TowneBank Shareholders Gather Again

by Leona Baker

Along with the usual earnings reports and action items at the annual TowneBank shareholder meeting, held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on May 25, 2022, there was plenty of emotion on display from the company’s top brass. It was the first in-person shareholder meeting held by the company, founded in Portsmouth in 1999, since before the pandemic, and both Executive Chairman of the Board Bob Aston and Chief Executive Officer Morgan Davis were visibly moved as they recounted stories from the company’s history and honored some of its employees and accomplishments.

Among those recognized on stage were three founding members of its board of directors, E. Lee Baynor, Thomas C. Broyles and F. Lewis Wood, all of whom the company recently announced would be retiring from those roles and transitioning to emeritus status following the shareholder meeting. Morgan Davis is also expected to retire this year, and others in high-level leadership roles—some of whom have been with the bank for most or all of its two decades—are likely to follow. Earlier this year, in order to prepare for these transitions, the board appointed a succession committee to build a long-term strategic succession plan.

Along with the recognitions and remembrances, there was timely news and forward-looking initiatives to share. TowneBank’s inclusion on Forbes 2022 “Top 10 Banks in America” list, 22 consecutive years of increased earnings with a net income of $215.4 million representing a 48% annual increase last year, and total bank assets at $16.5 million representing an 11.9% increase from 2020 to 2021 were some of the highlights presented. The company also reported $13.6 million in philanthropic contributions benefiting a variety of nonprofit causes for 2021.

Also front and center at the meeting was the diversification of TowneBank’s portfolio and its key expansions since 2015 into the Richmond market as well as Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina—where explosive population growth has offered unprecendented opportunity. Other news shared included continued work on the former Norfolk Southern headquarters in Norfolk, soon to be home of TowneBank Financial Services Group, and the growth of Towne Vacations, including the acquisition of Venture Resorts in Tennessee.

Also recognized at the meeting were Senior Vice President Denise Counce, the company’s diversity and inclusion officer, and college graduates from around the state who participated in TowneBank’s LEAD Associate Program.

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