A mid-sized community banking institution with a small-town touch and a commitment to personal service
Last week we looked at a local bank which has remained small and devoted their lending efforts to bolstering their small-town economy. This week we look at Benchmark Community Bank, a similar institution in statistics and values but with more resources. With 13 locations across small towns in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina, they have expanded their reach over the past 50 years to serve similar communities to the one they started in, Kenbridge, VA. At heart, they’re a small-town bank, but have grown significantly in order to compete within modern banking trends and serve more local communities.
Benchmark Community Bank first opened in a doublewide mobile home in 1971, moving to their current HQ building three years later. After changing their name from Lunenburg County Bank in 1989, they steadily expanded their impact to open branches in other smaller towns. On their website, they emphasize staffing with local individuals “whose love of [their] hometown mirrors ours,” and remain locally owned and operated. Their online resources include lessons in financial literacy, and they award $10,000 in scholarships every year. It’s clear, not just from their lending portfolio which you’ll hear about below, but from their website and their community involvement that they genuinely care about the neighborhoods they work in.
Benchmark Community Bank does an extraordinary amount of housing lending--about 58% of their lending portfolio--with 84% of this devoted to housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. They also do a large amount of small business lending, with it being about 20% of the lending they do, and they even do a significant amount of small farm lending, meeting our benchmark for this statistic at about 2%. They’re 93% loaned out, meaning that most of their assets are being used for lending rather than remaining idle, and with a positive return on assets at about 1% and a long history of Satisfactory CRA ratings, this is a solid and safe banking option with which to invest your deposits.
If you’re looking to invest in small-town economies in southern Virginia, Benchmark has online and mobile banking options, and no eligibility requirements, which makes it possible for anyone to make this their Better Banking Option. To learn more and move your money today, check out their website.
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