Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based holding company for Benchmark Community Bank, announced unaudited results for the first quarter of 2023. Net income of $4,530,732 was up from the $2,027,908 earned during the first quarter of 2022, while earnings per share increased from $0.45 to $1.00 for the period.

“Lending activity was unusually strong in 2022,” observed Jay A. Stafford, President and CEO. “Though it has slowed somewhat this year, the loan growth has produced higher earnings through the first quarter of 2023.

“By adding short-term treasuries to our investment portfolio last year, we have provided a safe pathway for the generation of additional return while maintaining our overall liquidity position. Combined with increasing rates,” Stafford said, “Loan and investment portfolio growth resulted in a total interest income increase of over 44% during the first quarter of 2023.”

Notable Items:

The Bank experienced mark-to-market gains of $66,973 on investments held for trading during the first quarter, compared to losses of $295,644 during the first quarter last year.

A total of $75,000 was expensed to the Bank’s employee stock ownership plan (“KSOP”) for future stock repurchases. During the same period last year, a total of $180,000 was expensed to the Bank’s employee stock ownership plan (KSOP).

The provision for loan losses amounted to $287,289 during the quarter, compared to a provision of $87,693 made during the first quarter of 2022.

Interest expense on borrowings, used to support the stock repurchase program, amounted to $24,815 for the period, down from $33,722 recognized last year during the same period.

Total loans are up $19.73 million for the quarter, with total loans up by $157.35 million over the last twelve months.

Deposits increased by $37.4 million over the past twelve months, though were flat for the first quarter of 2023.

Increased loan demand and the purchase of additional investment securities grew interest income from $8.58 million to $12.41 million. Net interest income rose from $8.08 million to $11.55 million for the quarter.

Overall liquidity remains strong, with sufficient cash on the balance sheet and over $51 million in bond maturities between May 30 and July 31, 2023.

Key Financial Ratios:

Return on average equity (ROAE) increased from 9.65% to 20.73% for the quarter.

Return on average assets (ROAA) increased from 0.79% to 1.65% for the quarter.

Yield on loans increased from 4.91% to 5.25%.

The bank’s cost of funds increased from 0.20% to 0.34%.

Net interest margin increased from 3.32% to 4.47% as excess cash was invested in higher earning assets.

As of March 31, 2023, the current book value of the company was $20.13 per share compared to $18.20 one year ago. The closing share price at quarter-end was $22.95 per share, which represents a price-to-book trading ratio of 114%. The company currently has 4,517,109 shares outstanding.

Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is headquartered in Kenbridge, VA. It is the company's sole subsidiary and operates a total of 17 banking offices throughout central Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. The common stock of Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. trades on the OTC Pink marketplace under the symbol BMBN. Any stockbroker can assist with purchases of the company's stock, as well as with sales of holdings. Additional information is available at the company’s website,