News from The Bank of Marion
Eric Dean Named Bank of Marion V.P. and Chief Financial Officer
February 13, 2020 – Marion, VA Eric M. Dean, former Controller for The Bank of Marion, has been promoted to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He moves into the position previously held by Chris Snodgrass who was named the Bank’s President and CEO on December 31st of last year.
Mr. Dean joined the bank in 2015 as a Management Trainee and was soon promoted to Controller. He worked as a Senior Financial Analyst for the Virginia State Corporation Commission for the previous eight years.
Mr. Dean, a life-long Marion resident, is a graduate of Marion Senior High School and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He is continuing his studies and preparation to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA.)
“I am particularly delighted to announce this promotion,” Mr. Snodgrass said. “It is a long-standing tradition at The Bank of Marion to promote from within to fill senior level positions. In Eric’s case, it is especially gratifying. He has served admirably as Controller while assuming other responsibilities and duties that have contributed greatly to the bank’s success. Eric Dean is a very competent and accomplished young man.”
“I am grateful to The Bank of Marion’s Board of Directors and to our CEO for giving me this opportunity,” Mr. Dean said. “I will continue to work with our staff to ensure excellence in customer service and maintain our support of the communities we serve.”
Mr. Dean officially assumed his new duties on January 13.
Chris Snodgrass Named CEO of The Bank of Marion
January 03, 2019 – Marion, VA Christopher B. “Chris” Snodgrass has been named President and CEO of The Bank of Marion. Mr. Snodgrass replaces John “Ed” Stringer who retired on December 31st after 39 years with the bank. The announcement of Mr. Snodgrass’s appointment was made by Perry D. “Pete” Mowbray, D.D.S., chairman of the bank’s board of directors.
Mr. Snodgrass, a resident of Chilhowie and a Virginia Tech graduate, joined the bank in 1999 as Chief Financial Officer. He was appointed to the bank’s board of directors last year. He is a licensed CPA and a graduate of the University of South Carolina’s Graduate School of Bank Investments and Financial Management.
“We are pleased to welcome Chris to his new position at The Bank of Marion,” Dr. Mowbray stated. “He is a dedicated community banker with outstanding knowledge and skills. He and Ed worked closely over the last two decades to make our bank one of the best financial institutions in the country. Chris will continue the bank’s long tradition of customer-focused and community- focused banking.”
Mr. Snodgrass is a member of the Smyth County Community Foundation and the Marion Rotary Club. He is a Paul Harris Rotary Fellow and was recognized for outstanding service as a board member of the Mountain Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross. He has assisted the Independent Community Bankers of America and the Virginia Association of Community Banks in their efforts to ensure legislation that is supportive of community banks and their customers.
Mr. Snodgrass stated that he plans to maintain the operational philosophy of the bank. “I have worked side-by-side with Ed Stringer over the last twenty years and I appreciate his accomplishments that ensured the bank’s growth and success,” Mr. Snodgrass said. “I am proud to be part of a bank with such strong values. I intend to maintain our strong customer focus, build upon our heritage, and continue the product innovation that customers want and deserve.”
Mr. Snodgrass assumed his new position effective January 1.
Bank of Marion CEO Ed Stringer Retires
December 16, 2019 – Marion, VA John E. “Ed” Stringer will retire December 31st as President and CEO of The Bank of Marion after 39 years with the bank. The announcement of Mr. Stringer’s retirement was made by Perry D. “Pete” Mowbray, D.D.S., Chairman of the bank’s board of directors.
Mr. Stringer joined the Smyth County-based bank in 1980 and rose through ranks to become President and CEO in 1996. The Virginia Intermont grad presided over the bank’s significant growth through the addition of branches, expansion of banking products and services, and the introduction of new customer-focused technologies. The bank now has 17 branches throughout Southwestern Virginia and the Tri-Cities and employs 130 people.
Soon after Mr. Stringer joined the bank, he was promoted to Assistant Vice President and Loan Officer. He later became Vice President for Loans and Compliance, followed by a promotion to Executive Vice President. He was named President and CEO in 1996.
“On behalf of our board members, I wish to convey our heartfelt appreciation to Ed for his decades of leadership and accomplishments,” said Dr. Mowbray. “When compared with banks of similar size across America, The Bank of Marion is consistently in the top percentile in virtually every category.”
Dr. Mowbray also called attention to Mr. Stringer’s community leadership.
“Ed has always put the bank’s customers and communities first,” Dr. Mowbray continued. “Innumerable public schools, colleges, community development groups, civic clubs, charities, and countless other organizations have benefitted from our bank’s largesse and support under Ed’s leadership and direction.”
Mr. Stringer is a Charter Member of the Marion Morning Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Rotary Fellow. He is Chairman of the Marion Economic Development Authority and has served on the Wytheville Community College Educational Foundation since 1992. He is a member of The Song of the Mountains Board and is a founder of the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts. Earlier this year, he received Wytheville Community College’s Distinguished Service Award.
Interestingly, Mr. Stringer cites being named Volunteer of the Year at Marion Primary School many years ago as one of his most treasured honors.
Earlier this month at a staff reception for Mr. Stringer, he talked of his affection for his employees and for the long heritage of The Bank of Marion. “There was never a day in my career at this bank that I dreaded coming to work,” he said.
“I enjoyed every day, every minute and every experience. What I will miss most when I retire is my interaction with our employees and our customers.”
“By the way,” Mr. Stringer concluded, “The bank’s board of directors is the best any CEO could possibly have.”
Mr. Stringer will continue to serve on The Bank of Marion’s Board of Directors. His successor as President and CEO will be announced shortly, according to
Tom Copenhaver, Member of The Bank of Marion’s Board of Directors, presents a $10,000 donation check from the bank to Betsy White, Director of the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon. Also pictured are Rita Copenhaver, Member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees (left) and Sarah Stanley, Curator of Fine Art and Craft for the Museum (right). The donation will fund the Museum’s upcoming exhibition celebrating the life of Marion’s Laura Lu Scherer Copenhaver and her contribution to the cultural life and economy of our region.
The Bank of Marion Donates $10,000 to the William King Museum of Art
Marion, VA October 9, 2019 - The Bank of Marion and the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Virginia have announced the bank’s donation of $10,000 to the museum. The donation will support an upcoming exhibition that celebrates the life of Marion’s Laura Lu Scherer Copenhaver and her contribution to the cultural life and economy of our region.
The exhibition will open on the museum’s main lobby level in the United Coal Company/LeGard Galleries on February 13 and continue through September, 2020. The museum calls the exhibit a “groundbreaking look at one of the region’s finest entrepreneurial women, illustrated by examples of textiles, furniture, images, and documents that tell her own story as well as that of her business, Rosemont Industries.”
The William King exhibit coincides with the new Women in History sculpture project on the capitol grounds in Richmond. That project also honors Laura Copenhaver among other entrepreneurial women including Mary Draper Ingles, a frontierswoman who was kidnapped by Shawnee Indians and eventually escaped, and Elizabeth Keckly, a former slave and talented seamstress who bought her freedom and became the dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln.
Laura Copenhaver founded her unique Marion business in 1916 in response to the new consumers of that era who were seeking authentic American handmade crafts and furniture. Recognizing the quality of domestic goods hand-crafted here in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia, she developed a niche market for these unique Appalachian products.
It was a perfect setting for success. Southwestern Virginia’s remoteness and isolation in those days ensured its culture-related goods were part of an intact heritage. Ms. Copenhaver found raw materials and contracted with local artisans to produce goods to her demanding specifications and then marketed them outside the region. The business she founded operated successfully for 99 years.
Laura Copenhaver was also a writer of poetry and fiction. Her poem, Heralds of Christ, became a popular hymn. As director of information for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, she played a significant role in the development of the region’s agricultural economy. She was also a strong advocate of youth education in Appalachian communities. Ms. Copenhaver was inducted by the Library of Virginia in 2007 as one of the Virginia Women of History.
“We are proud to support the William King Museum of Art and the Laura Copenhaver exhibit,” said Ed Stringer, president and CEO of The Bank of Marion. “Laura Copenhaver was not only one of Virginia’s most successful entrepreneurs; she remains an inspiration to all women who aspire to make significant contributions to society through their work, their businesses or their civic life.”
Board Retirements Announced by The Bank of Marion
September 10, 2019 – Marion, VA The retirement of two long-time members of the board of directors of The Bank of Marion was announced this week by Board Chairman, Dr. Perry D. “Pete” Mowbray, Jr. The retiring directors are Joseph S. Tate (photo left) and Cameron L. Wolfe, Jr. (photo right), who have a collective 46 years of service on the board.
“We will certainly miss the wisdom and experience of these two outstanding board members,” Dr. Mowbray said. “Their guidance during years of growth and expansion of our community bank and their steadfast dedication to the high standards of this institution are deeply appreciated by all who served on the board with them.”
Joe Tate, a native of southwestern Virginia, was born in Coeburn and grew up in Bluefield, Virginia. He is a graduate of Emory & Henry College and Washington & Lee School of Law. After teaching European History at Brandywine College in Wilmington, Delaware for five years, Mr. Tate relocated to Marion in 1972 where he began his law practice and opened the first legal aid office in southwestern Virginia.
Mr. Tate later joined the law firm of Gwyn & Tate where he practiced until 1992. In that year, he was elected to the position of Judge of the 28th Judicial I District, which he held for 23 years.
Mr. Tate served as a director of The Bank of Marion from 1982 until he began his judicial duties in 1992. After retiring from the bench, he was again elected to The Bank’s board in 2013.
Mr. Tate has been married to Jerilyn Boye Tate for 54 years. The Tates have two sons and eight grandchildren.
In reflecting on his years of service on The Bank’s board, Mr. Tate said, “I especially enjoyed my relationships with other board members. Each brought different perspectives, but all are great people sharing the common mission of meeting the economic needs of the community.”
Cameron Wolfe, a 1960 graduate of Marion High School, began his career in architecture as a draftsman with Echols Sparger and Associates in Marion. He later entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he graduated in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He returned to Marion to continue his work with Echols Sparger and was involved in many community projects including Smyth County Community Hospital, the Smyth County Court House and the development of several new schools in the county.
In 1976 Mr. Wolfe started his own Architectural firm in Marion, where he has continued to practice his love of architecture for the last 43 years. He is licensed in
seven states and has provided consulting services in the Middle East and South East Asia. He is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Board and the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.). He has served as President of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Director of Virginia Society A.I.A., and Director of the Regions of Virginia National A.I.A. He attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has served as an off-site Professor of Architecture for Virginia Tech.
Mr. Wolfe is Chairman of the Town of Marion Planning Commission, Chairman of the Town of Marion Zoning Appeals Board, Chairman of the Smyth County Board of Building Appeals, Chairman of the Wytheville Community College Educational Foundation Board and served on the Board of Directors of The Bank of Marion for 30 years.
Mr. Wolfe and his wife of 57 years, Nancy Dixon Wolfe, have one son and four grandchildren.