Saturday, December 9, 2023

TowneBank ranked one of best banks to work for in country

Executive Chairman of the Towne Bank Board, G. Robert Aston, addresses shareholders during their annual meeting in May. (Southside Daily file photo)
G. Robert Aston, executive chairman of the TowneBank Board, addresses shareholders during their annual meeting in May. (WYDaily/File photo)

TowneBank has been ranked 14th best bank to work for in America —among 85 named — and the only Virginia bank in the top 20, according to American Banker magazine. 

The benefits the magazine factored into TowneBank’s ranking included extra vacation days for non-executive employees who don’t call out sick, a stipend and personal consultant to purchase a professional wardrobe — along with paid time off for said shopping — and onsite massages and car washes for employees.

The American Banker study focused on “best practices and workplace benefits” and is not based on the management of the companies’ financial assets or general business practices.

American Banker also noted that TowneBank has a community service initiative called “Going to Towne.”

In 2017, the initiative involved more than 1,000 employees who donated nearly 4,300 hours of time to some 500 schools, shelters, and other nonprofit organizations.

Over the years, TowneBank has also been in the headlines regarding its relations with the city of Virginia Beach.

In 2015, former Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms — who was CEO of TowneBank at the time — was mired in scandal for allegedly violating state conflict of interest laws.

In December of that year, Sessoms pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of failing disclose that his employer, TowneBank, was involved with a project on which he and the City Council voted.

Related story: Sessoms pleads no contest to one count, four others dropped

Sessoms was forced to resign as head of the bank, which then changed its policy to prohibit executives from holding elected office.

Sessoms donated $1,000 to the Virginia Coalition for Open Government and had a $500 fine waived as a part of his plea deal.

He remained as mayor of Virginia Beach and won re-election in November 2016. He abruptly resigned in the middle of his term in April, and in July began working for TowneBank again as the managing director of the bank’s “Towne Vacations” division.

During TowneBank’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May, G. Robert Aston, executive chairman of the board, said the bank possessed 150 million shares of common stock, $24 billion in deposits, and $10.6 billion in assets.

The bank was founded in 1999 and originally operated out of a garage in Portsmouth, Aston said.

Over its 19-year history, TowneBank has grown from 86 employees and three branches to more than 1,000 bank employees and 40 offices. TowneBank and its subsidiaries employ 2,800 people, the vast majority in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.

With total assets of $10.83 billion as of June 30, 2018, TowneBank is one of the largest banks headquartered in Virginia.

This story was published in partnership with our sister publication, Southside Daily.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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