Former VCNB President Ron Collins Has Retired

When Ron Collins stepped down as Vinton County National Bank President in December 2018, he didn’t actually leave the bank family. Instead, he stayed on as CEO, in an advisory role to assist newly minted VCNB President Mark Erslan through the transition. With a mind like a calculator and a keen understanding of banking, Ron was just the ninth president in the bank’s long and storied past and was eager to ease the bank into a new era of leadership.

Ron CollinsRon joined the VCNB family when he came to First Bremen Bank as Head of Lending in 1998. He was named President of the First Bremen Bank in 2001 and served in that capacity until being named President of Vinton County National Bank when the two banks merged in 2009.  One of his accomplishments was using his expertise as a skilled communicator and leader to soften the differences between the two banks, finding common ground and seeking ways to improve the combined operation.

During his career with VCNB, Ron used his vast knowledge of the lending world to improve the bank’s loan portfolio, making it both healthy and profitable.  He also oversaw the development of the Canal Banking Center in Canal Winchester, Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Pataskala and the Jackson County Banking Center in Jackson.

“When I started, the Bremen Bank was about $160 million in assets. Vinton County was over $200 million. Working together, we were able to bridge the gap and now we’re a billion dollar bank. That wasn’t just me. That was because of a lot of people,” he said “And I’m proud to say that we did all of that while staying true to our core values.”

“My wife asked me if I’m sad. Yes, I’m a little sad. It’s like leaving a part of yourself behind. But I have such a sense of accomplishment and a sense of excitement too. I’m excited for the future of our bank, I’m excited for Mark, and I’m looking forward to this next stage in my own life,” he explained.

When asked about his hopes for the bank’s future, Ron discussed VCNB’s place in the banking world. “A bank has to grow to succeed. But the more you grow, there’s risk of losing focus on the community part of community banking. We don’t want to be like the larger regional banks. There are plenty of them but there’s only one VCNB and what makes us special is our commitment to our communities. My hope is that we always offer that personal touch,” he said. “I also hope we always deliver what the customer wants. If they want to talk to a person, I hope there’s always a person to talk to. If they want technology, I hope we give them technology. Whatever is important to the customer should be important to us too.”

He went on to talk about the role of the bank president. “Every president leaves their own mark. We all do things a little differently but we all always put the bank first. That means focusing on the customer, the community, and our employees. As long as we continue to do that, we will do well,” he said. “Mark has been with us for a long time. He understands our culture and what’s important to us so I have no doubt he will lead us well.”

After a lengthy career managing people and learning the ins and outs of different types of workplaces, Ron has much wisdom to share with a young person starting out in business. “I would say you have to ask yourself some questions. Where do I want to go? What do I want from life and from my career? Can I get there with this job or this company? I’ve had offers to move elsewhere but I love our culture and the people I work with. Another job might mean more money but I could be sacrificing things that are important to me,” he added.

What things are important to him?

“Health, family and job. These are the most important things and you have to balance the first two so you can take care of the third,” he said. “You have to look at the total package. We have one employee who can attest to that. She had a good job making good money in another field. But she worked long hours and missed out on a lot. When she asked once to go see her kid play baseball and they told her no, she knew it was time for a change,” he recalled.

He went on to describe the VCNB culture which encourages employees to maintain their health, to volunteer in the community, spend time with family and to have a happy life. “I love our culture here and the people I work with. You spend more time with your coworkers than anyone else in your life. You better like where you are when you go to work.”

Ron officially retired January 31 but he isn’t in any hurry to make a lot of plans. He wants to volunteer somewhere that he can work hands-on with elderly citizens. He enjoys fishing and travel and often combines the two passions. He anticipates visiting the last few states he hasn’t yet seen.

Ron also looks forward to spending time with Gail, his wife of more than forty years, who he credits for supporting him through a host of moves and career advancements over the years. “I couldn’t have done it without her,” he said with a smile.

They have two grown children, Jill and Ron Jr, as well as three grandchildren. “It’s our time. Gail and I will be free to do what we please without the pressures of running a company,” he said. “It’s bittersweet, retiring, but I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

VCNB will host a retirement party for Ron at Kingy’s Pizza in Canal Winchester from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, February 14. The public is invited to attend.

While he won’t be coming to work every day, he will remain a part of the bank family as he plans to remain on the Board of Directors. “It was a pleasure and honor to lead this organization and be able to work with such dedicated people. It’s been my dream job and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”



Business Spotlight: Improving Health In Fairfield County

We understand that being a small business owner is tough. That’s why we plan to spotlight a different business each month to help you learn about unique businesses in your own back yard.  

In a world where time and money are at a premium, the YMCA in Lancaster is making it easy and affordable for people of all ages to achieve their physical fitness goals. The Robert K. Fox Family YMCA helps strengthen the community by teaching youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

By offering a wide variety of youth programs – from gymnastics to swimming – the YMCA works with children to help them reach their full potential. By teaching more than the fundamentals of a sport, the YMCA teaches kids fair play, allows everyone to participate and helps kids develop social interaction skills they will use for a lifetime. Best of all, the YMCA scholarship program allows everyone to participate, regardless of their ability to pay.

