Suellen Nice To Retire This Month

While it has been some time since Suellen Nice served VCNB customers as a teller in McArthur, she has long been an anchor behind the scenes and helping a different kind of customer – her bank coworkers – through her role in Human Resources. Much to the dismay of many of her coworkers, the 34 year veteran of the bank will wrap up her VCNB career on February 25.

Suellen Nice will retire after 34 years with VCNB.

Suellen began her career at VCNB in 1984 as a receptionist. Her degree in Secretarial Science from the University of Rio Grande made her a great fit for this position answering phones, typing, helping with Jeanie cards and all manner of responsibilities that kept the workday interesting.  She left McArthur for a few years and then returned to the bank in 1988 where she tried her hand as a teller, working in McArthur’s old back lobby where customer traffic was constant and the pace was fast.  She then returned to receptionist and secretarial duties and also helped out as a New Accounts officer at one time, but found her calling when an opportunity opened up in Human Resources in 1996.

While her duties are varied, her biggest focus involves payroll and benefits administration. Over the years, she has also been a friendly face who welcomed new employees to the bank.  As the person who helps employees solve problems and answer questions related to their health care and retirement related benefits, Suellen is known for her problem solving skills and for being a helpful resource. “It gives me a sense that I can help people. It’s my job to try to make things right and I like that I can make life easier for people,” she explained. “Being here for 34 years, I know who does what and who to turn to for answers or help. I enjoy being that person for my coworkers.”

When asked what advice she has for someone new to a job, she encouraged patience and a willingness to learn. “Don’t expect to know everything in a short period of time. Ask questions and learn as you go and remember that you aren’t expected to know everything on the first day. Be willing to listen and learn and you’ll be fine,” she said.

Suellen looks forward to spending more time with her family. Her husband Keith is retired and she’s excited to spend more time with her grandsons who are 6, 2 and 1. She also enjoys reading, antiques, puzzles and travel. “I have no plans other than spending more time with my grandsons but I look forward to the freedom to do what I want,” she smiled.

Even though she looks forward to the freedom that retirement affords, she said that leaving wasn’t an easy decision. “I love my job so it was definitely a hard decision but I think the timing is right. I will miss the people more than anything because I’ve become close to so many people here and I’ll miss those interactions.”

Suellen plans to celebrate her last day quietly with her coworkers in McArthur.

Spotting Elder Financial Exploitation

Each year older adults lose billions of dollars to financial exploitation. Defined as the illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property or assets, elder financial exploitation is a devastating crime that is becoming increasingly common according to the American Bankers Association (ABA).

It not only impacts an elder’s financial situation, but often takes an emotional toll as well. Victims of such abuse frequently experience intense feelings of fear, depression, anger, and humiliation. In turn, abused elders may be at risk of poorer health outcomes and increased mortality relative to their counterparts. Fraudsters prey on elders because as a whole, older adults possess more financial assets than other demographics.

Seniors tend to own their own homes, have accrued savings over their lifetimes, generally have better credit and tend to be more trusting of others relative to younger populations. Consequently, criminals have engineered specific scams, such as the grandparent scam and other impostor scams, to target America’s elderly.

Here are some examples of crimes against the elderly:

Cemetery/Funeral Scams – Criminals read obituaries and call survivors claiming the deceased owed them a debt to extort money from living relatives.

Charity Scams – Con artists reach out and claim to be from an organization with a carefully crafted name. They ask for a donation to obtain access to financial information, such as credit or debit card numbers. They often pop up after disasters. Others falsely state that they fundraise to support veterans.

Check Fraud – Con artists send people money via check, claim they overpaid, and then ask the victim to send part of it back. But, the original check was fraudulent, so the victim ends up sending their own money to the criminal.

Health Insurance/Medicare Scams – Scammers either pose as Medicare or health insurance representatives to obtain personally identifiable information from elders or provide unnecessary services at makeshift clinics and then bill Medicare to ensure they can keep the money.

Homeowner/Mortgage Scams – Scammers may send fake, but professional looking letters to people on behalf of their county offering to reassess their home values for a fee to address their tax burdens.

Imposter Scams – Fraudsters may call or send text messages impersonating government officials to manipulate elders into sharing sensitive information. Alternatively, they may pretend to be family members in an emergency situation and claim they need money right away. Scammers may also pose as technology support representatives to offer to fix non-existent computer issues to capture personal information and have seniors pay for useless services.

Online Fraud – Criminals pose as romantic interests on social media platforms or dating websites to exploit older adults out of their life savings. Elders may receive emails asking them to update or verify their personal information from a seemingly legitimate organization, but if they click the links, they will be providing sensitive information to criminals.

Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams – An older adult may receive a message indicating that they won a foreign or domestic prize or lottery, but are required to pay a fee to access their “winnings.”

Telemarketing/Phone Scams – An elder may receive calls from fraudsters indicating that they found a large sum of money and would split it if the elder would provide or pay a smaller sum of money.

Sadly, while these scams are targeted toward older Americans, nearly anyone can fall prey to criminals who are looking to take their money and identity. Share this information with your friends and family to help them protect themselves.  Follow us on Facebook and Linkedin for infographics and more. Thanks to the ABA for providing VCNB and other member banks with this valuable information.  

Spotlight Story: The Ashville Food Pantry

We like to shine a spotlight on the unique businesses and hardworking nonprofit organizations doing good things in our communities. We do this every month and hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

When the Ashville Food Pantry announced last year their plan to build a new facility, they expected the fundraising process to last three to five years. Little did they know what was to come. Not only did they raise the funds quickly, they were under roof and serving the community just in time for Thanksgiving.

How did they do it so quickly?

With the support of their community and contributions from the most unexpected sources.

That support came via everything from dollars and dimes to a large anonymous contribution to in-kind donations. While the cost of the project was estimated to come in around $250,000, the showing of respect and support for their mission in the community was priceless.

Director Kris Smith and Board members Ron Delucia and Ed White simply shook their heads when asked how they raised all that money so quickly. “We never dreamed that the fundraising would go so easily. We expected it to take years, not months,” Kris said. “It started with a talk at the Civic Club where I’m a member. I asked the club to donate $7,500 and they donated $10,000. I was floored but it gave me the confidence to start asking more. So now I’m the town beggar,” she exclaimed.

They said that many community members gave their stimulus checks while others gave what they could spare which maybe was just a few dollars.

Those donations came in fast and furious including many in the form of labor and supplies. Ed took the lead on overseeing the construction and said he was amazed at how it all came together. “It was kind of a shock when things just started rolling. We have a great team and everyone does their part to help.”

Columbia Gas donated the gas tap while other donors provided the water and sewer taps and one kind individual gave $50,000 anonymously. The excavation, concrete floor, paving and downspouts were all donated allowing the project to come in under budget and with a little cash to spare.

Ed was very thoughtful about some of the decisions they made when it came to materials and functional design. He is eager to point out the small details that make the place run smoothly and the things they were able to do to make the utility bills less costly. “The space just makes a lot more sense and we have plenty of space for storage but it’s more energy efficient too.”

In fact, he said the new facility has been a game changer for the volunteer board and staff and for how they are able to serve their clients.

The food pantry was started in 1982 by Katie Dum and Inga and Pastor David Koch of the First English Lutheran Church. Representatives of local churches make up an executive board that oversees the operation of the food pantry which was previously located in a home that is owned by the church. That house was not equipped for the food pantry’s growing needs as it lacked the room to store, sort and bag the massive amounts of supplies needed each month.

Size limitations caused donation day to take place outside even in the cold of winter. There was no easy way to move the client bags out of the house other than one bag at a time.

Today, a roll up door makes it easy to bring in large shipments of donated items for sorting. Tall metal carts glide easily over the concrete floor and reinforced heavy duty shelving provides ample space for storage. The building is handicap accessible and equipped with a bathroom. Cold storage units were purchased with grants from South Central Power giving the food pantry the new luxury of on-site freezer and refrigerator space.

All three readily admit that having everything on one floor and the carts for moving supplies have been a blessing for their aging volunteer force. “We can load 48 bags on each cart and it’s much easier on our backs,” Ron explained.

The food pantry is run entirely by volunteers and even the director’s position is unpaid.

They do two distribution days every month. The bags include staples including canned soup, fruit and vegetables, peanut butter, cereal, pasta and sauce, tuna, ramen noodles, jelly and mac and cheese. The first forty bags also include a dozen eggs, cheese and bread. Clients are eligible to receive one bag of supplies each month.

At Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas the bags include special foods for holiday meals. For example, at Thanksgiving clients receive a turkey and a disposable pan to cook it in along with all the fixings for a traditional holiday dinner.

They also give fresh produce each time and clients can receive produce on both of those distribution days. Ron and other volunteers take turns picking up a truckload of produce each month from the fairgrounds in Circleville. The produce donation varies each month but may include celery, potatoes, zucchini, sweet corn, berries, carrots or whatever is in season at the time.

While the produce comes from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank the rest of their donations come from local businesses, schools, churches and individuals. In fact, the schools had a fill the bus campaign at their Homecoming game in September. Not only did they fill one bus, they were able to fill two school buses with donations. Individual classes get in on the action with cereal drives or canned food drives throughout the year. Panera in Canal Winchester even helps by donating day old bread. The partner churches have regular food drives as well, each one assigned a specific kind of food that is most needed at the time.

“It’s incredible because all we have to do is say that we are low on cereal this month or that we need mac and cheese and people always step up to help. This community gives and gives, maybe sometimes when they don’t have it to give. They’re good to us, they’re good neighbors,” Kris said.

The Ashville IGA donated the Thanksgiving turkeys and sells the food pantry eggs and cheese at cost. In December, County Line Meats donated a pound of ground beef for every order placed that month and encouraged their customers to donate a pound as well. In all, they were able to deliver 110 pounds of ground beef to the food pantry at the first of the year.

While they do collect basic information from each client, they do not require proof of income to receive these food donations. They point out that their clients are using the food pantry as needed rather than simply because it’s there. In fact the average client comes just seven to eight times a year. “They’re not coming just because they can get something for free or to take advantage. They’re coming when they truly need to and we’re just glad to be here to help,” Kris said.

She explained that their largest client base is the age 65 and up group. “Many of them are alone and they rely on us to help them through the month. Their spouse has died and they have lost a good part of their income but they still have the same rent and electric bills. Their cost of living doesn’t go down and buying food often is at the bottom of the list because they’re choosing between food and medicine,” she explained.

Ron affirmed that the need is real. “We have people tell us they don’t have any food at home and that this will really help. They have tears in their eyes and they don’t argue with what they get, they don’t complain. They always seem to be glad to see us and we’re just as glad to see them,” he said.

They have a delivery schedule that reaches homebound people in the community. For those folks who can’t get out to shop, they also provide some necessities like laundry detergent and toilet paper. For individuals with pets, the food pantry accepts donations of small pet food as well.

For all the wonderful generosity toward the food pantry, February and March tend to be slower months for donations even though the need is year round. They invite anyone who wishes to help to consider that winter is a time when food pantries tend to need assistance the most.

“We couldn’t be more grateful for the community and for all they have done for us. When we were here building, neighbors brought water and meals and cookies over for the guys working. People have given in ways we never imagined,” Kris said.

It is clear that the food pantry and its volunteers are there simply to be good neighbors. “We aren’t here to judge or to make someone feel bad because they’re here for a helping hand. We’re just here to be that helping hand,” Kris explained.

Ron added “I think the Lord would be really happy with what we’re doing to help others.”

The Ashville Food Pantry serves the residents of Teays Valley Local School District with food assistance and emergency food. They also provide limited financial assistance for housing and utility needs.  Want to help? There are bins on the front porch for dropping off food donations after hours. Monetary donations can be made via credit card and PayPal at this link or by sending a check payable to Ashville Food Pantry to 20 Church Street, Ashville, Ohio 43103.

Want to get involved? They are always in need of volunteers to help with all manner of work including sorting donations, packing bags and helping with giveaway day. Keep up with their news, events and needs by following them on Facebook or call 614.687.2442 for information.  

Nine Changes To Save On Food

The cost of groceries is on the rise and that’s a tough blow to the budget if you’re not prepared. Some traditional ways to cut costs include shopping sales, couponing and trying generic brands. What else can you do? We have some ideas to help you dig a little deeper into your food shopping habits and save some money.

1. Plan Before You Go. Check online for your favorite store’s weekly sales and plan meals around the bargains. If you know you need seven dinners, seven breakfasts and some leftovers for lunches, make a list of what’s on sale that you like to eat.  For example, if they have rotisserie chicken and potatoes on sale, plan to have chicken with a baked potato and a veggie for dinner that night. A chicken sandwich will keep you full for lunch the next day. For dinner the next night, use up what’s left of that chicken to make soup, chicken pot pie or even add some barbeque sauce for sandwiches. Potato soup is filling, easy and reheats great. Two sale items can be combined with other things and reworked into a few meals with some simple planning.

2. Shop Once. Every trip to the store will cost you more than you think it should. Even if you run in just to pick up a loaf of bread, you’ll end up spending more than planned unless you have better willpower than we have. That’s because stores are designed to make you walk past lots of good stuff to get to the necessities. Before you know it, that $3 loaf of bread is going home with a dozen donuts, some chocolate milk and boxed mac and cheese. Plus you’ll have sticker shock because you spent ten times more than planned.

3. Be Prepared. Keep some quick foods to grab when you’re tempted to hit the drive-thru. We don’t always want to go home and cook, especially when we’re tired from the day, hungry and the drive-thru line is inexplicably short. Keep frozen pizzas or some skillet meals that can be ready in minutes.  Ten dollars in frozen pizzas will be cheaper than $40 worth of take out.

4. Embrace Frozen Produce. We all love having fresh produce around but it isn’t always cost effective. Fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak and flash frozen so many are more delicious than the fresh. Skip the expensive steam in the bag products and experiment with steaming, roasting and air fryer preparation just as you would with fresh vegetables. Frozen fruit is great in smoothies and muffins, can be heated for a delicious pancake topping and is good just to thaw and eat as you need it.

