Savings Tips From Saver Squirrel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur friend Saver Squirrel loves to “squirrel away” cash and is always excited to talk to other savers about their habits. Today, he’s offering some advice to anyone trying to get started with their savings goals!

Open a savings account: Saver says it is important to keep your savings separate from the money you use for paying monthly bills and daily expenses. Keep it safe from temptation and put it in a savings account. At VCNB, we offer a Passbook Savings Account that gives you online access to your funds. Read more about Passbook Savings Accounts to learn about minimum balances and how to access your money.

Automate, automate, automate: Schedule automatic transfers to your new savings. This makes it like any other bill you would pay and removes the burden of remembering to do it. With the online access you receive when you open a Passbook Savings, it’s easy as pie to schedule a regular transfer from your VCNB checking to your savings.

Start small: Saver likes to say that every acorn counts! Start saving what you can spare. Just $10 a week will add up so don’t be embarrassed if this is where you have to start. Saver has found that the more he saves, the more he wants to save. He thinks when you see your own savings start to add up, you may be inspired to stash away more.

Make it a game: If you have a little more to spare, make it a game. Some folks save every $5 bill they get. Others toss their change in a jar every day. Someone told Saver the other day that when they are tempted to buy something they don’t need, instead they skip the purchase and transfer the funds into their savings account. Save a dollar a day or find a fun savings chart to follow. Pinterest is a great source for this kind of inspiration.

Keep a goal in mind: Saving money for the sake of having it doesn’t always inspire us to stick to make spending cuts or to even stick to a plan. That’s why it’s important to know why you’re saving. Most Americans don’t have an emergency fund. Maybe you want to save money so you’re prepared the next time Murphy’s Law comes knocking and an appliance breaks or you get sick. If you are planning a big vacation or saving for a house payment, keep visual reminders around or stop and think about how nice it will feel to take your family on that summer vacation.

Track your progress: Saver thinks that the best way to stay focused is to assess progress. He recommends checking your account online periodically to see the dollars add up. Better yet, keep a chart on the refrigerator or a spreadsheet with your budget so you can celebrate your successes!!

While saving comes naturally to Saver Squirrel, it’s not so easy for everyone. Start small, make it easy on yourself and celebrate your accomplishments! Before you know it, you’ll have some cushion in the bank and you’ll be on your way to being just like Saver Squirrel!

Looking Back On Our 150th

This has been a big year here at VCNB as we have been celebrating our 150th anniversary. We did this through a variety of means including events and sponsorships  throughout the eight counties we call home. We’ve celebrated our entire 150 year history with a museum in our McArthur office and focused on our post-Civil War birth with big events over the 4th of July weekend in Vinton County.

However, 2017 hasn’t been just a year of living in the past. It has also been a year of reflection for the employees and Directors of Vinton County National Bank. We have spent 2017 working on a plan for the years ahead and have been contemplating the bank we want to be, the bank our customers need us to be for the next 150 years.

We opened a new banking center in Jackson this year and continue to focus efforts on improving our mobile and online services to make banking with VCNB simpler and better. We have developed many plans to make VCNB a better place to work and a better place to do business as well.

If you are a VCNB customer, we thank you for your business. If you are not a customer, we ask that you give us a chance to become your bank. We have been successful these 150 years because of our customers and because of the fine communities where we do business. We would love to bring you into our bank family as well.

We’re about to turn the page on the calendar to a new month, a new year and to countless opportunities to grow this bank and to help our customers realize their dreams. What’s the old quote?

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among stars!”

Thanks to all of you for supporting Vinton County National Bank and for allowing us the privilege to be your bank. Together, we’ll shoot for that moon!

VCNB Says Farewell To Longtime Employee

 

Sandy Bates Retires 2017 croppedA longtime familiar face at the Depot Drive Thru in McArthur will soon retire. Sandy Bates, a 33 year employee of Vinton County National Bank will retire this Friday.

Even on a slow day, scores of vehicles line up in Sandy’s lane to be waited on by the friendly woman who seems to always wear a smile. She asks customers about their kids, talks about the car they just bought and passes out dog bones to customers of the canine variety. Often times she knows what the customer wants before they even ask.

