New River Valley Banks Doing Just Fine, Thank You

Kudos to The Roanoke Times for reporting on this, I think it’s timely information, written by Jeff Sturgeon … (bold emphases are mine)

National Bank of Blacksburg earned a record $13.6 million. (founded in 1891 – 118 years ago)
Bank of Floyd, going strong at 133 years old, made nearly $1.5 million.
The Bank of Fincastle, with eight offices or drive-ups, did better than SunTrust Bank, with 1,775 locations, on such key measures as return on equity.

Bank of Botetourt beat Bank of America, the second largest bank in the United States, by a hair on ROE.
StellarOne, the former FNB Corp., long dominant in the New River Valley, booked a profit as well.

These are among the 75 percent of banks that made money during a calendar year with a fourth quarter that turned “atrocious,” to quote Davenport & Co. analyst Allan Bach.

Why is this important?  Because the banks here in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford – throughout the New River Valley – seem to be as busy as they’ve ever been.  In fact, as i wrote this post an attorney friend updated his Facebook page to say that he was so busy with bank refinances that he could hardly see straight!  Yet when I watch the news, it appears that that they’re shutting their doors.  The fact of the matter is, most banks in our area have avoided the trends that have been ripping through so many other banks across the country.  Instead of overextending both the bank and borrowers, bank administrations throughout the New River Valley have been sticking with business principles that, in some cases, they’ve been following for more than 100 years.  Investment in local economiesProfitability over growth for the sake of growthNot being everything to everybody.


I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of the message sent to shareholders of National Bank of Blacksburg recently, by President and CEO of the Bank Jim Rakes.  You can read the whole letter below, but I think it’s a interesting look at how banks in the New River Valley approach serving their customers.  Highlights include increases in net income (7.24%), total assets (5.38%), and net loans (9.89%) over the previous year, and a consistent rate of new loans in local communities all year long.  Nonperforming loans were 0.23% of total loans (up one hundredth of a percent from 2007) … listen to the news tonight and see if news like this is reported.  My sense is that it won’t be and that’s a shame, because National Bank of Blacksburg – and so many other local companies – are doing things the right way.  Oh, and for the first quarter of 2009?  NBB is reporting higher 1Q earnings than expected, up another 6.48% from last year at this time.  That’s consistency learned over 117 years, I think.

Thus ends my cheerleading for local banks.  There’s a reason why your real estate agent SHOULD be pushing the use of a local lender, and one reason is that lenders in the New River Valley aren’t following the patterns of other areas.  They’re positive on their local communities, they strive – diligently – to create relationships, and they’re committed to protecting the asset.  Want to talk to some of these lenders?  Email me, I’ll send you some recommendations.


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