OVB Virtual Classroom brings financial activities to digital environment

2020 Virtual Classroom Pic 1In an effort to bring financial activities to a wider audience, Ohio Valley Bank recently launched their Virtual Classroom. The new space, located on the bank’s website, features games and handouts to download as well as interactive video lessons on a variety of financial topics.

OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush described the Virtual Classroom as a way to meet the needs of area youth and provide another resource for teachers.

“In spring when everyone’s lives turned upside down due to the pandemic, we had to find a new way to bring financial literacy lessons to local youth. As schools were closed and distance learning was put in place, we knew we had to adapt our way of presenting this valuable information. Since we couldn’t bring our financial programs to the schools in-person, the OVB Virtual Classroom was born,” Roush said. “The Virtual Classroom has already grown to include lessons that cover many important financial topics and we plan to continue adding content.” Read more of this post

9/11: A day that connects us all

September 11, 2001 is a day that Americans will never forget. It’s hard to believe that this tragic event in our nation’s history occurred only 19 years ago. For some, 9/11 feels as recent as yesterday.

No matter where you were or how you experienced the news of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center, everyone soon learned that they would always remember the events of Sept. 11. At Ohio Valley Bank, our team of community bankers is comprised of a variety of ages and backgrounds. Like most people, we all share a unique, yet bonded memory of 9/11. We, like you, will never forget.

OVB Chairman of the Board and CEO Tom Wiseman described the events of 9/11 as forever changing our lives. Wiseman at that time was a director on the board.

“We had an executive committee meeting that morning. The first plane hit just as I was leaving my office at the Wiseman Agency headed toward the bank. At that time, I assumed it was a horrible accident,” Wiseman said.

Once Wiseman arrived at the bank for the meeting, he and many other directors and employees gathered to see the television coverage of what would become one of our country’s most tragic events.

“While we were standing around in the kitchen at the Main Office watching the coverage on television, the second plane hit and we knew something bad was happening. I remember Jeff Smith opened executive committee with a prayer. The world changed that day.”

OVB President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Miller also recalled Smith, opening executive committee with a prayer. Miller was in his office conducting a meeting when a fellow OVB employee called him to deliver news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center.

“At that time we thought it was a tragic accident. Later that morning at executive committee when the second plane hit the other tower at the World Trade Center, it became apparent that our country was under attack. I remember Jeff Smith leading the executive committee in prayer for our nation that morning. It was truly a watershed moment for all of us,” Miller said.

Lori Saxon, OVB retail lending, also recalls working at the bank’s Main Office and seeing the news play out in the kitchen.

“I remember going to get ice in the Main Office kitchen and the TV was on,” Saxon recalled. “I couldn’t believe what I was watching…I remember saying ‘did that plane just hit that building?’”

Bryna Butler, who now serves as OVB Vice President, Corporate Communications, also remembered watching coverage of the attack in the Main Office kitchen.

“On Sept. 11, I was seven months pregnant with my first child. I was at the Main Office and Bill Richards came in from the kitchen and asked me if I had heard about the plane accident. I went into the kitchen to check the TV to see what he was talking about. To my surprise, the kitchen was filled with people. Everyone was completely silent and staring at the TV. It was unreal,” Butler said. “The second plane had just hit, and the news crews were starting to realize that it wasn’t an accident. Right then and there I prayed to God.”

For OVB Loan Clerk Jennifer Kerr, her memory of 9/11 is different as she was only a child on that fateful day. Despite being so young, she too, felt the impact of Sept. 11, 2001. Kerr recalled being in elementary school, where her teacher turned on the news.

“The principal quickly came into all of the classrooms to turn off the news, so as soon as I got off the bus and was home, I turned on the news. I remember being the one to break the news to my dad when he got home from work and seeing the look on his face when he saw the footage,” Kerr said.

Jerrod Roberts, assistant branch operations manager at OVB Jackson Pike, was only in junior high.