5. Cut Back On Snacks. That bag of Doritos is way more expensive today than it was a few years ago. Try making popcorn, shopping generic brands or even opting for a healthier snack like peanut butter on toast or carrots with dip. Also, avoid waste by finishing one bag of snacks before opening another one. This is especially hard if you have kids in the house so try creating a special snack box just for them.

6. Look For Cheaper Cuts Of Meat. Chicken legs baked in barbeque sauce are delicious. Buy a cheaper cut of steak to cook in the Crockpot with some gravy.  Buy a small ham to slice for sandwiches instead of expensive lunchmeats. Shop the sales and stock up your freezer as your pocketbook allows.

7. Have Breakfast For Dinner. Nothing comes together as quickly, cheaply or deliciously as pancakes and scrambled eggs. Add some frozen berries to those pancakes and you’ll have a meal that’s even pretty to eat.  Plus, when you’re talking dollars per ounce, eggs are a cost effective way to get in some protein!

8. Audit Your Fridge. Saving money on food is about curbing waste as much as it’s about finding the best price. How much food gets thrown away in your house every week? Look through the fridge every couple of days to identify anything that’s at risk. If there’s a lot, put out all those leftovers buffet style. If there’s a little, take it in your lunch. Odds and ends of vegetables and meats go well in soups, omelets and pot pies. Surplus zucchini is great shredded and used as filler in meatballs or in delicious muffins. Google how to use up leftovers and be amazed at what you’re wasting.

9. Be Smart About Drinks. We all like our favorite fizzy drinks, fancy coffee creamers and sugary sports drinks but these costs add up and they have no nutritional value. Drink more water and save the fun drinks as a treat.

As you can see, a big part of saving money on groceries involves thought, planning and simply using what you have. It isn’t hard work and it gets easier to do with experience. You don’t have to adopt all of these changes at once to be successful. Choose one or two to try right now and keep working at making improvements as you can.

How Being Organized Can Save You Money

We tend to think of cost cutting measures as things like clipping coupons or making sacrifices. What if we told you that you could save money simply by being better organized? Here are some traits of organized people and the takeaways that might help you.

Organized people pay their bills on time.

They tend to know how much money they have, what they owe and when it’s due so they are prepared to pay their bills on time. That means they have a budget, keep track of their bills and often use things like Online Bill Pay at VCNB to guarantee they don’t miss anything.   

Organized people know what they own.

Do you ever buy something only to get home and realize you didn’t need it after all? How many bottles of cinnamon do you own? Clean out your closet and take stock of how many black t-shirts you own or how many pairs of jeans are languishing on the shelf because you simply don’t wear them or even know if they fit.

Organized people waste less money on food.

They tend to rotate their stock so that the oldest canned goods are easy to reach in the cupboard. They can see at a glance what’s in the freezer so they don’t forget about the leftover soup they froze and need to use soon because they marked the container and made it easy to find.

Organized people know how to work in batches.

They tend to organize their life so they can run all their errands in one neighborhood at the same time. If they have to drop off their kids for tutoring, they will grab groceries on that side of town and fill up the gas tank while their kids are learning. They avoid driving just to do one thing.

Organized people buy less stuff.

An organized person can tell you that life is easier when you are organizing less. That means they tend not to bring home a lot of extra stuff whether it be planned or on impulse. They remember to pack lunch the night before so they don’t have to eat out or to carry a refillable water bottle so they don’t have to hit the vending machine.

Organized people have more time.

Ok, so this is less about money than quality of life but we believe that’s important too. Batching errands and having less stuff to care for frees up a lot of time to do things you might enjoy more. Besides, what’s that old saying? Time is money.

Take The No Spend Challenge

Let’s talk spending. More importantly, let’s talk about not spending money.

Did your holiday spending get out of control this year? Maybe you spent more than you planned. Maybe you didn’t have the money at all but knowingly decided to take on the debt and pay it off later.

How often do impulse buys make it into your cart?

Do you know how much disposable income you would have if not for the impulse spending, restaurant meals and credit card debt?

We ask these questions because many American consumers have no idea where their money goes. That’s because they have a habit of mindlessly buying things that are “just a few dollars” or of overspending even when they know they shouldn’t.

If you can relate, you may be a good candidate for a No Spend Challenge.  A No Spend Challenge is exactly as it sounds. You make a game out of not spending extra money for a period of time.

The Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do set a start and end date. Many people aim for a month but you might test the waters with two weeks. If you are ambitious, go for two or three months.  
  • Do pay your bills. That means mortgage, utilities, car payment and all the other regular budgeted bills you pay to keep yourself under roof and your life functioning.
  • Do buy the groceries you need. This means stopping to consider whether you’ll actually eat that celery or if you’re buying it out of habit. Buy the things you need and limit the things you don’t need this month. Instead, eat out of your pantry and freezer to get rid of some things nearing expiration.
  • Do pay for transportation expenses. Whether it’s a tank of gas or a bus pass, you still need to find your way to work and school.
  • Do seek medical care when needed. This challenge isn’t an excuse to skip dental check-ups or to neglect a medical problem.
  • Do take some time to think about all the things you buy in a typical day or week that don’t fit into the above categories.
  • Don’t take on new luxury bills. Now is not the time to sign up for a new streaming service.
  • Don’t buy food you don’t need. Do you already have a cupboard full of cereal at home? You don’t need that box of Lucky Charms.
  • Don’t eat out for fun. This is hard for many but we often eat out because we’re too lazy to cook or because it sounds like a good idea. Put the family to work making a meal together with ingredients you already own. We can’t be the only ones whose mother told them they didn’t need a Happy Meal “because we have food at home!”
  • Don’t buy single serve drinks and snacks at vending machines and gas stations. Remember all that food you have at home? Pack some of it for a snack. It’s way cheaper and you may find some healthier, cheaper alternatives to the pack of gummy bears.
  • Don’t shop for fun or for things you don’t need. That means no new clothes and shoes just because they’re on sale. Did your kid hit a growth spurt? If they need a new pair of shoes, go for it but remember you’re there to buy for your growing child and not for yourself.

See where we are headed with this? If you commit to only buying the necessities for a month or even just a pay period, you will probably be surprised to see how much you have left in the bank at the end.

Personalize It

The best No Spend Challenges are personalized. You may have some rules to bend. For example, there’s no time to cook between work and your college night classes so you grab fast food on the way. Just budget for those allowances and don’t go overboard.

If you have other people living with you, get them involved. Make it a family affair. Your young children may be better at holding you accountable than your spouse because kids often get rules like these better than grown-ups do and they don’t mind shaming you when they catch you red handed.

You may even make it a game and set a goal or a reward. If you hit a savings goal or if you don’t eat out, you get to go to your favorite restaurant at the end.  

Most of all, find ways to help you not feel deprived. Remember the commercial that entices us to buy because “we all deserve nice things?” You don’t have to keep buying to have a good time.  Make brownies and popcorn for a movie marathon with the family one night. Invite friends over for a game night and ask everyone to bring a snack to share. Brush up on a hobby, go for a walk, visit a free museum, hit up the library, hold a photo shoot with your phone or call a relative to chat instead of spending of money.

There are tons of free ways to spend your time. In fact, if you want to reinforce how much extra stuff you own, spend some time cleaning closets and cupboards, purging unneeded and unwanted stuff that you’ve accumulated. It may discourage you from going out and buying more!

Want to do a No Spend Challenge? February is a great time to test the waters since it’s just 28 days. Then again, why not start today?

Get Fit Without Breaking The Bank

Did you meet the year with grand intentions of getting fit? If you think that money could interfere with your health and fitness plans, you need to reconsider what it really takes to improve your diet and get fit. Sure there’s a plethora of options for joining a gym, hiring a trainer, having healthy meal kits delivered and spending a boatload of money on all kinds of weight loss aids.

All of those things sound helpful but are they really necessary? Here are five things to consider as you start down this road.

  1. Free Information. There are all kinds of websites from reliable sources and free apps to help with your journey toward better health. Check out YouTube for free workouts and healthy cooking videos. There are apps that help you count calories and plan meals and others that provide music to keep you going during your run or walk. Free articles help you understand foods that pack a nutritional punch and recipes for putting them to work.  Need inspiration? There are even bloggers who share their inspiring story to help you stay motivated!
  2. Exercise Outside The Gym. If you’re really on a shoestring, try walking or doing body weight exercises. Old fashioned pushups, squats and crunches are just a few of the exercises you can do with nothing more than the sweat on your brow. If you have a few bucks, invest them in a set of hand weights. These things can be done nearly anywhere and the initial investment is just a decent pair of walking shoes and some cheap weights.
  3. Healthy Food Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive. Read that again. Healthy food isn’t necessarily more expensive than junk food. While we all envision health food as lean cuts of fish, colorful fresh salads and all organic ingredients, it doesn’t have to be that way. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked and flash frozen at their peak making them an inexpensive substitute for fresh produce. Instead of boneless skinless chicken, go for the bone-in chicken breast but skip the skin and bake it instead of frying it. Vegetable soup and chili can be a nutritious way to stay full while stretching a dollar. Most of all, skip the junk food. Once you stop buying chips, pop, candy and sodium packed frozen meals, you may be surprised at how much more affordable healthier foods seem.
  4. Log Your Water. Water is so good for you! Carry a reusable water bottle with you to stay hydrated and curb temptation to buy a drink. Sugary beverages including pop and juices should be consumed in moderation or better yet, not at all. Just cutting out these extra drinks will save you dollars too!
  5. Talk To Your Doctor. Talk to your family doctor for medical advice first. They know you and your family medical history as well as any unique risks or needs you may face. They may even be able to set you up with meal plans, tips for starting an exercise regime and other useful information. The expertise of your family physician will be invaluable as you start down this road to a better you!  

