October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a topic that hits close to home for millions of American families but one that most of us aren’t comfortable discussing. Our friends at The Lighthouse Domestic Violence Shelter in Fairfield County have asked VCNB employees to shine a light on these crimes by wearing purple on October 16. Our employees will wear purple and are invited to donate $5 to The Lighthouse so that they can wear jeans that day as well.

An average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That’s more than 12 million women and men over the course of a single year, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Here at VCNB, we are concerned for the safety of all people who are victims of abuse. The fact that so many Americans, so many of our neighbors, live in fear of their own partner is unacceptable. We have seen first-hand the struggles of too many women and men in abusive relationships and were devastated last year by the senseless murder of a former employee.

Life with an abuser is a lonely one and it is scary. An abuser is a bully who normalizes abuse and terminates their victim’s relationships with loved ones. They use ongoing verbal abuse to devastate their self-esteem, making them believe that they deserve to be abused. They make sure their victims have no resources of their own by denying them opportunities to work or to have their own money.

Leaving this untenable situation seems impossible but there are organizations with staff and resources that will provide vital support to them leave this dangerous situation.

If you are someone you love is in an abusive relationship, there are local shelters as well as a national hotline that you can turn to for help. Each county’s domestic violence organization is different with some offering everything from emergency shelter to victim advocacy to safety plans.

When you’re ready, here are some of the resources available in the counties where we have branches.

Fairfield
The Lighthouse
Lancaster
740.687.4423
www.lancasterlh.org/

Franklin
CHOICES
Columbus
614.224.4663
www.choicesdvcols.org

Hocking
My Sister’s Place
Athens
800.443.3402
www.mspathens.org/

Jackson
Serenity House
Gallipolis
800.942.9577
www.serenityhouseinc.weebly.com/

Licking
Center for New Beginnings
Newark
800.686.2760
www.thewoodland.org

Pickaway
Haven House of Pickaway County
Circleville
740.477.9113
www.havenhouse1180.com

Ross
Ross County Coalition Against DV
Chillicothe
Crisis Line 866.828.2273
www.facebook.com/RossCountyCoalitionAgainstDomesticViolence/

Vinton
Shepherd’s House
McArthur
740.596.9271
www.facebook.com/Shepherds-House-196460857034200/

Nationwide
National Domestic Violence Hotline
800.799.SAFE
www.thehotline.com

Small Business Spotlight: Ohio Steel Recycling

Being a small business owner is a tough job! That’s why we feature a different small business in our Small Business Spotlight every month!

Have some scrap metal in your way? Ohio Steel Recycling will be glad to take it off your hands and pay you for it too.

The company buys a long list of scrap metals from both commercial businesses and individuals. “We don’t care if you bring us a truck full of junk cars or just a trunk full of scrap from around your yard. We’re happy to take it all and will pay you for it,” owner John Belcher said. “That’s better than letting it sit in your way!”

They buy scrap metal that can be upgraded into materials to sell for recycling. For example, junk cars go through a process where they are drained of all fluids including gas and oil before the exhaust, wheels, tires and catalytic converter are removed. The metals and rubber can be recycled while the fluids like gas and oil must be properly disposed of by EPA standards. The car is then run through a compacter before being sold to another facility that will shred and separate the metals for recycling into other useful products.

This is helpful to the environment as it is more eco-friendly friendly to reuse metals than it is to mine more. It also prevents tons of materials from hitting landfills. “The environment would be a lot worse without places like this. Imagine if all this was sitting in a dump somewhere,” he said, gesturing to the hundreds of crushed cars that are stacked and waiting to be hauled off for recycling.

Cars are stripped of hazardous and valuable materials before being compacted and hauled away to be shredded. The shredded metals may be recycled and made into useful products.

But they take more than cars. They accept all sorts of junk vehicles and equipment as well as other items like appliances, copper wire and tubing, iron and steel scrap, aluminum scrap, cast iron, lead, brass and brass alloys, zinc and zinc alloys, demolition scrap, and industrial and manufacturing scrap. The list is quite long and includes almost everything metal.

For the average person, this could mean garage doors, metal siding, old plumbing, a car part or the refrigerator they just replaced.

