Ask the Lender – What are SBA loans and how can they help?

Pat Ryan, SVP/Van Wert City President

Pat Ryan, SVP/Van Wert City President

There are many situations when we partner with the Small Business Administration to provide credit to the business community. The most popular program according to our customers is the SBA504 loan program. It allows a business to finance up to 90% of the cost of a project. The most attractive feature is that approximately half of the financing is eligible for a long term fixed rate of interest. The 504 program is very well suited to a real estate or equipment purchase along with construction projects.

Two other SBA programs we utilize are the 7A program and the SBA Express. The 7A program provides additional security to the bank due to the 75% guaranty the SBA provides. This allows a highly leveraged company to expand its operations while providing the bank with a guaranty thereby limiting any potential loss. The SBA Express program is very similar to the 7A program except it has a 50% guaranty and the maximum loan size is $350,000.00. The Express program has a streamlined paperwork process and is perfect for a lot of smaller companies.

One last program to mention is the State of Ohio 166 loan program. The 166 program is very similar to the SBA504, but it is administered through JobsOhio versus the Small Business Administration. The rates and fees are typically less than the SBA504 rates and fees. The only drawback is that the program is limited to manufacturing and warehousing operations. Retail businesses are not eligible to participate.

We highly recommend that every business evaluate all the available loan programs when making a fixed asset purchase or expansion. Many times the benefits of these programs far exceed the costs.

SBA Lending: Under the 7(a) program the SBA will guarantee up to $5mm or 75% of the loan amount, whichever is less. Under the SBA Express program the amount is $350,000 or less and up to 50% of the loan amount. Under the 504 program the SBA through a Certified Development Company (CDC) will fund up to $5mm with 50% financed by a bank, 40% by the CDC and 10% by the business.

Making Your Message Stick

Ellen Dunnigan CEO Accent on Business Indianapolis Indiana

Ellen Dunnigan, CEO Accent on Business

Do you ever wonder if what you are saying to your customers or employees is getting through? If you really want to make your message stick with your audience, you need to be aware of the way you are presenting your message and consider altering it to fit the age, gender or communication style of the person you are addressing. Communications specialist Ellen Dunnigan outlines some of the key factors in grabbing your audience’s attention and getting them to remember what you said.

  1. Think about your purpose and why you are communicating that message. What do you want the result to be?
  2. Know your customers/audience. What communication style may be most effective for that age group or personality style? What questions might they have about your information?
  3. Use eye contact, tone of voice, appropriate gestures and body language to more effectively communicate so they will remember your message even if they do not remember your name.

As an employer it is important to think about the generation you are communicating with and what will make the most sense to them. We need to constantly update our technology to grab the attention of younger employees. For older employees, it is important to establish a more personal relationship, incorporating good non-verbal communication.

She notes it is important to be engaged with your employees because when your employees are engaged with your company, they will be more engaged with your customers.

To view Ellen’s video, visit our video page. Accent on Business is a Public Speaking & Communication Skills Firm based out of Indianapolis, IN. They work with companies nationwide on improving presentation and communication skills. Visit Ellen’s website to learn more.

ICBA and CNB Encourage Americans to Save During America Saves Week

The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and Citizens National Bank are proud to add the community banker voice to the list of organizations nationwide that are encouraging Americans to save as part of America Saves Week, Feb. 23-28. This nationwide campaign, which began in 2007, features a broad coalition of nonprofit, corporate and government organizations that are committed to raising awareness for the importance of creating savings funds, building emergency funds and assessing savings plans.

“It’s never too late to develop good saving habits to achieve financial stability,” ICBA Chairman John Buhrmaster, president and CEO of 1st National Bank of Scotia, N.Y., said. “By participating in America Saves Week, the nation’s more than 6,500 community banks continue to raise awareness of the importance of savings and offer consumers tips on how to reach savings goals. We encourage customers to speak with their community bank about how they can begin a savings strategy or build on what they are already doing to save for the future.”

