Letters From Leton: What’s In A Name?

Do you remember the first time you saw your name on a nameplate? There it was on your station or desk telling the world who you are. Perhaps it was your first business card sharing where you worked and what you did. If you were like me, a certain pride swelled up inside of you.

Maybe your parents stressed to you that what you did had an impact (positive or negative) on the family name.

In our daily activities, we have the opportunity to learn and use our customers names. When they come into our office we call out their name and welcome them to the Bank. Or use their name several times on the phone when they reach out to us for help.

As I meet with new customers, one of the primary things I hear is that they like how we use their name – that we know them and that they are not just a number. That they feel at home at our Bank.

Names are a powerful thing and we need to always remember that.

– 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: Don’t Kill That Moth!

Wednesday nights I often listen to a show called “The Moth Radio Hour” that features story tellers (I have been trying to learn to come out of shell as a public speaker).

On a recent episode, Les Strayhorn told a story regarding going to school in North Carolina as a black man during integration in the 1960’s. I listened intently; I have some friends who went through the same experience.

He shared that his father, a farmer, had volunteered him to be one of the first students to get on the bus to make the 5 mile trip to the new integrated school. The bus driver set him and his cousins on the front seat “to cut down on trouble.” In spite of this, he was constantly harassed, especially by a certain fellow. The fellow used foul language and threatened him physically.

Les spoke to his father about the options for dealing with the bully, including fighting. His father stressed that as one of the first black students at the school, he needed to set the example, and getting kicked out of school for fighting was not an option. His father told him to pray and an answer would come.

When Les learned that the other fellow was going to try out for football, an idea came to him: he would try out for football and take his frustrations out on the field.

Sure enough, the two met often on the field during practice as Les, an offensive lineman, maneuvered himself to confront the bully, a defensive lineman. After a few weeks, the bully quit the team, and Les was ready to do so as well since he had completed his mission. When the coach learned he was quitting, he told Les he could not quit because with his talent, he could play in college (and get off the farm). Les continued to play through high school, then college, then in the NFL as a running back for the Dallas Cowboys and other teams.

Later in life after retirement, Les thought about his father’s guidance and the young fellow who challenged him. He realized that without the challenge of the bully, and trying to find a way to deal with it, he would likely not have played football, and thus the rest of a successful career would not have occurred.

Each day we are challenged. Some days the challenges rise to frustrations or even anger. Often when we get to the other side of a challenge, we see that it was the challenge and how we reacted that led to our growth – both as a person and as part of a business like Powell Valley National Bank.

Embracing challenges and change make us all stronger – as people and as a Bank.

– 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: Some Things Are Made To Last!

In a fast paced and ever-changing world, finding something that will last a long time keeps getting harder and harder.

LoveI have a good friend, a brother in spirit in fact, William Fields. Some of you have met William as he has attended some events at our Abingdon location.

After leaving Washington County to come back home to Wise, it had been a while since I had seen William. Even though our visits continued to be infrequent, when we get together it seems just like yesterday.

William understands my approach to Banking, People, and the Communities we serve, and he reminds me of the real values of life and of friendship.

A couple weeks ago, he and I had lunch, and I showed him our new office since he was unable to come to our Chamber Ribbon Cutting.

Watch Made in 1888At lunch he pulled out a watch (pictured). He told me to take a close look and to wind it up (and shake it a little if needed). He then told me that the watch was mine. I protested (I knew it would be to no avail) and told William that he should give it to his son or grandson. No, he said. “I bought it a while back, and you need to have it.”

He shared that he had been down to Lowes and saw our sign on the wall “Powell Valley National Bank – Established 1888”. That was when he knew that he would give me a watch made in “1888”.

I have carried the watch since it’s gifting with me each day to work. I catch myself  imagining that the very first person who wound the watch could have been a customer of our Bank when we first opened. And then their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on.

Perhaps with a commitment to care for and value the past – as well as the future – some things are made to last.

Watches. Friends. A Bank.

– 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.

5 Tips for Creating Secure Passwords (Infographic)

A recent story from Krebs On Security outlines how cybercriminals abuse third-party financial services to gain access to online consumer accounts. Many people link these services to their bank accounts to help them track balances, budgets, and spending across multiple banks and accounts.

Read More: 2019 Scam Trends and How to Avoid Them

The Risk of Weak Online Banking Passwords

Using stolen lists of email addresses and passwords from other hacked sites, hackers probe various bank websites to see if they can gain access to online consumer accounts using the stolen credentials from other sites.

If you’re creating weak passwords or reusing old passwords, your chances of being hacked are multiplied, even on accounts making use of multi-factor authentication.

Read More: 2019 Scam Trends and How to Avoid Them

Strong Password Tips

With hacking technology and cybercriminals becoming increasingly more efficient, it’s more important now than ever to ensure that you are using strong and secure passwords for all of your accounts – especially your online banking account.

Read More: 5 Tips to Prevent Card Fraud

Password Security Tips

Now that you’ve created strong passwords for all of your accounts, make sure to keep those passwords secure. Don’t share your passwords with anyone, and don’t leave them posted or written down in plain view on your desk or computer. Learn more security tips here.

Letters From Leton: Paying Attention

How many times in your life has someone asked, “Are you Paying Attention?”

Maybe it was your Mom giving you instructions for the day or perhaps, that Teacher who caught you day dreaming on the first pretty day of spring.

We all have a tendency to let our minds wander – but paying attention (or not) is noticed by others.

For example, how about that time you ordered the spicy food (spicier than you thought), and the busy waiter or waitress does not notice that your tea or water glass is empty? Man, I wish they were paying extra attention!

How about that slow driver ahead of you who keeps swerving over into your lane? Not paying attention.

I thought about paying attention when I left my phone (not paying attention) in my car one day after getting back to the hotel from a meeting. I got back to my room and started taking things out of my pocket – arrgghhh – no phone!  Since the hotel parked my car for me, I knew I would have to get someone to go to my car, get my phone, and bring it back to me – all because I wasn’t paying attention.

So, I took off downstairs hoping that had not moved my car yet, but they had.  As I approached the bell man, he smiled and handed me my phone. He had paid attention that I had left my phone in my car.

I noticed other things about the hotel, too – How they saw that I did not have a bookmark for my book and left me one. How everyone called me by name (no name tags) as I moved through the building.

I know that I will stay at that hotel again because of their service.


Our customers get busy. They have jobs, family, and many other things to do. So, sometimes they may not pay attention to their money.

That is where we come in.

Because we care about our customers, we look out for them. In addition to paying interest, we pay attention – which can sometimes be even more valuable.

– 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.

5 Tips for Back-to-School Savings

As summer comes to a close, the first day of school is quickly approaching. This is an exciting time of new beginnings, but it also brings with it new and sometimes unplanned expenses. In fact, average back-to-school spending is increasing year over year, with record highs expected for 2019. However, there are ways to get everything you need for the school year without breaking your bank.

Here are 5 tips for savvy back-to-school shoppers.

  1. Make a List

Before you start scrambling to find everything your child needs, create a well-organized list of needs and wants. Many elementary schools have these pre-made lists available, but it can still be helpful to make your own list in a way that’s organized best for you. This can help you stay on track while you’re shopping and avoid unnecessary expenses.

  1. Examen What You Already Have

The best way to save money is to not spend money! Compare your supply list to what you already have at home before you buy anything new. Often, leftovers from last year will cover a lot on the list. First place to check: last year’s backpack!

  1. Create a Budget

After you’ve created your list and done a sweep of the house to gather everything you already have, set a budget to cover the rest of the list. Go over the budget with your child; back-to-school shopping is a great time to teach children about budgeting and financial concepts. A pre-set budget will help keep you on track, and it can help your child learn how to make financial decisions.

  1. Plan a Supply Swap

Planning a supply swap with your child’s classmates is another great way to start saving before you’ve spent any money. Often, you can save by buying in bulk, but you may not need all the supplies you get for buying bulk. If you buy bulk pens and someone else buys bulk folders, you can plan to trade the excess supplies, saving you both money.

  1. Check for coupons

Before you head out the door, check your local papers, online, and social media for coupons, special deals, and rewards programs. It’s a good idea to follow some of your favorite retailers on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest savings opportunities.


With the school year just around the corner, the time to start preparing is now. Enjoy the rest of your summer and good luck this year! Do you have any back-to-school savings tips? Let us know on Facebook!

New Scam Alert: Fraudulent Calls Regarding Social Security Number


Beware of fraudulent calls claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. Never provide your social security number or other private information to someone over the phone.
These types of scams can take on many forms. Today, a PVB employee received a voicemail from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration stating that the employee’s social security number was frozen due to fraud. The employee was told to call a number from Apache, AZ.
The employee contacted the real Social Security Administration, and the call was confirmed to be a hoax. The Social Security Administration stated that most of these fraudulent calls have been coming from Texas, and this was the first report of a call from Arizona. They advised to absolutely not call back if you receive a voicemail like this, and do not share any information.

