TowneBank celebrates 25th anniversary

Published 8:49 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

TowneBank, which completed its merger with Windsor-founded Farmers Bank in early 2023, held a 25th anniversary meeting of shareholders at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on May 22.
Before an audience of nearly 1,000 people, Executive Chairman Bob Aston looked back on the bank’s beginnings in his Portsmouth garage with a group of renowned community bankers in 1998. The founding officers were recognized along with the original employees who helped to open the bank on April 8, 1999. President and CEO Billy Foster then addressed the future of the company and how it is positioned for success over the next quarter century.
The day also served as a celebration of the contributions of Judge Richard S. Bray, a longtime friend to the Towne family who passed away in May. Bray served as lead director, having been elected to the corporate board in 2006 while also serving on the bank’s Chesapeake, Currituck, and Towne Financial Services Group boards over the years.
He was fond of saying, “This is much more than a bank. It’s a very caring place.” He was passionate about seeing and responding to the needs of his community, and he found a kinship in that pursuit as a member of the Towne family.
In addition to the election of directors and other shareholder approvals, the meeting served as an opportunity to recognize the service of two retiring corporate directors, Bradford L. Cherry and Jacqueline B. Amato.
Cherry was a founding member of the Portsmouth board and Amato was appointed to the corporate board when she joined the company as the first president of TowneBank Mortgage. Bob Aston and Billy Foster presented resolutions in appreciation of their distinguished service and outstanding dedication to TowneBank.
With a founding goal of serving as a community asset, TowneBank announced a gift of $25,000 to Habitat for Humanity, which will spread to ten organizations throughout Virginia and North Carolina.
Frank Hruska, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads, attended the meeting and expressed his gratitude for TowneBank’s long commitment to the mission to provide affordable housing to all.
“We recognized TowneBank as our dream builder in 2023, and today is a celebration of the many dreams that TowneBank has helped to build over the last 25 years,” Hruska said.
Now a $16.88 billion asset bank, the company highlighted an array of achievements across its family of services. Towne Insurance is now the largest bank-owned insurance company in the nation, and Towne Vacations recently added a portfolio of luxury vacation homes on the Emerald Coast of Florida in Destin, Sandestin, and Miramar Beach. Through the TowneBank Foundation and community partnerships, the company reported $114 million in contributions over its history. Of note to shareholders, the company, which became profitable in its first seven months of operation, has paid out over $500 million in dividends in its history.
“Having the trust of our founding shareholders and those who have joined us along the way, as well as that of the partner banks who have become members of the Towne family, has meant everything to who we have become,” Aston said. “The story of our success is shared with every person in this room today, and with the entire community.”