News from The Bank of Marion

Bank of Marion V.P. Ernest Catron Retires


June 3, 2024 - Marion, VA 

Ernest F. Catron has retired from The Bank of Marion after 42 years of service. Ernie, as he is known by his many friends and customers, joined the bank in 1981 and served in many capacities. At the time of his retirement, he was Vice President and Security Officer. He was The Bank of Chilhowie’s first branch manager when that branch was opened in 1987.

The announcement of Mr. Catron’s retirement was made by The Bank of Marion’s President and C.E.O. Christopher B. “Chris” Snodgrass. Mr. Snodgrass noted that Mr. Catron’s retirement came during the 150th Anniversary year of the founding of The Bank of Marion. “Ernie has been with our bank for nearly a third of its entire existence!”

Mr. Snodgrass went on to praise Mr. Catron’s service. “Ernie will be greatly missed,” he said. “Ernie was very well liked by his customers and his fellow bank employees as well. He was a tireless advocate for his customers, and they appreciated that.”

Mr. Catron is a graduate of Marion Senior High School and Emory & Henry College. He is a graduate of the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia and the Graduate School of Banking School at Louisiana State University. He has always been active in civic groups in Marion and Smyth County, including The Chamber of Commerce of Smyth County, Downtown Marion, the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission, the United Way, and the Kiwanis Clubs of Chilhowie and Marion.

Mr. Catron is an active member of First United Methodist Church in Marion, having served in several leadership positions. He is a long-time member of the church choir.

About his career with The Bank of Marion, Mr. Catron said, “I am most proud of the relationships with my customers that I developed over these many years. Each customer is unique and has a special story.”


Ernie Catron

V.P. Ernest F. “Ernie” Catron


The Bank of Marion Marks 150th Anniversary this Year

The bank is celebrating a century and a half of service to its customers and communities. 

Marion, VA – 22 January 2024   The Bank of Marion has embarked on a year-long observance of its sesquicentennial. The bank is the third oldest continuously operating bank in Virginia and among the oldest in the United States.

The bank was founded by Marion businessman Minter Jackson and was chartered on February 11, 1874. The bank’s first board of directors held its initial meeting on March 17 of that year and the bank opened its doors for business on April 12, 1874. Mr. Jackson was named as the bank’s first president. There were just 37 states in the union at that time.

The Bank of Marion’s first home was in the “old Jackson building” - as the building came to be known - at the corner of Main and Park Streets in Marion. A photo of that building shows a covered wagon outside its front entrance.

In 1897, the bank built its second home at the corner of Main and Church and served its customers from that location for a quarter-century. The bank’s current headquarters building was erected in that same location in 1922.

From these humble beginnings, The Bank of Marion has grown to 19 branches and offices extending from Johnson City, Tennessee to Radford Virginia.


Our first home in “The Old Jackson Building” at Main and Park in Marion.



Our second home at Main in Church erected in 1897.

Our second home at Main and Church erected in 1897.


Our current headquarters building at Main and Church was completed in 1922.

Our current headquarters building at Main and Church was completed in 1922.



Remembering Mayor David Helms

We are deeply saddened by the passing of David P. Helms, our beloved mayor of the Town of Marion. Mr. Helms had held the post of mayor for well over two decades and was a tireless supporter of the town and its citizens. He possessed a unique and irreplaceable talent for viewing every proposed civic action in terms of its long-term effect on the community.

We worked closely with Mayor Helms on many projects and initiatives over the years. We will always remember his positive attitude, wonderful sense of humor, and ability to get things done. He was the ideal public servant.

I speak for the entire Bank of Marion family in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the Helms family.


Chris Snodgrass

President and CEO

The Bank of Marion

Mayor David P. Helms

Mayor David P. Helms


Framed E&H Team Jersey Presented to The Bank of Marion

February 24, 2024 - At Emory & Henry College’s Senior Night men’s basketball game this past Saturday, The Bank of Marion was presented with an autographed and framed team jersey. The Bank is a major supporter of and donor to the Emory & Henry athletics program.

Pictured left to right are Khalil Shakir, Director of External Operations for Emory & Henry Athletics; Chris Snodgrass, President and CEO of The Bank of Marion; Kyra Bishop, member the bank’s board of directors; Charley Clark, Chairman of the bank’s board; and Clay Rolston, Director of Emory & Henry’s Corporate and Foundation Relations.

The framed jersey will be displayed at The Bank of Glade Spring, a branch of The Bank of Marion.

Emory & Henry Jersey presentation



Dennis Jennings

Dennis L. Jennings

Dennis Jennings Joins The Bank of Marion’s Board of Directors

December 18, 2023 – Marion, VA

Marion businessman Dennis L. Jennings has been elected to the board of directors of The Bank of Marion. The announcement was made by the board’s chairman, Charles C. “Charlie” Clark.

Mr. Jennings, a life-long resident of Marion, is Co-Owner and President of Slemp Brant Saunders & Associates Inc., an independent insurance agency founded in 1910. He joined the agency in 2008 and was named president and agency principal in 2017.

“We are pleased to welcome Dennis to our board,” said Mr. Clark. “We have worked with him closely over the years and have found him to be very accomplished and knowledgeable in many areas of business. He will certainly be an asset to our board.”

