Wednesday, February 21, 2024

This bank started in a garage. It now has $10.6 billion in assets

Executive Chairman of the Towne Bank Board, G. Robert Aston, addresses shareholders during Wednesday’s annual meeting (Rami Yoakum/HNNDaily)
Executive Chairman of the Towne Bank Board, G. Robert Aston, addresses shareholders during Wednesday’s annual meeting (Rami Yoakum/HNNDaily)

The year was 1998: Gasoline was $1.15 a gallon, Nokia had the best-selling cellphone, and a little tech company called Google was founded.

That same year in a garage in Portsmouth, a bank called Towne was birthed.

Wednesday Towne Bank shareholders came together at the Virginia Beach Convention Center for their Annual Shareholders Meeting.

All in all, 2017 was a good year for shareholders and for the bank, which is entering its 20th year. On April 8, 1999 Towne opened three offices that were funded by 4,000 shareholders.

Today the bank possesses 150 million shares of common stock, $24 billion in deposits, and $10.6 billion in assets.

“We never really judged ourselves by the competition,” said G. Robert Aston Jr., executive chairman of the board. “It all comes down to culture and to caring about each other… our members, our community, shareholders, and the less fortunate.”

The bank has increased earnings for 18 straight years.

In Hampton Roads Towne Bank controls 22.01 percent of the market share with $5.48 billion in deposits, ahead of Wells Fargo, Sun Trust, BB&T, and Bank of America.

“We want to run the safest bank we can run and do everything we can to protect your money,” Aston told shareholders.

Some 42 percent of the bank’s income he said is from non-banking businesses.

Earnings per share for 2017 was $1.56 while share prices ended the year at $30.75.

“The stock price doesn’t really do anything for us in serving our customers,” Aston said. “We set out to build a great community asset. It wasn’t about building a great bank.”

Since 1999, Towne Bank has provided $48.8 million in cumulative support in all the communities they serve, including $6.3 million in 2017.

Towne Bank and its subsidiaries employ 2,800 people, the vast majority in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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