Meet Your Banker: Matthew Giroux

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 Matthew Giroux. Matthew is the Branch Manager at our Ross County Banking Center on Western Avenue in Chillicothe.

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Matthew Giroux is the Branch Manager of our Ross County Banking Center on Western Avenue.

Ask Matthew to talk about his role as a community banker and he first mentions his experience working for a big bank. “This is so much more rewarding than corporate banking which is very black and white. In corporate banking, there’s no opportunity to get to know your customers or to help someone who you’ve had to tell they can’t have what they want but that there may be another solution,” he said. “It’s like night and day when you go to work for a bank that actually wants to work with customers.”

While he’s relatively new to VCNB, Matthew has close to sixteen years of experience in banking and a degree in Finance from Ohio State University. The Chicago native’s father attended OSU  and so Matthew said he always knew that’s where he wanted to study.

With sixteen years in banking around central Ohio he said that he especially likes working with business customers and small business start-ups. “New businesses are exciting. They’re usually starting a business with a purpose and they’re doing it because they’re passionate about something .  . . they’re doing it because they want to, not because they have to.”

However, he pointed out that many small business customers don’t know where to go for an EIN or to register their name. “They don’t know where to start but it’s something we deal with every day so it’s easy for us. It’s a lot of fun to guide customers to where they need to be,” he said.

Matthew and his wife Beth will celebrate their ninth wedding anniversary in May. They have a four-year old son.

In his free time, he is an avid OSU fan and is proud to be a 23 season ticket holder. He is also the Treasurer of the Ohio State Alumni Club of Ross County, belongs to the Chillicothe Rotary, and helps with concessions for the Zane Trace Athletic Boosters. He also represents the bank at the quarterly Ross Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce New Member Breakfast that the bank sponsors.

Until the pandemic caused disruption to daily life, Matthew was volunteering with the United Way, doing taxes for people through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program which provides free tax preparation services to low to moderate income tax payers in the community. “I was having a lot of fun doing taxes for people a few nights a week and some Saturdays,” he said. He laughed when teased for calling tax time fun. “It IS a lot of fun. You get to meet a lot of people and help others. Plus, I got to expand my own knowledge so I think the program is great,” he said.

“The pandemic has complicated the way we do some things but we are still here helping customers. I’m just a phone call away and we can accomplish everything a customer needs even though the lobbies are closed.”

 

Resource Roundup: Free Fun For Kids

Schools have been closed for a while and many of you parents have made a great effort toward entertaining and educating your kids. We have some good news. Big name attractions and a few you probably haven’t heard of are making some resources available for free!

Read on for some resources we think your kids will enjoy and you may even like them too!Here for You Badge

The Kennedy Space Center is offering free science lessons about rocketry for kids and teens via Facebook Live! The videos are archived on their page or you can watch along live every day. Parents even have online access to activity sheets and experiments. There are sessions for young kids as well as high school aged students.

Does your older child dream of someday being a Disney Imagineer? Disney is now offering something called Imagineering in a Box, a free course that features 32 videos showcasing real Imagineers from around the world. They share their skills and passions and give some insight into the magic of Disney.

Closer to home, the folks at COSI are delivering family friendly videos and hands on science through videos on their website. You can follow them on Facebook or sign up for an email that provides a weekly digest of upcoming activities.

Even the Peanuts gang is getting in on the action, offering activities and fun for grades K- 8.Learn about space, celebrate spring, reinforce a positive mindset and focus on goal setting with Snoopy and the gang!

Are your kids readers? The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress invites kids and people of all ages to discover the books available on their website. Among other things you’ll find an interactive version of Aesop’s Fables as well as classic literature for all ages.

Why does soap make bubbles? Can a turtle live outside its shell? Does your child have a lot of questions? Mystery Doug has the answers! Sign up to receive a free weekly email that answers these questions and more!

Scholastic Learn At Home offers some free lessons to keep kids reading, thinking and learning. Find free resources for all ages as well as some tips for parents who are homeschooling for the first time!

When all else fails, who doesn’t like to color? Find hundreds of free nature themed coloring printables here!

There are tons of videos and websites out there now, all devoted to keeping youngsters engaged and learning while having fun. These are just a few. Do you have a favorite? Tell us about it in the comments!