Mr. Jennings is a graduate of Radford University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. He is a past president and member of the Rotary Club of Marion and has been active in the Scouting program at First United Methodist Church since 2008 - serving as Assistant Scoutmaster and Troop Committee Chairman. He is a member of Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia.

Mr. Jennings is a life-long resident of Marion. He and his Wife, Oanya Sawyer Jennings, have five children.

With this appointment, Mr. Jennings is following in his late grandfather’s footsteps. The late W. Pat Jennings, Sr., U.S. Congressman 1955-1967, also served on the bank’s board from 1962 until 1989.

Upon his appointment, Mr. Jennings said, “It is both an honor and a privilege to join the board of The Bank of Marion. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity, and I am committed to working diligently and collaboratively with the board and the bank’s management team to further The Bank of Marion’s objectives and goals.”



The Bank of Marion Awards $50,000 to E&H Athletics


December 19, 2023 - Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia - Emory & Henry College Athletics is gaining attention and support as it moves toward full NCAA Division II status in the South Atlantic Conference. Such support is evidenced by a recent $50,000 gift from The Bank of Marion, headquartered in Marion.

“We are honored to be a part of the growth of Emory & Henry College,” said The Bank of Marion’s President and CEO, Christopher B. (Chris) Snodgrass. “We’ve witnessed firsthand the positive economic impact of the college’s School of Health Sciences here in Marion. We applaud the Emory & Henry athletic program’s move to Division II and the college’s investment in new facilities for their student athletes. We have already seen the college’s growth in enrollment. We are very pleased to be a part of this ambitious and exciting investment in Emory & Henry’s future.”

Snodgrass further commented that he and the bank’s board of directors were also impressed by the prospect of hundreds of Emory & Henry College students and thousands of local middle and high school students playing sports, including lacrosse, track and field, and soccer at the college’s new MultiSport Complex now in construction at exit 26 just off the I-81 Emory & Henry Education Corridor. It is estimated that the new sports complex will be ready for use by fall 2024.

Emory & Henry’s facilities stretch from Marion to Bristol and serve more than 1,400 students.

“This is a significant gift to our athletics community,” said Dr. Anne Crutchfield, vice president for athletics. “Support from The Bank of Marion will bring needed enhancements to our programs. We’re excited for the attention we are getting in the SAC and seeing how our fan base is growing too.”

The Bank of Marion is providing partial financings of the complex via a $10 million loan.

Founded in 1874, The Bank of Marion is the third-oldest bank in Virginia.



The Bank of Marion's - New River Valley Branch Opens


The Bank of Marion - New River Valley officially opened Friday, August 18 at 10 a.m. at 220 West Main in Radford, Virginia. The Radford Chamber of Commerce presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new bank. Open House for the public was also held that day.

The new bank will specialize in mortgage lending. Among the bank’s many home loan offerings is a no down payment home loan made and serviced by The Bank of Marion. That loan, the bank says, is for individuals and families who have solid employment and a good credit rating but haven’t been able to save enough money for a down payment on a home.

Business loans, personal loans, and financing of new home construction and land purchases will also be offered by the bank. It will not offer checking or savings accounts.

Mark Arney, a resident of the Poplar Hill community in Giles County, Virginia near Pearisburg,  is the bank’s Branch Manager and Loan Officer. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Asheville and has over 23 years of experience in the mortgage industry. He is a Virginia-licensed Mortgage Loan Officer.

Mr. Arney is a Board Member of the Shady Grove Church in Poplar Hill, the White Gate Ruritan Club, and a volunteer with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Outdoor Program. In his free time, he enjoys cattle farming, woodworking, kayak fishing, and spending time with his wife, Susan Carr Arney and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who, Mr. Arney says, “…thinks she is a farm dog!”

“We are very pleased that Mark has joined our bank as manager of our New River Branch,”  said Chris Snodgrass, President, and CEO of The Bank of Marion. “His vast experience as a mortgage lender and his commitment to community service will be a valuable asset to a community bank such as ours and to this great region of Virginia.”

Mr. Arney said he was proud to be instrumental in opening the New River Valley branch bank.  “I could not be more excited about the future of this branch,” he said. “Living and working in the New River Valley and doing what I love is a dream come true.”

The Bank of Marion was established in 1874 and is the third oldest bank in Virginia. Its New River Valley branch is the bank’s 19th branch or office in Southwestern Virginia and the Virginia-Tennessee Tri-Cities.

Charlie Clark, Chairman of The Bank of Marion’s Board of Directors, cuts the ribbon to officially open The Bank of Marion – New River Valley. He is assisted by Radford, Virginia Mayor, David Horton (to Mr. Clark’s left) and Chris Snodgrass, President and CEO of The Bank of Marion, (to Mr. Clark’s right.)  Mr. Snodgrass is flanked by Mark Arney, Branch Manager and Loan Officer; Mr. Arney’s wife, Susan, and Tim Carter, a member of the bank’s board of directors.

Charlie Clark, Chairman of The Bank of Marion’s Board of Directors, cuts the ribbon to officially open The Bank of Marion – New River Valley. He is assisted by Radford, Virginia Mayor, David Horton (to Mr. Clark’s left) and Chris Snodgrass, President and CEO of The Bank of Marion, (to Mr. Clark’s right.)

Mr. Snodgrass is flanked by Mark Arney, Branch Manager and Loan Officer; Mr. Arney’s wife, Susan, and Tim Carter, a member of the bank’s board of directors.