Benchmark enters agreement with First Community Bank

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 7, 2022

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Benchmark Community Bank and First Community Bank jointly announced today their entry into an agreement pursuant to which Benchmark will purchase First Community’s Emporia, Virginia Branch. The purchase includes the branch real estate, certain personal property and all deposits (but not loans) associated with the branch.

The sole subsidiary of Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (OTC Pink: BMBN), Benchmark Community Bank (“Benchmark”) is headquartered in Kenbridge. First Community Bank (“First Community”), the banking subsidiary of First Community Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCBC), is headquartered in Bluefield.

Benchmark opened its Emporia branch in September 2018, as the 15th of its 17 locations. The bank operates 14 ATMs located throughout southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. Its menu of products and services include 24-hour account access via Internet Banking and Bank-by-Phone, as well as mobile banking for both personal deposit and business accounts. Benchmark offers a full array of personal, business and mortgage loan products.

“Since moving to Emporia in 2018, we have looked for an opportunity to move into a larger, full-service facility in the community,” said Jay A. Stafford, president and chief executive officer of Benchmark Community Bank. “Our current location has served as a wonderful introduction to the Emporia community. We are excited to serve First Community’s customers and expand our product and service offerings to the citizens of Emporia and the surrounding area.”

Gary Mills, president of First Community Bankshares, Inc. and chief executive officer and president of First Community Bank, commented, “Our staff members in Emporia are all outstanding. In fact, our Emporia customers and the Emporia community are top notch. While we appreciate the Emporia community, we recognize that our Emporia branch is geographically removed from our Richmond operations and Southwest Virginia headquarters. We have known Jay and his team for a long time and are confident Benchmark will do well by our employees and customers.”

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of all required regulatory approvals, enables both banks to achieve further concentration of banking operations in their respective core operating markets. It is anticipated to close later this year.