We Are Here For You

These are challenging times for Americans. Whether you’re an essential employee, working from home, or not working at all, everyone has dilemmas ahead. Some of you are homeschooling your kids for the first time and need ways to keep them busy. Some of you are quarantined alone and need ways to keep up morale. Many of you are essential, working overtime, and fearful of what will happen if you get sick.

Here for You BadgeSome of you are struggling financially and in other ways.

We want you to know that we will be here for you no matter what the future holds. The wonderful thing about being a community bank is that we are able to quickly change with the times and adapt to the needs of our customers.

VCNB President Mark Erslan praised bank employees for how well they have adjusted in changing times. “I’m amazed at how quickly our employees have been able to adapt to this fluid situation. We’ve had a mix of employees working from home and in our limited access lobbies doing what we can for our customers. Whether we’re discussing options for payment relief or how to bank remotely or helping a customer refinance a mortgage without physically coming in the bank, our employees are working hard to adapt and do what they must to get the job done,” Erslan said. “We’ve been handling routine requests in new ways and our volume has been significant.   Our customers have been very understanding and patient with us as well.”

Our lobbies are available by appointment only and transactions are handled through the drive-thru, except in Jackson where they are practicing social distancing in the absence of a drive-thru. Some of our branches have made some small changes to their business hours as well. We are encouraging customers to take advantage of all the tools that allow them to bank and communicate with us from home. That’s for your safety and ours as we do our part to flatten the curve in our state.

With that in mind, we have been working to educate customers on the various ways they can safely do their bank business. For example, we recently wrote about the ins and outs of banking outside the branch  and about how the ATM can be used for more than accessing cash and account balances.

We have been interviewing our branch managers for a blog series called “Meet Your Banker.” It’s been fun telling their unique stories. It’s also been heartwarming to hear very similar messages from them all about how they love getting to know their customers and helping people.

As community bankers, we love people and we are committed to being here for you – not just when times are easy – but all the time.

That’s why we’re offering relief options for both personal and business customers. If you are experiencing financial difficulty related to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to ask for help. Simply call our Customer Service Team at 1.800.542.5004. They will be happy to connect you with the right person who can explain your options and help you best.

We look forward to the day things go back to normal and we are able to greet you in our lobbies. Meanwhile, we encourage you to stay safe wherever you are and know that VCNB is still here for you.

As always, thank you for your patience and for allowing us to be your community bank through this challenging time. Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to this blog to keep up to date with all the ways we are here for you and proud to be your community bank.

 

 

 

 

Lending A Hand With Hand Sanitizer

Once commonly found in every retail store across America, hand sanitizer has become one of the most difficult commodities to buy thanks to COVID-19. This has been especially troubling to front line essential workers who don’t have immediate and frequent access to soap and water.

Tom Faris

Tom Faris used his business to make hand sanitizer for essential workers.

Vinton County native Tom Faris saw a need for hand sanitizer and decided to do something about it. Faris is a chemist who owns Vampire Optical Coatings in Pataskala. For the last seventeen years, the business has made films that control the reflection of light. In doing so, Vampire Optical has a 275 gallon stainless steel mixer and access to commercial quantities of ingredients, providing opportunity to make a great deal of money off this high demand product.

Instead, he made a large batch and gave it away.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Faris said. “This is going to sound silly but I was contacted by someone who wanted me to help them get the supplies to make a bunch of hand sanitizer and charge an ungodly rate for it. And it made me mad so I decided to make it and do the exact opposite. I gave it away.”

At first, Tom said he wasn’t convinced the hand sanitizer shortage was as bad as the media made it sound. But after talking with a neighbor who is a Licking County Sheriff’s Deputy and to his mother, an Administrative Assistant at the Vinton County Sheriff’s Department, he learned there was a dire need for the product among first responders around the region.

So he set about making and bottling 200 gallons of hand sanitizer. Some went to sheriff’s departments in Franklin, Licking, Muskingum and Fairfield counties. The rest, his mother Lottie Faris carried back to southern Ohio for distribution where it was needed. She got it out to police and sheriff’s departments in Jackson, Gallia, Meigs, Athens and Ross counties as well as in Vinton County where it went to cops, EMS, fire departments, the nursing home, and even to Vinton County National Bank.

McArthur Branch Manager Jeremy Robson expressed his gratitude to Tom and Lottie. “With our retailers having limited supplies, we were fortunate to have been given the sanitizer. Cash is dirty and we make every effort to keep our employees safe so it was a great relief,” he said. “We are grateful to have been thought of as a place to donate to and I know all the other places that benefited from his generosity are grateful too.”

