Reward Yourself With Rewards Checking At VCNB

If you use your debit card a lot and don’t have VCNB Rewards Checking, you are missing out on an opportunity to earn rewards for everyday purchases and other banking activities. This includes cash back, gift cards, travel credits and all sorts of merchandise.

How does Rewards Checking work? It’s simple!

With Rewards Checking you will receive UChoose Rewards® Points for every PIN and Signature based purchase you make with your debit card. You will receive one point for every $3 spent as well as 200 bonus points for 21 or more purchases.

Additional points are also offered for using Online Bill Pay, Direct Deposit and Automatic VCNB Loan Payments. Receive 500 bonus points annually for the life of the card and 1,000 bonus points for opening a new savings account. Use a Visa® Platinum Favor Credit Card to earn one point for every dollar spent.

You do have to sign up for a UChoose Rewards account and link your debit card and credit card to that account to begin earning points and to later redeem all those points for those great rewards you deserve!

There is a $7 monthly fee for this account that will be refunded if you either use your debit card for at least fifteen or more transactions a month or keep a combined balance of $5,000 or more in all of your VCNB accounts.

We know you work hard for your money. Why not put your VCNB account to work for you?

Existing customers can ask their personal banker to easily switch from their current account to a VCNB Rewards Checking. New customers can open a Rewards Checking account online, on VCNB Mobile or in their neighborhood VCNB branch. Get full details by visiting us online.

 

Small Business Spotlight: Crossroads Meats

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

Crossroads Meats exterior

Crossroads Meats is a custom butcher shop and retail store on Main Street in Adelphi.

If you’re looking for fresh, good quality meat, a local butcher shop is the place to go. Crossroads Meats in Adelphi specializes in custom butchering but has a popular retail storefront as well. Here you’ll find everything you need to stock your freezer or to entertain guests at your next backyard barbeque.

The attention to detail that owner Noah Cross gives to his work, combined with an increasing demand for quality meat, has helped the shop develop an eager following of customers.

Noah grew up in his father’s butcher shop in rural Missouri, where he helped out while learning the trade. “Growing up, I thought I’d never butcher for a living. Why would I when there’s all kinds of exciting things to do? But it comes back to what you know and what you love and I really love what I do,” he said with a smile.

Yet, when Noah and his wife Ann had the opportunity to relocate to Ohio and start a new life with a newly settled Mennonite community, Noah wasn’t sure he wanted to continue in the business. ‘It’s long days and they’re hard days. It’s real physical work, especially in your arms,” he said.

So when they came to Ohio, he took up tree trimming and removal. He did that for a while but quickly learned this fair weather business didn’t keep him busy enough. So he returned to his roots and began processing deer on the side, growing this business to accommodate the community’s need. This side business quickly took off, causing him to buy the old hardware store in Adelphi and set up a butcher shop and retail store.

Here he focuses on custom cattle processing jobs which keeps him extremely busy. At this time, their custom work is booked through early 2021.

But many customers know Crossroads for their retail shop. Here, customers line up to buy everything from hamburger and steaks to handmade sausage and fresh marinated chicken.

“A lot of our business lately has come in because of COVID. They say there’s a meat shortage and a lot of people have come here because they couldn’t get what they want at the store. But once they try our product they say they’ll never go back to buying at the grocery. They say they’re spoiled now,” he said. “A lot of people don’t believe there’s a difference in the taste but there really is. And you can shout till you’re blue in the face but it doesn’t mean anything until they try it and taste the difference for themselves.”

When asked about the difference in fresh meat from a butcher shop and that from a grocery store, Noah said that part of the difference lies in geography and timing. “When you’re buying meat from the store, you might be buying something that was raised in Kansas and slaughtered in California. Then it still has to be transported to the store for you to buy it. I’m not saying that a Kansas animal isn’t as good as an Ohio one but animals don’t transport well dead or alive. By the time it gets to you, that really shortens the shelf life,” he explained.

There’s a sign in the store that seems to summarize his work philosophy. It reads “Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy local and it can buy fresh.”

Group

Noah Cross and his employees take pride in the work they do, providing quality meats for the community. From left are Ginny Beachy, Twila Martin, Noah Cross and Jemima Zook.

That’s part of the reason he has begun raising his own cattle just down the road. “I like going from farm to table. I like feeding my own and knowing how it was cared for and that it just traveled a quarter mile down the road to get here. It’s important to me, knowing what I’m providing for people,” Noah said. “I have customers who have been up to see them and have already ordered cattle that isn’t even ready yet because they’re that confident it will be good.”

The meat they currently sell in the store comes from Heffelfinger’s Meats here in Ohio. Coolers are stocked with thick cut bacon, hamburger, steaks, chicken and pork chops. Noah’s employees make their own bratwurst, snack sticks, summer sausage, trail bologna, sausage links and sausage patties among other things. But some of their most popular items are already marinated and ready to cook. Chicken marinades include barbeque, garlic butter and southwest. He said their burgundy pepper New York strip steak and old fashioned dry rub bacon are especially popular too. Their seasoned hamburger patties are big sellers and can be purchased in smoky molasses, garlic tomato basil, and jalapeno cheddar.

Each Saturday, he fires up the smoker out front and cooks sixty to eighty sides of ribs. They come out of the smoker at noon, fresh and ready for customers to enjoy. They do encourage ordering in advance to ensure that customers are able to get this high demand product.

Some Thursdays, he smokes chicken wings, legs quarters and drumsticks too. Anything not sold that day will be available for purchase in the store.

Noah believes in delivering quality service and product. He also is pleased to work with customers and deliver what they request. He described a popular sweet Italian bratwurst link that they make. When a customer asked for that seasoning in a patty instead of a link, they were happy to accommodate. “That’s how new products are born,” he said.

The store also sells Camp Chef brand grills and smokers, chest freezers, some meat seasonings and Ben’s brand mustards and barbeque sauces. Essentially, if you need the meat or some way to freeze, flavor or cook it, Crossroads can help!

The business is very much a family operation. His wife Ann helps out with the business aspect and their four little boys, ages 10, 7, 5, and 2 spend a lot of time with their dad here and are well known to regular customers. They also employ three people to do processing, packaging and to help with the store.

While they clearly work hard and long days, Noah his thankful to the community for their support. “The people here are just wonderful. We moved here not knowing anyone and not deserving a thing and these Ohio people have absolutely showered us with their friendship, their kindness and business,” he said. “We’ve made so many wonderful friends that we simply couldn’t ask for more.”

Crossroads Meats is located at 11826 Main Street, Adelphi. For more information, visit their store or call 740.702.MEAT.

 

Meet Your Banker: Matt Hearn

Our Meet Your Banker series continues today with Matt Hearn. Matt is the Branch Manager at our Canal Banking Center in Canal Winchester.

Matt Hearn

Matt Hearn is the Branch Manager of our Canal Banking Center in Canal Winchester.

Ask Matt to talk about banking and it’s clear that it’s all about the customers for this California native. “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,” he said.

Matt should know. He cut his teeth in banking by working his way up from Retail Banker to Branch Manager for a big bank in Lancaster. He spent about six years there before making the move to VCNB’s Lancaster West Fair Avenue branch. He was hired to be a Retail Banking Officer but quickly rose to the position of Branch Manager.

Earlier this year, he made another change by moving to our Canal Winchester branch which he manages today.

“I have found opportunities here to really get to know my customer. They come in and we have a chance to talk about their child who just graduated high school or about what they need from us. Nothing makes me happier than when they bring their dogs and we get to give them a treat,” he said with a laugh.

In his free time, Matt sits on the Income Council of United Way for Fairfield County. He’s been a member since 2017 and says their primary focus is on funding for shelters, food banks and emergency services.

He and his wife have been married for four years and have a one year-old daughter.

“The best part of my job is the relationships. Nothing makes you feel better about what you do than when a customer says they trust you or when a customer shows up in your new office just to see you.”

 

 

 

 

Meet Your Banker: JJ Wright

Some of our lobbies are open while others are available by appointment only but we are still here to help with what you need! Today we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with JJ Wright. JJ is the Branch Manager of our Hocking Hills Banking Center in Logan.

While JJ has worked in our Logan office since 2018, customers in three markets will recognize him. That’s because he’s also been the Branch Manager for our Canal Banking Center as well as the Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster.

JJ Wright

JJ Wright is the Branch Manager of our Hocking Hills Banking Center.

The 2006 Lancaster High School graduate has a degree in Business Administration from Liberty University. His career has been spent in banking, starting out as a teller and working his way up through the ranks at another bank before moving to VCNB in 2015 to be the Branch Manager in Canal Winchester.

“It’s going to sound cheesy but I love helping people, especially the problem solving aspect of what I do,” he explained. “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,” he said.

JJ grew up in Lancaster but has lived in Hocking County for the last ten years. He and his wife LaBreeska will soon celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. The couple have two children – McKenna, who is five and Jayce, who is three.

In his free time, JJ has taken up woodworking, a hobby which he is able to share with his wife. “I do the building and she’s phenomenal at the finishing – whether it be with stain or paint. So a lot of times, I’ll be working on a project and she’ll be over there finishing another,” he said while describing the blanket ladders, tv stand and other pieces they have completed. “It’s just a really good way to let go of stress after a long day. It’s nice to have that creative outlet and to have that sense of accomplishment when you can see what you’ve done.”

He is also very involved in the New Life Christian Center, belongs to the Logan Rotary Club, and serves on the United Way of Hocking County Board.

Many Hocking County Fair supporters will recognize JJ and the Logan staff for their work organizing and running the fair’s livestock sale. “This is a ton of work that extends beyond the fair but it’s an incredibly rewarding thing to do. Those kids have worked so hard on their 4-H projects. We love the small part we play in helping them sell their animals at the livestock sale.”

While VCNB has taken numerous safety precautions, the Logan branch did have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in April. While everyone is healthy, they continue to operate with drive-thru service only. “We are profoundly grateful to our customers for their understanding and willingness to let us work with them to best serve their unique needs and circumstances. So many of them have been concerned about our health and I honestly can’t stress how grateful we are for their caring and cooperation.”

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!