Inside Benchmark online
A quarterly newsletter for shareholders and customers
SPRING 2018 - 1st Quarter
Readers name Benchmark “Best”
Readers in six of Benchmark’s Southside Virginia markets have honored their local branches by naming them their Readers’ Choice and Best of the Best for 2018. Representatives from the Times-Gazette (Brunswick County), The Gazette- Virginian (Halifax County), The News-Progress (Mecklenburg County), and the South Hill Enterprise notified the bank of their selections earlier this year.
"We are so proud of our Benchmark Teams wherever we serve and are most appreciative of this recognition in the markets that sponsor these annual reader polls," said President/CEO Jay Stafford of the awards. "We have some of the most conscientious, customer-friendly employees in banking. It is quite an honor to have the people we serve everyday appreciate their hard work."
Executive VP/Retail Banking LeAnne Emert echoed Stafford’s sentiments. "Last fall, we encouraged our Benchmarkers to 'Be the E' in everything they do. We are excited to help people on their banking journey. It is truly heartening to know that those efforts are recognized and appreciated by our customers."
McFarland promoted to South Hill Area Manager
Veteran banker Holly (Blackwell) McFarland has been promoted to VP/Area Manager for the South Hill market. Part of the Benchmark team since August 2016, McFarland’s primary responsibility is serving as a resource for the delivery of consumer-focused solutions and service addressing the needs and opportunities in one of Benchmark’s busiest markets: South Hill.
A graduate of The Virginia Bankers Association School of Bank Management, McFarland brings to the table a background in bank management and administration. Coupled with her considerable expertise in South Hill’s community needs and connections, her skill set will be beneficial for Benchmark’s continued growth.
"The opportunities Benchmark has provided for me to stretch professionally are unique in the banking industry," McFarland said. "As South Hill’s oldest banking name, Benchmark has deep roots in our community. We are always looking to transform products and services to help our customers however possible. The ability to customize what we offer to better address a customer’s needs is revolutionary in banking. Benchmark’s customer-focused business philosophy and mine are in perfect sync."
Emert talks youth programs for Independent Banker Gen Z story
It’s never to early to think about the customer of tomorrow, according to community bankers interviewed by Independent Banker in December 2017. Focused on post-Millenial youth, "Gen Z is coming. Here’s how to get ready" (December 1, 2017) explored efforts by community banks to capture these young customers.
"We don’t want them to ever have to leave us as a bank," says LeAnne Emert, executive vice president/retail banking at the $577 million-asset, 14-office bank. "We want to start them young and give them tools as they grow into adulthood."
Writer Kelly Pike’s piece examined traditional banking practices partnered with cutting edge technology to meet the expected needs of Gen Z’ers. Community bankers anticipate a combination of digital and brick-and-mortar service delivery with strong financial education will be key for Gen Z.
Be the E!
It doesn’t take long for a new Benchmark customer to be immersed in "Be the E" spirit. Encouraging Benchmarkers to provide an enthusiastic customer experience, the slogan was introduced during the 2017 All Hands Day in September.
"Be the E" focuses on inspiring superlative words beginning with the letter "E." Employee tee-shirts emblazoned with words like exceptional, engaged, empowered, efficient, and entrusted are worn on specified Spirit Fridays and motivate branch teams to exemplify the culture that defines Benchmark for our customers.
Benchmark’s just-released 2017 Annual Report “With you for Life! The Next Chapter” includes a two-page spread featuring our "Be the E" spirit sweeping the bank. It’s another way we’re "With you for Life!"