Benchmark Community Bank focuses on serving Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. We have been around for 44 years helping area citizens and businesses thrive. We are, always have been, and intend to remain locally owned and operated.
Benchmark is a full-service, progressive financial institution that is integrally involved with each of the communities it serves. We hire local residents whose love of community mirrors ours.
Members of the Benchmark family are also individuals who pride themselves in giving exceptional service. They love listening and always want to know what other community members are looking for in a financial institution. We gather this information regularly so that we can make the right decisions on new products and services. By right decisions, we mean, of course, what the people in the community want and need.
This year, Benchmark was once again named one of the top 200 community banks in the country by American Banker magazine (formerly U.S. Banker). There are approximately 6,500 community banks nationwide. This is just one example of the many times that Benchmark has been recognized for its excellence.
Originally founded as The Lunenburg County Bank, the predecessor to Benchmark Community Bank opened for business on September 8, 1971 in a "doublewide" in Kenbridge, Virginia. From those humble beginnings, Benchmark's leaders have developed a well-regarded institution upon which many Southside Virginians depend for their banking needs. For 44 years now, growth has been strong and steady. The timeline below gives a brief overview of Benchmark's growth:
1971 The bank was formed as the Lunenburg County Bank, and the first office was opened in Kenbridge.
1974 The bank relocated to its current site in Kenbridge and opened a branch in Victoria.
1989 Upon deciding to open branches in Farmville and South Hill, the Lunenburg County Bank was renamed Benchmark Community Bank.
1993 - 2003 Steady expansion increased the bank's reach to Crewe, Lawrenceville, Clarksville, Chase City and Blackstone.
2005 - 2006 A new Operations Center was completed, and the headquarters was renovated.
2007 A new office was opened in South Boston.
2008 A new office was opened in Halifax.
2010 A newfacility was built for South Hill.
2012 The Lawrenceville branch was renovated.
2013 A new facility was built in Clarksville.
2014 A loan production office was openend in Wake Forest, N.C.
For a detailed account of how Benchmark grew to its present size and scope, we invite you to read The Benchmark Story.
Since 1971, the bank now known as Benchmark Community Bank has grown to 12 locations spread across 6 Southside Virginia counties plus a samll but growing office in Wake Forest, North Carolina. The headquarters remains in Kenbridge, Virginia.
Benchmark's current president and CEO is Michael O. Walker. Walker has been with the bank since 1974 and took over the helm in 2005. He is a native of South Hill, Virginia.
Other members of the senior management team include Jay Stafford, and Neil Burke. Stafford is chief banking officer; Burke is chief financial officer. The management team works with an active, hands-on board of directors, all local business owners and leaders or retired professionals.
Benchmark employs approximately 150 people.
The Administrative/Operations team at Benchmark includes:
Michael O. Walker, President & CEO
Jay Stafford - Executive Vice President
Neil Burke - Chief Financial Officer
LeAnne Emert - Senior Vice President, Retail Banking
Mike Rowe - Senior Loan Officer
Allen Murray - Retail Banking Area Management
Mike Arthur - Credit Administration
Nicole Martin - Compliance & Customer Relations
Jenny Clark - Human Resources
Lucia Malon - Marketing & Public Relations
Susan Parrish - Card Services
Buddy Whittaker - Data Processing
Tabitha Poore - Operations
Ernest R. Lail, Retired Executive - Chairman
Mary Jane Elkins, Southside Virginia Community College - Vice-Chairman
Mark F. Bragg, Atlantic Medical, Inc. - Secretary
David K. Biggs, Biggs Construction Co., Inc.
Earl H. Carter, Jr., Taylor-Forbes Equipment Co., Inc.
Alfred A. Roberts, Southside Virginia Community College
Charles F. Simmons, Simmons & Associates Realty
Mark Southall, Creative Electrical Contractors
Cal Spencer, Harris, Matthews, and Crowder, P.C.
Beth Winn, Blackstone Emporium
Michael O. Walker, President and CEO, Benchmark Community Bank
Stafford Becomes Executive Vice President
Benchmark Promotes Steve Creedle
Benchmark Promotes Lee Minix
Benchmark Promotes Mike Rowe
Benchmark Employee Graduates from Bankers School
Benchmark Bankshares Reports Increased 2 Quarter and Year-to-Date Earnings
Benchmark Bankshares Declares Semi-Annual Dividend
Benchmark Welcomes New Consultant
Benchmark Announces Earnings for 2014
Benchmark Announces Scholarship Opportunities for High School Seniors
Benchmark Bankshares Declares Semi-Annual Dividend
Benchmark Bankshares Declares a 2-for-1 Stock Split
Benchmark Reports 3rd Quarter & Year-to-Date Earnings for 2014
Articles and publicity about Benchmark and its employees include:
January 2015 - A View from the Top at Benchmark, article in the South Hill Enterprise, Progress '15 section
January 2015 - A Tree Grows in Southside, article on the Southside Coffee Bean website
June 2014 - Benchmark is listed as one of "The Best of the Best" in community banks with assets of $300-$500 million by the Independent Community Bankers of America
May 2014 - Benchmark is once again named one of the top 200 community banks in the nation by American Banker magazine
Our shareholder newsletter is published 3 times a year:
Fall 2015: Promotions Announced; Business Bankers Hired for North Carolina Markets
Summer 2015: Bank Reaches $500 Million in Assets; First $mart$tart Scholarships Awarded
Spring 2015: Bank Recognized in Several Areas; Mortgage Business Booming
Fall 2014: South Hill Branch Celebrates 25 Years; Benchmark to Award Scholarships
Summer 2014: Benchmark Makes Three National Lists; Branches Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries
Spring 2014: NC Loan Operation Underway; Introducing New Agricultural Loan Specialist
Moving or just moved to the area? Welcome to Southside Virginia! We are pleased you have chosen to move here and hope you will love it as much as we do.
Allow us to introduce ourselves. Benchmark Community Bank is locally owned and operated with 12 branches, all in Southside Virginia. Our branches are conveniently located within a 65-mile radius of our Kenbridge, Virginia headquarters. Our lobbies are open all day. We have extended hours for our drive-thrus and additional access at our 24-hour ATMs.
At Benchmark, we care deeply about the community. We reinvest in the local economy and support local civic organizations in various ways. Community involvement is at the core of our mission which, incidentally, has not changed in 40 years.
We also take pride in building strong relationships with the individuals, families, and businesses we serve. Our goal is to help you reach your goals! And, as we hope you'll soon discover, we're always willing to "go the extra mile" to do it. It is part of our Pledge to you.
To help you get to know both us and Southside Virginia better, we would like to give you a Welcome Bag. This handy, reusable canvas bag contains helpful information on the area such as a map, business resources, and a list of community organizations. It also has information on Benchmark products and services including our switch kit, a tool to help make your account transitions just a little bit easier. Plus, as our way of saying we're glad you're here, we've added some Benchmark gifts. We hope you will find them useful.
To get your Welcome Bag, just fill out the appropriate section of our contact form or call the branch nearest your new home.