She’s recently begun telling regulars that she won’t be with the bank much longer. “I retire in eight days” she exclaimed to one regular customer.  “One man seemed a little upset when I told him I was leaving. I didn’t even know him that well so I was kind of surprised,” she explained.

Sandy began her career at the bank in the Bookkeeping Department. “Bookkeeping wasn’t quite what I thought it was,” she offered with a laugh. “I filed checks all day, every day! I worked at that quite a while before I went to Mr. (Bob) Will and asked to do something else.”

She has worked as a teller since, spending some time in the bank lobby but most of her career in the Depot. “I have enjoyed it here. It’s nice and quiet here and I feel close to the customer waiting on them here,” she said. “I get to see their kids and their animals and a lot of things I would miss in the lobby. Little kids will talk to me, dogs know they’re going to get a bone. I’ve seen people grow from car seats into parents.”

It can be a stressful job at times, especially on busy days. However, Sandy said she received some very good advice from another VCNB retiree who trained her. “Ruth Molihan always said that the customer in front of you is the most important person right now. I’ve always made that my policy and I think it’s a good one,” Sandy said.

She reminisced about many of the changes in bank personnel and in changes to banking and society that have taken place over the years. “I started out filing checks all day and now you just don’t see that many checks,” she said. She also expressed great respect for late VCNB President Bob Will who she said “was quite the visionary” for his early adaption of new technologies.

Sandy said that her retirement is bittersweet. “I have enjoyed working here and am sad to leave but a little happy too. I’ll miss the customers and the people I work with but it’s a good time to go while I still have my health and can get out and enjoy life.”

She looks forward to spending more time with family and is especially excited to spend more time with her grandchildren.

McArthur Branch Manager Jane Nickels said that Sandy’s absence will be felt by the bank and by her customers. “Once the customers find out she’s going to be gone, many will be very disappointed. That first lane is always lined up when the second lane has no one in it because Sandy tends to be everyone’s favorite,” Jane said. “The drive thru seems to be her niche. We’ve asked her to come into the lobby before but she enjoys the challenge and seems to genuinely enjoy how busy she is with her customers at the drive thru.”

Jane complimented Sandy’s professionalism, noting that at the age of 79 she still works every day in high heels. “She’s a lady. She’s a lady who cares about her customers, who has built relationships with her customers. We wish her the best but her absence will be a loss to the customers and to the bank.”

Friday will be Sandy’s last day on the job. The entire bank family wishes her a long and happy retirement!

Help VCNB Welcome Campbell’s Market To Vinton County!

campbells-market-e1512076599728.jpgVCNB invites the public to help us welcome Campbell’s Market to Vinton County! Campbell’s will host a Grand Opening event on Monday, December 4 at 9 a.m. They will have speakers, including local, state and federal government officials and the bank will be there to help celebrate!

First thing in the morning, we’ll have donuts and warm beverages for those who attend the grand opening ceremony. Then we’ll have homemade chili and light rolls for lunch! The chili supplies will come from the new store, including fresh beef straight from the meat counter which already has a reputation for being the best around. Guests will be invited to gather around a fire and enjoy piping hot chili and drinks. They can also enter a drawing for a fire pit and for a $100 gift card. Finally, The Radio will be on site for a live remote from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In case you haven’t been by, the new Campbell’s Market is located next door to Vinton County High School at 630 W. Main St., McArthur. Click here to follow them on Facebook! 

We are elated that the Campbell family saw potential in our community and had the confidence to build a new store here. Help us welcome Campbell’s Market and thank them for investing in our community! We hope to see you Monday!

 

 

 

 

Small Business Spotlight: Creature Comforts Veterinary Center

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

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With Fairfield County roots and a deep devotion to their patients, it’s no wonder that Creature Comforts Veterinary Center outgrew their old location. It’s been a busy year for the full service independent veterinary care facility as they have undergone some exciting changes that have helped the business grow.

