Ask the Lender – What are my options as a first time home buyer?

Ask the Lender Header

If you are a first time home buyer the process can seem downright overwhelming. You may have a lot of questions such as “How much can I afford?” and “Are there any programs that can assist me with the
purchase of my home?”

Mary Ann George VP Loan Originator MLO #554356

Mary Ann George
VP Loan Originator
MLO #554356

The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with a loan officer. The loan officer will review your financial situation and advise how much you can afford to spend on a home and what mortgage loan programs you may qualify for. Usually you want to keep your housing ratio around 28% of your gross income and 41% of your total debt. By going to the bank first you can get pre-approved for a loan which will help in making an offer on a home. This way the seller knows you are a serious buyer and will be more likely to consider an offer you make on the property.

There is a special program available once a year to aid home buyers called Welcome Home. These funds will be available beginning March 3, 2014. This is a $5,000 grant that can be used toward the down payment of a new home. There are income requirements that must be met to qualify for this grant. This grant does not need to be repaid. There is a 5 year stipulation that you must live in the property for 5 years for it to be 100% forgiven. The funds are limited so it is on a first come first serve basis. You do need to a have a purchase agreement for a new home in order to get registered for the funds. The process of this loan may take a little longer, but usually will be done in 45 days.

Some other sources of down payment may also come from your local government. Check the phone directory for your local office of housing and community development. If you don’t find any information there contact the mayor’s office or your county executive’s office to see what options may be available.

Financial Planning


A Road Map for Your Future

A financial plan is like a road map. A map gives you directions on how to go from point A to point B. A good financial plan helps you pursue your financial goals. Whether it is saving for a new home, education or retirement, a plan will help you work toward the goal. With any plan road blocks sometime appear, so an annual review is necessary. An annual review lets you know whether you are still on track to pursue your goal or goals. By viewing each financial decision as part of a whole, you can consider its short and long-term effects on your life goals. You can also adapt more easily to life changes and feel more secure that your goals are on track.

Empower yourself by taking control of your financial situation. Start or review your financial plan today.

Citizens Wealth Management Group offers access to investment and retirement planning services at Citizens National Bank. Securities and financial planning are offered through LPL Financial, the largest independent broker/dealer in the nation.* Debbie is a LPL Financial Planner working out of the Bowling Green, Toledo and Findlay offices. She explains more about how to plan your road map and specific items to consider regarding your financial future in her video.

*As reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2013, based on total revenue.

Securities and financial planning offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. Citizens National Bank and Citizens Wealth Management are not registered broker/dealers and are not affiliated with LPL Financial.

Not FDIC Insured | Not Bank Guaranteed | May Lose Value | Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency | Not a Bank Deposit

Dreaming of a Warm Vacation?


Start planning now!

Portions from

After the snow and record low temperatures we experienced this winter, you may be dreaming of a beach vacation. Beginning your vacation planning early will not only give you something to look forward to, but also makes good financial sense. According to Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions, 57% of Americans feel they are not able to spend as much on their vacations this summer as compared to last. By creating a budget for your vacation now and saving a little each month, you’ll avoid the temptation to put the whole thing on your credit card and feel trapped by the debt long after the fun of the vacation is over. Consider opening a savings account
specifically for your vacation fund and asking friends and family to contribute in lieu of birthday or anniversary gifts. You can monitor your progress through sites such as

Booking in advance gives you the option of deciding where you really want to stay vs. settling for whatever’s available. Last minute deals aren’t always cheaper and you often don’t have the option of taking advantage of all the amenities a resort has to offer if you don’t book activities ahead of time. You don’t want your children to be disappointed that they weren’t able to participate in horseback riding or swim parties because  you didn’t have the reservations made in time. Also, many times these activities are included in pre-packaged deals that aren’t necessarily available if not booked ahead of time. Working with a travel agent may snag you some of the better package deals (and save you the frustration of planning the vacation yourself ).

In order to save some extra money, consider renting a condo or house vs. staying in a hotel. According to Budget Travel you can rent an apartment in Europe for $100 a night, while a hotel could cost you $300 per night. For U.S. rentals, try You can find housing for less than a hotel would cost, and find great deals in some of the hottest areas. The added bonus: The homes you’ll stay in have kitchens. You’ll save lots of money each day by preparing some of your own meals and having easy access to snacks and beverages without having to purchase from convenience stores which can be more expensive.

If you’re considering going abroad, check out the currency exchange rate and choose destinations where the US dollar is strong. You’ll have more purchasing power and may be able to afford a nicer hotel than you think – check out if you’re looking to find a great deal in Europe. Be sure to order foreign currency ahead of time or consider a Cash Passport, which is a pre-paid debit card you can use easily like a credit card without concerns about access to your bank accounts should you lose it. Both foreign currency and cash passports may be ordered through our website.

Happy vacation planning as we all look forward to warmer weather!

