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April 30, 2015
“It’s Happening at the Senior Center”
On any given day, when you walk through the doors of the Senior Center, located at 1180 Pepsi Place in Charlottesville, you are immediately energized by the sights and sounds of people having fun. You might hear the orchestra practicing, drop in on a ballroom dance lesson, join a painting class, or sign up for a day tour of the Greenbrier Hotel and its once secret Bunker. One thing you will certainly notice is that the place is busy and rapidly running out of room. Peter Thompson, longtime Executive Director of the Senior Center noted, “The Senior Center has grown from renting one small office in 1960 with a dozen participants to a 20,000-square-foot facility serving some 8,000 unique individuals annually. We’ve been with VNB since 1998 and, since then, have extended our hours to include evenings and Sunday afternoons and expanded our program hours 40% by opening evening and Sunday afternoons in 2006. We are serving more individuals and have more community partnerships than ever, and we are bursting at the seams.”
Peter and his Board of Directors had a vision of building a much larger Center at Belvedere, not only to meet the needs of the population today, but to plan for the rapidly growing population of older adults. Charlottesville has become a very popular place to retire and its senior population is expected to double from 27,000 in 2000 to 56,000 in 2025. Interest in the project was immediate and supporters started to make pledge commitments. The only challenge was, in order to secure the land, they needed $2.4 million in funds on hand to make the purchase. That’s where VNB stepped up. “VNB provided a loan to help us purchase six acres on which to build our future Center at Belvedere, which will transform how people in our our community age. The loan terms were outstanding and bridged the gap for us between settling on the property and the fulfillment of campaign pledge payments,” said Thompson. “Having local decision makers at VNB has allowed us to achieve goals that we maybe couldn’t have achieved otherwise. With VNB as a vital partner, we look forward to developing the Center at Belvedere, with s three times the space we have today for vital physical, social, and intellectual wellness programs for our booming and changing population.”
Since opening its doors in 1960, the Senior Center has helped countless area seniors remain healthy, engaged, and independent. The Senior Center is a non-profit and receives no government funding. All of its resources come from the community, including local businesses like VNB. Rest assured, this is no ordinary senior center. In 2002, the Senior Center became the first of its kind in the state of Virginia to receive a national accreditation by the National Institute of Senior Centers, a constituent unit of the National Council on Aging. The Accreditation, good for five years, was reaffirmed for a third time in 2013, making the Senior Center one of only seven in the country to receive such an honor. To put things in perspective, there are more than 12,000 senior centers in America.
The Senior Center began its banking relationship with VNB in 1998 with business checking accounts and now uses VNB for payroll, commercial loans, assistance with fiscal analysis and more. According to Peter Thompson, the relationship is “Outstanding! VNB staff at every level have always been a pleasure to work with. We are never seen simply as an account, but as partners building a better community. Trish, Becky and others have always gone extra miles to service our accounts and answer questions. Ethan and the loan team have been great in helping us reach for the stars at Belvedere. Glenn has been an outstanding advocate and folks are still raving about how he led “Fund the Mission” at our inaugural Grand Gala this year. Brooke was wonderful when we expanded our e-commerce component on our new website. The marketing team over the years, from Eliza through Anne, are creative and fun. The Wealth Management team members are great and new friends in advocating for our Center’s mission. Joe, David, Eliza, and others have served on our Board of Directors, providing a wealth of wisdom and experience to build our Center. Several VNB Board members have been leaders, philanthropists, and advocates for us, most notably Jim Berry, who was the start of it all, building the initial relationship and stewarding it for these past 16-plus years. Thank goodness he was a Center friend and saw the potential for VNB and the Senior Center to be partners."
To learn more about the Senior Center, visit www.seniorcenterinc.org
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April 27, 2015
One of the more often referenced books in the business or self-improvement category is Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey’s work examines human behavior and presents some common denominators across leaders and lay-persons alike. With Covey’s book title as the spring board for this blog, here are 5 habits of the financially successful:
Habit 1 - Think of long term as 20 to 30 years out
- Ignore the warnings of others — like the media and financial press
- Show conviction in a long-term idea
- Use a disciplined approach based on your risk profile to help pursue long-term goals
Habit 2 – Live below your means
- Focus on buying things that will hold or appreciate in value
- Don’t deplete savings through unnecessary purchases
- Rethink current spending habits to get closer to your retirement goals
Habit 3 – Take calculated risk
- Remember that risk is an inescapable part of investing
- Have your money work for you
- Maintain the proper risk/reward balance to pursue your long-term goals
Habit 4 – Exercise skepticism
- Ask “Why?” and try to learn more about how the markets work and why certain stocks and companies succeed and others don’t
- Assess the true value of an investment before making any decisions
- Stay committed to your strategy
Habit 5 – Be patient
- Don’t get rattled by market volatility or distracted by self-proclaimed investment experts
- Stick to your investment strategy through all types of markets
- Understand irrational and emotional behaviors that can potentially jeopardize your portfolio and think rationally before acting
It has often been said that it takes 21 days to form (or break) a habit. Three weeks. That’s it.
