Meet Your Banker: Megan Cline

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 Megan Cline. Megan is the Branch Manager of our Pickaway County Banking Center in Commercial Point.

Megan Cline

Megan Cline is the Branch Manager of our Pickaway County Banking Center in Commercial Point.

Ask Megan to describe her job and she immediately hones in on the people – the customers, community and bank employees she interacts with daily.

She started in banking at the age of 18, fresh out of high school and ready for a career. She worked as a teller at another community bank before moving on to a credit union and another corporate bank, gaining supervisory experience along the way. In all, she’s been a teller, a teller supervisor and a personal banker. She actually worked for the Citizens Bank of Ashville at the time this bank joined the VCNB Financial Family in 2014.

Megan has been the Branch Manager at Commercial Point since last fall and says that supervising and helping others in their career is one of the most rewarding parts of her job. “I like a lot of what I do but the biggest part for me is helping people get what they want out of their careers and helping them advance,” she said.

She also enjoys spending doing good in the community. “We were really excited because we had just formed a partnership with the Pickaway County Dog Shelter when all this started. We’ll be donating our time at some of their events and donating money to help with things they need. That’s the best part of the job – just being able to help others.”

She also serves on the board for Fishing Has No Boundaries, an organization that provides people with disabilities the opportunity to go fishing and promotes this recreational activity as something accessible to all. She had been looking forward to helping with their spring event and to the bank helping sponsor the event until COVID-19 forced its cancellation. “It’s a great cause and helps all kinds of people with special needs. I just love it.”

The Ashville native is a graduate of Teays Valley Local Schools and has two little boys. “They’re four and eight so I’m busy with them. They’re pretty much my whole life outside of work,” she laughed.

Back at work, Megan said that limited access to the lobby has been a challenge for employees who miss seeing their regular customers. “We’ll be glad to see everyone again!” she said.

VCNB Announces Plan For Reopening Branch Lobbies

We have some exciting news to share! We will begin reopening our lobbies for transactions, new account openings, loan inquires and other everyday banking on June 1, 2020. However, we will be taking extra safety precautions to keep our customers and our employees safe.

Here for You BadgeThe following branch lobbies will reopen on June 1, 2020:

McArthur
Lancaster (East Main Street)
Chillicothe (Main Street)
Canal Winchester
Ashville
Logan
Wilkesville (closed on Wednesdays)

The remainder of our branch lobbies will reopen for business on June 15, 2020.

Business as usual will look a little different when we reopen. Please read carefully so you know what to expect should you visit the branches after they reopen. Remember, the safety and the health of our customers and employees is always our first priority.

  • Masks: Our employees will be required to wear masks in areas where they are not able to maintain a 6 foot social distance or where a barrier is not installed between customer and employee. We strongly encourage all of our customers to wear masks when visiting our lobbies, for the safety and health of our employees and for other customers. Should you be unable to wear a mask due to a valid medical concern, please allow us to handle your transaction in a manner which keeps both you and the employee safe while maintaining distance. It may also be difficult for us to identify you properly while wearing a mask. Because of this, we ask that you please bring your identification with you when visiting a branch.
  • Limited Occupancy: Each branch will have their maximum occupancy posted on the door. Please read all signs posted on the doors before entering. We will do our best to have an employee at each door, directing traffic flow and assisting customers. Should the lobby be at maximum capacity, we may ask that you wait outside or in your car until a customer exits the building. We thank you for your patience when this occurs.
  • Maintaining a Social Distance: Each lobby will have proper 6 foot social distance stickers marking the floor. We ask that you maintain that distance when standing in line to see a teller at their window. In addition, we have installed plexiglass barriers and have some movable plexiglass shields in offices where maintaining social distancing may be of concern.
  • At-Risk Individuals: Those individuals that are the most at-risk may visit each branch lobby between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. During that time, only the at-risk population will be able to enter the branch lobby. The branches will open to the general population at 9:00 a.m.
  • Cleaning and Sanitation: The branch employees will conduct regular sanitation and cleaning throughout the business day. This will include wiping counter tops, door handles, pens and other high traffic areas. Our cleaning companies will conduct a deep cleaning and sanitation routine each night, ensuring that the branch is up to CDC cleanliness standards. We do ask that every customer sanitize their hands on the way in and on the way out of the branch lobby. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the branch.
  • Lobby Restrictions and Signs: Please be sure to review all signs posted on the doors before entering the branch lobby. Additionally, if you are feeling ill or have any symptoms of COVID-19 we ask that you do not enter the branch for the safety of others. You will notice that our branches will look different, with the furniture arranged to maintain a 6 foot social distance. We will not be providing beverages, food, lollipops, dog treats, etc. during this time to maintain a healthy standard.
  • Drive Thru, Technology and Appointments: While the branch lobbies are reopening, we still encourage our customers to conduct their banking business in the drive thru when possible or via “curbside service.” Additionally, the VCNB Mobile app and our Online Banking are available to conduct everyday business. Our network of over 32,000 surcharge-free ATMs through MoneyPass® will allow you to get cash when you need it. Our bankers and lenders will be available to customers by appointment as well.

