What does it mean to be a community bank? Robert “Rob” Shuford Jr., president and CEO of Old Point National Bank (Old Point) and Old Point Financial Corporation, is the third generation of Shufords affiliated with the venerable institution and he’s acutely aware of the crucial role community banks play in supporting local economic development, providing essential financial services, fostering financial stability and growth, and contributing to the social wellbeing of the communities they serve.
Chartered in 1922, Old Point opened its first branch in the Phoebus section of Hampton in 1923, and 2023 marks the bank’s 100th anniversary. The bank was named after the Old Point Comfort lighthouse to demonstrate their commitment to being a steady, trusted and resilient community resource.
“Community banking is something special,” says Shuford Jr. “It’s relationship-based banking built on trust. In simple terms, our customers entrust us with their money, and we’re charged with protecting those assets and giving advice to help those assets grow. But those assets represent more than dollars and cents, they embody the hopes and dreams of individuals, families and businesses.”
“It’s still so meaningful when people come up to me and tell me that Old Point gave them a much-needed loan for college, or how we helped their grandfather buy his first house or helped their small business scale enabling it to grow and thrive,” Shuford Jr. continues. “As a community bank we know people are more than collections of quantitative data—our banking is personalized, it isn’t based entirely on metrics—it’s about individuals helping individuals. At Old Point, we have a long history of community commitment and we’ve had a positive, multi-generational impact.”
Though the term “community bank” is an informal designation, their relative independence, flexibility and autonomy contrasts sharply with the operations of large national banks. Community banks are able to develop long-standing relationships within the communities they serve. They have an in-depth knowledge of the local economy and culture, and they’re often able to provide clients with unique services targeted to their specialized needs.
As Old Point has expanded its footprint and range of services, it has never lost sight of it roots as a community-focused bank, its leadership notes, resisting the urge to merge with, or be acquired by a larger banking institution. Old Point thrived as a community bank through the merger and acquisition and takeover wave of the 1990s, standing firm as smaller regional banks got gobbled up by bigger banking entities.
“In our 100 years of banking, we’ve kept the same name and we’ve retained the same direction,” explains Laura Wright, the bank’s director of marketing and communications. “Our growth has been both intentional and organic, and our position in the industry is uncommon. We’re expanding, but our focus remains centered upon our commitment to put the interests of our customers, our community and our shareholders first.”
Wright describes Old Point as a “roll your sleeves up kind of business.” With a long history of volunteerism and community service, this orientation helped Old Point excel in the realm of customer service when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Practically every employee has a war story to tell about the historic scramble to administer the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), navigating in what could only be described as a “fluid” environment.
Robert F. Shuford Sr. is the father of Rob Shuford Jr. and is retired chairman of the board, President and CEO of Old Point National Financial Corporation. He recalls the tense situation. “It was like trying to build an airplane while it was taking off,” Shuford Sr. explains. “We never experienced anything like it. We were working hard to help businesses make payroll and keep the lights on, and our employees worked long shifts to make sure we could service as many businesses as possible. It was exhausting and challenging, but also very rewarding.”
Shuford Jr. echoes his father’s sentiments. “At first, no one had any idea of what was happening, and the idea of trying to administer these PPP loans seemed overwhelming. But we punched above our weight and made it happen. We ran three shifts, midnight to 5 a.m., in order to administer the loans. It was amazing seeing every team come together in a crisis situation. As a community bank we decided not to limit the loans to our existing customers either. In the end we were able to help approximately 1,500 businesses and save approximately 15,000 jobs.”
Debbie Stoddard is currently senior vice president and commercial services sales manager. She’s been with Old Point for 38 years. “There was no bank I would have rather worked for during COVID-19,” she recalls.
“We were adept at exploring new and better ways to do business during the crisis with the least amount of disruption to our customers. Old Point is admired and respected in the community—and our work during the crisis became an opportunity to serve in an unexpected, yet impactful way. Old Point has such a supportive culture, and a great reputation in the community. I love working directly with business owners, listening to their needs, learning about their challenges, and helping them achieve their goals.”
Thad Holloman, retired senior vice president and Newport News city executive at Old Point, currently serving on Old Point’s Peninsula Regional Board, shares his perspective on what it means to be a local, community banker. “I worked at Old Point for 18 years. I never had the desire to work for a large, national bank. Here, we interact with our customers in civic groups, we volunteer alongside them, we worship with them, and our children go to school together. We know each other. That in-depth knowledge and mutual trust is key to Old Point’s decision-making processes.”
“Take loans for example,” Holloman continues. “We treat everyone as an individual, with unique circumstances. We don’t simply evaluate a client on a particular set of data, then package up and ship the loan to some office out of state to evaluate. Old Point has a personal touch. I remember helping a client get an SBA loan to start a preschool in our community. As the business grew, we were able to help them obtain the property they needed to build a new facility and expand. That business is still thriving. A local banker acts as both sounding board and an advisor, and it was always a privilege for me to be able to cultivate long-term relationships with clients whether their businesses were large or small. At Old Point, ‘Local Matters’ isn’t just a tagline.
Old Point National Bank – 100 Years & Counting
1922: Named after the Old Point Comfort lighthouse, Point National Bank chartered on Nov. 4 by local citizens to help area residents and businesses.
1923: Old Point opened for business on Jan.2 in the Phoebus section Hampton, inside Cooper’s Confectionary store. Construction completed later that year on bank building at the corner of Mellen and Mallory Streets.
1926: Old Point National Bank granted trust powers.
1933: During nation-wide bank moratorium of the Great Depression, Old Point kept the town of Phoebus in business and was only bank in town to cash Veterans Administration and other government checks.
1936: Bank had one branch and assets reached just over $1 million.
1971: Original Phoebus building was taken down and a new main office was constructed.
1975: Assets increased $4.9 million, the largest bank gain for operations on the Peninsula at that time.
1977: Bank had seven branches and assets passed $50 million.
1978: Addition that doubled the size of the main office building in Phoebus completed and an updated computerized bookkeeping system installed.
1982: ATMS added, marking start of 24-hour electronic banking.
1983: Bank had seven branches and assets passed $100 million.
1984: Old Point Financial Corporation created as a one bank-holding company.
1989: Bank’s first branch in Williamsburg opened.
1996: First branch in York County opened and Telephone Banking launched.
1998: Old Point Financial Corporation stock approved, traded under the symbol “OPOF.” First Bank website launched.
1999: Old Point Trust & Financial Services established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Old Point Financial Corporation. Bank’s first Southside office opened.
2000: Online banking was introduced, offering customers online access and services. Old Point Financial Corporation stock was listed on Nasdaq.
2001: Bank had 15 branches and assets passed $500 million.
2007-2008: Old Point Mortgage established as joint venture between Old Point National Bank and Tidewater Mortgage. Bank weathered historic financial crisis without assistance from the U.S. Government.
2014: Old Point opened its new six-story headquarters and branch in Downtown Hampton.
2017: Old Point National Bank purchased full ownership interest of Old Point Mortgage. Old Point Insurance, LLC was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of Old Point National Bank as an alliance with Morgan Marrow Company.
2018: Bank completed its first ever bank acquisition of Citizens National Bank, a one-branch bank located in Windsor. Bank had 19 branches and assets passed $1.0 billion.
2020: Bank opened a commercial lending office in Chester, its first in the Richmond area. Old Point Mortgage expanded with a team in Charlotte, North Carolina. Old Point helped many small businesses survive the COVID-19 Pandemic, saved about 15,000 local jobs by obtaining approval for about 1,500 Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling nearly $150 million.
2022: Bank opened a new Southside Corporate office in December.