Not everyone has the resources to hire a trainer or to only buy organic foods. Luckily, if getting fit is a priority, it’s possible to get fit and improve your health with the most basic resources like water, walking shoes and help from online resources. Have a tip? We would love to hear about it!

Giving Is What We Do

Giving is as much a part of community banking as the actual bank work we do for you. As your community bank, we see value in supporting the events and organizations that are part of the fabric of life in our neighborhoods.

We understand that kids need to see adults supporting their schools and activities through volunteerism and monetary donations. Hopefully they’ll grow up to be supporters as well. We understand that the backbone of entertainment and togetherness often comes from the nonprofits in our small towns. Where would we be without our volunteer firefighters or our senior citizens centers? Who would rally for our small businesses if not for our Chamber of Commerce?

That’s why we give each of our sixteen local offices a budget for doing good work in their community. Some choose to support every request in a small way while others choose a handful of projects to support with a big check. This year, VCNB gave away over $300,000 to projects both big and small. For example, our Ashville branch gave $3,200 to help the Ashville Food Pantry with their new building project. In McArthur, we sponsored the Adulting 101 program offered at the Rio Grande McArthur Center and also gave $5,000 to help with playground renovations at Wyman Park. 

Our Laurelville office gave a thousand dollars to the Laurelville Volunteer Fire Department again this year as part of an annual tradition to be part of Ohio’s most expensive cake auction.  Our branches in Ross County, Fairfield County, Pataskala and Canal Winchester teamed up to support Bottoms Up’s World’s Largest Diaper Drive in May. We buy livestock and sponsor events at many county fairs and donate door prizes for local fundraisers.

From the Berne Union Music Boosters to the Vinton County Wild Turkey Festival, these are just a few of the ways we have been able to help our communities with donations.

We also encourage our employees to volunteer, offering them comp time for their volunteer activities outside of work. We have employees who help in the concessions stand at football games and who do seamstress work for school plays. We serve on boards and help with grant applications for nonprofits in our free time. We work the gate at the county fair, help out with the Humane Society and pick up litter in parks.

We often send employees out to do special projects during the workday too. Over the years, employees have helped with giveaway day at the food pantry, taught financial literacy at the high school and prepared meals for residents at Ronald McDonald House.

You never know where you might find VCNB and our employees trying to serve our communities.

We tell you this, not to brag, so much as to reassure you that your community bank loves your community as much as you do. We also want to lead by example and hope that you will feel inspired to roll up your sleeves and find a way to get involved. As we finish out 2021 and begin looking ahead to 2022, we wish you and yours a very Happy New Year of good health and prosperity.

VCNB Can Make Your Life Easier

Christmas is here and, if you’re like many of us, it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. We can’t help with your child’s homework, your gift giving stress or your crazy work schedule but we can help with your bills and banking needs. In fact, there are a few ways we can make your life easier.

Balance Check –It’s important to always know how much money you have. Did your paycheck get direct deposited on time? Did the phone company cash your check? Check your balance instantly with our Online Banking and Mobile App. It’s safe and quick to sign in with your password or with your fingerprint on a mobile device.

Paying Bills – Use Online Bill Pay to pay your bills, set up payment reminders and even receive your bills electronically. You can log in to pay bills individually or set them up on autopay to insure they are paid on time, every time. Want to learn more? Log in to your Online Banking and click the Bill Pay tab.

Zelle® – Send money to people you trust using Zelle. It’s available in your Online Banking and Mobile App and you can send and receive money to individuals using just their mobile phone number or email address. That means you can pay the babysitter or even send a last minute cash gift to someone. If your coworkers agree to split the cost of a gift for the boss, you can send them all a request for payment. It’s a free, fast and safe way to avoid the ATM.

Gift Cards – If you need a quick gift, VCNB is waiving fees for gift cards now through December 31, 2021. Stock up for the holidays at any of our sixteen local branches! 

Credit Cards – Have a VCNB Visa® Favor Platinum card? Pay your bill and check your balance online. It’s quick and easy to log in and maintain your account!

Earn Rewards – If you are spending with your VCNB Visa® Platinum card or with a VCNB Rewards Checking debit card, you can sign up to earn UChoose® Rewards points for your regular purchases. Register your cards with UChoose to earn one point for every $3 spent with your Rewards Checking debit card and one point for every $1 spent with your Visa Platinum credit card. Those points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more! Rewards Checking customers can even earn cash back. While you’re spending for others, be sure to reward yourself!