Happy habit forming (or breaking),
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April 20, 2015
Technology Versus People
One of my favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” I think about this quote whenever I get into a discussion about the relevance of bank branches in the world of online and mobile technology. Do people need to bank with people or is technology enough?
I grew up in a small community and can remember going to the bank with my dad. Back then, technology was very limited and banking was 100% about people and relationships. The people at the bank knew my dad and they watched me grow up. I guess that had a big impact on me and my decision to become a banker. I knew relationships mattered.
Fast forward to today and many banks offer technology that allows for banking to take place anytime, anywhere through tools you own such as a smart phone, tablet or computer. You can even talk to people in another state, time zone or country about how to resolve your banking issues anytime, day or night. They’ll ask you to repeat your name several times, give them lots of information and answer several security questions - all for your protection. While this may be convenient, where’s the relationship? If banking takes place online or in communications with a total stranger, why don’t we all bank with the same big bank?
The US branch network has been shrinking since 2010. According to SNL financial, banks closed a net of 1,487 branches last year, the highest number of net closings since SNLstarted tracking this in 2002. Many of these closings have been attributed to the increased use of online and mobile technology and the need for banks to reduce costs. Despite this extraordinary number of bank closings the FDIC estimates there are still around 80,000 branches in the U.S., making the U.S. one of the highest branched countries per capita in the world. Branch closings have an adverse impact on the community. Customers are inconvenienced by having to drive further to another branch location and small business credit suffers. A recent study by MIT found that the number of new small business loans is 13% lower in a locality after the closing of a branch, even when there are other branches in the area. The impact is driven by the lender specific relationships.
As a true community bank, VNB is admittedly not a leader in mobile banking technology. We offer online banking for consumer and commercial customers and have a network of ATMs in the communities we serve. We are actively evaluating mobile banking solutions that would benefit our customers and looking at technology to enhance their overall banking experience. But, at VNB, we understand that technology is just a tool. It’s the people, their experience and our relationships that matter most. Our focus over the past couple of years has been on investing in the people and services that would most benefit our customer base. This is why we’ve added Gigi Florin and her talented team in Wealth Management as well as Blair Aycock in mortgage banking. We are focused on bringing our customers more financial solutions and advice through the old fashioned delivery system of real people who take the time to know you. We think branch banking matters and so do our customers. We create value and solve problems locally with people who live here. We’ll continue to work on bringing our customers new tools, but in the end, at VNB, “It’s about people, and always will be” - my all time favorite quote.
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April 06, 2015
Virginia National Bank Is a Proud Sponsor of This Year’s
Historic Garden Week in Virginia
April 18-25, 2015
House & Garden Tours Offered Statewide
Each spring visitors are welcomed to over 250 of Virginia's most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks during "America's Largest Open House." This 8-day statewide event provides visitors a unique opportunity to see unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia's springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with over 2,000 flower arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members. Tour proceeds fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia's historic gardens, and provide graduate level research fellowships for building comprehensive and ongoing records of historic gardens and landscapes in the Commonwealth, and support the mission of the Garden Club of Virginia.
Albemarle - Charlottesville
Sunday, April 19, 2015 (noon to 5 p.m.)
Monday, April 20, 2015 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Visitors will not have to venture far from Charlottesville city limits to encounter the unique properties on this year’s Albemarle-Charlottesville tour. There is something to please everyone, from historic estates to restored Gillette gardens to prized modern landscape architecture. An Albemarle Garden Club member originally owned one home on the tour, and her gardens reflect a lifetime of collecting treasured trees, shrubs, and plants. A private modern home seamlessly relates to the landscape and showcases native and non-native specimens in gloriously colorful, expansive borders and beds. And on a grander scale, stately manor homes – one dating back to the mid 19th century and one in the early 20th – capture the essence of refined country living in Central Virginia.
Advance Tickets: $40 @ vagardenweek.org or at local ticket outlet locations by check only, payable to “HGW-Charlottesville.” Available from March 14 through April 11 at the following locations in Charlottesville:
The Boar’s Head Inn Store, Caspari, New Dominion Book Shop, The Senior Center, The Virginia Shop, and J.McLaughlin.
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