Benchmark Community Bank is the largest bank focused exclusively on serving Southside Virginia. We have been around for 43 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 6,900 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 43 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 new branch was built for South Hill.
2012 The Lawrenceville branch was renovated.
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. The headquarters remains in Kenbridge.
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, Ken Reeves, and Neil Burke. Stafford oversees retail banking and Reeves business banking. 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 140 people.
The Administrative/Operations team at Benchmark includes:
Michael O. Walker, President & CEO
Jay Stafford - Chief Banking Officer
Neil Burke - Chief Financial Officer
Ken Reeves - Business Banking
LeAnne Emert, Allen Murray - Retail Banking
Mike Arthur, Nicole Martin - Compliance
Jenny Clark - Human Resources
Lucia Malon - Marketing & Public Relations
Susan Parrish - Operations
Buddy Whittaker - Data Processing
Our Board of Directors includes:
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
Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Declares a 2-for-1 Stock Split
Benchmark Reports 3rd Quarter & Year-to-Date Earnings for 2014
Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Reports Increased 2nd Quarter & Year-to-Date Earnings for 2014
Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Declares Semi-Annual Dividend
Roberts Joins Benchmark Board
Benchmark Employee Passes Virginia CPA Exam
Benchmark Welcomes New Loan Specialist
Benchmark Announces Higher Earnings for 2013
Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Declares Semi-Annual Dividend
Benchmark Reports 3rd Quarter & Year-to-Date Earnings for 2013
Benchmark Reports Increased 2nd Quarter & Year-to-Date Earnings for 2013
Benchmark Ranked #33 Among Community Banks
Benchmark Announces 1st Quarter Results for 2013
Benchmark Adds New Board Member
Benchmark Welcomes New Financial Consultant
Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Announces Higher Earnings for 2012
Articles and publicity about Benchmark and its employees include:
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.
September 2013 - How to Raise Your Child to Be Money-Smart, an informational segment on the Today show
January 2011 - Rewards Junkies May Turn to Smaller Banks for Best Debit Perks, article in Bloomberg Businessweek section
February 2010 - 2010 to Be Big Year for Benchmark, article in the South Hill Enterprise, Getting to Know South Hill section
November 2009 - BCB CEO and President Mike Walker is elected Chairman of the VACB. (read press release)
May 2009 - Focus on Community Makes Benchmark Strong, article in the Mecklenburg Sun, Heart of the Community section
May 2009 - Making Dreams of Home Ownership Come True, article in the South Hill Enterprise, Women in Business section
February 2009 - Heading into '09 Stronger than Ever, article in the South Hill Enterprise, Getting to Know South Hill section
Our shareholder newsletter is published 3 times a year:
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
Fall 2013: Mobile Deposit Launches; Benchmark for Life Financial Answer Center
Summer 2013: Still Ranking High; New Program for Young Adults
Spring 2013: Benchmark Board Expands; New Financial Consultant Added
Fall 2012: Grand Opening of Clarksville Facility
Summer 2012: Benchmark Ranked #43 in U.S. Banker Magazine Report
Spring 2012: Renovations in Lawrenceville; New Clarksville Facility
Fall 2011: Benchmark Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Summer 2011: Benchmark Climbs Again
Spring 2011: Bank Gets New CRM System
We've made these Southside Virginians smile!
Southside Marine & Auto, Clarksville
S&B Donuts, South Hill
Luigi's Place, Crewe
Denise Woods, Blackstone
Robert Glenn, Farmville
Victoria Rowe, Clarksville
Smith's Pharmacy, Kenbridge
Miracle One, South Boston
Dianne Simpson, Farmville
Dorothy Vanarsdall, Crewe
Ed & Brenda Clancy, Clarksville
Johnny McNabb, Blackstone
Mark & Beth Lucy, Lawrenceville
Thomasine Stroble, Farmville
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.
We know it's not easy to change banks, especially when it involves a checking account. Direct deposits and withdrawals complicate the situation. And for those who use Bill Pay, it can be even more complicated. That's why Benchmark developed the No Sweat Switch Kit. It was designed to help make the process a little easier. Take a look! We'll even help you complete the forms if you want. Just give us a call or come on in!