We at The Citizens Bank strive to be an active force for community involvement and volunteering. As an organization, we set up volunteer events approximately once a month where we dig in and work to get our hands dirty. Aside from that, we offer sponsorship and support to various groups and organizations around our service area. We truly are “Your Community Bank.”
Citizens Bank held its 9th Annual Shred Day at the Mall Office October 1.
The 22-year-old standing beside his 2015 Chevy Equinox, grinning ear-to-ear is a mere memory of the 8-year-old that hauled roll-after-roll of pennies through the Citizens Bank doors so many years ago. Then, Ryan Ogg strode side-by-side with his dad, his hero. Now, although alone, he stands taller, proud of the man his father knew he would become.
Ryan started out as the first Puddles the Duck Kids’ Saving Account customer, and became a Citizens Bank original success story. Mary Wilson, Vice President of Private Banking/Customer Service, recalls Ryan’s early visits to the bank. “I remember him coming in with his little ‘rat tail’ making his deposits.”
“My dad kind of got me started. He was always one to save money, so he got me into it,” Ryan explained, thankful for the experience. “It’s not a bad trait to have. I would sit for hours rolling pennies – not quarters – pennies. We would haul it in here in those old cat litter boxes. One day we carried in five of those litter boxes full of change.”
Although Puddles accounts have a $1 minimum deposit requirement, Ryan started his savings with enough money to hit the ground running.
“My first deposit was some cash and a lot – a lot – of pennies. I believe it was somewhere in the $700 to $800 range.”
Ryan continued to add to his investment through the years, depositing money from anywhere and everywhere, transferring his funds into a money market account somewhere along the line.
“[The money came from] birthdays, gifts, allowance, times I helped my dad, Christmas … and my grandparents, my grandparents had these three jugs. One was my grandma’s, one was my grandpa’s, and one was for me. They would fill that full of pennies,” he said, as he motioned with his hands. “My dad wouldn’t let me take any out, either. He’d tell me, ‘No, just leave it in there. Save it.’ And he was my hero, so I always kind of listened to him.”
Ryan’s savings led to an interesting hobby for a young boy.
“Most of the time, I was rolling pennies. Not many little kids will sit for hours and focus on something like that. I focused on rolling those pennies; that’s all I focused on,” he stressed.
Mary was aware of Ryan’s dreams for his savings. “He always said he was saving for a car.” And, save for a car he did indeed.
“I’ve been through a few cars, but the one I have now, that’s the big one. It’s a Chevy Equinox,” Ryan revealed, smile splashed across his face. “I’m pretty proud of it because what kid my age has a brand new car?”
After achieving his long-time goal and buying that car, Ryan has kept his financial focus and still saves what he can, when he can to this day.
“I’ve got my own place now, so I’ve got bills, rent. I’m not saving as much as I used to. Money’s a little tight right now. It’s tougher than I thought it would be, but I’m doing OK, I think,” he said.
Ryan’s pride for his accomplishments and the lessons he’s learned is obvious from the smile in his eyes when he remembers his change-rolling days and making deposits with his dad. When conversation turned toward the next generation of Puddlers, he had some words of wisdom to pass on to the new crop of penny pinchers.
“Don’t ever think you can’t do something. Always think you can accomplish anything, even if it seems impossible. Never give up; even if you have to go through adversity, you’ve got to fight through that. I definitely experienced that.
“I always thought growing up there’s not going to be any hard times, but when you do go through them, you learn to appreciate things a lot more. In those hard times, you have to push through and know you can do it because there’s not one thing that can get in your way. I lost my dad two years ago. That’s the adversity, the hard times. You just have to push through it and make the best of things.”
Ryan has, in fact, made the best of a difficult situation. Through the years, the good times, the hard times, he has continued to value the lessons his dad instilled in him while dragging pennies to Citizens Bank. Since reaching his car-buying goal, he has decided upon a loftier goal, still; one he knows will be not be easy, but he feels he’s in a place now where he’s ready and able to meet that challenge.
“I’m adulting now. I just moved to Marysville, just got a promotion yesterday, and I am now Sales Coordinator of Crowne Plaza in Dublin. I’m going to save up for a house … a small house,” Ryan added with a smile.
With the smell of fresh paint still lingering in the air, bubbly choristers scale the risers in the group’s revamped practice space. Several excited singers take the opportunity to personally thank Citizens Bank President Dan Fischer for the bank’s generosity in opening up the office space at 96 W. Hunter St., Logan, to better fit the needs of the ever-growing Hocking County Children’s Chorus.