“I still remember 9/11. I was in my junior high science class taking a test when word came out that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers. A TV was wheeled into the back of the room, with the volume turned down low. The teacher watched the screen as we took our test, not completely knowing the weight of what was going on. My mom came and got me and my sister early from school. We went to one of our elderly neighbors where we watched the havoc that had went on that day. The footage of the planes crashing into the buildings and the fall of the towers. The search for survivors. The search for answers. The men and women scrambling to help in anyway they could. The scenes of the Pentagon and the destruction that was there,” Roberts said. “All of these images flooded the screen. I knew it was tragic. I knew it was a day never to be forgotten. It was our ‘date which will live in infamy’.”

For OVB IT Specialist Jammie Baird, he found himself on the road Sept. 11, 2001, as he was traveling for training with his job at the time. Baird said he was working as a department manager at Walmart in Marysville, Ohio, but was spending the day at a seminar outside of Dayton.

“We had heard there was a plane that hit the World Trade Center towers, but we all believed it was (an accident) with a passenger plane. We heard multiple jets flying overhead low, presumably from Wright Patterson AFB. It wasn’t until we left to return to Marysville, did we learn the awful truth,” Baird said. “It was eerie driving back with no airline traffic in the sky, almost serene. I remember getting off work that day and immediately calling my family to ensure everyone was okay since I was out of communication all day long and had no idea what had happened or where all the attacks were.”

For Tonya Sexton, OVB Loan Clerk, Corporate Lending, she had a personal connection to 9/11 as she knew a passenger on one of the planes. Sexton said she was working at the OVB Milton Office at the time and heard the news from a fellow employee. She and her coworkers listened in horror to the description of the event. They later gathered around a TV at the branch where they, along with customers, watched the footage in disbelief. She also described feeling anxious and worried as her husband was traveling for work, and she was not able to be with her one-year-old son at the time.

“At that moment no one knew what was going to happen next,” Sexton said. “I found out that (the tragedy) had hit close when word got out that Paul Ambrose, whom I had gone to high school with, was on one of the planes…Our hearts sank as we knew what was unfolding right in front of our eyes. Americans pulled together after that in a way that was amazing to see. The thoughtfulness toward their fellow American, helping in any way they could the person next to them no matter who they were, was really great to see and how it should always be.”

Martine Householder, OVB commercial loan processing, also recalled how many Americans came together following the tragedy of 9/11. For Householder, she was working at The Ohio State University in the dental clinic. Like many others, she learned of the attack while at work. She also thought it to be an accident at first as so many did as well.

“Tragically, this soon proved to be wrong and we stared in terrified silence at the small office TV as the second plane hit, and we heard of a similar attack on the Pentagon. Very soon thereafter, all students were dismissed and all non-essential personnel sent home, especially since Battelle, a government-linked research lab only a block away – was feared to be a potential target,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to get home and hug my husband, my kids, and to call family members and friends…I remember next the overwhelming outpouring of love, concern, empathy and support that followed this tragedy of unfathomable magnitude. Flags could be seen everywhere, not just on private residences or businesses. They popped up on bridges, lamp posts, overpasses, and on people’s t-shirts and lapels. Americans pulled together and presented a united front against the foe, and somehow folks were kinder, more patient, and more understanding of each other and our differences.”

OVB Loan Clerk Vicky Biland remembered the unity that swept America as well.

“What stood out then, and still does in my memories, is the way the American people stood up, side by side to help, encourage, to cry, to pray for our country, for each other, and for the loss of so many lives,” Biland said. “Donations were collected and volunteers drove to deliver them. Thousands of people took time out of their lives, from their work and from their own families, to go to the attack sites because they wanted to help. We were one. We were united. We were Americans helping Americans.”

Micah Bynum, assistant branch operations manager at OVB Banking Center at Holzer, was a college freshman at The University of Rio Grande.

“The weather was absolutely beautiful that day. I had taken advantage of my 10 a.m. start of the day and slept until around 9. I walked into my class and to my surprise some of the students were whispering, while another student entered with tears in her eyes. The instructor walked into the room and she was very upset. She was from New York City and had a sister that still lived there, and on top of that her sister worked for a courier company that had her going to the World Trade Center often,” Bynum said. “Our instructor told us the details of the planes crashing and how one of the towers had already fallen. The class was quickly dismissed, so I went to the student center where they had televisions airing the events. While standing there the second tower fell like a pile of children’s blocks. I will never forget that day!”

