Barnette, Bender, and Foley Receive Promotions at Benchmark

May 7, 2018 - Benchmark Community Bank is pleased to announce the promotions of three Lunenburg County residents to new leadership positions within the bank’s management team.Holly BlackwellHolly Blackwell

Kenbridge Branch Manager Jerry Barnette has been promoted to Assistant Vice President/Credit Administration. Barnette joined Benchmark in 2012 as a Customer Service Representative and became Branch Manager of the flagship location in Kenbridge in 2016. A Kenbridge resident and 2009 graduate of Bluefield College with a B.S. in Management and Leadership, Barnette brought to Benchmark experience in the insurance, banking, and construction industries.

Courtney Bender has been named Vice President/Branch Manager replacing Barnette at the downtown Kenbridge branch. She received the promotion after serving at the Blackstone branch as Vice President/Relationship Banker since 2016. Bender comes to the position with over 20 years of banking experience, the last 15 with Benchmark. A resident of Kenbridge, Bender studied at Southside Virginia Community College and is locally involved in the Kenbridge Elementary School PTO, as well as the Lunenburg County Chamber of Commerce.

Holly BlackwellRice resident and Lunenburg native Robert Foley has replaced Bender as Relationship Banker at the Blackstone branch located at 400 Church Street. A 2015 graduate of Longwood University, Foley joined Benchmark in 2013 as a summer teller and gained retail experience in the Victoria branch before transferring to the South Main Street Farmville branch in 2016. In 2017, Foley entered Benchmark’s management training program as a roving Relationship Banker before his current affiliation with the Blackstone branch on April 1, 2018.

In his new capacity, Barnette will be coordinating strategic operational vendor relationships, as well as facilitating internal reporting and risk mitigation activities. “This is a very different role from what I was doing on Benchmark’s retail side,” Barnette said. “Experiencing how the bank operates administratively to serve our customers is an aspect of Benchmark to which I’m looking forward.”

Lunenburg native Bender is delighted to be returning to her home county. “When I received the chance to come back to Lunenburg, I was thrilled,” Bender said. “I’ve lived here my whole life, know so many people, and am raising my family here. Being able to serve people I’ve known since childhood is very gratifying.”

Settling into one location after a period of serving multiple branches is exciting for Foley. “I really enjoyed getting to know my role as a Relationship Banker working in various locations,” he said. “Being permanently affiliated with the Blackstone branch, though, will give me the opportunity to develop the relationships so important to Benchmark and my position within the bank. I’m excited to be getting to know customers I know I’ll be working with for a long time. It makes me feel like I’ve come home.”

“It is always exciting to be part of the development of our employees’ banking careers,” said Benchmark Executive Vice President for Retail Banking LeAnne Emert in making the announcement. “Jerry, Courtney, and Robert have all exhibited a real talent for Benchmark’s style of customer-focused banking. We are exceedingly pleased to have each of them serving in their new capacities and look forward to a great future with Benchmark for each of them.”

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. Since 2007, 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 call (434) 676-8444.

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


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