and can get out and enjoy life.”

She looks forward to spending more time with family and is especially excited to spend more time with her grandchildren.

McArthur Branch Manager Jane Nickels said that Sandy’s absence will be felt by the bank and by her customers. “Once the customers find out she’s going to be gone, many will be very disappointed. That first lane is always lined up when the second lane has no one in it because Sandy tends to be everyone’s favorite,” Jane said. “The drive thru seems to be her niche. We’ve asked her to come into the lobby before but she enjoys the challenge and seems to genuinely enjoy how busy she is with her customers at the drive thru.”

Jane complimented Sandy’s professionalism, noting that at the age of 79 she still works every day in high heels. “She’s a lady. She’s a lady who cares about her customers, who has built relationships with her customers. We wish her the best but her absence will be a loss to the customers and to the bank.”

Friday will be Sandy’s last day on the job. The entire bank family wishes her a long and happy retirement!

VCNB Prepares To Host Santa!

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

Kids of all ages are invited to visit with Santa at some of our banks this holiday season. The jolly old elf in the red suit will visit with all the good little boys and girls at several of our offices this December. We invite you and your family to these free events to share treats and stories with Santa himself!

Here’s the schedule:

Ellora Starr cropped

Little Ellora Starr is pictured here snoozing with Santa at our Bremen office a few years ago. 

Friday, December 8
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – 119 W. Main Street, Bremen
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, December 14
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – 700 Corylus Drive, Pataskala
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, December 16
Ross County Banking Center – 775 Western Ave., Chillicothe
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Saturday, December 16
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – 1971 W. Fair Ave., Lancaster
10 a.m. to Noon

Wednesday, December 20
Canal Banking Center – 6360 Prentiss School Dr., Canal Winchester
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, December 22
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – 521 E. Main St., Lancaster
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In all the years that Santa has been coming to our banks, he has visited with children of all ages, some older folks and even a few pets! Bring your camera to be sure and capture the perfect image of your loved one with Santa!

Building a Credit Score From Scratch

Young adults starting out on their own often bump into a cold fact of financial life: Having no credit history can limit your options just as much as having bad credit does. Lenders, rental offices and insurance companies use your financial track record to judge how likely you are to pay debts and bills — and if you’re a blank slate, you’re generally considered a risk.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to quickly establish your credit record.

Start with a credit card
One of the quickest ways to develop a positive credit history is with a credit card, which lets you show that you handle small amounts of debt responsibly month after month. Even if you can’t qualify for a card on your own, there are ways to take advantage of this credit-building tool:

  • Recruit a co-signer.You might be able to get a card if someone with good credit — such as a parent — is willing to co-sign the application with you. You and your co-signer will be equally responsible for the charges you make, along with any late-payment fees or other penalties if you don’t make payments on time. Also, late or missed payments can damage your credit score and your co-signer’s, too. But every time you make a payment on time, it will shore up your credit history.
  • Become an authorized user. Another option is to ask a family member or significant other to add you to their credit account. First, though, make sure their bank reports activity by authorized users to the major credit bureaus — otherwise, this won’t help your credit score. And remember that here, too, your activity with the card can affect someone other than yourself.

Next steps
Once you have a card, your behavior with it will determine how high, and quickly, your credit score rises. To keep moving in the right direction:

  • Make on-time payments.The most common credit-scoring model is the FICO score, and it is based on a combination of factors. The biggest, making up 35% of your score, is your payment history. Pay all of your bills (not just your credit card) on time to keep your score rising.
  • Keep balances low. Try not to use your card up to or near your credit limit; it looks bad to creditors if your cards are maxed out. A good rule of thumb is to keep your balances at or below 30% of your total credit limit.
  • Don’t over-apply for cards.According to a recent NerdWallet study that included an analysis of millennials’ credit scores, many young adults are applying for the wrong credit cards and getting rejected — and that’s hurting their credit, since excessive inquiries can make someone look like a bad credit risk. Apply only for cards you really want, and space out those applications.
  • Check your credit reports. You have the right to get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies — ExperianEquifaxand TransUnion — once a year for free. Review yours and report any errors that might hurt your score.