Last year, a Gallup poll revealed that 27.7 percent of Americans are now obese, the highest obesity rate in American history. The YMCA works to combat this epidemic by teaching overall healthy living in their wellness center. They encourage members, not just to exercise, but to also eat healthy and sleep consistently to keep their minds and bodies in shape. A balance of these three areas will help create a healthy lifestyle needed to live a long and happy life.

With 15,000 square feet of wellness center equipment and more than one hundred fitness programs that members and community members can participate in to gain needed strength, there are abundant opportunities for people of all ages to find the activity that works for them.

The YMCA also teaches social responsibility and strives to pay back the community for all the community does for the YMCA. For example, they have a Live Strong program for cancer survivors. This life changing addition to their schedule involves a free program of exercise and social interaction for people recovering from cancer.

There is even a child care program for families with kids. Child care for kids in school is offered along with a summer program for children who need a place to learn and grow especially for families who are working. They even have a preschool program for young children to start them on the road to a “healthy” education in Lancaster.

Their 36,000 square foot RecPlex facility provides ample space for tennis, volleyball, baseball, boxing and gymnastics. Purchased in 2008 and renovated in 2009, the RecPlex has allowed the Y to act on the vision of expanding services to the community, expanding the nationally recognized gymnastic program, and offering children a place to call their own. By investing in local kids, neighbors and the health of all, the YMCA ensures that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to thrive.

The Robert K Fox Family YMCA is located at 465 W. Sixth Ave. on the west side of Lancaster. The RecPlex is located at 1180 Locust St., on the east side of Lancaster. To learn more about the Robert K Fox Family Y, go to the website, or call 740-654-0616.












VCNB announces holiday hours

Christmas 2014 Collage

The holidays are finally here and VCNB offices will be closed some so our employees may celebrate with their families.

All of our offices will close at noon on Christmas Eve except for our Young’s Family Market location which will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All of our locations will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. However, our website and mobile banking app are available 24/7.

We appreciate our customers and wish you and yours the happiest of holidays.

Have High Deductible Insurance? Our HSA Can Help!

Are you familiar with the Health Savings Account or HSA? Many Americans could benefit from this type of savings account but are unaware that the option exists.

An HSA is a tax favored savings account used to pay for medical expenses. This account was created specifically to help individuals and families who have high deductible health insurance plans be able to save money for qualified medical expenses.

Financial healthVCNB offers an HSA that is both affordable and easy to use, according to VCNB Senior Vice President Jane Nickels. Nickels said that to be eligible for an HSA in 2015, you must have an annual deductible of $1,300 for an individual and $2,600 for a family and must not be on Medicare.

She said that contributions, up to a limit, are tax deductible and withdrawals to pay qualified medical expenses are never taxed. The money you deposit into your HSA rolls over from year to year and continues to grow tax deferred.

The funds in your HSA can be used for qualified medical expenses for any family member who you claim on your taxes. Qualified medical expenses are defined by the Internal Revenue Tax Code. You can read the list of qualified medical, dental and vision expenses here.

Remember that any funds you withdraw for non-qualified medical expenses will be taxed at your income tax rate plus 20 percent tax penalty unless the funds are withdrawn for death, disability or after age 65.

Nickels explained some of the reasons customers like the HSA. “There are many, many reasons people like their HSA but they are becoming increasingly popular because of the rise in health care costs and changes in their insurance plans,” Nickels said.

She indicated that many younger people use their HSA to save for old age. “Because the money will roll over every year, a lot of young people see it as a tax free way to save for retirement. If you are healthy and don’t have many medical expenses, the savings can continue to accumulate until the time you need the money whether it be for medical expenses or for something else after you reach 65.

At VCNB, our Health Savings Accounts include a debit card, one box of free checks, a monthly statement, online access and interest checking with tiered rates. If you request a monthly paper statement, there is a $3 monthly fee. There is no fee if you accept electronic statements.

If you think an HSA would make your life better, contact your local branch or call 1-800-542-5004 to learn more or to get started. Click here to visit our Online Learning Center to view a video about our HSA.

VCNB Celebrates Christmas

Have you been good all year? As children young and old alike can tell you, Santa knows! And he’s keeping a list of all the naughty and nice boys and girls across the world. Every December 4 is celebrated as “Santa’s List Day” and in honor, we decided to compile a list of some fun holiday activities we are involved with this year.

Kingston and Kileigh, the children of VCNB employee Austin Rohr enjoyed meeting Santa at the bank last December. Bring your kids to meet Santa at our Friendly Bremen locations this month!

Kingston and Kileigh, the children of VCNB employee Austin Rohr enjoyed meeting Santa at the bank last December. Bring your kids to meet Santa at our Friendly Bremen locations this month!

Santa Visit
Lancaster 3 – 5 p.m. Friday, December 5
Santa Claus is coming to town!  Santa will be visiting with the good little boys and girls at our W. Fair Ave., Friendly Bremen Banking Center from 3pm-5pm.  Come say hello to the jolly old elf himself!