America Saves Week is an annual opportunity to help promote positive savings behavior and for consumers to assemble their own savings plans. Learn more about why saving is so important and how to get started on building a nest egg at

Community banks like CNB are available to help local residents plan their financial futures. Beginning to save can be intimidating, but with the help of your local community bank, creating and maintaining savings funds should be one less thing you need to worry about.

ICBA and CNB offer the following tips to help consumers get started on their personal savings:

  1. Set a goal: People are more successful when they have certain goals in mind, so create and share a savings goal with your family and friends. Start small—even saving your loose change can get you somewhere. Aim to start a path toward building an emergency fund of savings with six to nine months of living expenses.
  2. Make a plan: By creating a spending plan, list your expenses and compare them to your income. The plan will help prioritize what are necessities and wants for the month. Attempt to use your credit cards more efficiently, too. Doing that can help ensure that you will not take on too much debt and can minimize interest charges.
  3. Save automatically: Many employers offer regular payroll deduction, which is one of the best ways to start and keep saving money. Make it a routine to automatically put aside a certain amount of money each paycheck, or have CNB make an automatic transfer from your checking to savings account each month.

Whether you have a traditional savings account or long-term investments, Citizens National Bank offers options for meeting your savings goals. Learn more:

About ICBA – The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 6,500 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit

The Politics of Agriculture and Understanding the New Farm Bill Programs

Jeff Harrison Trevor White Combest Sell and Associates

Jeff Harrison (left) and Trevor White (right) Combest, Sell & Associates

Jeff Harrison and Trevor White of lobbying firm Combest, Sell & Associates recently spoke to area farmers at an event co-hosted by Citizens National Bank and Williamson Insurance. Harrison had previously been lead counsel for the 2002 Farm Bill and White is an economist. The topic was the 2014 Farm Bill.

Harrison discussed the changes in Washington since the November elections. Despite some fundamental differences in belief, he does feel some headway will be made in regards to addressing the Highway Fund shortage and that a budget may be passed by Congress for the first time in a long time. The Affordable Care Act will continue to be a focus on both sides of the aisle, with Democrats defending it and Republicans looking to chip away pieces of it to make it easier for businesses to afford. He is hopeful that tax extenders will be put into place, such as the section 179 deduction, which would allow for higher amounts of equipment purchases to be deducted. The House and Senate Ag Committees will need to address several issues this year including school lunch requirements, the Grain Standards Act and Country of Origin Labels required by the World Trade Organization. However, he feels their biggest concern will be defending crop insurance subsidies and not limiting payments for those with more than $250,000 in income as has been proposed by some opposing economists as a means to cut the budget. Harrison encourages farmers to contact their senators and congressmen to protect farm policy and crop insurance, stating “You (farmers) have a lot of power.”

Trevor White spoke specifically about the Agricultural Act of 2014, otherwise known as the Farm Bill. He stated there were 3 programs (direct payments, counter-cyclical program & ACRE) that were repealed as part of this bill and 2 programs that took their place. These programs are Price Loss Coverage, known as PLC and Agricultural Risk Coverage, known as ARC. PLC is a price-based program and allows for the purchase of Supplemental Coverage in addition for added price protection. ARC is a revenue-based program and can be based either on the county’s average yields or an individual farm’s average yields. He notes you are able to choose different options by commodity and by farm, so one size does not necessarily fit all for your entire operation. While he admits making the decision which option to choose can be confusing, he says multiple options are available to address different types of risks and recommends a couple different websites which offer decisioning tools to help you; Texas A&M’s and the University of Illinois’s.

New this year is the option to choose to update your own farm yields, your base allocation of crops or both. This has not been allowed since 2002. The yield is based on your records or plugs 75% of your county average in for years 2008-2012. If you choose to reallocate your base it uses a 4 year average of what you have actually planted and compares it to your total acreage farmed to determine a percentage base of that crop. White notes you will want to review this carefully though, because if you have a lot of base in a crop that is predicted for higher yields, you may want to leave your allocation the same. The deadline to update your yield or reallocate your base acres is February 27, 2015.