ATM Deposits – Sometimes you need to make a deposit but simply can’t make it to the bank during our hours. VCNB ATMs use the latest in technology to deposit checks and cash. Need cash back from that check you deposited? No worries! Just follow the instructions on the screen to receive immediate credit for up to $500 per day. The remainder of the balance will be processed and credit will be given next business day if deposited before 2 p.m. and on the second business day if deposited after 2 p.m.

Go Mobile – Downloading VCNB Mobile is like carrying a bank branch in your pocket. Deposit a check, transfer funds, open accounts and more using our mobile app any time of the day or night.

Life can be hard and, while we love the holidays, they can make life more complicated. Take the complications and the stress out of managing your banking with help from VCNB! Have questions? Our Customer Service Team and the staff at all of our branches are here to help!

What We’re Thankful For This Year

This last year and a half has been tough for everyone. Yet, it’s often in difficult times that we find we have much to be thankful for in our lives. We asked our employees to share what they’re most thankful for right now and wanted to share their responses with all of you.

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It has been nearly a year that I have been with VCNB as an employee. Last year at this time, I spent two months caring for my youngest child, Lily, after her surgery. I would not have had the opportunity to do this if it wasn’t for VCNB and their flexibility with family. I was able to start work after she was well enough to stay with a sitter. I am very thankful for her health and for the entire VCNB Family.

Stephanie Mathias, Senior Personal Banker in Lancaster

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So far I’ve lost over 55 pounds since January 25 and I feel great! Not doing anything drastic – just counting calories, eating clean and trying to avoid gluten.

Amanda Blakeman, Senior Personal Banker in Chillicothe

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I know it might sound cliché but I am thankful for my health. Last year at this time I was recovering from a near fatal heart attack at the grand old age of 49. With quick action from my doctors, Fairfield Medical Center and my wife Karen, I’m back…good as new.  It was something I was able to get back, unfortunately some are not as lucky as I was.

Allen Tucker, Collections Manager

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I am thankful for every day that my family is healthy during this past year.

Keith Hood, Commercial Lender in Logan

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I am always thankful for good health, family and friends but TIME is something that seems like it’s more and more valuable as I grow older. I lost my Dad this year and the time spent with him was worth every single minute. It opened my eyes to see just how precious time is and to treasure time well spent with loved ones and that sometimes you need to slow down because the little things in life are actually the BIG things!!

Natalie Perry, Senior Loan Administration

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I am thankful for my family being in good health, for my loving boyfriend, and for a wonderful job that brings me joy.

Brieanna Riffle, Personal Banker in Grove City

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I am thankful for the opportunity to turn many of my dreams into reality. Early in my banking career I worked long hours and over committed myself. Later in life, I have been fortunate enough to see the fruits of my labors. I have done things, personally and professionally, that I could only dream about in my 20’s and 30’s. Anything is possible if you work hard and stay focused on the end goal.

Susan Ross, Branch Manager in Grove City

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I am thankful for my kidney transplant and for all the support from my family and my VCNB family during that time in my life. They asked no questions and brought me back to work after I was back on my feet. I’m so grateful to work with such wonderful people!

Kim Peoples, Customer Service Representative

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I’m in such a unique situation in my life right now I didn’t really know how to begin with my thoughts on what I’m thankful for. Since my husband was diagnosed with cancer this year we have been so blessed with not only our prayers being answered with the possible options of treatments but also the support from family, friends and my work family (VCNB)! I just started with the bank in February and they have been so accommodating with our needs. I feel very fortunate to work for such a caring organization.

Cindy Moore, Business Banker in Lancaster

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I am thankful for my four healthy and happy children, my wonderful wife Andrea, and the best dog ever, Tillie.

Tom Oyer, Head of Commercial Lending

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I love this time of year and what it represents, all the nostalgic things such as beautiful fall colored leaves, all things pumpkin, and most important time with family! Throughout the year I am always thankful but, this time of year I pause a little longer when reflecting on all the things around me and what I am most thankful for, reminding myself of how truly blessed I am. I’d like to share with you in order what I am most thankful for this year. First and foremost, I am thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ, I am imperfect but through him I have Grace. Second, my husband, Brad Swint who is a wonderful father, provider, and I just love him! Third, my two little kiddos, Rylan and Arabella, for they bring me joy and frustration daily yet somehow keep me humble. And last but not least, my work family, I am successful daily because of each one of you. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Christina Swint, Assistant Branch Manager in Ashville

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I’m so thankful to the Lord to have survived a severe battle with Covid in August, in which I spent ten days in Riverside Hospital.

Doug Delong, Senior Retail Lender in Laurelville

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I am thankful that I have crossed paths with some beautiful souls who have become lifelong friends. I am thankful for my family and for my fur babies and for the job that awards me the benefit of being able to take care of myself and help others.

Stef Sweany, Senior Auditor

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I am thankful for the good health of my two boys. Neither has any significant health problems and I can’t say that about everyone I know. It’s a blessing.