We want to thank each and every customer who has been patient with us while we have made changes and have adapted to a new normal. We always strive to do the right thing for our customers, employees, shareholders and communities. We appreciate you! We miss our customers and hope to see you all soon . . . from 6 feet away of course!

 

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?”

 

Saving Money On Groceries

Money is tight in most households right now. With the kids home for three meals a day, many families have seen their grocery bills unexpectedly skyrocket. You want to feed your kids nutritious foods but you also don’t want to go broke doing it or spend all day in the kitchen. So what do you do?

Here for You BadgeWe don’t have all the answers for your unique circumstances but we have some ideas to help you brainstorm what will work in your house!

Meal plan and make a shopping list – Think of your meal plan as your road map through shopping and meal prep. Jot down what you want that week’s meals to look like. It’s best to base this off of what you already have and what’s on sale. From there you can start a shopping list to insure you buy everything you need.

Shop once – The more exposure you have to a store, the more money you are likely to spend. For example, you run in to pick up milk only to walk out with two bags full of extras. Do all your weekly shopping at once and avoid those extra trips.

Eat in season – Seasonal foods are cheaper and they’re typically more flavorful. Summer is a wonderful time for fresh, affordable foods like sweet corn, cucumbers, berries, tomatoes and melons.

Support your local farmers – Help a neighbor while feeding your family. You might be surprised at how much fresher, cheaper and more flavorful your meals are when food comes straight from the local field to the market. Farmers markets can also be a good source for eggs and other goods.

Buy frozen – If you can’t find or afford fresh meat and produce, hit the frozen section! The produce you find here is still good for you, often picked at peak and flash frozen. Frozen foods will keep for a long time if you don’t need them now.

Be flexible – Brand or store loyalty can be costly when you’re on a budget. If your kid only eats Heinz Ketchup with their chicken nuggets, we get it. But they might not notice the store brand french fries. If you only buy boneless skinless chicken, you might find that another cut of meat is just as good.

DIY – If you’re trying to save money on food, there’s no better way than to cook your own meals. That means reducing the take-out and most prepared foods from the grocery. That pretty little container of sliced berries is way more costly than slicing your own. Most frozen meals are convenient but they’re packed with sodium and often don’t stretch very far for the money. Frozen pancakes are convenient but it’s easy to whip up a batch of cheap homemade pancakes for the freezer. Don’t have time to cook every day? Take a few hours one day to prep some casseroles or meal kits for the freezer. Check out Pinterest or ask friends for favorite recipes.

Slash the snacks – Snack foods like chips, pop and little packaged cakes are so expensive. Try cutting back or offer alternatives. Keep a pitcher of Kool-Aid in the fridge and cut up a block of mozzarella in lieu of string cheese. Even if you don’t want to make something from scratch, a cake mix and can of icing are way cheaper per serving than a box of Ho Hos.

Take short cuts – Lots of folks swear by their Instant Pot or slow cooker. The Instant Pot allows for quick cooking. The slow cooker requires planning but is a good tool for making cheaper ingredients delicious.

Audit your grocery bill – Do you see trends in your spending? What’s the thing that costs the most or that feels like the biggest waste? There may be nothing you can do to reduce this expense but knowledge is half the battle and will help you understand how your family’s choices impact the budget.

What do you do to save money on groceries? Tell us in the comments below! We’re always looking for good ideas!

Meet Your Banker: Nicole Scott

Our lobbies are available by appointment only but our bankers are still here to help you! Here we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Nicole Scott. Nicole is the Branch Manager of our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Bremen.

Nicole Scott

Nicole Scott is the Branch Manager of our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Bremen.

