County resident elected as Community Banks chairman

Published 11:00 am Friday, November 4, 2022

A Lunenburg County resident will serve as the next chairman for the Virginia Association of Community Banks. Jay A. Stafford is the president and CEO of Benchmark Community Bank in Kenbridge. His election took place during the association’s recent 45th annual convention.

Steve Yeakel, VACB President and CEO said, “Three times over our 45-year history, great leaders at Benchmark have led our association, through Ben Watson, Mike Walker, and now Jay,” said VACB President Steve Yeakel. “Jay has done much already to help us chart a path through the ever-changing landscape we face, and his year as Chairman will be one of enthusiasm and progress, just like he provides in his bank and his community.”

Stafford assumed the helm at Benchmark in May of 2017. A native of Fredericksburg, he joined Benchmark in 1988 as a business development officer, a position in which he served for one year before being named branch manager for the Victoria location. His responsibilities gradually expanded, and he was elected President in 2016.

Stafford’s lifelong career banking goals have been reinforced through his advanced and specialized education achievements. Having received his undergraduate degree from Averett College in 1982, Stafford graduated in 1994 from the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia. He completed the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin in 2005 prior to receiving his MBA from the University of Maryland in 2007.

Professionally, Stafford serves as a Trustee and Fellow of the Virginia Bankers Association School of Bank Management. He has been actively involved in Lunenburg Health Services since 1990 and was Founding President of the Lunenburg County Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he serves as Chairman of the Board at Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill. A resident of Lunenburg County since 1988, he is married to the former Suzanne Bledsoe of Blackstone. The Staffords have two grown children, three grandchildren, and a lively Black Labrador Retriever. In his free time, Stafford enjoys being in his garden or on the golf course.

“It is my honor to chair the VACB in the coming year,” Stafford said. “Our leadership team will be very active addressing many strategic objectives recently identified by the association. Accomplishing these will further enhance the value to our member banks, and ultimately to the communities we each serve.”

Headquartered in Richmond, the Virginia Association of Community Banks works with locally owned and operated banks to provide undiluted advocacy at the federal level, targeted education, and quality opportunities for collaboration among members and associate members. VACB and its members strive to improve the lives of customers and employees in community banks across the Commonwealth.