Benchmark Promotions Prepare for the Future

May 10, 2017 - Benchmark Community Bank recently announced the promotions of six veteran members of the organization to compose the executive and senior management team guiding the bank’s future.

In making the announcements, Benchmark President Jay Stafford stated the purpose for the management restructuring is to create a comprehensive senior team representing various aspects of the bank’s operations. Included in the strategy are the areas of Benchmark’s retail banking, finance and accounting, information technology, credit administration, human resources, and business banking.

Leanne R. Emert, Senior Vice President/Retail Banking, has assumed the role of Executive Vice President/Retail Banking. A resident of Prospect, the 28-year banker is responsible for the day-to-day operation of Benchmark’s 12 full-service branches and chairs the Consumer Lending Committee. In her new role, Emert will become more involved in overall bank operations, as well as continue oversight of the bank’s customer relations and financial services programs. Emert graduated from the Southwest Graduate School of Banking in Dallas, TX, and is a 1988 Longwood University graduate. Additionally, she currently serves on the Virginia Bankers Association’s Retail Executives Committee.

E. Neil Burke, Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer, has been named Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer (CFO). A South Hill resident, Burke joined Benchmark in September 1999 where he has served as CFO since March 2008. He is a member of the Business Banking Committee, as well as Treasurer and Assistant Secretary to the bank and its holding company Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Burke’s primary responsibilities include managing the bank’s daily financial and accounting activities, facilitating investments, supervising the bank’s information technology processes, and overall risk management. With an undergraduate degree from Bridgewater College, Burke completed his MBA at Syracuse University and graduated from Stonier Graduate School of Banking in 2004. He currently serves on the Virginia Bankers Association’s CFO Committee.

Mike Arthur, Vice President/Credit Administration, has been promoted to Senior Vice President/Credit Administration. Affiliated with Benchmark since 2004, Arthur’s primary role is to manage the bank’s loan activities in the areas of consumer underwriting, loan operations, loan compliance, and loan portfolio safety and soundness. A Victoria native and resident of South Hill, Arthur is a graduate of Virginia Tech and the Graduate School of Banking in Madison, WI. Before joining Benchmark, Arthur was a bank examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Presently, he is facilitating refinement of the bank’s credit administration function.

Jennifer Clark, Vice President/Director of Human Resources, has been named to the position of Senior Vice President/Director of Human Resources. She joined Benchmark in 1996 as the bank’s first Human Resources Officer where she has facilitated significant employee growth and support. A Kenbridge resident and member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Clark has kept abreast of the increasingly complex practice of human resources through continuing education. During her tenure with Benchmark, Clark has spearheaded the implementation of Benchmark’s continually flourishing employee culture focused on relationship building and community support. A 1993 graduate of James Madison University, Clark holds a Master’s Degree in History from Florida State University. She has served on and chaired the Human Resources Committee for the Virginia Bankers Association.

Steve Creedle, Vice President/Senior Business Banker, has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President/Business Banker. A Benchmark employee since 2003 and lifelong South Hill resident, Creedle has served as a Business Banker, as well as the South Hill Branch Manager. An accomplished commercial lender, his personal loan production portfolio demonstrates his ability to build business relationships and address business customer needs. Creedle mentors Benchmark lenders in the areas of underwriting and structuring complex loans and is a member of the bank’s Business Banking Committee. Creedle is a graduate of The College of William and Mary and received his MBA from The University of Phoenix.

Lee Minix, Vice President/Senior Credit Officer, has assumed the position of Senior Vice President/Credit Officer. The Farmville resident is responsible for the overall soundness and quality of the bank’s business loan portfolio and has been affiliated with Benchmark since 2007. His specialty is the identification and rating of individual business loan risk, as well as general oversight of business borrowing relationships. A member of the Business Banking Committee, Minix is a longtime banker having spent almost ten years as an Internal Auditor, Credit Analyst, and City Executive prior to his time with Benchmark. A graduate of Virginia Tech, Minix previously served in the Farmville market developing and underwriting business loans.

"Benchmark has experienced steady growth under retiring CEO Mike Walker’s leadership," President Jay Stafford explained. "Mike has delivered to us a dynamic legacy that we want to ensure is perpetuated with strategic movement into the future.

"With twelve Virginia branches and a growing North Carolina loan operation, I believe it strategic to Mike’s legacy and Benchmark’s future to put in place a comprehensive senior management team of Benchmark leaders to provide vision and direction for the years ahead," he continued. "It’s facing the future with a restructured leadership philosophy supported by a team approach."

Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is headquartered in Kenbridge, VA. Along with its twelve banking offices located throughout central Southside Virginia, Benchmark operates loan production offices in Wake Forest and Henderson, NC. For the past ten years, Benchmark has been named one of the Top 200 Community Banks in the nation by American Banker magazine. To learn more about Benchmark, please visit or your local branch.

Contact: Helen Person, VP/Marketing
434-676-2666 ext. 1103



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