Who we are
Benchmark Community Bank focuses on serving Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. We have been around for nearly 50 years helping area citizens and businesses thrive. We are, always have been, and intend to remain locally owned and operated.
Benchmark is a dynamic, full-service financial institution dedicated to the customers and communities we serve. Our branches are primarily staffed by local residents whose love of hometown 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 5,000 community banks nationwide. This is just one example of the many times that Benchmark has been recognized for its excellence.
What's our history?
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 48 years now, growth has been strong and steady. The timeline below gives a brief overview of Benchmark's growth:
The Benchmark Timeline
1971 The bank is formed as the Lunenburg County Bank, and the first office is opened in Kenbridge.
1974 The bank is relocated to its current site in Kenbridge and opens a branch in Victoria.
1989 Upon deciding to open branches in Farmville and South Hill, the Lunenburg County Bank is renamed Benchmark Community Bank.
1993 - 2003 Steady expansion increases the bank's reach to Crewe, Lawrenceville, Clarksville, Chase City and Blackstone.
2005 - 2006 A new Operations Center is completed, and the headquarters is renovated.
2007 A new office is opened in South Boston.
2008 A new office is opened in Halifax.
2010 A new facility is built for South Hill (formerly in a business center).
2012 The Lawrenceville branch is renovated.
2013 A new facility is built in Clarksville (formerly in a modular unit).
2014 A loan production office is opened in Wake Forest, NC, the first location outside of Virginia.
2016 A loan production office is opened in Henderson, NC.
The Kenbridge branch is moved to a newly renovated free-standing building.
The Victoria office is renovated.
2018 A new office is opened in Emporia, VA.
2019 A new office is opened in Youngsville, NC.
Since 1971, the bank now known as Benchmark Community Bank has grown to 16 locations spread across 7 Southside Virginia counties, plus small but growing offices in these North Carolina towns: Henderson, Wake Forest, and Youngsville. The headquarters remains in Kenbridge, Virginia.
Benchmark's current CEO is Jay A. Stafford. Stafford has been with the bank since 1987. A native of Fredricksburg, Virginia, Stafford was named President / CEO in May 2017.
The executive management team is composed of E. Neil Burke and LeAnne R. Emert. The senior management team serves as the bank's chief officers in their respective departments: L. Michael Arthur, Jr., Jennifer M. Clark, Steve Creedle, Rick L. Houser, Lee Minix, and Curtis Tyndall. The management team works with an active, hands-on board of directors composed of local business owners and leaders or retired professionals.
Benchmark employs over 180 people throughout Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina.
Jay A. Stafford, President / CEO
E. Neil Burke, Executive Vice President / Chief Financial Officer
LeAnne R. Emert, Executive Vice President / Retail Banking
Mike Arthur, Senior VP / Chief Administration Officer
Jenny Clark, Senior VP / Chief Human Resources Officer
Steve Creedle, Senior VP / Chief Lending Officer
Lee Minix, Senior VP / Chief Credit Officer
Rick Houser, Senior VP / North Carolina Market Executive
Nicole Martin, Senior VP / Operations
Tabitha Poore, Senior VP / Controller
Curtis Tyndall, Senior VP / Henderson Market Executive
Jake Allen, VP / Compliance & BSA Officer
Holly McFarland, VP / Regional Manager
Allen Murray, VP / Regional Manager
Matthew Newton, VP / IT Manager
Helen Person, VP / Director of Marketing
Janice Puleo, VP / Administration
Colette Saccoccio, VP / Training Coordinator
John Webb, VP / Regional Manager
Board of Directors, Benchmark Bankshares, Inc.:
Ernest R. Lail, Retired Executive - Chairman
Mary Jane Elkins, Southside Virginia Community College - Vice-Chair
Mark F. Bragg, Atlantic Medical, Inc. - Secretary
David K. Biggs, Biggs Construction Co., Inc.
Earl H. Carter, Jr., Taylor-Forbes Equipment Co., Inc.
Joel C. Cunningham, Jr., Joel C. Cunningham Law Office
Gregg Gordon, Aaron Creek Farms
Beth E. Moncure, Blackstone Emporium
Alfred A. Roberts, Southside Virginia Community College
Charles F. Simmons, Simmons & Associates Realty
Mark Southall, Creative Electrical Contractors
Ronnie E. Williams, Precision Pipes, Inc.
Jay A. Stafford, President / CEO
If you are new to the area or thinking about relocating here, one of the many things you probably need to consider is a new bank. As you compare your options, we encourage you read about our Benchmark for Life concept.
We also invite you to request a Newcomer's Bag.