Category: News

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


This summer, 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.


8 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…

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.

Powell Valley National Bank Promotes Ashley Hammonds

Ashley Hammonds picture

Jonesville, VA–Powell Valley National Bank (PVNB, Bank) is pleased to announce the promotion of Ashley Hammonds to Assistant Vice President and Commercial Loan Administration. 

Hammonds joined PVNB in 2004 in the Pennington Gap Office.  Over the last 15 years, Ashley has had the opportunity to work in several different departments and capacities across the Bank.  For the last 2 years, Ashley has worked as a Commercial Loan Processor in the Jonesville office.  She is responsible for receiving and processing commercial loan applications and assisting lending officers during the underwriting process including orders for title work and policies, deeds, inspections, appraisals, and payments of fees.  “Ashley’s strong organization and communication skills, combined with her character, dedication, and commitment to customer service support the core values of PVNB.  She is an asset to our loan administration staff and our PVNB team,” stated Powell Valley National Bank President and CEO, Leton L. Harding, Jr.  

Hammonds is a native of Jonesville, VA.  She is a 2008 graduate Mountain Empire Community College and a 2005 graduate of Lee High School.  Ashley and her husband, Josh, have two children, Ellis and Elijah.  They attend First Baptist Church and reside in Jonesville, VA.  

Letters From Leton: Penny for Your Thoughts?

The other day I swung by one of the gas stations I use on a regular basis. I went inside to get a few things, and the total came to $8.01. I handed the cashier a $10.00 bill.

The cashier handed me back two $1.00 bills and said, “I have a penny.”

Now, not having to pay that penny may not seem like a big deal. After all, what can you buy with a penny?

But the more I thought about the kindness of the gesture, the more it impacted me.

First, on a convenience level, it was nice that I didn’t have to deal with all of that change.

Then I also thought about the person who may have left a penny for the cashier to use. Then I considered how the cashier kept up with the penny so that they could pass it along.

This exchange reminded me that small gestures, like pennies, can have a big impact on people’s (customers, co-workers, friends, family, strangers) lives.

– 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.

Powell Valley National Bank Promotes Sarah Moore

Sarah Moore picture

Jonesville, VA–Powell Valley National Bank (PVNB, Bank) is pleased to announce the promotion of Sarah Moore to Assistant Vice President in the Real Estate Department of the Bank. 

Moore joined PVNB in 2015 as a Mortgage Loan Clerk in Jonesville where her responsibilities include managing the real estate loan origination process for its mortgage loan customers.  “Sarah’s character, strong work ethic, dedication, and commitment to customer service support the core values of PVNB.  She has achieved remarkable results in her time with us and we look forward to her continued contribution to our team and the success of our Bank”, says Powell Valley National Bank President and CEO, Leton L. Harding, Jr.  

Moore is a native of Jonesville, VA.  She attended Mountain Empire Community College and is a 2010 graduate of Lee High School.  Sarah and her husband, Justin, are members of Long Hollow Christian Church and reside in Jonesville, VA.  

Letters From Leton: Dierks Bentley Takes a Back Seat

During my years serving and working with the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (BCMA), I have had a chance to meet many interesting folks. I count Dierks Bentley among them.

Dierks has been a noted performer for a long time. He was (and is) an admirer of a Public Radio Show called “Mountain Stage” (MT) that broadcasts out of Charleston, WV each week (locally on WETS FM 89.5). He likes the show’s focus on the songwriters who write songs for performers like him, so he sent word to the show that he wanted to play for them sometime.

On July 23, 2008, Dierks Bentley arrived in Bristol to perform at the Paramount Theater for a Mountain Stage show sponsored by the BCMA and my former Bank. Naturally, we hung around backstage during the afternoon up until show time.

Another musician playing in the show was Vieux Farka Toure, a blues player from Mali (West Africa), and the son of legendary blues player Ali Farka Touré (think the Bob Dylan of Africa). Vieux spoke very little English, and his songs were in French (Mali had been a French Colony). My friend, Fred, had previously met Ali at the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival at which the BCMA had participated in and provided support. Fred helped Mountain Stage line up the entertainment and had suggested Vieux for this show with Dierks.

Vieux seemed to be a pleasant and happy young man, and I had tried to make some conversation with my limited French skills. It was mostly nods and smiles.

By 7:00 PM the Paramount was full with a tremendous buzz. I suspected the buzz was for Dierks. We took our seats in the back.

Vieux played before Dierks, and I could tell the crowd was thinking, “Who is this guy?”

Then it happened.

The crowd rose to their feet for a standing ovation after nearly every song. They called Vieux back out for an encore. The closest experience to something like this I have ever had prior was at a Bruce Springsteen concert.

Following, Dierks came out and played a great set, but the crowd was somewhat spent having exerted so much energy during Vieux’s performance.

At the end of the show, Mountain Stage has a tradition of bringing all the musicians back on stage for one final song. Dierks and Vieux were center stage, and they ripped into the final song. Then, something wonderful happened. Dierks pushed Vieux up front and allowed him to take out the show. Dierks was taking a backseat to this fellow whose music he was also unfamiliar with!

I thought that Dierks and Vieux had made a connection, and that was confirmed later when we went backstage as they hung out together the rest of the evening, even retreating into Dierks dressing room to play a few more licks. Later on, Dierks brought Vieux to Nashville to meet some folks, and I think they even recorded together.

I can’t tell you that I am a Dierks Bentley music fan. Outside of that night, I don’t know if I have really heard much of his music. But I can tell you I am a Dierks Bentley “man” fan, as I saw that night the character of a person sharing and caring for another musician.