Defiance Construction


NEW Products for Business Customers

small business woman

Elite Checking and Small Business Online for Business Package Now Available

Citizens National Bank is excited to announce new offerings for our business customers; Elite Checking, a personal checking account with special perks for business owners and a Small Business Package of Online for Business.

Elite Checking is our most comprehensive personal checking account, offering our highest level of benefits. It takes into account the total relationship, both business and personal balances, and offers benefits including unlimited ATM withdrawal surcharge rebates, a Platinum Visa credit card*, and an introductory rate on all balances of 0.35% APY**. According to Amy Yochum, VP Treasury Management, “We truly appreciate the trust our business owners put in our bank in regards to their business finances and we wanted to create an account that provided real value that they would expand that relationship to include their personal accounts. I’m confident Elite Checking does that.” Those interested in learning more about Elite Checking should contact their local CNB office.

Additionally, CNB has created a new Online for Business Package. Previously, the bank offered three options for business online banking:

  1. Basic – Customers can see both personal and business accounts with one login, transfer money between accounts and pay bills online.
  2. Basic Plus – Offers the additional capability of initiating wire transfers.
  3. Deluxe – offers full ACH capability, including electronic vendor payments and returns.

A fourth package option, Small Business, has been created to cater to those businesses who specifically want to offer direct deposit to their employees and complete their tax payments online. “We discovered a need for businesses who wanted to offer the convenience of direct deposit and eliminate the cost of cutting checks but didn’t need all the bells and whistles that come with our Deluxe product. This Small Business package fills that need,” explains Yochum. The Small Business Package is now available by contacting your Business Banking Officer.


*Subject to credit approval. **Annual percentage yield (APY) accurate as of 1/3/14. The above stated APY is guaranteed on all balances for the first 6 months after the account is opened. Minimum opening balance is $50. After 6 months the applicable standard tiered variable rates for the Elite Checking Account will apply. Balances of $100,000 and above currently earn 0.07% APY; balances ranging between $25,000-$99,999.99 currently earn 0.05% APY; balances ranging between $7,500-$24,999.99 currently earn 0.03% APY; balances ranging between $2,500-$7,499.99 currently earn 0.01% APY; balances below $2,500 do not earn interest. Fees could reduce earnings.

Message from the President

Mike Romey

Every January I like to consider how the banking industry has changed and take stock of our bank’s position. With all the attention that the large banks receive it is good to be reminded that community banks still make up 97% of all banks in this country numbering approximately 7,000 banks with more than 50,000 locations. Of all banks, more than 90% are small banks with assets under $1 billion; 31% of those have assets under $100 million. With total assets of $650 million Citizens falls right in line with these numbers.

While large banks have accumulated 90% of the total banking assets they only comprise 40% of the loans to small businesses and farms. Banks with less than $10 billion in assets make 58% of these types of loans. Banks like Citizens with assets under $1 billion make up 38% of that number. There are many reasons businesses and farms choose smaller banks over large national banks. Small banks focus attention on the needs of families, businesses and farmers while large banks are structured to focus on serving large corporations. Small banks’ boards of directors are made up of local citizens who want to advance the interests of the towns and cities where their banks do business as opposed to large banks with boards of directors in large cities many miles away.

Technology has leveled the playing field for small banks now able to offer anytime, anywhere electronic and mobile banking, automated teller machines, credit and debit cards, competitive loan and deposit rates, and world class investment products. Both large and small banks have certain competitive advantages in our complex financial system today that should be healthy for the banking industry for many years to come. As part of that industry, Citizens National Bank will remain strong and advocate for our customers as a true community bank.

CNB keeps on growing!

Defiance construction

Defiance Office to open Summer 2014. Loan production office now open in Toledo!

As a strong community bank, we continually look for opportunities to reach more customers and offer our services to more businesses.

In 2013 we realized the need for a full-service branch in Defiance, having served that market since 2011. We broke ground on this new facility in September and construction is expected to be completed by July. The new office will be located at 601 E. Second Street and will be a full-service banking center including commercial and mortgage lending, business and personal deposit accounts as well as access to the bank’s investment center. “As our involvement with the Defiance community and our relationships with our clients have grown we realized the need to offer a full-service office to service our customers better. The state-of-the-art facility and comfort we will be able to now provide our Defiance area clients will be second to none in this area,” states Defiance City President, Brad Spitnale.

In January, another avenue for expansion was created when CNB opened a loan production office headed up by Nelson Shaffer, SVP/Market President in Toledo. The new office is located at 3454 Oak Alley Court, Suite 501. A Toledo native, Shaffer states “I’m proud to be part of the Toledo community and introduce Citizens National Bank to our market. The financial strength of CNB and the growth they’ve realized over the past 3 years is exceptional and I look forward to helping them gain more growth through businesses I’m able to partner with.” Services offered through this office include commercial lending and access to deposits through the bank’s Online for Business and Merchant Capture services.

Citizens National Bank is excited to begin new customer relationships in these markets and offer more locations for our current customers to access our services through. Click here for a complete list of our locations or call toll free 800-448-0025 to speak with a customer care representative.


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