Creature Comforts was a long time neighbor to our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on West Fair Avenue in Lancaster.  After many years in this spot, it was becoming increasingly apparent that advancements in the facility and the processes necessary to run a clinic were much needed.

They simply had outgrown their space.

With a need for more parking and more room throughout the clinic, owner Dr. Libby Kinsel said that all options were on the table. The Canal Winchester native and Ohio State University graduate began scouting new locations after realizing that a new facility was the best option. “We knew we were going to stay local, but we really wanted to help bridge the gap between Canal Winchester and Lancaster while better serving the community of Carroll.”

After visits to several properties, a chance pass by a vacant property that had recently gone up for sale caught Libby’s eye. “Once I saw the building and the space, I knew this was it.”  Libby’s father, Tom, is a structural engineer by trade and gave his stamp of approval. 

Plans formed quickly and the sale was final in June 2016. Later, Libby purchased additional land around the original parcel. They broke ground in November 2016 for the planned additions and moved into the new space this Spring. In all, the tripled their work area, created a full waiting room and they gained an incredible amount of outdoor space for walks and exercise.  There is also an additional building on the grounds that will eventually be rented out.

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Going from one exam room in the old building to six new exam rooms has meant a more efficient use of time and space. It has also meant more availability for surgical and dental care.  This is a great “problem” to have, and it was clear as the transition was happening that Creature Comforts was ready to bring on an additional doctor.  Libby didn’t have to look far.

“Tiffany (Elgersma) actually worked with us for ten years, starting in the kennels.  She returned to school and graduated and we brought her in as our second doctor right away.”  Dr. Elgersma is a Bremen native who graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in May.

The transition has been very smooth.  Going from hundreds of clients to more than 6,000 over the years has forced the increase of staff size in other areas as well.  Registered Veterinary Technicians, an Office Manager, and four support staff members have all been added along with Dr. Elgersma since the new facility opened.  And perhaps most exciting for the entire Creature Comforts staff is the ability to use a real break room!  “It was kind of a free-for-all before” Libby joked.  “Lunch break meant eating in your cars, the back room, the parking lot, you name it.”  In fact, the staff recently got together to have Thanksgiving dinner together in the new space, an act that was physically impossible before the move.  And maybe just as exciting?  A brand new washer and dryer system that will suit the needs of the clinic perfectly.  “Before, we were going through washers and driers by the month!”

Clients are constantly being added from Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, and Perry Counties.  Libby explained that they even work directly with the dog shelters in those counties. “We strive to be a very active part of our community.”

As for the future?  Be on the lookout for a planned “Community Canine Easter Egg Hunt” in the Spring, and for further planned updates and additions to the Creature Comforts facilities.  Dr. Kinsel, Dr. Elgersma, and staff will continue to insure that Creature Comforts acts as “your family’s other doctor!”

For a full list of services, contact information, and staff profiles, visit https://www.creaturecomfortsvc.com/

Building a Credit Score From Scratch

Young adults starting out on their own often bump into a cold fact of financial life: Having no credit history can limit your options just as much as having bad credit does. Lenders, rental offices and insurance companies use your financial track record to judge how likely you are to pay debts and bills — and if you’re a blank slate, you’re generally considered a risk.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to quickly establish your credit record.

Start with a credit card
One of the quickest ways to develop a positive credit history is with a credit card, which lets you show that you handle small amounts of debt responsibly month after month. Even if you can’t qualify for a card on your own, there are ways to take advantage of this credit-building tool:

  • Recruit a co-signer.You might be able to get a card if someone with good credit — such as a parent — is willing to co-sign the application with you. You and your co-signer will be equally responsible for the charges you make, along with any late-payment fees or other penalties if you don’t make payments on time. Also, late or missed payments can damage your credit score and your co-signer’s, too. But every time you make a payment on time, it will shore up your credit history.
  • Become an authorized user. Another option is to ask a family member or significant other to add you to their credit account. First, though, make sure their bank reports activity by authorized users to the major credit bureaus — otherwise, this won’t help your credit score. And remember that here, too, your activity with the card can affect someone other than yourself.