Sometimes in our lives, at work, or in our communities, we let our egos get in the way. Our experience. Our title. Our knowledge. We forget the most important thing is getting the job done – whatever is in front us – wherever it may be – and sometimes, that requires stepping aside to let someone else fix the problem or tackle the challenge, who may do it better than we can.

I often wonder if I had Dierks Bentley’s talent and acclaim, would I have played second fiddle to an unknown (at that time) blues musician from Mali during that show? Would you?

– 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.

6 Tips for a Scam-Free Summer

With summer soon arriving, many of us are gearing up for trips and vacations. Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help ensure you have a scam-free vacation.


A good place to start is asking friends and family for recommendations on travel agencies, vacation rentals, hotels, and packages. Next, Google the travel companies, hotels, rentals and/or agents you plan on using. Search the name of the company alongside words like “reviews,” “scam,” or “complaint” to see what comes up. If you buy travel insurance, make sure the agency is licensed – you can check through the US Travel Insurance Association.

Read the Terms

Before you pay or sign anything, carefully read the details of the travel offer you’re considering.

  • Keep an eye out for extra costs like “resort fees” (also known as amenity, destination, or facility fees).
  • Inquire about taxes, which can vary depending on location.
  • Make sure you have a clear understanding of cancellation and refund policies, and keep a copy of these terms for yourself.

Take your time considering the offer, and don’t let anyone rush you into a decision.

Keep the Paperwork

Keep your receipts, and bring copies of the confirmation details showing the rate you paid and the amenities you payed for.

Don’t Pay for “Prize” Vacations

A legitimate company will never ask you to pay for a prize. Additionally, look for catches on resort/timeshare offers which often come with hidden taxes or fees and mandatory presentations with high-pressure sales pitches.

Read More: 2019 Scam Trends and How to Avoid Them

Use a Card

If possible, using a credit card for your vacation spending can help give you more protection than cash.

Read More: 5 Tips to Prevent Card Fraud

A debit card is also a safer option than cash, especially with our MobiMoney app which allows you to monitor your accounts on the go from anywhere and turn your card on/off with a single click. You can even sign up for real-time transaction notifications, so you’ll be notified immediately if an unauthorized transaction occurs.

Read More: 5 Benefits of Online/Mobile Banking

Protect Your Information

Only bring the IDs and credit/debit cards that are necessary, and make copies so if your bags are stolen you’ll know what you lost. Make a copy of your insurance card to bring with you, and leave other important documents at home.

Read More: 7 Tips to Protect Your Identity

Powell Valley National Bank wishes everyone a safe and wonderful summer! If you do witness or experience any type of fraud, you can report it to the FTC here. Additionally, if you believe your financial information may have been compromised, contact your bank immediately. Click here for PVNB Debit Card Support Numbers.

PVNB Kingsport Collecting Donations for Fire Victims

A terrible apartment fire at Aspen Ridge Properties in Kingsport yesterday has displaced several families. Four apartments were destroyed leaving four different families at a complete loss of all of their belongings. They only have the clothes on their back and need everything!

We have coordinated with individuals affected by the fire to offer Powell Valley Bank’s Kingsport location as a collection point for donations. Below is a summary of needs:

UPDATE 6/4/2019:  The families affected by the apartment fire are now in need of gift cards to purchase food and gas.


Children’s Needs

  • 6-9 month old girl clothes
  • Anything else for a baby
  • Girls 4T and 5T tops and 3T and 4T bottoms
  • Girls shoes size 7/8 toddler and T 11/12
  • Boys clothes size 7/8
  • Boys shoes size 12 1/2

Women’s Needs

  • Pants sizes from 6/7 to 16
  • Shirts M-XL
  • Shoes 7-9

Men’s Needs

  • Pants 34/32, 36/32, 29/30 and 38/30, M-XL
  • Shirts M-XL
  • Shoes 10, 10.5, and 11

Other Needs

  • Unused toiletries
  • Chargers
  • etc.

We will update the list as more information becomes available. Powell Valley Bank’s Kingsport branch is located at 240 W Center St, in Kingsport, TN. The office is open and accepting donations Monday – Friday 8:30AM – 5:00PM.

Powell Valley National Bank Promotes Jason Laster

Jason Laster Picture

Jonesville, VA–Powell Valley National Bank (PVNB, Bank) is pleased to announce the promotion of Jason Laster to Vice President and Director of Information Technology of the Bank. 

Laster joined PVNB in 2002 and previously held the position of Assistant Vice President and Network Administrator.  Over the years Jason has gained a great deal of experience in many different capacities of Information Technology while most recently specializing in the development and execution of PVNB’s Cybersecurity Program.  He is a Certified Banking Cybersecurity Manager and a Certified Banking Security Technology Professional.  In his new role, Laster will oversee PVNB’s team of information technology professionals and continue to manage the Bank’s cybersecurity program, network, and systems.  Additionally, he will oversee the Bank’s business continuity and disaster recovery programs along with daily activities and administration of PVNB’s information services.

“With over 17 years of information technology experience at our Bank, Jason plays a vital role in protecting PVNB and its future, as we strive to stay on the forefront of operational efficiency and cybersecurity,” says Powell Valley National Bank President and CEO, Leton L. Harding, Jr.  “In today’s society, ensuring data security and identity protection is one of the most important functions of any bank and we are confident that as we continue to expand our footprint throughout the region that with Jason’s leadership our Bank will remain at the forefront of technology, security, and safety.”

Laster is a native of Stickleyville, VA.  He holds an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Computer Networking Technology from Mountain Empire Community College.  He and his wife, Amanda, have one son, Easton.   They are members of the Woodway Church of God and reside in Stickleyville, VA.