Tag Archives: Community Involvement

Community Banking Month is a Wrap

Riley Creek ParadeApril was Community Banking Month and banks everywhere highlighted what makes them stand out. In prior years, First National Bank participated in the 3/50 Project and all bank employees pledged to spend locally during the month of April.

This year, the Bank decided to highlight one of the primary things that makes us a community bank: community involvement. Because all of our employees live within the Bank’s market area, they are all personally invested in seeing their towns and cities thrive. And as a result, they are all VERY willing to volunteer their time and energy to people and organizations that need help. We decided to keep track of their involvement to highlight what makes our Bank different. Here are the results of their voluntary efforts through the first quarter of 2013: 47 employees volunteered at 183 different events and collectively spent 625 hours investing in their communities.

“Community” can be an over-used word these days, but the efforts of this group exemplify what community banking truly represents.

Thinking Small is Big after Black Friday

Black Friday has come and gone and retailers hopefully had a great start to their holiday season.  Big stores like Wal Mart, Macys, and Best Buy had their day yesterday.  And now today is Small Business Saturday, where the real shopping starts.  According to the Small Business Administration, 2 out of every 3 jobs is created by a small business.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of the United States and are especially important to keeping communities vibrant in places like Bluffton, Pandora, and Findlay.  So, get in the spirit and support your local small businesses on Small Business Saturday and every other chance you get!


It Was BIG, Thanks to Your Help

It would have taken a whole lot more than overcast skies and a little rain to dampen the entrepreneurial spirits of the 40 youth who showed up at “work” Saturday for First National Bank’s inaugural “BIG Lemonade Stand.”

Bring on the Customers!

From the authentic lemonade stand to the classic signage, this group of 5-13 year olds made the most of their afternoon.  They poured lemonade, handed out stickers to loyal customers, and put their classroom learning to work.

Thanks to all of you parents for allowing your children to participate.  Thanks to all of you who bought cold lemonade on a chilly day in order to encourage these eager kids to take the initiative and get excited about working hard and earning money.  Thanks to Bluffton Presbyterian Church for allowing the kids to set up shop on the church lawn.  Thanks to Bluffton Dari Freeze for donating cups for the stand.  Thanks to Randy Scoles and company for his great work on the lemonade stand.  And thanks to the young people who participated and have a little extra money in their savings accounts as a result of their labor.

Inaugural BIG Lemonade Stand

New Business Coming To Bluffton!

A new business will be opening its doors on June 24, 2011, in Bluffton, Ohio.

And, earlier this spring I had the opportunity to facilitate a strategic planning session for this aspiring business.  The company has about 40 employees that are full of energy, passion and enthusiasm.  They come from different backgrounds but they all have bright minds and you can see the potential when they start moving in the same direction towards a common goal.

I facilitated the strategic planning session to help them think through their idea and formalize a business model.  Their product isn’t necessarily anything special, but their presentation and delivery is where they have a competitive advantage.  The ideas flew fast and furious.  I had trouble keeping up, but here are a few notes we took at the planning session:

Proposed Business Location: Downtown Bluffton (Main St and Cherry)

Direct Competition: There will be plenty of it; will be tough to compete long-term; especially Common Grounds, Community Markets, The Food Store, etc.

Target Market: Any human, all ages; must be thirsty

Product Pricing: $0.50/item; try to encourage repeat business and BIG tips

Competitive Advantage: Young, enthusiastic, persuasive, cute

Marketing: Social media and local media(I offered to help with this one), door-to-door selling (see note above on being persuasive and cute), pass out coupons on Main Street, make lots of noise at the business location, have customers wear stickers publicizing that they participated.

Hours of Operation: Friday, June 24, 2011, 1-5pm; see how it goes and play it by ear to determine if we reopen after Friday.

Goal: Earn, Save, and Spend wisely; Develop the entrepreneurial spirit; plant the seed early to encourage financial responsibility; Build Community Greatness

Business Name: Young Entrepreneurs

Product: Best lemonade this side of Main Street

What to Watch For: Very persistent Young Entrepreneurs in royal Blue T-Shirts coming after you with a glass of lemonade and a sticker

What the Young Entrepreneuers will do with their earnings: Deposit in their savings accounts

How You (the reader) can Help: Visit the “Big Lemonade Stand” on June 24 in Bluffton and show your support for these Young Entrepreneurs who are learning first-hand about responsibility, earning money, creativity, and teamwork

Member FDIC          Equal Housing Lender



I Did My 50 in April…How About You?