Next steps
Once you have a card, your behavior with it will determine how high, and quickly, your credit score rises. To keep moving in the right direction:

  • Make on-time payments.The most common credit-scoring model is the FICO score, and it is based on a combination of factors. The biggest, making up 35% of your score, is your payment history. Pay all of your bills (not just your credit card) on time to keep your score rising.
  • Keep balances low. Try not to use your card up to or near your credit limit; it looks bad to creditors if your cards are maxed out. A good rule of thumb is to keep your balances at or below 30% of your total credit limit.
  • Don’t over-apply for cards.According to a recent NerdWallet study that included an analysis of millennials’ credit scores, many young adults are applying for the wrong credit cards and getting rejected — and that’s hurting their credit, since excessive inquiries can make someone look like a bad credit risk. Apply only for cards you really want, and space out those applications.
  • Check your credit reports. You have the right to get a copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies — ExperianEquifaxand TransUnion — once a year for free. Review yours and report any errors that might hurt your score.

It can be easier to build up good credit if you have a professional helping you. Consider consulting with a financial institution to help figure out the best way to establish credit and make other important financial decisions.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

VCNB Opens New Jackson County Office

Jackson Office October 2017

We are thrilled to say that we have an office in Jackson! The Jackson County Banking Center is now open for business at 920 Veterans Drive in Jackson.

VCNB has operated a loan production office at this address since 2016. Bolstered by the enthusiastic support of customers who wished to have a more extensive relationship with VCNB, Bank President Ron Collins said the choice was clear. “We were seeing more and more customers from Jackson County who wanted to bank with us and we wanted to open an office that is convenient for them,” Collins said. “Our roots are in southern Ohio and we are very excited to be in Jackson.”

This office employs local bankers who know Jackson County and who will are excited to serve their neighbors and the entire community. The staff includes Branch Manager Josh Palmer, Dale Massie, Darrell Boggs, Fred Wright, Jordan Stepp, Kelly Halley and Laura Ellenberger.

Many Jackson Countians are familiar with VCNB and have done business with the bank which was founded in McArthur in 1867. The bank now operates seventeen offices, embracing the values and identity of each community where it does business. While the bank branches identify with different names, such as Jackson County Banking Center, all branches are part of the VCNB Financial Family and customers can do business anywhere they see the bank logo.

The new Jackson branch has a walk up ATM, night deposit access and courteous staff who can help with all their banking needs, including loans and deposit products. Customers can learn more and even open accounts online at VCNBfamily.com. The community is invited to stop by the bank to meet the staff and see the newly remodeled facility.

Stop by and have coffee and snacks with your bankers Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. We’ll also have a drawing for $150 cash.

We would love to meet our neighbors so stop by and say hello!

Thinking Like a Woman Could Pay Off With Credit Cards

Women shop a lot: We make 85% of all consumer purchases, according to data from the research firms Yankelovich Monitor and Greenfield Online. All that shopping means we’re pulling out our credit cards often — and it turns out, perhaps thanks to all that practice, we really know what we’re doing.

On average, women carry about $100 less credit card debt than men do ($5,536 versus $5,635), are less likely to be 60 or more days overdue on their credit card card payments, and have slightly higher credit scores (675 versus 670), according to the credit bureau Experian. “Women seem to be doing a better job at managing their credit,” says Kelley Motley, director of analytics at Experian.

Men might want to take a page from women’s credit card playbook by adopting these four credit card habits.

  1. Don’t be scared to use credit cards responsibly

Women have 23.5% more open credit cards than men do, according to Experian. Despite that, women have lower average overall balances, which suggests they are opening more cards without maxing them out. In other words, they might be opening new ones to strategically score discounts or other benefits, but for the most part, they aren’t getting into trouble by running up massive balances with them. That means many women are reaping the rewards of credit cards — fraud protection, points, discounts — without winding up with crushing credit card debt.

“Rather than just using one card, they may be using different cards, with different rewards structures, to make certain purchases,” says Catey Hill, author of the forthcoming book “The 30-Minute Money Plan for Moms: How to Maximize Your Family Budget in Minimal Time.” “If you pay them off on time and in full each month, rewards cards, even multiple rewards cards, can be very lucrative.”