There are some exceptions. They don’t take anything hazardous, toxic or radioactive. They don’t take any closed containers under pressure like propane or gas cylinders, fire extinguishers or aerosol cans that could explode. Liquids including gas, oil, paint, propane and water aren’t accepted either.

Copper wire that has been stripped from tubing awaits recycling.

Used bullets from a local gun range are among salvage materials that most people wouldn’t even think of as an opportunity to recycle. Copper wire is stripped from tubing, appliances are dismantled and everything that can be recycled is prepared to be trucked out to their next step in the recycling process.

John is always on the lookout for ways to expand the business and said they are about to begin accepting aluminum cans. “Aluminum cans are sort of a break even commodity for us but if it helps the customer, I think we should do it,” he said. “Besides, if they’re bringing us cans, they may realize this is a good place to bring other things.”

One customer hauled in an assortment of metal scrap in a bathtub. “You see all kinds of things in this line of work,” laughed John Belcher.

He works to keep his area as neat as possible given their line of work and encourages employees to remember “just because we’re a junkyard doesn’t mean we have to look like a junkyard!”  He went on to say “people don’t want to bring their nice cars into a bad place. Besides, we want to be good neighbors and keep things as clean as possible.”

John is also conscious of how the pandemic has impacted his business as well as other people and businesses. “It’s been a hard time for a lot of people. We closed for a couple of months and used the time to do some projects here. We’re open again but we’re not back to where we were in April. Honestly, I’m just looking forward to when things get better.”

John and his wife Dusty work together. They’ve been married for twenty years and have seven kids and five grandkids. He’s a Columbus native, living now in Grove City, but looking forward to someday moving back to the country near Stoutsville. He chats freely about the business, family and about finding a work-life balance. “Life is short and it’s important to appreciate the people in your life and the time that you have. Work is important and I really like what I do but you have to enjoy life to its fullest. Every day is important and I need to do better for sure but I’m trying,” he said.

Ohio Steel Recycling is located at 13141 National Road, Etna. Call them at 740.927.5384 and visit them online at www.ohiosteelrecycling.com.

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.”

Deep Roots, Strong Branches

A Greek proverb tells us that society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.

Daniel Will, VCNB Founding President

This reminds us of our founder Daniel Will and makes us wonder if he had any inkling his bank would still be growing from seeds he planted in 1867. The roots of our family tree run deep and grow from principles that Dan gave us – be honest, get to know your customers, embrace what’s new that works, invest in the community, and do the right thing for the people who depend on you.

When he saw a need for a store in the community, Dan opened a store. When his customers needed credit, he helped them out. When they needed a safe place to keep their money, they trusted him to keep it secure in the store’s vault. And when he realized the town needed a bank, he set to work building what the community and his customers needed most.

This is the model we continue to follow. This is who we are and this is why we are grateful for Dan Will and those seeds he planted all those years ago.

Let’s face it – the deeper the roots, the healthier the tree and the stronger the branches will grow. So whichever VCNB branch you choose – whether it’s our first bank in McArthur, one of our newer branches in central Ohio or somewhere in between – it’s not just a branch. It’s part of a strong family tree of banks that continues to grow and reach toward the sky.

In Their Own Words: Community Banking According To Our Branch Managers

We are proud to be a community bank. What does it really mean to be a community bank? We asked some of our branch managers to tell us in their own words what community banking means to them and what they like best about being a community banker. Here’s what they had to say!

“One of the things I appreciate about working for a community bank is that we get to know our customers and their unique needs. Growing up on a farm, I understand a farmer’s business and their needs. They don’t have to explain their life and the challenges to me the way they would to someone without that background.”

Katy Hanes

“I like being able to get to know my customers and I think they appreciate the personal touch they get from us. That’s not something that’s encouraged or even possible at big banks so it feels really good to offer it here.”

Matt Hearn

“One thing I really like about VCNB is that they encourage us to get involved in the community, they reward us for volunteering and they want us to know our customers.         I never had that before at my old job.”

Christina Wine

“The thing about working in a bank in a small community is that you get to know almost everyone and they get to know you. It feels good when someone calls and asks for you. It tells you that that you’re doing something right – that you’ve built a relationship with that person and that they trust you to take care of them.”