Lottie said that she has heard nothing but kind words and thanks. “As I was calling around to the sheriff’s offices in the area, they were so grateful to get it and several offered to pay. We just wanted to get it out to as many places as we could to slow the spread of the virus,” she said. “When Tom thought about someone else price gouging to get ahead, well that’s not how he was raised and he just wanted to donate and give back instead.”

The 1989 Vinton County High School graduate grew up at Creola and studied chemistry at Ohio University. He said that he was glad to help and downplayed his efforts. “It took about five hours to make and bottle it all. Just a half day’s work so it wasn’t too bad,” he explained. “I think it has given people peace of mind.”

He did make a second batch which he has sold to businesses like VCNB at cost.

Thanks to Tom and Vampire Optical for their generosity and kindness and to Lottie for her hard work as well. We appreciate what you have done to keep our employees and customers safe! Click here to learn more about Vampire Optical.

Make Deposits At The ATM

ATM depositThink the ATM is just for withdrawing cash? Think again! You can also deposit cash and checks at your local VCNB ATM. We are in the process of updating the ATMs at all of our branches. This means that machines at some of our branches have more advanced capabilities than those scheduled to be upgraded.

Here’s the breakdown:

New machines are available in McArthur, Logan, Lancaster W. Fair, Pataskala, Circleville, Ashville, Laurelville, Commercial Point, Grove City, and Bremen. Here, the machine is able to read images. This means that the customer follows instructions on the screen and inserts cash and checks to be processed without an envelope. The customer will 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.

The branches in Jackson, Canal Winchester, Chillicothe and on E. Main Street in Lancaster are operating with older machines and scheduled for upgrades. This means that the customer places checks and cash into an envelope for deposit in the ATM. 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.

We are actively and regularly cleaning our ATMs. However, we do encourage customers to take precautions by using hand sanitizer and washing their hands as soon as possible after use.

We miss seeing our customers in the branches and are happy to serve you through the drive-thru. However, if you need to make an after-hours deposit or if you wish to practice greater social distancing than you find at the drive-thru, please remember that the ATM may be a good option for you!

 

 

Meet Your Banker: Jeremy Robson

Our lobbies may be closed but our bankers are still here to help you! Today we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Jeremy Robson, the Branch Manager at our Vinton County National Bank in McArthur.

Jeremy Robson

Jeremy Robson

Ask Jeremy about his new position managing VCNB’s original location and he focuses on how much he appreciates the bank’s role in the community. “I like being able to impact where I come from and I like having the means to get out there and help wherever we’re needed,” he said.

Jeremy is a well known face to many – the 2006 graduate of Vinton County High School may be remembered as captain of the high school football team. Since then, he graduated from The University of Rio Grande with a B.S. in Business Management and minor in Accounting before working as a manager at Kenworth in Chillicothe.

It was in 2018, when his son was just two, that Jeremy realized he was looking for something different in his career and made the move to VCNB as part of the Management Trainee program. The program molds college graduates into VCNB leaders of the future. Most of his training took place under the leadership of former longtime McArthur Branch Manager Jane Nickels. “I’m so grateful to have spent all that time under Jane’s wing and I’m thankful for all the mentoring and guidance she gave me,” he said.

“I grew up here and my family has always banked here -my grandpa, my mom and dad -I’ve had a savings account here since I was about ten years old,” he recalled. “I wanted better balance with my job and personal life. The bank has always been a stable employer in Vinton County, always involved and respected and community minded. Since I already had a vested interest in the bank it just felt like the right place to be.”

Like most community bankers, Jeremy talks about helping people and being active locally. “Do you know how important it is to work for a company that encourages employees to get involved? And it’s not just about opening savings accounts and lending money. It’s about helping out at events and going to the fair to buy livestock. I was a 4-her once and I remember how important it was to have businesses support the livestock sale. That’s where I got the money to open my savings account, from taking hogs to the fair!” he exclaimed. “Right now, with the kids at home, it has meant a lot to all of us that we were able to pitch in and help get food to some of those kids,” he said when talking about a recent donation of care packages made by employees and a planned monetary donation from the bank. “That’s what it’s all about. Positively impacting our community.”