When Nicole talks about life as a community banker during COVID-19 the conversation quickly turns to others. “I miss seeing our regular customers and I worry about many who are struggling. In fact, I really miss a lot of the face-to-face contact that we’ve always taken for granted,” she said. “Most of all, I miss being able to shake hands with my customers.”

Nicole’s path to Branch Manager was somewhat unusual. She has a degree in Human Services and Corrections from Hocking College but she took a job with another bank’s operations department about fifteen years ago. The work suited her and she moved to a similar role at VCNB four years later. She calls her time in that department “rewarding and training like no other.”

In 2016, Nicole was involved in an accident that put her on a year-long path of recovery, nearly causing the loss of her arm. “I did some soul searching. That kind of experience makes you wonder what will happen if you don’t get better. It makes you question if you’ve done everything you should be doing” she said. “I define failure as making the choice not to do more when you know you can do more. So when I felt like I hit a plateau in my position in operations, I knew it was time to challenge myself and set new goals.”

She believed her purpose was to help customers. So she took the leap into the VCNB Personal Banker Program and worker her way up to Branch Manager in Bremen. Today she enjoys leading her branch employees and helping them grow. She also has strong feelings about community involvement. “I just love helping where I can.”

Nicole is Vice President for the Bremen Area Chamber of Commerce and will soon graduate from the Fairfield Leadership Program. She also seeks opportunities to show kindness to others both in her personal life and through charitable giving at the bank. For example, when she heard about an effort by the Mithoff to provide Fairfield County families with Easter baskets and holiday dinners, she jumped right in to help. “They provided dinners for about six hundred families and baskets for several hundred kids. What the bank was able to contribute, what I was able to contribute, was very small in the context of so many in our community who stepped up to help,” she said. “I was in awe of what they were able to accomplish with everyone pitching in.”

Nicole has three children and is the author of two published novels. She also enjoys long range rifle shooting and is proud to say she can hit a target at a thousand yards. An avid traveler, she seeks out unique and memorable experiences.

She looks forward to the day lobby doors are again open to customers. “We try to check on many of our customers now. We want them to know we are thinking about them but it will be a joyous day when we can open our doors and see them again!”

Teach Your Children To Save

Full coins in a jar. Saving money. Growing concept.Save money for children and future.

Every spring, our bankers go into local schools to talk with youngsters about saving money. It’s part of a national effort called Teach Children To Save, led by the American Bankers Association. While we can’t go into classrooms this year, we are working to reach out to students in other ways.

With young kids, we talk about why someone might need a bank, why money is safe when kept in a bank, and the importance of saving money. Here’s some food for thought for you to help your kids develop money saving skills and understand the difference between needs and wants.

  • Make saving visual. Piggy banks are wonderful but a clear jar will allow your child to see their savings grow. If your child has a passbook savings account, help them keep their passbook current or even have them draw a chart so they can see their money grow.
  • Help your child see that things cost money. Don’t just tell your child that a toy costs $10. Help them make the connection between that cost and their money by helping them count out their money and show them how their savings decreases.
  • Talk about the difference between needs and wants. We need food, shelter, and clothes. That means we need shoes to wear but we don’t need Nikes. We want Nikes but could wear something cheaper. We need to buy food for dinner but junk food like Oreos are a want.
  • Make them buy some of their own wants so that they can see how hard it is to save money. Use this process to show them opportunity cost. “If you buy this toy, you won’t have enough money to buy a video game later.”
  • Give them savings goals. When they’re small, those goals might be to save for a special toy or game. As they age, those goals can be built on and will mature to save for a car or college.

Saving money is a habit best formed in youth – even if all they have to save is spare change or chore money. The will to save money is like a muscle that gets stronger with use. Developing good childhood habits will serve them well for a lifetime.

 

Take Control Of Your Bills With Online Bill Pay

If you’re trying to bank and manage your money from home, one key tool provided by VCNB is Online Bill Pay. There are many advantages to using this service now and during regular times too.

Here for You BadgeWith Online Bill Pay, customers can maintain control over their payment activity without the expense of sending paper checks or the uncertainty over when the check will arrive. In fact, you can specify the exact date you want the bill paid and are able to set up payments to businesses of any size. Whether it’s the dentist down the street, the local electric company, or a Fortune 500 business, we’ve got you covered with Online Bill Pay.