For Mikka Wells, OVB loan clerk, she was just a young first grader on Sept. 11, 2001. She had joined her class on their reading rug when the school principal asked to speak to her teacher in the hallway. Although she was just a child, Wells knew this wasn’t normal and sensed that something bad possibly happened. When her teacher returned, they did not have their usual reading time, but instead watched a movie and had a snack.

“It wasn’t anytime at all and a bunch of kids in my class were signed out by their parents for the day, so I knew something major had happened. A minute later, my name was called and my mom walked into my classroom to get me. She was calm, but I knew something was wrong,” Wells said. “We got home and she explained what happened and why she picked me up early. In that moment I didn’t really understand but looking back now the whole situation gives me goosebumps. I remember sitting with my mom and dad watching the news. Just the sheer fear and sadness in everyone’s voice will be something I never forget.”

For Laura Long, OVB operations, she spent that day at home with her young children, who at the time were not of school-age.

“We settled in the family room and were about to watch “‘Blues Clues’”, which came on at 9 a.m. Just then our dog jumped on the couch to snuggle, and the TV remote fell to the ground. As it hit the floor, it changed the channel. A skyscraper was on fire on the TV. I thought to myself what movie is this? Just then a plane flew into the other building,” Long recalled. “I thought to myself this can’t be real! It has got to be a movie…Slowly reality was taking hold of me. As most people do, you think of your loved ones, so I called my mom and dad’s house. They had not turned the TV on that morning and would soon learn as I did how our lives as American citizens had changed.”

Julia Wasowski, OVB customer service representative, was pregnant at the time with her daughter. She was at an appointment in Cincinnati when she got a call from her husband, who was at work.

“I remember him saying, ‘we’ve been attacked’,” she said.

OVB Call Center Representative Amanda Brumfield, like Wasowski, was also pregnant. Brumfield described the moment as a day she will never forget. She was folding her soon-to-be born son’s outfits when her dad called to deliver the tragic news.

“The phone rang, and it was my dad telling me to turn on the news channel. When I did I was horrified. Horrified to think that this was happening to the world today, and I was pregnant,” Brumfield said, adding that her son was born a few months later that fall.

Kayla Roush, OVB retail loan processing, remembers being a student at Oak Hill High School sitting in her biology class when she heard the news. Roush said teachers turned on their classroom TVs, and they all watched in horror.

“When I finally went home for the day, my mom was stuck watching the news on the couch with a look of defeat on her face. It struck me then that something had changed and will always be (changed),” she said. “Whenever I think of that day, I swell up with pride and remember the togetherness and patriotism our country showed after that day. Every day after school my grandfather would ask me ‘What did you do for your country today?’. My answer was always, ‘I went to school.’ Now, my answer is, ‘I go to work, I vote, and I love my country!’”

OVB Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer Ryan Jones also described the events of 9/11 as solidifying his pride as an American. Jones, who was working at the Milton Banking Company Wellston Branch in the computer processing department, learned while on the job like so many others. Jones said he and his coworkers were listening to a local morning radio show as they did every day when the program was interrupted by the national news reporting the first attack on the World Trade Center.

“The first announcement came over the radio, we stopped everything in our tracks, turned the proof machine off, and turned the radio up louder to listen as we were all in disbelief. Our country was being attacked. Even from Wellston, Ohio, I felt helpless and empty particularly over the next few hours not knowing where the next targets were going to be,” Jones said. “Since owning my first home, I have always flown our American Flag in our front yard, 24/7, 365 days each year. I am proud to be an American and thankful for our military and first responders!”

While our OVB team members each share a different memory, we like those in our communities and country, all carry the impact of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, in our minds and hearts. No matter where we were or what we were doing, we were forever changed as a people and nation.

From all of us at OVB, we send condolences to the many who lost family and friends on 9/11. We thank our first responders for protecting us then and continuing to protect our nation today.