While traditionally housed at Logan’s cultural arts center, The Bowen House, pre-registration figures provided sophomore director Therese Karnes with a glimpse into the organization’s future, particularly the group’s projected growth. “2015-2016 was a very successful year, and pre-registration for the 2016-2017 season indicated the chorus would most likely double in size. Because of this wonderful growth, HCCC had to find a new ‘home,’” Karnes explained in a press release. “Knowing it would be impossible to rehearse at The Bowen House with the numbers projected for next year’s Chorus, a search began in late spring to look for a new space.”
In a beneficial twist of fate, the Citizens Bank had a downtown building just sitting empty, waiting for a makeover. With the addition of a new roof, lighting, ducting, cleaning, and a splash of paint, the bank’s former collections building was transformed into the perfect practice space for the HCCC.
“Citizens Bank of Logan stepped forward and is generously donating the Chorus the use of the space,” Karnes explained. “The new HCCC Music Room is handicap accessible and is ideally located in the heart of downtown Logan for the families that walk to/from rehearsals. It allows for a comfortable waiting space for parents who are often waiting with toddlers in tow.”
Although sad to say goodbye to the familiar scenery at The Bowen House, parents and kids alike are excited for the opportunity to stretch their legs and raise their voices in their new home.
“The Bowen House has so many opportunities and it’s so eclectic, but they just outgrew it … just to have an environment where everything is here. It’s large enough. It’s professional for the kids, as well,” chorus parent Melissa Myers said. “The space here is more accommodating for a growing choir.”
“I think it’s more relaxed here. It means a lot to the group to be able to have the practices here, the costumes. It’s nice to know everything’s going to be here,” Shana McGhee, chorister mom, said.
Eleven-year-old Bailey Lape, who played the Wicked Witch in last year’s production of The Wizard of Oz, is pleased with the new space and encourages other children to get involved. “We’ve been able to have more items – risers, a projector – so we can do more. It’s a really good program, and it’s really fun.”
“The HCCC works to enrich the lives of both the youth of Hocking County as well as its communities,” Karnes explained. “Other than private lessons, there are no other community chorus or theater opportunities offered for the younger children of Hocking County. The chorus is committed to providing quality music instruction and strives to create an environment in which children can experience the joy of singing, develop confidence and become a vital part of a musical team. Children are also introduced to the basics of acting, choreography, and theater.”
It was the community focus that inspired Fischer to donate the space to the organization.
“We weren’t using the building, and it was an opportunity for us to turn a negative into a positive. The kids had no place to go, and this lets us give back to the community,” Fischer explained. “It allowed the bank an opportunity to invest in a downtown building and give the kids a place to practice.”
Although the Hocking County Children’s Chorus is only in its second year with Karnes at the helm, the organization dates back to 1979 with founder Judie Henniger as acting director until she passed the torch to Karnes in 2015. The organization is open to all second- to eighth-graders in Hocking County.
By HANNAH TAULBEE
Logan Daily News Reporter
LOGAN — Progress has been made to the newest build project by the Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio and the University of Virginia (UVA) Catholic Student Ministry volunteers.
To kick off the build, staff from The Citizens Bank stopped by to personally thank the students, and talk to them about the importance of giving back to the community.
“This is really rural America here,” President and CEO Dan Fischer began. “It’s great that students like you can get out into Appalachia and see that we have a rough economy. With projects like this, you can really make a difference. As young people going to school, taking time for projects like this really shows a lot about your character.”
Fischer touched on the importance of the experience overall, of getting to really work and take part in improving someone else’s life.
“Community banks serve an incredible service for those who need a break and may not have perfect credit, especially in this area where we have high unemployment. When we can get involved in a project like this, it is really in line with what we do,” Fischer concluded.
After speaking to the group, shirts were distributed with the logos of the bank, Habitat, and the university, as well as a hash tag for “The Citizens Bank of Logan Cares” (#tcbolcares).
The students, who are currently on spring break, arrived on Sunday, but were unable to start building until Wednesday due to the weather. Not to be outdone by the rain, the students spent Tuesday helping package food for the Southeast Ohio Regional Foodbank.
For most of the students, past experience with community service was a large influence in the decision to join the Ministry’s trip, while others were simply drawn to trying something new.