 

Here are a few things you need to know:

  • Recurring payments can be set up on autopay. You choose the day you want the bill paid and we take care of the rest.
  • You can also pay bills on demand.
  • Easily sign up for e-bills from businesses that offer this service. This allows you to keep all your bills and payment activity stored in one place.
  • Your bill history is searchable so it’s easy to find past activity.
  • Setting up reminders helps you know when a payment is due.
  • You can even send money to a friend using just their email address. Do they owe you money? Send them a reminder! You can even split a bill with a roommate or someone else!

Access Online Bill Pay through your Online Banking at VCNBfamily.com and on VCNB Mobile, our mobile app. There is a quick three step process to get started and this service is free to customers as long as you use it once every month. Inactivity will result in a $3 monthly fee. Visit our Learning Center to view a tutorial on this service as well as videos about many other VCNB products. Click here to read more about banking outside the branch!

 

Here For You: Beware Of Scams

These are confusing and challenging times for many Americans. Sadly, there are criminals out there who understand that trying times are the ideal conditions for scamming others. The IRS has provided us with some tips about current scams that we wanted to share with you.

  • Here for You BadgeRobocalls making fraudulent offers to sell respirator masks and other sought after supplies with intent of delivering.
  • Fake COVID-19 related apps and websites that install malware or ransomware.
  • Phishing emails asking for money or presenting malware.
  • Social media scams fraudulently seeking donations or claiming to provide stimulus funds.
  • Sales of fake testing kits, cures, immunity pills, and protective equipment from fraudulent sources and that requires the recipient to enter his or her bank account number.
  • Fraudulent offers for free COVID-19 testing in order to obtain Medicare beneficiary information that is used to submit false medical claims for unrelated unnecessary, or fictitious testing or services.
  • Prescription drug schemes involving the submission of medical claims for unnecessary antiretroviral treatments or other drugs that are marketing as purported cures for COVID-19.
  • Antiviral treatments or other drugs that are marketed as purported cures for COVID-19.
  • Scams involving the IRS Stimulus payments including calls from individuals attempting to obtain personal information. The IRS will not call, email, or text to verify payment details.

As your community bank, we want to remind you that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that your bank, local government, and IRS will not contact you to request your personal information, social security number or account information. We encourage you to be cautious, to ask questions and to safeguard your personal information.

If you feel that you have been victim to a scam, please notify the United States Attorney General.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Your Banker: Jessica Calder

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 Jessica Calder. Jessica is the Branch Manager of our Pickaway County Banking Center in Circleville.

Jessica Calder

Jessica Calder is the Branch Manager of the Pickaway County Banking Center in Circleville.

Jessica has worked in banking for over fourteen years. She has tried another line of work and knows that it’s just not for her. “I took a break from banking for a while. During part of that time I worked in another kind of office and hated it,” she explained. “I love what I do now because it gives me a chance to work with people, to get to know them. Our customers come to know us and to trust us when they have a problem or a question and I love being that person they turn to. Customers become friends and many become our family.”

She started her banking career as a teller for one of the corporate banks in Circleville. She went on to be a teller supervisor for two other big banks before finding her way to VCNB where she has been Branch Manager for Circleville’s Pickaway County Banking Center for about two and a half years.

“This place actually cares about the customers, about employees and their families and it shows. It’s possible to have work-life balance here and I’m grateful for that opportunity,” she explained. “Plus they give us the time and the money to give back to our communities!”

Jessica knows a thing or two about giving back to the community. The Circleville High School graduate is the Treasurer for the Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce and she coaches biddy league volleyball every August through October. She has volunteered as the fifth and sixth grade volleyball coach for four seasons. She had fourteen girls last season and, while she says her fall schedule is hectic and tiring, she feels like she’s doing some good. “It’s the greatest thing in the world to coach and to give back,” she exclaimed. “And when they run up to you off season and ask if you’re coming back next year, you know you did something right!”

She and her husband have been together for twelve years and have four children – their son is serving in Afghanistan, one daughter is in college and their other two daughters are in high school.

Jessica commented on how different work life is in her branch now that the lobby is closed. “We miss our customers and the face to face contact with them. Some of our customers we are used to seeing every day or at least a few times a week and I think we really took that for granted,” she said.

The staff has been reaching out to customers as time allows. “We just want them to know we’re here to help in any way we can and we want to make sure they’re staying healthy and well,” she said. “We look forward to seeing everyone back in the bank and life go back to normal.”