September 11, 2001 – never forget.   

Credit 101 with OVB’s Jon Jones

IMG_0871Do you dream of having your own home? What about that new, shiny car that’s calling your name? Many of us consider obtaining these items part of our very own American dream, however, sometimes making that dream come true is not easy.

For starters, most people typically need a loan when it comes to purchasing a home or car. Obtaining a loan can be a smooth process if you have good credit. Credit is something that affects us all financially, which is why having a good credit report and credit score is essential. Credit and its impacts on our finances can be confusing as there are many factors at play. Jon Jones, Ohio Valley Bank’s Western Cabell Region Manager, said that the bank’s goal is to help people make their financial goals a reality, which can involve helping customers boost their credit.

“Being a community bank we strive to help customers achieve their financial goals whether that is to purchase a home, car or just establish credit. We will sit down with someone to help explain what is bringing their credit score down and what can be done to help their individual situation. There is no cookie cutter answer when dealing with credit scores,” Jones said. Read more of this post

College 101: Cut costs and keep connected to hometown bank

2018 College Savings PicAre you planning to or have you recently dropped your “kid” off for their first semester of college? Feeling overwhelmed? Well, you are not alone.

While college is an exciting time for parents and their undergrads, it can also bring anxiety over new experiences and life changes. Don’t let finances be another stress for both you and your college student. There are many ways college students can both save and manage their money. One big asset is keeping your college student connected to their hometown bank.

Ohio Valley Bank understands the importance of maintaining relationships with all customers both near and far, which is made possible due to the bank’s many e-Services options. OVB Online Banking Manager Andrew Bush encouraged parents to make sure their college students download the bank’s mobile app.

“The OVB Mobile Banking app helps keep you connected to your money anywhere you are, right from your pocket,” Bush said.

OVB’s Mobile Banking app is currently available for both Android and iOS. When it comes to budgeting, OVB’s Benjamin Tracker, which is also available in the mobile banking app, is a great tool to help college students manage their finances.

“For creating a budget and tracking your money, I recommend our Benjamin Tracker application. It has the flexibility to allow you to create saving goals and keep an eye on your spending by categorizing your purchases,” Bush said. “Want to know how much you spend dining out in a month or need to start saving to upgrade your computer for the new school year? Benjamin Tracker can help. Best of all it is free and already available inside OVB NetTeller Online Banking so you can start using it right away!” Read more of this post

Home Buying 101 with OVB Vice President Greg Phillips

Greg PhillipsBuying your first home can be both exciting and nerve-racking. Many folks view owning your home as achieving the “American dream”, however, it can be an overwhelming process to get there.

OVB Vice President, Consumer Lending, Greg Phillips, described research as being vital for those who are looking into applying for their first home loan.

“The best place to start when considering purchasing a home is doing your ‘home work’,” Phillips said. “Figure out what fits in your budget. If you have to change your standard of living and spending habits to qualify, make those changes beforehand and give yourself time to adjust to that lifestyle. All of Ohio Valley Bank’s loan officers would gladly sit down and discuss payments as well as how much you can afford, etc. We want to put you in the best position to not only own a home, but to be able to enjoy it!”

To guide customers, particularly first timers, on the home buying process, Phillips answered the most commonly posed questions. Read more of this post

OVB brings Boot Camp to Virtual 4-H Experience

2020 OVB Boot Camp 1

Summer brings fun in the sun, days at the pool, and picnics. Perhaps one of the biggest summer traditions for area youth is attending local 4-H camps.

However, most camps were canceled this year due to the global pandemic. To hold on to the 4-H camp tradition as well as keep youth active this summer, WVU Extension encouraged all leaders to host a virtual environment for campers. According to Lorrie Wright, Mason County’s WVU Extension Agent, the goal of the virtual camp was to stay connected through 4-H even in this uncertain time. Through the help of extension and volunteers, Mason County worked diligently for weeks to organize their virtual camp.

“WVU encouraged agents to include this type of programming for youth in our counties to keep a connection during the pandemic,” Wright said. “I was pleased by the number of kids who participated and earned a commemorative headband and t-shirt. The positive feedback from the participants and parents was encouraging. I loved checking the (4-H Virtual Camp) Facebook page each day and seeing the photos of completed activities that campers posted.”