What to do if you receive a scam call:

  • Hang up, do not share any information, and block the number.
  • Report scam attempts to the BBB.
  • If you’re not sure if the call is a scam:
    • Google the number to see if it has been reported by others for scam.
    • Google the company or organization the caller is claiming to be, then call the company directly to find out if they have tried to contact you.
    • It’s a good rule of thumb to never provide personal information over the phone.
  • Slow down, and remember that no authentic salesperson, loan officer, company, or Social Security Administration employee, etc. will ever threaten you in attempt to force you to pay or provide personal information. If you feel threatened or harassed, that is a red flag.
  • If you believe your financial information may have been compromised, contact your bank immediately. Click here for PVNB Debit Card Support Numbers.

Learn more security tips here.

Letters From Leton: New Beginnings

Photo by Tim Cox

Sometimes we are afraid of something new.

Perhaps it is learning to play an instrument or sport. Maybe learning about a new bank product or service. Perhaps it was that first day of school.

Or maybe it is opening a new office in a new town… What will they think about us? They said they would open an account or get a loan – but will they?

A long time ago I heard a fellow say:

“The fear of something is always greater than the something.

When we look back on our lives, we realize that we worked hard and were prepared to move into the future. I am confident of that with our new Abingdon office.

– 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.

Secure Travel Tips

Traveling in style means traveling secure. These cybersecurity tips from Homeland Security can help keep your information safe while you’re on the go this summer.


9 Cybersecurity Tips for Traveling


Before You Hit the Road…

Update Your Phone Software

In addition to being our lifeline to friends, family, and most of the world, our cellphone contains valuable information. That information is pertinent to our daily lives and attractive to hackers. Keeping your software up-to-date will help ensure that your malware protection is working as it should, protecting you from any malicious attacks.

Back Up Your Device

If you lose your phone, which is especially easy to do while traveling, you can lose access to all of that valuable information. To prevent this, store important information like photos, contacts, etc. on the cloud or another device.

Lock Your Device

In the event you do lose your phone, a strong password lock can prevent whoever finds it from accessing your information.

Bonus Tip: Create a note in your phone that says something like, “In the event you find my phone, please contact this number (use the number of someone you are traveling with, with their permission) to help me find it.” Then screenshot the note, and set it as your lock screen background. That way a good Samaritan will be able to help you locate your phone without having to unlock it. 


While On the Go…

Avoid Posting Your Travels

It’s tempting to want to share photos and stories from your trip while you’re gone, but it’s best to wait till you’ve returned home to start publicly posting this information on social media. Alerting the world that you’re away from home may open your home up to unnecessary vulnerabilities. 

Turn Off Bluetooth

When Bluetooth is turned on, it may automatically attempt to connect with other Bluetooth enabled devices and wireless networks. Turn this off so you can remain in control of which devices or networks you do or do not want to connect to.

Be Cautious with Free WiFi

When possible, avoid using free public WiFi. If it’s necessary to connect to public WiFi, ensure you are connecting to the correct network, and avoid performing sensitive tasks like accessing online banking or making online purchases. While convenient, unsecured networks or public devices can offer cybercriminals a convenient path to your internet-enabled device.

Avoid Unknown Links

  • If you receive an email or message from an unknown sender, delete it.
  • Do not click on any suspicious links.
  • Review the details before you download a new app.
  • Only visit websites with “https” at the beginning of the URL.

Guard Your Device

Criminals often target travelers for theft, so keep an eye on your devices when in public. If possible, store them in a safe when you need to leave them in your hotel room or locked car.

Read More: 6 Tips for a Scam-Free Summer

Powell Valley National Bank Opens New Full-Service Office in Abingdon

Abingdon Office
Abingdon Group Picture

Jonesville, VA–Powell Valley National Bank (PVNB, Bank) is pleased to announce the opening of its newest full-service office located at 24495 Lee Highway in Abingdon, Virginia in the Walmart Development shopping area at Interstate 81, Exit 19. 

On Thursday, June 27th at 5:30 PM, Powell Valley National Bank, in conjunction with the Washington County Virginia Chamber of Commerce, will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new state-of-the-art facility.

“We are thrilled to open the doors to our new office, and there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the opening,” stated PVNB Market Executive, Sam Neese.  “We have a very highly-trained and veteran staff of community banking professionals working in our new building.  This staff has served the Washington County community with over 313 years of combined community banking experience,” says Neese. 

Leton L. Harding, Jr., President and CEO, also says, “With over 131 years of community banking experience, our Bank’s commitment to community and our legacy of strength and longevity is reflected in the group of talented and caring local bankers that will be serving Washington County, and the surrounding area, in our new office.  Abingdon and Washington County are a vital part of the economy in our region, and the opening of our new full-service facility echoes our commitment and intent to serve our region.”

The new office operating hours are Monday-Thursday 9AM-5PM; Friday, 9AM-6PM, and drive thru hours Monday-Friday 8AM-6PM and Saturday 8AM-1PM.