Santa Parade
Logan 2 p.m. Saturday December 6
Help us welcome Santa to the Hocking Hills with this huge annual event! Our employees at the Hocking Hills Banking Center are always excited to take part in this parade which starts at the Hocking County Fairgrounds and ends at the Tractor Supply parking lot. Santa arrives at the end of the parade and the downtown lights are lit at that time.

Christmas in Downtown
McArthur 3 – 6 p.m.  Saturday December 6
We are thrilled to participate in the tenth annual Christmas in Downtown! This event, sponsored by the Vinton County Chamber of Commerce, features door prizes, crafts for the kids, horse drawn wagon rides, inflatables, music, food specials, vendors, a parade and more! There will also be a number of fundraisers for local non-profits including Shepherd’s House, churches and the fire departments. VCNB will host activities in our Customer Service Center which ordinarily is not open to the public. We will have a craft for the kids, a tropical snack, lots of fun tropical decorations and a door prize! Also, be sure to look for Santa who always arrives in town during the parade!

Santa Visit
Lancaster 3- 5 p.m. Friday, December 12
Santa Claus will return to Lancaster today to visit our Friendly Bremen Banking Center at 521 E. Main St. Come say hello to old St. Nick!

Santa Visit
Bremen, 3- 5 p.m. Friday, December 19
Santa must love the Friendly Bremen Banking Center because he is spending another Friday afternoon with us – this time in Bremen! Stop by and tell him your Christmas wishes!

Santa Visit
Pataskala, 10 a.m. to Noon Saturday, December 20
There is one last chance to visit with Kris Kringle at the Friendly Bremen Banking Center this year. Today he will be at 700 Corylus Dr., Pataskala. Stop by to meet Santa and tell him your most important Christmas wishes!


Thanksgiving Reflections

Thursday is Thanksgiving and here at VCNB we are preparing to be closed for the holiday. All of our seventeen locations, including Customer Service, will be closed so our employees may celebrate the holiday with their families.

 As we contemplate the holiday and its meaning, we wanted to share with you a few quotes about Thanksgiving and gratitude. Plus there’s one at the end from the great Johnny Carson to make you laugh!

From all of us at VCNB, we wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. After being closed for the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday, we will resume regular business hours Friday.


New England Fall Color“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”  — Ralph Marston


“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” — Frank W. Clark


“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson


“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey


“Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward


Autumn Leaves“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” —  John Fitzgerald Kennedy


“An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.” — Irv Kupcinet


“Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.” —  Native American Saying


“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” — W.T. Purkiser


“Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.” —Johnny Carson



Welcome Citizens Bank of Ashville Customers!

The VCNB financial family is growing! We are excited to welcome the customers and employees of The Citizens Bank of Ashville to VCNB.

VCNB and Community Bancshares, Inc. have announced the completed acquisition of The Citizens Bank of Ashville, effective the close of business on Friday.

The offices, located in Ashville, Circleville, Grove City and Commercial Point, enlarge the VCNB footprint and provide VCNB customers a total of seventeen locations for their banking needs. When they opened today, the Ashville, Circleville and Commercial Point branches began operations as Pickaway County Banking Center. The Grove City location now operates as Franklin County Banking Center.

As our family grows, we have been reflective about our origins and the core values that make us who we are.

We were founded in McArthur, Ohio in 1867. As a community bank, we take pride in adopting community identities everywhere we do business. This is evidenced in a variety of ways, starting with the names of our local branches and extending through community support initiatives and substantial employee volunteerism efforts.

Because we are a community bank, decisions are made locally. The loan officers, tellers and new accounts representatives you interact with daily live in your community and have a stake in the wellbeing, not just of the bank but of the people and towns where we do business. Our Customer Service Department is located in McArthur and the people you reach by phone or by online chat are invested in giving great customer service.

In short, we love our communities!

As you may imagine, there is a lot of work and detail involved in acquiring a bank and bringing those customers and employees into the VCNB family. That’s why we have created a Welcome Guide to help our new customers through the process.

If you are a new VCNB customer, WELCOME ABOARD! We are excited to have you with us and eager to get to know you. For the most part, the employees you are accustomed to seeing in your local offices haven’t changed. We may make some physical changes in the offices but you will receive the same great service you are accustomed to and deserve.

For now, our new Citizens customers will be able to bank and receive customer service assistance just in Ashville, Grove City, Commercial Point and Circleville. Starting on January 20, 2015, you will be able to bank at any of our seventeen locations.

You will be also hearing from us more over the next few months and hope you will feel welcome to contact us if you have questions.

Our existing customers can begin banking in the new locations today. We now have seventeen offices in Vinton, Ross, Hocking, Fairfield, Licking, Pickaway and Franklin counties.

Do you have questions? We would love to hear from you! Remember, following this blog is a great way to keep up with VCNB news. You can also follow us on Facebook and Linkedin. Check our website for updates as well.