OVB Boot Camp, which is taught annually at Mason County 4-H camp, was once again offered as a class. The class is always free and teaches campers banking basics, including account types, the importance of saving; budgeting, credit reports and credit scores; and debit vs. credit. Lesson videos on each topic were created and put together with corresponding activities for campers to suit the new virtual format. Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader, said the lesson videos were designed to mimic the in-person camp experience. Read more of this post

Support local organizations with OVB Community Cards

2020 Community Cards 2Supporting local communities is a top priority at Ohio Valley Bank. With the current pandemic, area organizations need help now more than ever, and a great way to give back to your favorite school, charity or group is to choose an OVB Community Card.

Community Cards are an easy upgrade from your current debit card. For a small fee of $10, you can choose your charity or school choice. The best part is $5 of your upgrade fee is directly donated back to the organization you choose. Not only do you get a beautiful new card design, but it is an easy way to support your local community! Read more of this post

Save with Ohio Sales Tax Holiday

Back to School.

While summer is still going strong, it won’t be too long until students are headed back to school. The upcoming academic year will be quite different, but that doesn’t make the cost of supplies any less.

In addition to the usual expense of school supplies, many parents are also feeling budget constraints due to the current pandemic. Fortunately, Ohio will once again be hosting a Sales Tax Holiday to help residents save on costs. This year’s event will begin at midnight Friday, Aug. 7 and run through Sunday, Aug. 9, concluding at 11:59 p.m. Read more of this post

OVB recognizes 4-H Scholars

2020 4-H SCHOLARS

Summer 2020 will go down in history as anything but normal. As we all learn to navigate life in a pandemic, many of our annual traditions have been changed as a result. Even favorite local events, our beloved county fairs, have been canceled or are operating with limited activities.

Although things are different this summer, one thing remains the same: recognizing the outstanding recipients of Ohio Valley Bank’s 4-H Scholarship program. We welcomed our newest members to the OVB 4-H family this spring. Typically, new and current scholars are presented checks during their county’s respective fairs, and 2020 scholars also are featured with a cut-out display in the activity buildings. Not one to part with tradition, our 2020 scholars will still be showcased with their own cut-out display, but this year you can go see our newest members at their local OVB branch!

“This is the time of year we traditionally look forward to fair season. At Ohio Valley Bank that’s an especially important time of the year. Our county fairs provide the venue where we enjoy the time-honored tradition of recognizing our 4-H scholars. A program started by the late Chairman Jim Dailey and nurtured into prominence by former Chairman Jeff Smith,” Tom Wiseman, OVB Chief Executive Officer, said. “Unfortunately, many of our county fairs have fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting this great tradition. While this disruption may create an inconvenience, it certainly doesn’t lessen the accomplishments of the 2020 scholars. We will join their families, friends, and 4-H advisors to honor them from afar and pledge our support as they meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Congratulations to all of our 4-H scholars. We are extremely proud of you.” Read more of this post

Are you taking advantage of the rewards that automatically come with your OVB credit card?

Thousands of Ohio Valley Bank customers enjoy OVB NetTeller internet Banking and the OVB mobile banking app. Did you know that free online access also comes with every Ohio Valley Bank credit card? Just look for the EZCardInfo button at the top of the Ohio Valley Bank website.

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First time users, click on the EZCardInfo Login button and the system will walk you through enrollment. Have your credit card available during the process. After that, you can access your card anytime by clicking on the button and logging in with the ID and password you create.

EZCardInfo is specifically for your OVB credit card. With it you can:

  • View your credit card balance and transactions
  • Redeem rewards points
  • View/print monthly statements
  • Monitor your spending by category
  • Pay your bill

In fact, EZCardInfo is the recommended way to pay your OVB credit card bill. It is faster than Bill Pay and easier than sending a check or paying in person. You can pay with any account, OVB or non-OVB. You can set up a recurring payment or pay anytime, any amount.

Read more of this post