Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Benchmark Bank Three-Way Niche: Mortgages, Small Business and Planes. (Top Community Banks)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Benchmark Bank Three-Way Niche: Mortgages, Small Business and Planes. (Top Community Banks)

Article excerpt

Earning second-place honors in our rankings of S corporations is Piano, Texas-based Benchmark Bank. The $87.1-million-asset institution posted a whopping 68.97% ROAE in 2002 and a 6.21% ROAA. Earlier this year, Benchmark doubled its space from 7,000 square feet to 14,000-square-feet in its new headquarters office in Piano. The lobby of this new facility was designed with the comfort of Benchmark's customers-primarily business owners, senior executives and professionals -- in mind. Appointed with three seating areas, a big-screen television and self-service coffee/juice bars, the space provides customers with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, according to Michael Barnett, Benchmark chairman and CEO.

The move followed a whirlwind of key 2002 initiatives designed to enhance the company's focus on niche businesses as well as residential and commercial real estate lending opportunities in the area. In 2002, Benchmark's asset growth rate was a minus 30.07% and Barnett attributes that to the sale of six branches in northeast Texas. Barnett says that the branch sales were part of the company's long-term strategy of focusing on opportunities in the Plano area and that the "pricing was right. …

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