Jeremy and his wife Shelley will celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary later this year. They have one son and currently live in Londonderry but are actively looking to move back to Vinton County.

With bank lobbies closed, Jeremy said that he and the entire McArthur staff have had to adjust to new ways of doing things. “We’re so used to telling people who have a problem just to come in and we’ll fix it. Now, instead of fixing you a cup of coffee and sitting down with you, we have to find other ways to resolve issues and take care of our customers. They can still get their business done, it’s just that the way they do business may look a little different for now,” he explained. “Regardless, we’re here for you, just a phone call away!”

 

 

 

 

Banking Without Coming In

VCNB_V_CMYKWe have customers who have banked with us for years without coming into a branch more than a time or two. Want to know their secrets? We’re going to spend some time in the next couple of weeks doing a deep dive into how all of this works but for today, we’ll give you an overview. You’ve heard of thinking outside the box? We want you to think outside the bank!

Many of our customers receive their payroll, income tax returns, social security income, and unemployment income by direct deposit. This means they don’t wait for a check to arrive. Instead, the funds are automatically deposited into their bank account. No wait, no trip to the bank. It’s just there for them.

Customers who don’t come to the bank use their debit cards a lot and get their cash either at the ATM or at the check-out in the store. Since we have joined the MoneyPass® network, VCNB customers have access to a nationwide network of over 32,000 surcharge-free ATMs. That means, no matter where you go in the United States, you are likely near an ATM where the surcharges are free. Read more about that here.

Those customers make deposits using the ATM, Mobile Deposit on their phones, or even through Express Drop at the bank. Mobile Deposit takes checks and you’ll receive immediate credit for up to $1,000 per day if the deposit is made correctly. Checks and cash can be deposited at the ATM and through Express Drop.

These customers who prefer banking outside the branch also know they can apply for loans, open accounts and find many of their answers online. However, they also know how to reach us if they need us. They know that we’re just a phone call or online chat away.

As community bankers, we like people. We like to talk to our customers and get to know them. We like running into our customers at the ball game or in the store. Unfortunately, this period in our life calls for temporary changes and distance.

We thank you for your patience and for allowing us to be your community bank through this challenging time. Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to this blog to keep up to date with all the ways VCNB is here for you and proud to be your community bank.

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Community

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Our world has changed a lot in the last few weeks. Who knew that concepts like social distancing and press conferences by the governor would be the thing everyone is talking about today? While non essential workers have been sent home and many essential employees are putting in extra hours, one thing hasn’t changed – we are still a community.

All of us here at VCNB are proud to work for a community bank and to be an essential part of your lives. We miss having customers in our lobbies and look forward to the day that it’s safe to return to business as usual. Meanwhile, we’ve been thinking of ways to be positively involved in our communities while maintaining a safe distance.

Here’s some inspiration but we bet you have more ideas!

Phone a friend – Social distance doesn’t mean social isolation. You may not be able to go visit your neighbor but you can give them a ring to chat a while. Connect with friends who you haven’t seen or call that cousin you’ve been missing at reunions. Hearing a friendly voice will brighten your day!

Support those restaurants – Many of our restaurants are trying to stay open and to keep their employees at work. You can’t dine in but you can order carryout or hit the drive-thru. Many are even doing curbside service so you don’t have to leave your car!

Shop local – We encourage you to stay home. However, if you do need to venture out for supplies, be sure to support the businesses in your neighborhood. Do you have a favorite small business that doesn’t sell essential goods? Do they have a website? Can you contact them for a gift card? Support them today so they’ll be here for you later.

Help others – Many people are hurting today. Between job losses and increased costs for childcare, lots of our neighbors could use a helping hand. If you’re in a position to help there are many ways – donate to a food pantry, pick up groceries for an elderly person, or share your supplies with the mom who is at home with her kiddos all day. Mowing season will be here soon. Send your teens to do yard work for a disabled neighbor. Look around and see who could use a boost!

Be nice to others – Lots of people you see working in public are tired and they are scared that they’ll take germs home to those they love. Smile, be patient, be kind. We’re all in this together!

Whatever you do, be sure to practice safe social distancing so that you and everyone around you can stay healthy. Remember – spread cheer, not germs!

 

Meet Your Banker: Josh Palmer

Our lobbies may be closed but our bankers are still here to help you! Today we kick off our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Josh Palmer, the Branch Manager at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center of Pataskala.