It can be easier to build up good credit if you have a professional helping you. Consider consulting with a financial institution to help figure out the best way to establish credit and make other important financial decisions.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

VCNB Can Make Your Holidays Brighter

Holiday art for blog

The holidays are supposed to be joyous but worries over money, fraud and time constraints can turn the happiest time of the year into an ordeal. Today we want to talk about some tools we offer to make your season brighter.

First of all, we think it’s important for you to know what’s happening with your money at all times. That’s why we give you a multitude of account alerts to help you know where your money is going, how much you have and even when payments are due. With Account Alerts, you can receive a text every time your debit card is used, when your balance falls below an amount of your choosing or when your loan payment is due. This is an easy way to stop fraud in its tracks because you’ll know when purchases are happening and be able to quickly spot any that aren’t yours.

Account alerts can be set up through your online banking account and are a free service. Click here to see the full list of account alerts. 

Along the lines of awareness and security, VCNB Mobile is another easy way to manage your money and your cards. With VCNB Mobile, you can monitor your transactions, transfer funds and pay bills on the go. You can also manage your VCNB debit cards with geographic and monetary spending limitations. Best of all, you can even turn your cards off and on, ensuring that they can only be used when you say it’s ok. Read more about this exciting feature of VCNB Mobile here.

With VCNB Mobile, you can also use the camera on your mobile device to deposit a check with Mobile Deposit. It might save you a trip to the bank which gives you more time for what’s important to you. And who couldn’t use more free time this holiday season?  Learn more about this free service here.

Speaking of being busy, there’s no busier time of year than the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. With all the shopping, baking, gift wrapping and cleaning, there is hardly time left for the family functions, work parties and tons of special events. Many of these activities call for a good bit of spending. Be it for groceries and gifts, travel expenses or dinners out, there is seemingly unlimited opportunity to spend money.

As long as you’re spending, we think you should be rewarded. That’s why we offer VCNB Rewards Checking customers and Visa Platinum credit card customers the opportunity to earn UChoose Rewards® Points for their daily purchases and bank behaviors. For example, Visa Platinum customers receive one point for every dollar spent using this card. These points can be redeemed for gift cards, event tickets, travel expenses and thousands of products.

Rewards Checking customers receive one point for every $3 spent using their debit card and bonus points for using bank products like direct deposit, Mobile Deposit and Popmoney® personal payment service. These points can be redeemed for cash back or for any of the great rewards offered to our credit card customers. If you already have Rewards Checking or a Visa Platinum card, remember that you must register your card at UChooseRewards.com to begin earning rewards points.

One last thing – if you need to send someone cash, Popmoney is the way to go. Learn more here.

We wish all our customers a joyous holiday season and hope these products will simplify and brighten your holidays.

VCNB Opens New Jackson County Office

Jackson Office October 2017

We are thrilled to say that we have an office in Jackson! The Jackson County Banking Center is now open for business at 920 Veterans Drive in Jackson.

VCNB has operated a loan production office at this address since 2016. Bolstered by the enthusiastic support of customers who wished to have a more extensive relationship with VCNB, Bank President Ron Collins said the choice was clear. “We were seeing more and more customers from Jackson County who wanted to bank with us and we wanted to open an office that is convenient for them,” Collins said. “Our roots are in southern Ohio and we are very excited to be in Jackson.”

This office employs local bankers who know Jackson County and who will are excited to serve their neighbors and the entire community. The staff includes Branch Manager Josh Palmer, Dale Massie, Darrell Boggs, Fred Wright, Jordan Stepp, Kelly Halley and Laura Ellenberger.

Many Jackson Countians are familiar with VCNB and have done business with the bank which was founded in McArthur in 1867. The bank now operates seventeen offices, embracing the values and identity of each community where it does business. While the bank branches identify with different names, such as Jackson County Banking Center, all branches are part of the VCNB Financial Family and customers can do business anywhere they see the bank logo.

The new Jackson branch has a walk up ATM, night deposit access and courteous staff who can help with all their banking needs, including loans and deposit products. Customers can learn more and even open accounts online at VCNBfamily.com. The community is invited to stop by the bank to meet the staff and see the newly remodeled facility.

Stop by and have coffee and snacks with your bankers Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. We’ll also have a drawing for $150 cash.

We would love to meet our neighbors so stop by and say hello!

Small Business Spotlight: Big Woods Woodworking

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!  

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Big Woods Woodworking is located on State Route 56, just outside Laurelville.

Spend some time talking to Marcus Mast about his business Big Woods Woodworking and one word consistently comes to mind.

That word is “quality.”

It clearly is important to Marcus that he provide a quality product and quality service to his customer as well as a good quality of life for his family. He is very quiet in the way he describes his products but the wood furniture and other items created at Big Woods Woodworking speak volumes.

This is the place to go when you are in search of just the right piece of wood furniture for the home or outdoors. That’s because each piece is handmade with care and to suit the needs of the buyer. It is so well made that it is easy to imagine that much of his work will be passed down through generations and will someday be considered heirlooms.

The showroom is packed with samples of the furniture he makes along with some smaller pieces that are available for sale. But the real draw is the fact he makes each order by hand, specifically to suit the needs of his customer.

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The showroom at Big Woods Woodworking is packed with samples of handmade items that can be adapted for the customers’ needs.

Log beds and log furniture to complete a bedroom suit are among his most sought after pieces. Dining room tables and chairs, desks, coffee tables, side tables, armoires, bar tops, chess tables and lamps are also popular. Slab tables and bar tops have live edges, lending a sense of rustic charm and natural beauty that would be appropriate in many settings.

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Log beds and the dressers and nightstands that match are among their most popular items.

For the outdoors, Big Woods makes custom porch swings, arbors, tables and chairs.

His wife Rochelle does wood burning on some pieces and their children sometimes pitch in to make small items that are sold in the shop.

The lumber he uses most comes from all over the region and the country. Aspen, with its worm holes and beautiful color, is often used in slab tables. He also uses red cedar from Missouri, pine from Ohio and Michigan, hickory, and walnut from around Ohio.

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This chess/checkers table has two drawers to contain the pieces when not in use.

“I like to say that God makes the trees and He makes the beauty. We just go find it, we find the beauty,” Marcus explained.

In addition to the pieces he regularly makes, Marcus said that customers often come with ideas of their own. He can design furniture to suit their needs. An example is a cupboard he designed that features a cutting board top and adjustable book stand for cookbooks. He is currently working on an enormous bar top designed to suit a specific space in a customer’s home. Another project is an armoire he is building with walnut that the customer brought to him. “Some people just can’t visualize what they want but they can describe their needs. Their eyes light up when they see the finished product and they say it’s just what they wanted. That’s good to see,” he said.

Marcus said he learned his trade through years of experience. “All my life I’ve done little projects, things for the home, things for us,” he said. He went on to explain that he worked in someone else’s shop prior to opening his own. “There’s been some trial and error and some trial and success. It’s the kind of thing you learn as you go.”

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This child sized table and chairs would be perfect for any youngster’s playroom! 

It is clear that while he is intent on creating a quality product for his customers, he also focuses much on providing a good life for his family. “It has always been my dream to work at home where the children can come down and be with me. My wife enjoys dropping in too. This business is a way to do that and to provide for my family,” he said.

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This table was made using logs from the property.

It’s also a way to teach his children valuable skills. “Just the ability to use your hands, that’s what I enjoy and that’s what I want for my children. I want them to have a broader experience than I can provide for  them through my shop here and so by teaching them to use their hands, to think things through, to plan and to connect everything together, to have a finished product . . . those are skills they can use their entire lives,” he said.

Wait times for custom orders vary depending on current workload. At this time the wait is approximately four weeks but can be longer. He said they work hard to accommodate the scheduling needs of the customer. A discount is available for the purchase of a four piece log bedroom suit.

