For the 14th consecutive year, Benchmark Community Bank has been named one of the nation’s Top 200 Community Banks.
Of the more than 5,000 banks located in the United States, the Top 200 compares performance among community banks with asset size below $2 billion. The annual peer analysis is sponsored by American Banker magazine, the recognized leader in financial industry publications.
Ranked at No. 62 on the 2020 Top 200 list, Benchmark is third in Virginia behind First National Corporation (First Bank), Strasburg (No. 29) and First Bancorp (First Bank & Trust), Lebanon (No. 35). A total of 11 Virginia community banks are included on the list.
“This the fourteenth consecutive year Benchmark has been named to the Top 200,” said Benchmark President and CEO Jay Stafford. “Our goal is to provide banking solutions that help our customers and communities reach their financial goals despite any situation we encounter. Benchmark’s legacy is built on solid financial ground supported by sound banking practices, so we are prepared to adjust to changes with which we’re presented.”
Claude Hanley is a partner in Capital Performance Group that compiles the data for the annual ranking. He observed that community banks on the Top 200 list managed to contain expense growth, thereby counterbalancing lower profit margins brought about by lower interest rates.
In 2019, Benchmark was able to increase earnings contributing to an improved level of performance, according to Stafford. “The bank’s leadership moved midyear to acquire outstanding shares of the bank’s stock,” he said. “Along with solid earnings, this move contributed to a higher Return on Average Equity. It is a tribute to our operational model that we are able to take advantage of opportunities that resulted in enhanced shareholder value.”
“Community banks are defined by how well we support the communities we serve,” Stafford said. “Looking at the current year, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a global conundrum none of us anticipated on January 1st. How community banks and other financial institutions respond to the needs of our customers is what will define us as a vital community resource working to assist both business and consumer customers through a situation we haven’t seen in over 100 years.
“We have always pledged to provide products and services to meet the needs of the communities we serve. As we adjust to accommodate the effects of this pandemic, we will continue working to provide a solid, well-run bank committed to helping our customers plot a course through a changing world.”
Benchmark Community Bank is the sole subsidiary of Benchmark Bankshares, Inc., which trades under the symbol BMBN on the OTC Pink marketplace. Based in Kenbridge, Benchmark has 17 branches throughout Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina.