Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Reports 3rd Quarter and Year-to-Date Earnings

October 23, 2017 - Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based holding company for Benchmark Community Bank, announced earnings of $1,979,037, or $0.38 per share, for the third quarter of 2017. This compares to $1,734,759, or $0.34 per share, for the third quarter of 2016. Net income through the first nine months of the year amounted to $5,432,293, or $1.05 per share, up from the $4,991,235, or $0.97 per share, reported through the first nine months of 2016.

Return on average equity of 10.93% and return on average assets of 1.28% year-to-date increased from 10.65% and 1.25%, respectively, reported for the first nine months of last year. Both ratios remain strong and are very competitive within the banking industry.

Loan demand remains strong, as evidenced by the $18.2 million growth in loans over the past nine months. Despite several increases to the prime rate by the Federal Reserve, overall interest rates continue to remain low. The bank’s yield on loans actually declined from 5.36% to 5.30% through the first nine months of the year; however, the increase in loan volume drove the bank’s interest and fee income up by $839 thousand through the first nine months of the year.

Total deposits of $491.9 million are down from $500.7 million as of December 31, 2016. Despite an $8.9 million increase in non-interest bearing checking accounts this year, interest-bearing checking accounts are down $13.6 million. This decline is due to a normal fluctuation in municipal checking accounts, and management expects this number to increase during the fourth quarter as these municipalities collect year-end taxes. Money market checking accounts, in combination with savings accounts, have increased by $8.9 million year-to-date while time deposits are down $12.9 million. The current 0.38% cost of deposits is down from 0.46% last September, reducing year-to-date interest expense from $1.6 million to $1.4 million through the first nine months of the year. Overall, the bank’s net interest margin has increased from 4.49% to 4.54% when comparing the first nine months of 2017 to the same period last year.

Net charge-offs for the first nine months of the year amounted to $325 thousand, up from the $115 thousand charged off in the first nine months of 2016. Despite the increase in charge offs, the overall level remains very low relative to the size of the loan portfolio, and overall asset quality remains very strong. During the first nine months of the year, a total of $502 thousand has been provisioned to loan loss reserve, compared to no provision during the first nine months of 2016. The current loan loss reserve of $4.8 million represents 1.03% of total loans.

The common stock of Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. trades on the OTC Pink marketplace under the symbol BMBN. Any stockbroker can assist with purchases of the company's stock, as well as with sales of holdings.

Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is headquartered in Kenbridge, VA, and is the company's sole subsidiary which operates twelve banking offices throughout central Southside Virginia and loan production offices in Henderson and Wake Forest, NC. In June, for the 11th year in a row, Benchmark was named one of the Top 200 Community Banks in the nation by American Banker magazine. Additional information is available on the company's website,

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



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