For two of the upperclassmen that have volunteered in Logan before, the free day was an opportunity to drive past the last house they helped build and see how it was standing.
“It’s a spring break trip, and we’re all here for different reasons, but the main one is that we want to give back to the community. We know we’re blessed to go to UVA and have the time there, so we want to spend this time with other people,” junior Gabriella Greiner explained. This is her third time building with Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio.
Work is not the only thing scheduled for the students, who are staying in The Bowen House — activities like ping-pong and yoga are available — as well as trips. The group took time earlier this week to visit a friend, a past chaplain at the university, and enjoy the Hocking Hills State Park.
While brainstorming other fun things to do during their stay, the group mentioned particular interested in the local arcade near Nelsonville.
While there is fun involved, the students are also aware of why they volunteered.
“The community here is one of the reasons I keep coming back; they’re just so genuine and welcoming,” Greiner continued.
Cassandra Hunter, the homebuyer, was also present to welcome and thank the students, as well as personally see the first walls put up. Hunter moved to Logan 32 years ago, and is proud of the fact that she has grown up here and her children have as well.
“I just found out a few weeks ago that this was going to be mine, so it’s been an emotional ride,” Hunter shared. “I think it’s great that they’re coming to help; it’s totally awesome.”
Work will continue on the new house in the next two months as volunteers build on what the previous groups have accomplished until the house is ready for Hunter and her family to enjoy.
The Citizens Bank presented ACE with a check for $2,000 last week as a result of the bank’s in-house check program. In 2005, those at Citizens Bank decided that a spirit check was needed, as was an opportunity to reward academic excellence in the community, and the Chieftain check program was born. For every in-house, Chieftain check order Citizens Bank receives, $2 is donated to the ACE program. This check is the fourth disbursement since the program’s implementation.
For The Citizens Bank, 2017 has some significant shoes to fill – our own. With 2016 being the 55th anniversary of the bank, the opening of our newest location at The Roundabout in Logan, and November’s announcement that the bank had successfully repaid all corporate debt, we’re in for an exciting year here at The Citizens Bank.
After being in business since 1961, The Citizens Bank celebrated its 55th year of service to the community in 2016. This milestone gave the bank several opportunities to mark the occasion with employees and customers alike, including several promotional efforts centered on “55” and a community cookout scheduled during last summer’s warmer weather.
The Citizens Bank commemorated another landmark occasion with the ribbon cutting and grand opening reception at The Roundabout office, located at 31348 Primmer Road in Logan. As the crowd gathered on a brisk morning in December, Citizens Bank President and CEO Dan Fischer broke out the oversized scissors and clipped the blue ribbon, officially welcoming customers, as well as community members to the Hocking Hills-inspired, cabin-style bank branch.
The Roundabout office consolidated the crew and services of the Logan Wal-Mart and Hocking Mall locations. Those offices closed in the fall to provide appropriately skilled staff and ensure adequate attention is paid to this new, convenient location, The Roundabout.
As previously reported in The Logan Daily, The Citizens Bank made significant strides during the past couple years to repay corporate debt and announced its success at clearing that hurdle in early November. “There was significant debt that was incurred in the previous administration, which was at the holding company level and that debt had to be paid off before our shareholders could ever receive a dividend – before we could become healthy as an institution we had to pay back that debt,” Fischer told Deb Tobin, editor of The Logan Daily News.
Going forward – as always – The Citizens Bank is determined to put our customers first, a practice we put into words with our newly implemented President’s Guarantee. “The Citizens Bank is committed to providing a consistent superior customer experience to every customer. We want your experience with us to be simple and positive each and every time. Our convenient hours and locations help us to be here when you need us. Our competitive rates ensure your money works hard for you. Our stellar customer service staff is here to make your visit friendly and hassle free. If we fall short of your expectations at any given time, our president guarantees he will personally meet with you to discuss a solution to best fit your situation.” In short, we strive to make your banking experience as positive and stress-free as possible however, in the event we fall short, we encourage our customers to come to us – and President and CEO Fischer – with any issues that require further assistance.
The Citizens Bank is proud of the strides made during 2016, and we look forward to an equally rewarding and successful 2017.
Employees and friends of The Citizens Bank packed 15 skids with 50 food boxes each at the SE Ohio Food Bank, Saturday, February 25, 2017. The facility services 10 counties including Athens and Hocking counties, and provides for more than 70 food pantries, soup kitchens, and congregate meal sites throughout Southeastern Ohio, according to hapcap.org.