Stafford elevated to bank president

Published 10:36 am Thursday, June 2, 2016

Benchmark Community Bank has named Jay A. Stafford president of the bank, according to a press release from the bank. The official appointment was made by the board of directors at its meeting on May 19.

The promotion follows the progression from executive vice president, a position he had held since last fall. Former President Mike Walker is retaining the title of chief executive officer.

In his role as executive vice president, Stafford has been responsible for a majority of the customer-facing operations of the bank including retail banking and the branch network, the business banking program and the secondary mortgage operation.

As president, he will continue in this role while broadening his institutional responsibilities, expanding his involvement in the decision-making process for the overall operation of the bank.

Working with Walker, he will be involved with both the short and long-term planning, impacting the future development of the bank.   

Stafford joined Benchmark in 1988 as a business development officer. In 1989, he became a branch manager, a position he held until 1998 when he was promoted to regional manager and given the responsibility of overseeing multiple branches of the bank, the release stated. In 2003, he was promoted to vice president/branch administrator, and given the responsibility of overseeing all of the bank’s branches.

Two years later, he was elevated to senior vice president. He was named chief banking officer in 2014 and executive vice president the following year.

Throughout his career, Stafford has pursued advanced and specialized education related to his goals as a banker. In 1994, he graduated from the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia. In 2005, he completed the graduate school of banking at the University of Wisconsin and three years later he obtained his MBA from the University of Maryland. His undergraduate degree is from Averett University, according to the release.

“It’s been almost 30 years since I made the decision to join the bank and move my family to Lunenburg County,” Stafford said. “Shortly after I arrived, many of the local industries were shutting down, and at that time, I saw how important a local bank like Benchmark was to the community.

“I felt I’ve always been in the right place here, contributing to the bank’s efforts to serve Southside communities while growing and prospering. During my tenure at Benchmark, I’ve had great mentors in former President Ben Watson and the many bank directors I’ve been so fortunate to have been associated with.”   

Originally from Fredericksburg, Stafford is married to the former Suzanne Bledsoe, of Blackstone. They have two grown children and two grandchildren. Over the years, he has been involved in numerous community organizations, holding offices and/or serving on the boards for several.