Month: March 2019

Powell Valley National Bank Participates in VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program: Virginia High School Seniors Will Shadow Bankers for a Chance to Win College Scholarship Money

Jonesville, VA – On March 19, Virginia high school seniors will spend the day shadowing bankers at Powell Valley National Bank (PVNB, Bank) as part of Bank Day, a statewide effort sponsored by the Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) Education Foundation and the VBA Emerging Bank Leaders.  The purpose of the day is to expose students to the banking industry and provide an opportunity for the students to learn about banking, financial services and the vital role PVNB plays in its community.

The third Tuesday in March was declared Bank Day by the Virginia General Assembly in 1991 and Powell Valley National Bank is proud to host students for this important program.  From their experience, participating students will write an essay for the chance to win a scholarship. Six regional scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded by the VBA, and from those six winners an overall statewide winner will be chosen. The statewide winner will receive an additional $5,000 scholarship – $7,500 in total. There will also be six honorable mention scholarships of $1,000 each. In all, twelve students statewide will receive scholarships totaling $26,000.

During their visit, the students will visit various bank departments, learn about the loan process, the importance of good credit, appropriate etiquette during a job interview, and how PVNB is involved in the community.

“Bank Day is one of the best short-term, hands-on experiences for students—the opportunity to go inside the bank vault, to watch customer/bank officer interaction, to learn about the many services that banks offer, and to start the networking that often leads to part-time and summer jobs, scholarships, and a start on a career path in the financial world,” said Bruce Whitehurst, president & CEO of the Virginia Bankers Association.

“Our Bank is committed to the communities we serve, and our youth is certainly no exception. Bank Day offers high school seniors a unique opportunity to experience community banking, and learn about the significant role that our community banks play in the economic development and support of our communities.  We are honored to partner with the VBA to offer this scholarship opportunity, and we are looking forward to hosting these students and introducing them to the world of community banking,” said Leton L. Harding, Jr, President, Chairman and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank.

Powell Valley National Bank Proud to Sponsor Weber City Elementary School for Virginia Reads One Book

VAROB at Weber City Elementary

Weber City, VA — More than 60,000 public school students and their families from across Virginia will read the same book on the same schedule starting Friday, March 1. It’s all part of Virginia Reads One Book — a new reading program from Richmond-based Read to Them.  Powell Valley National Bank is a proud sponsor of this program at Weber City Elementary School, where more than 385 students and staff will participate.

“At kick-off events in each school, students will receive their own copies of Cleo Edison Oliver: Playground Millionaire to take home and read with their families,” says Read to Them Program Director Cathy Plageman. “Students will follow along as a mystery reader from the Washington Redskins, through a partnership with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, reads the first chapter aloud on an exclusive video cast. For the next three weeks, students and their families read a chapter each night at home, coordinating with classroom and school-wide activities.”

Cleo Edison Oliver is a chapter book featuring a sassy, confident, independent, enterprising girl who is ready to take on the world. Cleo is an African-American elementary school girl who is focused on business, whether it’s selling avocados, homemade dogfood or concocting a money-making scheme to pull loose teeth. Her story takes place on the playground — and along the way she discovers basic financial principles. We expect the students will have a lot of fun reading about Cleo,” says Plageman. “In fact, we hope it may even inspire some students to become budding entrepreneurs themselves!”

“We are proud to again be a statewide sponsor of Virginia Reads One Book. The program not only boosts students’ reading abilities, but it shows them reading is fun in an atmosphere that strengthens family and community interactions,” says Bruce Whitehurst, president and CEO of the Virginia Bankers Association. “With the support of Powell Valley National Bank, the school receives a book for every student and complimentary staff copies, both family literacy and financial literacy activities, school assembly suggestions, teacher resources, and both family and community engagement tools. These resources turn a book into a community experience so everyone can enjoy and share the story.”

Leton Harding, CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, stated, “We are thrilled to be able to sponsor Virginia Reads One Book this year, which builds on other financial literacy efforts that we have going in our community, including the upcoming Bank Day program that invites high school seniors into our offices for the day for a glimpse into our industry, and Teach Children to Save Day, where our bankers have hosted students and visited schools to count pennies with kindergarten students.  We were drawn to this program by not only the financial literacy focus of the book, but also the idea of bringing families together.”

Other program sponsors include: Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation, Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, Virginia Council on Economic Education and Tackle Reading.

For the current list of participating schools in your area, please email

About Read to Them

Read to Them is a Richmond based non-profit promoting family literacy. A growing body of research shows that children who are read to learn to read more easily and become better readers. Literacy skills provide the basis for a lifetime of learning and productivity. For more information visit

About Virginia Bankers Association Education Foundation

The Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) formed the VBA Education Foundation in 2007 with funding from the majority of VBA member banks. The Foundation’s mission is to improve personal financial literacy and economic education in all public and private schools in the Commonwealth. The Foundation recognizes the importance of economic education and financial literacy in Virginia and supports the banking industry as a key participant in these areas. For more information, visit

About Powell Valley National Bank

Powell Valley National Bank (PVNB) is a locally owned community bank headquartered in Jonesville, VA with full service offices throughout the region. The Bank, established in 1888, is the oldest bank in far Southwest Virginia, the 6th oldest bank in Virginia and the 6th oldest bank operating in Tennessee.  PVNB offers a wide range of loan, deposit, and electronic banking and investment services.  For more information, visit

Letters From Leton: One Ringy Dingy

A number of years ago, Tammie and I had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with Lily Tomlin at a Barter Event. Very kind and warm lady.

Ms. Tomlin has played a lot of memorable characters over the years, including Ernestine the Operator (she did a take on Ernestine at the Barter event). Ernestine was a nosey and bawdy operator.

I thought about Ernestine and phone operators this week as I reviewed the results of a recent banking survey. I was most drawn to the customer service comments made by the participants about some other banks. Here are a few examples*:

  1. “The phone was answered by a machine, and we were told (by the phone system) there was a 4-minute wait to talk to a real person.”
  2. “We were transferred blindly and then there was no answer by the party we were transferred.”
  3. “One financial institution has their voicemail on all day.”
  4. “They did not know the answer to my question and had no one else available to answer.”
  5. “They weren’t sure about the answer to my question and said I’d have to come in to speak with someone in person to get more information.”

*Comments have been edited for clarity, length, and to protect the anonymity of the financial institution being referenced.

When I read these responses my jaw literally dropped! How can you do business this way as a Bank (especially a community bank)?

I compare those answers to our Bank policies and procedures:We have a real human answering the phone (within 3 rings) with a smile in their voice!

We train our staff on how to help customers (unlock online banking, give out balances, increase debit card limits, etc.) so customers don’t have to be transferred to someone else for an answer to many of their questions.

We provide staff with a list of folks who handle special areas, such as ACH or loans, so customers can quickly be put in touch with the appropriate person.

We train our staff on the proper way to transfer calls when needed so there is no confusion for the customer or staff.

Why do people keep banking with places that offer inferior services?

Because most folks do not know about a place that treats them better – PVNB!

– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.

Letters From Leton: What if We Worked for Tips?

Recently having spent the better part of 12 days at Duke with my wife’s mother, we ate out many evenings.

There was one restaurant that visited twice. We went twice because we had such great service and food the first time (emphasis on first time).

The second time we went, the service was not so good.

The next day I wondered, why the difference? Did the second person not realize that their efforts and service could have a direct impact on their personal finances?

This got me to thinking about our service at the Bank. What if everybody in the Bank, me, you, employees in our offices, employees at the OPS Center, worked for tips? How well would we get rewarded?

Now you are probably thinking – Bank employees don’t work for tips, so this is a moot point.

Is it really a moot point?

Doesn’t our service level have so much to do with keeping customers? Getting new customers? Growing and thriving or shrinking and having to sell out the Bank?

Maybe we do not get a tip every time we take a deposit, answer the phone, or give a customer their balance, but we do get the benefit of a long term relationship with our customers that rewards all of us.

A Tip – Great Service is a necessity in an industry where so many competitors offer many of the same products and services we do!

– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.

Letters From Leton: Kids Respect the Darndest Things

Over the years there have been a number of TV shows that feature kids, including the old Art Linkletter show, “Kids Say the Darnedest Things”.

A while back, I saw (and posted to my LinkedIn page) a video from a middle school in which the kids held a surprise party to thank their local school janitor for all that he did for them and the school.

Showing respect for our customers, our community, and fellow employees is a very important thing – just like these students showing their respect and appreciation for their school janitor.

We all could learn a lot from these kids in our daily walk through life.

– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.