  1. Understand behaviors that can improve credit scores

Men were more likely than women to say they considered their credit score knowledge good or excellent — 61% vs. 54% — according to a recent survey by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions. But women were actually the ones who reported more accurate knowledge on many factors about how credit scores work. Women had a better understanding of how to raise a credit score and of the factors used in determining credit scores.

“Women might be slightly more conscientious than men about knowing and understanding their credit scores,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of CFA. And as for understanding the actions that can raise credit scores, including making on-time payments every month and maintaining a low credit utilization rate, “that’s the most critical information to have,” Brobeck said.

  1. Get your free credit reports regularly

The CFA survey also found that women are more likely than men to understand the importance of checking their credit reports regularly, something all consumers can do for free at annualcreditreport.com. The reports do not include credit scores, but rather the details of one’s credit history. This makes it possible to spot any errors and work to correct them.

According to the survey, women may also be more likely than men to follow through and obtain their credit report — 67% of women said they’d done so, versus 63% of men.

  1. Avoid delinquencies and maintain low, manageable balances

A late payment or delinquency can lower a credit score. Making regular monthly payments to keep all credit cards (and other accounts) in good standing is an important part of building a strong credit history.

“Women are typically the CEOs of their household and know how to stick to a monthly budget, manage day-to-day spending and pay bills on time,” says Kerry Hannon, personal finance expert and author of the forthcoming book “Money Confidence: Really Smart Financial Moves for Newly Single Women.” “When they sense they’re in debt or bumping up against a shortfall, they trim back their budget, slashing discretionary items like meals out or clothing purchases.”

That kind of fiscal conservatism helps prevent a buildup of credit card debt. Plus, keeping balances manageable can help improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a factor in your credit score.

After all, when it comes to your credit score, how you manage your money matters more than the size of your paycheck. While women typically bring home only about 80% of what men do, according to the American Association of University Women, they still come out on top when it comes to credit scores.

“It shows you don’t have to earn a ton to manage your money well, and that you can take control of your finances even on a smaller budget,” says Hill, the author.

In other words, shop like a woman and you might just end up with a better credit score.

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by Forbes.

More about credit cards

Kimberly Palmer is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: kpalmer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @KimberlyPalmer.

The article Thinking Like a Woman Could Pay Off With Credit Cards originally appeared on NerdWallet.

 

Card Valet Is Now Part Of VCNB Mobile!

Many of our customers have been using a mobile app called Card Valet to exercise control over their VCNB cards. The app is genuinely useful because it allows you, the customer, to turn your card off when you’re not using it, to set spending limits and to even determine where your card can be used.

In this age of fraudulent activity, this app has been a sensation among customers who use it.

So, many of you will be pleased to know that Card Valet services are now part of the bank’s mobile app, VCNB Mobile. No more will you need two separate apps – our app does all the work!

Here’s what that means to you:

Get started by logging in to VCNB Mobile. If you don’t currently use the app, read more about the app and how to get it by clicking here.

On the Accounts Page, find and select the Manage My Cards option at the bottom.

On the next page you can set rules for each card attached to your account. Each card is treated individually, making it easily customizeable.

One of the most popular features is the Block Card option. This allows you to temporarily block transactions except pending or recurring transactions. By blocking the card, you are essentially turning the card off. It takes just a few seconds to turn it back on so some customers turn their card on while they stand in line and turn it back off again when they’re done using it.

The Set Card Limits option is also useful. Here you can set it so that a single transaction cannot exceed an amount you choose. You can also block card transactions outside a defined geographic area or limit the merchants where your card can be used. There are several categories to choose from including restaurants, department stores, groceries, gas stations and entertainment. You may want to block all categories except gas stations and groceries. It’s up to you! Easily turn off and on categories at your convenience!

As always, you can use Online Banking to set Account Alerts for a number of reasons, including alerts to notify you when your card has been swiped or when a purchase as cleared.

This is just one of many ways VCNB is working to make banking easier and safer for you! Check out these new options in VCNB Mobile and tell us what you think!