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Monica DeLong Will Retire After Thirty Years In Banking

Ask Monica DeLong to talk about her career in banking and she’s quick to laugh and tell you she’s been around so long she came with the building. That is sort of true as Monica was one of the employees who worked for the former Salt Creek Valley Bank since before it joined the VCNB family. Ask again and she’ll tell you about the people and about what they have meant to her during her thirty year career.

Go with Monica anywhere around Laurelville and it’s hard to believe she wasn’t born there. However, there was a time she didn’t know anyone in that community other than her husband’s parents.

Monica DeLong Retires from Vinton County National BankThe tenth in a line of eleven children, Monica grew up in rural Ross County. She was class valedictorian at Paint Valley High School. While in school she met Andrew DeLong, the high school sweetheart who would change her life. The couple married a year after graduation and they moved to a farm near Laurelville where they still reside. She tried a few different jobs before discovering banking.

“I remember driving by that little bank on the corner and thinking I wanted to work there someday. So I typed up a resume and a letter of interest and sent it in,” Monica recalled. She started in 1987, making $4.35 an hour to work the drive-thru. This job provided opportunity to meet and get to know customers in her new community. Today, she says those customers are her friends and many feel like family.

It wasn’t long before Monica began embracing new tasks. “We were a small bank so that meant you had to be able to do a little of everything,” she explained. This empowered her to learn different areas of banking including internal audit, accounting and shareholder relations. As Head Computer Operator, she was responsible for Salt Creek’s first email address.

Of all that she did in those early days of her career, Monica is most proud of the work she did for the bank’s shareholders. She was part of an effort that expanded the annual shareholders meeting from a small meeting in the board room to a popular annual dinner that attracted a large crowd. In 2001, she was proud to be part of the bank’s Centennial celebration which they dubbed “A Century of Service and Dedication.”

“It meant the world to me to be here celebrating the bank’s hundredth anniversary,” she explained. “That was something really special for our town.”

In 2007 there developed a desire among bank leadership to sell the bank to the right purchaser. She calls that “a challenging time” as she and bank leaders worked to determine what was best for the bank’s shareholders and customers.

That’s when Vinton County National Bank came into her life and when she says she “came with the building.”

Monica smiles when she talks about the women of the bank who quickly became supportive colleagues and friends. “It really is about the people, the friendships you make,” she said as she recalled several individuals who befriended, mentored and supported her over the years.

Monica’s career with VCNB has progressed through a number of roles in the retail and operations departments, providing her with a comprehensive picture of the bank and the numerous parts and pieces that make it work. Among her favorite things has been working in products and services, training staff and in helping start Business Online Banking for business customers. “Through it all, I have done a lot of things I enjoyed. I have gotten to do a lot of training and really loved that. I enjoyed when people got it. There’s a satisfaction in knowing you helped someone understand something.”

That’s a common theme in conversation with Monica. It seems everything she does is geared toward helping others. “I’ve had a lot of roles here but it has always involved serving others. Serving the branches, serving coworkers, serving customers. I like helping. I like making processes easier for everyone.”

Today, as Senior Operations Officer, her work focuses on customer service. “I have always believed that customer service is the heart of any business, especially a bank. Every bank offers similar products. Give good customer service to your customers, give good customer service to your coworkers, give good service to your vendors and you’ll set yourself apart,” she said.

While many coworkers wish she would stay longer, Monica feels like this is the time to step away and do some other things. In fact, she has a lot to look forward to in the coming months with spring on the horizon and an addition coming to the family.  Monica and Andrew have two daughters, Sarah and Jessica, who are both grown and married. Their first grandchild is due soon and Monica is eager to become a grandmother.

She’s an avid quilter who enjoys gardening, volunteering and spending time with family. She loves their farm animals and, at the time of writing, had chickens, donkeys and 45 young lambs. She loves other elements of the farm that involve hard work but keep neighbors stopping by to purchase fresh strawberries, pumpkins, straw and hay.

Monica is also generous with her time. She’s the Recording Secretary for the Elizabeth Sherman Reese Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She has volunteered with a number of organizations over the years including the Laurelville Church of God and Operation Christmas Child. She has even put her handiwork to good use by making items to donate to Quilts of Valor. One year, she and her daughters made blankets for every kindergarten student at Laurelville Elementary.

When asked what advice she has for someone entering the workforce or trying to polish up their performance at work, Monica had several tips to share. “Show up and be present. Arrive five to ten minutes early to be sure you’re on time. Do as you’re told and ask for more to do if you finish what you’re given. There’s always more work to do,” she said. “Be good to your customers and coworkers. Be honest with yourself and with others. Respect the business and the managers because work is a lot harder when you are pushing against the people you work for. Never stop learning. There’s always opportunity to learn, grow and improve. There’s probably more but this is a good start to being a better employee.”

While Monica is a little misty eyed when she talks about missing people, she is excited for what is to come. “I’ll miss the customers but I’ll still see them around Laurelville. I’m not leaving town, just the bank!” she laughed. “I’m looking forward to being a fulltime farmer’s wife and to having time to catch up with family. I look forward to gathering eggs, taking walks and watching the animals. Plus, I’m going to be a grandma in June! There’s so much to look forward to and I can hardly wait!”

Monica’s last day will be Friday, March 31. She will celebrate with a luncheon with coworkers. She will also have cookies and punch in the lobby for customers who wish to stop by and wish her well. Cookies and punch will be offered for customers between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday, March 31. 

Congratulations Monica! We wish you well!

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