Josh Palmer

Pataskala Branch Manager Josh Palmer

Josh came to work for the bank in 2015 when he was hired for the VCNB Management Trainee Program. This program gives college grads an intimate look at the bank and an overview of several important departments. “I met my wife at college and she had taken a job in Wellston so I was looking for work near her. I saw the ad and it talked about this management trainee program where you could do research and learn different jobs. It sounded right up my alley so I applied,” he explained.

The OU grad has a B.A. in History with a minor in Business. He had worked as a teller for another bank so he had some valuable customer service skills as well. As a Management Trainee, he worked in a few departments but mainly in Chillicothe and McArthur. After the two year Management Trainee Program, Josh was assigned to be the first Branch Manager for the Jackson County Banking Center, the bank’s new branch in Jackson. “That was a challenging and fun adventure,” he recalled.

However, he and his wife Jess are central Ohio natives and longed to be closer to family. She accepted a position teaching for Teays Valley Schools and he was able to transfer to a new adventure in Pataskala. “It worked out well that my wife found a job up here and we had an opening in Pataskala,” he said.

Josh has been managing this office for about 16 months and says he has enjoyed getting to know the community. “There are so many wonderful things about this job but one of them is that we are encouraged to be involved in the community and to get out and meet people. In Jackson it was Rotary and Community Action. Here it’s things like A.M. Spirit in Granville. You don’t find a lot companies that really value community,” he said.

In his free time, Josh enjoys the arts and has long been motivated and excited by drawing. He also enjoys running and is excited to again be part of the bank’s Buck Fifty team in Ross County.

One interesting quality about Josh is that he has this creative side but he’s equally at home with spreadsheets. “I love to do research and to track progress. It’s fun for me to help others get the spreadsheets and things they need or to help them learn from the data they have. I know it’s strange to enjoy that” he exclaimed.

While the bank lobbies are currently closed because of COVID-19, Josh reminds customers that they can still do all their banking and accomplish their goals. “We just have to be creative and stay positive right now. You can still accomplish what you need to do – it just may not be the way you normally do it. You may need to learn a new skill set and you may find that the new way is better than the old,” he said. “Regardless, we are still here for you and we are ready to find solutions for whatever you need.”

COVID-19 Update: We’re Here For You

A lot has happened in the last few weeks and here at VCNB we have been working to stay on top of the latest developments. Our goal every day is to provide our customers with the services you need and deserve while keeping our employees and all of you as safe as possible.

As you know, the Ohio Department of Health has issued a Stay at Home mandate that is effective through April 6. Banks are a vital part of our country’s infrastructure and we offer important services to you. At this time, our lobbies are currently closed, but our drive-thrus are still open. In order to minimize face to face contact, we are encouraging our customers to use our online banking, mobile banking and local branch ATMs and drive thrus. We realize that may not always be possible, so we are allowing customers into our lobbies by appointment only in order to limit the face-to-face exposure for both our customers and employees. Should you need to make an appointment, please contact your local branch or call 800.542.5004. We appreciate our customers patience with us during this time.

We are taking steps to keep the drive-thru tubes and ATM keypads clean but we still encourage you to keep hand sanitizer in your car as a precaution.

Safety for our people is a priority that we take most seriously. That’s why we have been proactive in practicing social distancing and in encouraging employees to keep work areas, common employee areas, and public spaces as clean as possible.

Many of our employees must report to the office but there are a lot who can telecommute and we are actively deploying technology necessary for them to do so. Meanwhile, we have also eliminated travel among our branches and are encouraging conference calls or web meetings instead.

We know that many of you are experiencing financial hardship and uncertainty related to COVID-19. With that in mind, we do have some relief options available to personal and commercial customers. If you think you may need help, do not hesitate to ask. Simply call our Customer Service Team at 1.800.542.5004 and they will direct you to the banker who can best help your individual situation.

No matter what you do, be sure to wash your hands often and don’t touch your face after handling anything in public. If you’re on the front lines working in vital areas like farming, retail sales, the food industry, trucking, health care, first response, or one of the many other areas that’s keeping our state going, we thank you. Be safe and take care of yourself.

Please know that social distancing isn’t the same as social isolation. Your bankers are still here for you. Have a question for your banker? Call us at 1.800.542.5004 or chat with us from our website. Member FDIC.