Charlotte McCarty

“It’s going to sound cheesy but I love helping people, especially the problem solving aspect of what I do. I appreciate that we are taught about why a policy or procedure exists and the bank gives us the tools and leeway to work with our customers.
We’re sometimes able to find ways to help the customer whether it’s helping them get approved for a car loan because their car just blew up or finding ways to help them
stop over drafting an account.”

JJ Wright

“You don’t find that community feel just anywhere but our involvement in the community allows us to be a resource to customers. 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.”

Brittany Walters

“I like to problem solve and love when I can figure out a customer’s issues.
That’s rewarding to help and to be a resource for them. Even with seventeen branches, we are still a community bank. We’re still allowed enough leeway to help customers
in a way that you just don’t find at big businesses. I mean, we all know
the Executive Team here. We all know the President.
We all are given the confidence and the freedom to work together.”

Kati Maple

“Do you know how important it is to work for a company that encourages employees to get involved? And it’s not just about opening savings accounts and lending money. It’s about helping out at events and going to the fair to buy livestock. I was a 4-her once and I remember how important it was to have businesses support the livestock sale. That’s where I got the money to open my savings account, from taking hogs to the fair!”

Jeremy Robson

“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. It’s like night and day when you go to work for a bank that actually wants to work with customers.”

Matthew Giroux

Here for You Badge

VCNB Opens New Jackson Branch Monday

Jackson coming soonMonday will be a banner day for our staff in Jackson as this will mark our first day of operation in a newly constructed branch. The new office is located at 471 McCarty Lane, just around the corner from the current Jackson branch.

VCNB President Mark Erslan said that he looks forward to opening the new branch to the public. “We are really excited about the completion of our new office in Jackson. The growth we’ve experienced in the limited time we’ve been in Jackson has exceeded our expectations,” he said.

The bank opened a loan office in a small space on Veterans Drive in 2016. It quickly became clear that there was a demand in Jackson for VCNB to have a full service bank and the Jackson County Banking Center opened in 2017. That space was quickly outgrown and ground was broken last year for this new facility.

Customers will appreciate the state-of-the art drive-thru system and drive-up ATM. The Intelligent Deposit ATM uses no envelopes, accepting deposits of cash and checks and giving customers same-day credit for up to $500 daily. Inside, personal bankers are trained to help customers with nearly any loan or deposit need. A kid’s corner will help keep little ones occupied while their parents do business, and a digital learning area will allow customers who prefer self-service to log into their VCNB online accounts, read account literature and do more on iPads.

Most of all, there is plenty of room in the 6,000 square foot facility for bankers to spread out and help their customers with respect to customer privacy and safety in socially distanced times. “We just can’t wait to service our Jackson County customers with a brand new office that features modern amenities and plenty of room. We’re very pleased with the outcome of the planning, design and construction and looking forward to the chance for everyone to see and experience the new facility,” Erslan said.

The current branch will be open through Friday. This location will be closed on Saturday morning so they can move into the new facility. Visit us in Jackson at 471 McCarty Lane beginning Monday, July 27. We look forward to serving you in our new branch!

 

Meet Your Banker: Callie Duhl

In our Meet Your Banker Series, we visit with Callie Duhl. Callie is the Branch Manager of our Jackson County Banking Center in Jackson.

Callie Duhl

Callie Duhl is the Branch Manager of our Jackson County Banking Center in Jackson.

Chat with Callie about her life and career and one thing is clear. She is devoted to her community, family and bank customers. The Jackson native has spent her entire life in Jackson, graduating from Jackson High School and building a long banking career before joining the VCNB Financial Family last year.

Like many VCNB Branch Managers, she started her career as a teller, working her way through a variety of positions including head teller, assistant manager and lender, seeing the banking business from a variety of angles. “I’ve done lending for most of my career and that’s what I like the best. It’s fun helping people get the things they need or want, the things that improve their lives,” she said.

