Benchmark sees growth in first quarter

Published 8:28 am Friday, May 19, 2023

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Benchmark Bankshares saw loan growth and higher earnings in the first quarter. The Kenbridge-based holding company for Benchmark Community Bank announced net income of $4.53 million, up from the $2.027 million earned during the first quarter of 2022. Overall, earnings per share increased from 45 cents to $1 for the period. 

 “Lending activity was unusually strong in 2022,” observed Jay A. Stafford. He serves as Benchmark’s President and CEO. “Though it has slowed somewhat this year, the loan growth has produced higher earnings through the first quarter of 2023.

Total loans are up $19.73 million for the quarter, with total loans up by $157.35 million over the last 12 months. Deposits also increased over the last 12 months, climbing by $37.5 million, even though they were flat for the first quarter of 2023. 

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“By adding short-term treasuries to our investment portfolio last year, we have provided a safe pathway for the generation of additional return while maintaining our overall liquidity position. Combined with increasing rates,” Stafford added. “Loan and investment portfolio growth resulted in a total interest income increase of over 44% during the first quarter of 2023.”

As of March 31, 2023, the current book value of the company was $20.13 per share compared to $18.20 one year ago. The closing share price at quarter-end was $22.95 per share, which represents a price-to-book trading ratio of 114%. The company currently has 4,517,109 shares outstanding.

Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is headquartered in Kenbridge. It is the company’s sole subsidiary and operates a total of 17 banking offices throughout central Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina.