Ask the Lender? “Should I switch my credit card machine to accept chip enabled cards?”

Jason LaBounty VP Business Banking Officer

Jason LaBounty
VP Business Banking Officer

EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa), or chip enabled cards, are common place in most foreign countries and provide a higher level of security against fraud than the magnetic stripe cards seen most frequently in the US. On traditional credit cards, the magnetic stripe holds the information necessary to make a transaction and that information never changes, so if stolen it can be used to make new cards or online purchases. With the EMV card, the computer chip in the card creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. According to, “If a hacker stole the chip information from one specific point of sale, typical card duplication would never work because the stolen transaction number created in that instance wouldn’t be usable again and the card would just get denied.”

Until last year, most companies had not felt an urgency to switch to the chip enabled cards simply due to the expense of reissuing cards and trading out credit card machines for upgraded models. Unfortunately, the large breaches we have seen with Target, and then Home Depot, have brought the need for more heightened security for credit cards to the forefront. As of October 15, 2015 if a company that accepts credit card for payment does not accept EMV cards, the liability for any loss will shift to that company rather than the credit card issuer.

For this reason, it is in your best interest to upgrade your merchant credit card machines to accept the newer cards. You will have some initial cost in replacing your machine. Locally the cost to purchase the new machines range between $300 and $500. While not cheap, this investment will insure you do not take the hit for a fraudulent transaction, which could easily exceed the cost of upgrading with just one incident.

If you are interested in learning more about accepting credit card payments at your place of business, contact a business banking officer to discuss our Merchant Services Program.

Message from the President

J. Michael Romey, President/CEO of Citizens National Bank

J. Michael Romey, President/CEO of Citizens National Bank

Celebrating 95 Years of Community Banking

Citizens National Bank was organized in 1920 and this year we will have been in business for 95 years. The bank was organized by a group of businessmen from Bluffton that wanted to provide deposit and lending services to local business owners. We were a family-run bank for many years and I have had the great honor to follow my grandfather as only the 4th president in the bank’s history. In 1991 we became an employee owned company and today the efforts of all 160 employees are aligned with those of our shareholders and customers.

Citizens is a combination of a business bank serving the needs of small and medium sized businesses and a retail bank providing mortgage lending and deposit accounts to individuals. We operate a well-established investment service providing advice to both businesses and retail customers. Our goal is to blend the technology of a large bank with the personal service of a community bank.

We believe that we can also serve our communities by volunteering and sponsoring events and to that end last year we contributed $160,000 benefiting 325 organizations. We donated over 320 hours helping non-profit organizations with their efforts. I am proud to work for an organization that is community-oriented and community supported and that again was rated a high performance bank by our peers. CNB was rated one of the Best of the Best community banks in the country by the Independent Community Bankers of America. Read about it at Click on the May issue.

– See more at:

Elite Checking- A Personal Account for Business Owners

Special 6 Month Intro Rate – 0.35% APY!**elite checking account business owners

Having your personal accounts at the same bank as your business accounts just makes sense. By opening an Elite Checking Account, you will have the option of seeing all your accounts in one place through Online for Business. With unlimited free ATM withdrawals you can travel anywhere and access cash without a fee, and you will be eligible for our Platinum Visa® Credit Card*. This credit card offers a low interest rate and you will automatically be enrolled in our rewards program, ScoreCard Rewards, which earns points that can be redeemed for merchandise or travel.

We are currently offering a 6 month introductory rate of 0.35% APY on all balances for the Elite Checking account!** For more information, or to open an account, contact your local CNB office.

*Subject to credit approval.
**Annual percentage yield (APY) accurate as of 4/23/15. 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.

Land As Your Legacy

Keeping the Farm in the Familyfarm-family

There are currently 2.1 million farms in the US and 97% of those are family-run. Collectively farmers are growing older with a median age of 57 and according to the USDA, 70% of the entire farmland in the US will transition ownership over the next 20 years. The bad news is statistically only 30% of those transitions will be successful.

Donald Schreiber is an agent with Nationwide Insurance and they have established a program specifically geared towards educating farmers in regards to succession planning and helping them create a transition that makes sense for the family farm. The program, titled “Land as Your Legacy”, provides information on developing a transition plan that protects the farm.

According to Schreiber there are five elements to making a successful transition.

  1. Succession Planning – “Really think about what’s best for the farm”, states Schreiber. That might mean considering your heirs’ personalities and determining what roles they will take in the farm accordingly. “If one child is bad at handling financial affairs, don’t put him in charge of the farm’s accounting. Just because he is your oldest child, does not mean he has the best skill set to run your business. On the other side of that, be sure you’re having family meetings to discuss your plan so there are no surprises and ill feelings after you’ve passed.” If you do not want the farm to be split up, make sure you are structuring it correctly and working with a lawyer to make that happen.
  2. Business Planning – Take steps to ensure the farm remains profitable through the transition. Schreiber recommends setting up the farm as an LLC to ensure an easy legal transition and that bills can continue to be paid without interruption. He cautions that personal ownership of the farm is not a good idea and that operating agreements should be established to identify the roles of each participant.
  3. Risk Management – Be conscious of structuring the farm responsibly without one person having too much power. Have adequate insurance coverage and mitigate risk by keeping all machinery in good working order.
  4. Financial Independence Planning – Consider how you will maintain adequate income after you have transitioned the farm operation to another owner. Educate yourself regarding retirement planning and diversification of your investments.
  5. Estate Planning – Determine the distribution of all your assets after you have passed and the tax implications for that plan.

Schreiber notes “It’s important to go through this process in writing.” Determine your priorities, your goals and the objectives of your plan in order to make the decisions that are best for you. Rely on a team of advisors, such as lawyers, accountants and financial planners, to keep you on track and then periodically review and modify your plan if necessary. The goal, according to Schreiber, is to “strive for harmony within your family after your death.”

For more information about the Land as Your Legacy program, visit

Are You Using Direct Deposit for Payroll?

Why You Should…direct-deposit-art

There is more expense involved with paying your employees than just the cost of their salary. According to the cost of cutting paper checks each week ranges from $2.87 to $3.15 per check. This can add up for companies who employee hundreds of people. In addition, there is the time required to physically print the checks, stuff them in envelopes and distribute them to your employees. Lost or stolen checks are a common source of identity theft as well, so that threat would be minimized by switching to electronic direct deposit.

How does it work?
An employee simply needs to provide a void deposit slip with their banking account information. The employer then inputs that information into a file to have their pay electronically transferred from the business’s account to the employee’s bank account. This can easily be done by creating a template within Citizens National Bank’s Online for Business software.

Will my employees like it?
Your employees will appreciate the time they will save by not having to run to the bank each week to cash their check. Also, they can determine if they would like the amount split between accounts so they can easily set up an automatic savings plan. If the employee is on vacation, he will still have access to his funds which he can access via ATM or through online banking.

What if my employee does not have a bank account?
Even if your employee does not have a traditional bank account, he can still take advantage of direct deposit through prepaid reloadable cards. Citizens National Bank offers these convenient Visa®-branded cards as an alternative to a checking account. Payroll can be direct deposited right to the card and the employee can use it at an ATM to access cash* or at any vendor that accepts Visa® cards.

To learn more about setting up Direct Deposit or offering prepaid cards, contact Amy Yochum, Treasury Management, at or by phone at 800-262-4663.

*Fees may apply.

– See more at:

Local Banker, Andy Althaus, Graduates from Bank Leadership Program

Althaus_Andy_BLIAndy Althaus, SVP, Accounting at Citizens National bank, recently graduated from the Bank Leadership Institute at the Ohio Bankers League. He was one of only 20 bankers from across Ohio to complete the program this year. Bank Leadership Institute focuses on leadership skills development such as strategic planning, risk management, presentation, coaching and mentoring, team-building, negotiation and mediation, regulatory structure and environment, the legislative process and more. The BLI program also included participation in the OBL Washington DC Fly-In which provided experience in bank lobbying at the national level.

Althaus has been with Citizens National Bank since 1989. Andy is a member of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He resides in Bluffton with his wife, Danielle, and daughter, Adelyn.

For more information about the 2015-2061 Bank Leadership Institute program, visit the OBL Web site at

Citizens National Bank Named a Top Performer

Independent Banker Highlights the Nation’s Top-Performing Community Banks

Bluffton, OH (May 2015)— In its May Issue,  Independent Banker®, the award-winning magazine of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA),  recognized Citizens National Bank, Bluffton, OH, as an ICBA Top Performer. This recognition is based on Citizens National Bank’s 2014 year-end earnings and operational efficiencies.

“Whether serving rural, suburban or large metropolitan areas, community banks operate with the same focus by always putting their customers and communities first,” said Chris Lorence, ICBA executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “The community banks featured on Independent Banker’s Top Performers listings know their local markets and thrive because they stay true to the principles of community banking while showcasing drive, ingenuity and community commitment. These high-achieving community banks demonstrate integrity, enthusiasm and inventiveness in the financial industry, and ICBA is proud to recognize them for their outstanding efforts.”

As part of its annual performance rankings of ICBA member institutions, Independent Banker pulled year-end FDIC data to identify the community banks in six asset-size categories, both for Subchapter C corporation and Subchapter S corporation banks. Each top listing measures community banks by their return on average assets (ROA) and return on average equity (ROE) ratios for all of 2014. Citizens National Bank was ranked 24th in Subchapter S return on assets (ROA) and 17th in Subchapter S return on average equity (ROE).

“We are delighted to again be recognized as an ICBA Top Performer,” said Mike Romey, President/CEO of Citizens National Bank. “We credit our loyal customers and dedicated employees for our continued success. We look forward to serving the unique needs of our markets and helping them grow and prosper in the years to come.”

To see the ICBA Top Performers listings, read the article “The Best of the Best” on ICBA Independent Banker’s website at

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for more than 6,000 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


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