Michael Thurston, Facilities Manager/Security Officer

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I am thankful for all the things God has blessed my life with. The gift of family, friends, health and strength for each day are only just a few of my many blessings. Even in the difficult times there is always something to be thankful for.

Grace Delong, Senior Indirect Loan Processor

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I remind myself every day to be thankful for what’s right in front of me and I try to share that simple message with my family on a regular basis. I’m thankful for my health and the health of my family and the wonderful relationships we’ve developed, I’m thankful we’ve got a home to live in with plenty of food to eat and my wife and I have great careers close to home that essentially allow this to be possible. I strive to live with more gratitude each year. I think it’s something that is easy to lose sight of if you do not regularly take time to reflect on all of the things of which you’re really, truly appreciative. Happy Thanksgiving!

Austin Rohr, Marketing Manager

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I am thankful for all of the small businesses in my community that have wonderful handmade products that I can purchase for Christmas gifts for my family and friends. There is not a shortage of handmade products and I am able to support a local proprietor.

Brenda Doles, Head of Retail

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I am most thankful for my health and that I am able to spend the holidays with my family.

Teresa Tennant, Senior Loan Administration

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I am thankful for Vinton County National Bank and all my fellow employees who make the days fun and eventful. Some days we come to work dealing with stresses from home and then you have that one person that calls and makes your day better with their kind words.  I am thankful for the wonderful relationships I have formed over the last 13 years while with the bank and cherish each and every one of them, especially the ones who have to listen to me every day all day. God bless you! I know it’s hard!  I am also thankful for my wonderful family, especially my husband and daughter and for them putting up with my craziness. Life would not be the same without them! Life is short and we all have our issues, problems, and days we feel like we just cannot go on but, in the end, we should all be thankful for every day and for the people who surround us to help keep us going! Last but not least I am thankful for the clerks at the stores that still give you a receipt for your transaction without looking at you like you are old and crazy for wanting one. Happy Thanksgiving to all!   

Tricia Wilburn, Deposit Operations

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I am most thankful for my family, (the grandchildren Brysin and Charolette are the best), great friends, good health, and my employment with VCNB. This job allows me to enjoy my friends, family and to be able to travel and enjoy life! I am also thankful for my parents who made me the person I am today!

Lisa Puckett, Senior Loan Administration

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I am thankful for my healthy 8 month old grandson!! Brixton has brought so much joy to my life!!

Phyllis Perry, Loan Operations

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I am thankful for all the things we take for granted everyday: a roof over my head, a warm bed, a full belly, that my family is healthy, laughter with friends, natures beauty but also I thank God for keeping our son safe while he’s deployed, and for allowing us to live in the Land of the Free because of the Brave.

Heather Groves, Commercial Loan Processor

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I am thankful for family!!! We just welcomed our eighth grandchild on November 13th!  

Peggy Pence, Assistant Branch Manager in Chillicothe.

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I am grateful every day for the good life I have thanks to my family, friends, job, good health, and my little cats Scout and Oliver. I’m thankful for great books, sunrises, old diners, small businesses, and for all the characters who keep life interesting. It really is a beautiful life and I’m thankful that I can see and appreciate it!

Brandi Betts, Marketing Manager

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The older I get, and especially given the environment we have been in the past year or so, I wake up every day feeling very thankful for my health and I reflect a lot on having a great group of friends and family both personally and at work. Though we hear a good bit of griping and complaining, we still live in the best country in the world, for which, we should be very thankful.

Joe Risch, Business Development Manager

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This time of year always feels nostalgic and makes me reflect on years past. This year I am thankful for every family member who is here on earth and in heaven. For the health and safety of my loved ones through a year of uncertainty. For my Ashville work family who has been so welcoming and loving over this year as I settle into a new office. And finally for another great year to come.

Katie Wright, Branch Manager in Ashville

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I am very thankful for my friends, family and my good health! I am looking forward to spending time with my family this Thanksgiving!   I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Beth Ann Patterson, Senior Relationship Banker in McArthur

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I am thankful for this wonderful company that I work for. I feel like I truly matter here. I am also thankful for my amazing husband, three children and my parents.

Krista Dennewitz, Assistant Branch Manager in Chillicothe

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I am very thankful to be blessed with a wonderful husband and two children. I am so thankful for answered prayers and good health. I have been blessed to work with a fantastic group of ladies in the Bremen office and now in the Logan Office I am working with another great group of people. Just to wake up each day and see everything that God has done for me is such an awesome blessing.

Miranda Nicholson, Assistant Branch Manager in Logan

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As a bank, we are most grateful for the people who we serve every day. That includes our wonderful employees, the shareholders who believe in VCNB enough to invest in our company and our customers who welcome us into their lives, and trust us to be there when they need us. We would have nothing without all of these people and we are thankful each and every day for these relationships. On behalf of our entire bank family, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!