In 2009, a business owner in Minneapolis, Minnesota, tried to encourage locals to support locally and independently owned businesses by starting an initiative called the 3/50 project.  The initiative took off and today the project has spread all over the United States.

 The premise is simple.  Pick 3 local, independent businesses and spend a total of $50 between them over the course of a month.  According to The 3/50 Project, of every $100 spent in locally owned stores, $68 remains in the local economy.  In contrast, only $43 of every $100 remains local when spent in national chains, and little or no local revenue results from online purchases. 

 This is the sort of effort that makes a community great.  If people are inspired to think and spend locally, then they ultimately benefit themselves by improving the quality of life where they live. 

 Many community banks celebrate Community Banking Month (April) by doing something to celebrate the connection between Bank and Community, because without a strong community, these banks would not be successful.  First National Bank is celebrating the month by participating in the 3/50 Project.  Every FNB employee has committed to participating in the initiative during the month of April to commemorate Community Banking Month.  Even though many of the Bank employees already spend well in excess of $50 locally every month, the exercise is useful because it reminds people why the process is important.

 Feel free to check out the project online and consider making the 3/50 Project part of your monthly routine.

Member FDIC     Equal Housing Lender

I don’t normally like to brag about my employer…

…But, First National Bank recently received the 2010 WWR Outstanding Community Partner Award from the Community Banker’s Association of Ohio (CBAO).  This award is a testament to the quality, community-minded individuals who work at First National Bank.  An excerpt from the First National Bank press release follows:

 “On Friday, August 20th, First National Bank received the 2010 WWR Outstanding Community Partner Award at the CBAO Annual Convention.  

 The Community Bankers Association of Ohio (CBAO) and Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A. (WWR) annually seek to honor community banks in Ohio that actively partner with their local communities to provide educational, community outreach and/or community service programs.  This award is meant to celebrate community banks in Ohio that are investing time and resources into their communities and inspiring others through their work.

 Of the 136 financial institutions in Ohio who are members of the CBAO, First National Bank was the sole recipient of the 2010 WWR Outstanding Community Partner Award.  Our nomination demonstrated the effort that our employees have given to the communities that we serve.  We are committed to service and we believe that our community bank is making a difference.

 We sincerely thank our FNB employees for their commitment to Building Community Greatness.  Their teamwork, dedication, and volunteerism were the keys to our community involvement, and their time and efforts are greatly appreciated.”

Turning Back the Clock: What Makes a “Better” Bank?

Given that First National Bank celebrated its 90th Anniversary last year and the Bank’s Bluffton Branch celebrates its 20th Anniversary in August of this year, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look back in time.  How did First National get started, and what principles can the Bank point to for its direction and philosophy?

Without getting bogged down with too many details, here are the basics.  The idea for a Pandora bank apparently came from two local businessmen, J.A. Huffman and C. Henry Smith.  The Bank officially opened its doors on June 19, 1919, in Pandora, OH.  The bank had 30 original shareholders and 7 board members.  In 1922, the Bank merged with the Farmers Bank Company, also a Pandora institution.  35 years later, Huffman published a booklet celebrating the history of the bank to date.  The booklet, “The Story of a Better Bank,” identified Huffman and Smith’s secrets to successful banking.  Their three main tenets are as follows:

  1. A good bank must be owned and operated largely by the people of the community, themselves.
  2. A good and successful bank can be organized only where there are strong and constant economic resources.
  3. That the success of a rural bank can only be assured by community loyalty, sustained by a high-grade citizenship, supported by morals and religion.

According to Huffman, the Pandora community satisfied each of these ideas and First National was able to establish itself as a viable community bank.  And now, the communities of Findlay and Bluffton also fit the model established by the Pandora community.  The Bank is still locally owned by shareholders and all of the Bank’s employees live in the local area.  In spite of numerous economic challenges over the years, this corner of northwest Ohio has managed to remain relatively strong and there are constant economic resources—farming, manufacturing, higher education, to name a few—to support the Bank and the community.  And finally, the communities of Pandora, Findlay, and Bluffton have been loyal to First National Bank and have supported its growth.  Employees and clients alike have sustained the Bank by prescribing to Huffman’s “high-grade citizenship.”  This may sound a little old-fashioned, but being old-fashioned may not be all bad.

Published in 1954