Comparing price coverage of the old programs to the new ones, White feels farmers are better protected now than with the direct payments system. He does caution farmers not to bank on a maximum payment however when determining which coverage to choose. “If you get a higher yield than expected, you may not qualify for the maximum payment, even with lower prices.” He also notes the owner of the farm is the one who must make the decision whether or not to update yields or make base reallocations, but it is the producer that decides whether to choose PLC or ARC. The decision of which coverage to enroll in will be in effect until 2018. He encourages farmers to not rely on hearsay or to just copy what other area farmers are doing, “Do your own research. It’s your farm,” he emphasizes. To help you get started, the Farm Service Agency, FSA, has created a timeline of the 4 steps to enrollment in either program by the March 31, 2015 deadline. Visit their website to learn more.

Message from the President – ICBA Recognition of CNB for 30 Years of Membership

J. Michael Romey, President/CEO of Citizens National Bank
Recently I received a letter and plaque from the ICBA, our National Banking Association, for being a member for the past 30 years. It was a nice gesture of recognition since the association was established to serve the exclusive needs of community banks, but it also got me thinking about the banking industry over that same time period. Banks have survived two episodes of bank failures and a long-term process of consolidation in the last 30 years. This industry consolidation has had the biggest effect on the smallest and largest banks in our country. The very smallest banks have seen their numbers decline by almost 85% while the largest banks have almost tripled in number and their assets have increased 10 times. The trend has resulted in the average community bank size becoming larger, and in fact Citizens National Bank has grown from $100mm to $650mm in assets over the last 30 years. Consolidation has had a much lesser effect on larger community banks like Citizens because of our conservative underwriting and the economies of scale that do not appear to be working against us. When viewing our expense ratio in relation to peers we compare very favorably. We have been able to grow by branching out in other communities, offering personal banking services not offered by the larger banks. We still obtain most of our deposits locally and make most our loans to local businesses. No one can predict the future of our industry but banks our size with conservative practices have remained stable during this consolidation phase and have continued to serve the credit needs of small businesses and provide services to the local communities. Here’s to another 30 years!

Message From the President

J. Michael Romey, President/CEO

J. Michael Romey, President/CEO

Year End Review and 2015 Projections

Similar to the prior five years of consistent growth in our Asset Size and Earnings, Citizens National Bank experienced another successful year in 2014. Our success is a result of doing the basics well and maintaining a strong customer service strategy. We remain profitable by maintaining a disciplined approach to cost control and we are proud that in 2014 we were once again rated a High Performance Bank by our industry peers. Organized as an ESOP company, the success of the bank is shared by all employees and is the cornerstone of our success.

We were able to expand into new markets including Defiance and Toledo in 2014 by offering competitive loan products while introducing new deposit services. An improved bill payment system and the addition of mobile deposit to our mobile banking app made it even easier for our customers to bank from anywhere. And we expanded our Online for Business packages to allow more businesses to take advantage of direct deposit, ACH and Wire capabilities from their place of business.

In 2015 we anticipate another challenging year for bank margins with a flattening yield curve but business should be positively influenced by the drop in commodity prices which will benefit retail sales. Capital spending and exports should decline early in the year with the increase in the value of the dollar but consumer spending should help the economy by year end.

From Here to Tennessee, the Bryants Trust CNB!


When Dr. Lance Bryant and his wife Carol originally moved to St. Marys to begin his practice as a surgeon they were impressed with the professionalism and care they received from their mortgage lender, Rod Stover. Now, more than 20 years later, the Bryants not only manage busy medical careers, but have raised 4 children and spend most of their free time at their vacation home in Tennessee. Through the years, they have continued to work with Rod, financing their second home through Citizens National Bank, using CNB for their personal accounts, and now looking to CNB and Rod to help manage their business accounts as well.

Dr. Bryant has his pilot’s license and the couple flies to Tennessee every chance they get for a little R&R from their hectic work. They use CNB Online Banking to manage their accounts from wherever they happen to be and the Bryants appreciate Rod’s willingness to be just a text or phone call away.

View the Bryants’ story at


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