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Local banks to become Skyline

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In March, Grayson National Bank and Bank of Floyd branches will become Skyline National Bank. Here’s what customers can expect.

By Shaina Stockton

INDEPENDENCE — Since the announcement came in November 2015 that Grayson National Bank and Bank of Floyd would combine their 200-plus years of banking experience, the two entities have put many hours of time and effort into a smooth transition, as well as appropriate new branding that reflects their shared core values.

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This week, the two banks announced that their new, combined name will be Skyline National Bank: a nod to the local communities they will continue to serve.

The two banks have legally been one entity since July 1, 2016; however, their systems conversion has yet to take place. The banks chose to launch their rebranding simultaneously. Both banks will convert to Skyline during the weekend of March 10, closing at 2 p.m. that Friday and re-opening under the new name on March 13 at 8 a.m.

Since the banks announced their combination, they have promised that customers will continue to see the same familiar faces working at their branch, and the same level of customer care as before, just in a larger capacity.

“When we started this process, we recognized that this wasn’t just an exercise in finding a new name, but in branding us in a way that recognizes the outcome of putting these banks together. Skyline was the perfect acrostic for the values we believe in together,” Skyline National Bank President and CEO Allan Funk said in an interview with the newspaper.

In choosing the new name, Funk said there were several focus groups held, in addition to receiving input from customers, non-customers, employees and results from surveys.

“We wanted to draw a picture of who we were corporately, and what we wanted to do in the communities,” Funk said.

The word “Skyline” is a nod to the variety of skylines that define the localities where many of the bank’s customers — as well as employees and the administrators — grew up. “For example, when you drive down Fries Road, and see those three mountains lined up perfectly in the distance, that’s my skyline. In Independence, some views allow us to see into North Carolina; while residents of Sparta are looking back into Grayson County. Closer to Hillsville, they are looking into Floyd and can see Buffalo Mountain; while others in Floyd are looking into Montgomery County. All of our communities are defined by these unique skylines, so the name really captures our area,” Funk said.

Additionally, the word serves as an acronym to highlight the shared values of both banks: Smart, Kind, Young at heart, Local, Inspired, Non-conforming and Energetic.

“We don’t want to do this the same way as any other bank,” Funk explained. “We recognize the importance of what we do. Banks are what help our community take on a new loan, pay off an old one, take on the financial burdens of expensive home repairs, and get through the lines of the grocery store with enough money left to pay their rent. We are driving a bank that is owned by the people.”

In addition to the new name, the logo of Skyline National Bank depicts two entities joined by the natural beauty of the area — the negative space between the two joined symbols signify important features of the area, such as the New River and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even the color blue encompasses the various shades found in these area skylines.

When asked about the banks’ status since the initial partnership announcement, Funk said the process has gone smoothly. “We’ve done just as we said in the beginning. We have good back office operations, and we have been able to achieve the financial targets we first laid out. We believe 2017 will follow the same pattern as our earliest projections,” Funk said.

As promised, there have been no layoffs in personnel; in fact, there are a few new faces, Funk said. The bank currently has approximately 175 employees.

The branches of the two banks do not overlap, with the exception of the two banks in Hillsville. After the system convergence in March, the two branches will combine into one facility, at the former Grayson National Bank branch at 419 S. Main St. The combined facility will be staffed with the employees from both banks. A move date in mid-2017 is anticipated, and Hillsville customers will be given 90 days notice prior to the move.

Skyline National Bank’s goal is to provide personal and business banking products and services, while maintaining the distinction of being a hometown, independent bank that makes decisions locally and is committed to its community, according to a news release.

Under the parent company of Floyd-based Parkway Acquisition Corp., Skyline National Bank serves southwestern Virginia and northwestern North Carolina with 17 branches, total assets of more than $550 million, deposits of $500 million and shareholder’s equity of $55 million.

“Our tradition of caring for the community has always been important to us, so we joined forces to be able to do more for the communities we serve,” Funk said in the official news release announcing the Skyline rebranding. “We have a more focused commitment to help create financially healthy communities and to provide service that’s always our best.”

The systems conversion is expected to be “fairly seamless, as there will be no changes to account numbers, routing numbers or accounts, but bank officials want customers to be aware that there will be some early branch closings and interruptions in service that particular weekend,” the release reads.

Bank officials note that customers should continue to use their original bank branch until the completion of the systems conversion at 8 a.m. March 13. From that point forward, customers may use all Skyline National Bank branches.

In a brochure that has been mailed out to all customers, a Frequently Asked Questions section summarizes many details of the upcoming systems conversion.

While the change takes place from March 10-13, ATMs will still work normally; however, online banking and mobile banking will be unavailable.

Account numbers and accounts will not change; however, several new accounts will be offered, and customers are invited to visit their bank branch to review any new options that interest them.

Customers will not need to order new checks; the old checks will be replaced gradually as customers order new batches. Customers will receive a debit card through the mail at no charge prior to the systems conversion weekend, and are asked to activate them as soon as possible, no later than March 13.

Funk noted that the new cards can’t be used prior to March 13; however, the old Grayson and Floyd debit cards will continue to work until the conversion is complete.

The new website address will be SkylineNationalBank.com. Customers who have the old websites bookmarked will be automatically redirected to the new website.