Yet, this isn’t the life path Callie had envisioned for herself. As a lover of the outdoors, she has always enjoyed spending time caring for flowers, mowing and doing other outdoor work. “I never gave a thought to sitting behind a desk eight to ten hours a day. However, this is the path that God lead me down. My Grandpa always told me that God has a big sense of humor,” she exclaimed. “I’m right where I’m supposed to be and I’m glad to be here.”

Callie and her husband Alan have a fifty acre farm that keeps them busy. They have been married for 35 years and have one son. Their son works for the sheriff’s office and his wife is an RN. They have four young children who Callie adores.

She also is active as a founding member and treasurer of the Jackson Area Kiwanis. “Up until Covid hit we were staying busy in the community. It’s been different this summer but everything has been different,” she said.

Callie praised her customers for being so patient with lobby limitations during recent months. “Our customers have been just wonderful. So patient and kind to wait their turn. We couldn’t ask for better,” she said.

She takes customer service very seriously. “It’s important to me that we know our customers and that we do as much for them as we can,” she said. “Most of the time, when someone comes in, at least one of us knows their name and I think that’s important for people to feel comfortable coming in and doing business with us. We have all the technology anyone could want and we have the products they’re looking for but most people are really looking to make a connection with their banker.”

The branch will soon move to a new building, just around the corner from the current location. Construction is wrapping up at 471 McCarty Lane, just across the street from the BMV. “We can’t wait to move in and to welcome customers into the new office. It’s going to be wonderful!”

 

 

 

Earn Rewards Points With A Visa Platinum Credit Card

Earlier this month we told you about Rewards Checking and how so many of our customers are accessing uChoose Rewards®. These rewards points can be redeemed for cashback to your checking account, gift cards, experiences, and other things simply by doing regular debit card spending and banking.

Today we’re going to talk about our Visa® Platinum Credit Card and how it can be used for earning rewards as well!

Here for You BadgeOur points savvy customers will tell you that having both the credit card and the checking account linked to the same uChoose Rewards account allows them to accumulate points more quickly. That’s because credit card customers earn one point for every dollar spent on purchases.

To earn points, you must register your card with the uChoose site. If you have both Rewards Checking and a Visa Platinum Credit Card through VCNB, be sure to link those cards to the same uChoose account to watch your points accumulate more quickly.

Click here for terms, rates and other important details about the Visa Platinum Credit Card. Note that customers who hold only the credit card are not eligible for cash back but can still receive all the other rewards including gift cards, movie passes, travel and merchandise. Receive 1,000 bonus points when opening a new Visa Platinum Credit Card account.

Contact your local banker or visit any of our branches to apply for a credit card or to learn more about uChoose Rewards and the Visa Platinum Credit Card.

 

VCNB Employee Uses Kindness Rocks To Spread Beauty

20200315_215622“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

VCNB Accounting Manager Cathy Rutter has made it her personal mission to spread a message of kindness with her newfound talent of painting on something unexpected – rocks!

While vacationing in Florida last year, Cathy stumbled across a beautiful hand painted rock, known as a kindness rock. Kindness rocks are painted and hidden to be found. Their journeys can then be tracked on various forms of social media.

Cathy Rutter

VCNB Accounting Manager Cathy Rutter spreads beauty with kindness rocks.

This sparked a fire in Cathy to start an endeavor to become a painter even though she had never painted before. She gathered the essentials including paint, brushes and rocks for her canvas. “Some of my first projects looked like kids’ work,” she said recalling the process to her painting success. “It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it – turns out I have a gift I was able to develop and improve with work and determination.”

She developed her self-taught skills by studying other paintings and pictures for guidance. Nature is her inspiration including flowers, birds and scenery.

What started as a hobby has developed into a passion and one of her favorite ways to relax. Cathy has progressed from painting on dull creek rocks to sparkling Santorini stone. Her rocks are truly a work of art waiting to be found.

As Cathy’s journey of painting has evolved, so has her career with VCNB. She began as Management Trainee at The Friendly Bremen Bank nearly thirty years ago and has worked in several bank departments throughout her career.

She resides in Bremen with her husband Vince. Together they leave kindness rocks at various places, spreading kindness as they travel. Keep your eyes open for a painted treasure!

See below for a slideshow of her art.

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