Call Big Woods Woodworking at 740.607.8184. The showroom/shop is open Monday through Saturday and is located at 1577 St. Rt. 56 East, just outside of Laurelville. They accept cash, check or credit card.

See below for additional pictures from Big Woods Woodworking.

 

 

Thinking Like a Woman Could Pay Off With Credit Cards

Women shop a lot: We make 85% of all consumer purchases, according to data from the research firms Yankelovich Monitor and Greenfield Online. All that shopping means we’re pulling out our credit cards often — and it turns out, perhaps thanks to all that practice, we really know what we’re doing.

On average, women carry about $100 less credit card debt than men do ($5,536 versus $5,635), are less likely to be 60 or more days overdue on their credit card card payments, and have slightly higher credit scores (675 versus 670), according to the credit bureau Experian. “Women seem to be doing a better job at managing their credit,” says Kelley Motley, director of analytics at Experian.

Men might want to take a page from women’s credit card playbook by adopting these four credit card habits.

  1. Don’t be scared to use credit cards responsibly

Women have 23.5% more open credit cards than men do, according to Experian. Despite that, women have lower average overall balances, which suggests they are opening more cards without maxing them out. In other words, they might be opening new ones to strategically score discounts or other benefits, but for the most part, they aren’t getting into trouble by running up massive balances with them. That means many women are reaping the rewards of credit cards — fraud protection, points, discounts — without winding up with crushing credit card debt.

“Rather than just using one card, they may be using different cards, with different rewards structures, to make certain purchases,” says Catey Hill, author of the forthcoming book “The 30-Minute Money Plan for Moms: How to Maximize Your Family Budget in Minimal Time.” “If you pay them off on time and in full each month, rewards cards, even multiple rewards cards, can be very lucrative.”

  1. Understand behaviors that can improve credit scores

Men were more likely than women to say they considered their credit score knowledge good or excellent — 61% vs. 54% — according to a recent survey by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions. But women were actually the ones who reported more accurate knowledge on many factors about how credit scores work. Women had a better understanding of how to raise a credit score and of the factors used in determining credit scores.

“Women might be slightly more conscientious than men about knowing and understanding their credit scores,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of CFA. And as for understanding the actions that can raise credit scores, including making on-time payments every month and maintaining a low credit utilization rate, “that’s the most critical information to have,” Brobeck said.

  1. Get your free credit reports regularly

The CFA survey also found that women are more likely than men to understand the importance of checking their credit reports regularly, something all consumers can do for free at annualcreditreport.com. The reports do not include credit scores, but rather the details of one’s credit history. This makes it possible to spot any errors and work to correct them.

According to the survey, women may also be more likely than men to follow through and obtain their credit report — 67% of women said they’d done so, versus 63% of men.

  1. Avoid delinquencies and maintain low, manageable balances

A late payment or delinquency can lower a credit score. Making regular monthly payments to keep all credit cards (and other accounts) in good standing is an important part of building a strong credit history.

“Women are typically the CEOs of their household and know how to stick to a monthly budget, manage day-to-day spending and pay bills on time,” says Kerry Hannon, personal finance expert and author of the forthcoming book “Money Confidence: Really Smart Financial Moves for Newly Single Women.” “When they sense they’re in debt or bumping up against a shortfall, they trim back their budget, slashing discretionary items like meals out or clothing purchases.”

That kind of fiscal conservatism helps prevent a buildup of credit card debt. Plus, keeping balances manageable can help improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a factor in your credit score.

After all, when it comes to your credit score, how you manage your money matters more than the size of your paycheck. While women typically bring home only about 80% of what men do, according to the American Association of University Women, they still come out on top when it comes to credit scores.

“It shows you don’t have to earn a ton to manage your money well, and that you can take control of your finances even on a smaller budget,” says Hill, the author.

In other words, shop like a woman and you might just end up with a better credit score.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by Forbes.

More about credit cards

Kimberly Palmer is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: kpalmer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @KimberlyPalmer.

The article Thinking Like a Woman Could Pay Off With Credit Cards originally appeared on NerdWallet.