Who we are
Benchmark Community Bank focuses on serving Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. We have been around for 45 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 6,000 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 45 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, North Carolina.
2016 A loan production office is opened in Henderson, North Carolina.
The Kenbridge branch is moved to a new free-standing building.
The Victoria office is 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 plus small but growing offices in Wake Forest and Henderson, North Carolina. 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, Chief Financial Officer, and LeAnne R. Emert, Retail Banking. The senior management team includes: L. Michael Arthur Jr., Credit Administration; Jennifer M. Clark, Human Resources; Steve Creedle, Business Banking; Rick L. Houser, North Carolina Market Executive; and Lee Minix, Credit Officer. 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 170 people throughout Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina.
Executive Officers, Benchmark Community Bank
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 / Credit Administration
Jenny Clark, Senior VP / Human Resources
Steve Creedle, Senior VP / Business Banking
Rick Houser, Senior VP / North Carolina Market Executive
Lee Minix, Senior VP / Credit Officer
Allen Murray, VP / Retail Banking Regional Management
John Webb, VP / Retail Banking Area Management
Nicole Martin, VP / Compliance & Customer Relations
Helen Person, VP / Marketing & Public Relations
Buddy Whittaker, VP / Data Processing
Tabitha Poore, VP / Controller
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.
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
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.