Albemarle First Bank

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Albemarle First Bank was a financial institution that opened in December 1998. [1] It was acquired by United Bankshare of West Virginia in January 2007.


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Creation

The origins of Albemarle First Bank date back to when Jefferson National Bank and Central Fidelity Bank were acquired by Wachovia. At the time, the two banks had 46 percent of all bank deposits in the Charlottesville area. Albemarle First was conceived as a way to keep some of those deposits held by a local bank. Divorce attorney John K. Taggart III developed the idea with University of Virginia surgeon Charles Gross. [1] They recruited developer Frank Cox and attorney Craig Wood.

Other initial directors included James A. Fernald, E. Marshall Pryor III and Richard Selden. [2] Taggart served as the first chairman of the board.

The intention was to create a bank that would help local businesses.

The first president and chief executive officer was Charles S. Paschall. [2] One of his policies is that no employees could have voice mail.

The initial headquarters was at 1265 Seminole Trail. The bank had raised $7.2 million in start-up capital.

Virginia National Bank also opened the same year. Talks were held to see if the two could work together, but Albemarle First went it alone. [1]

Selden grew critical of some of the bank's lending practices and believed that not enough questions were being asked of those seeking loans. Gross recalls that they felt the CEO wasn't monitoring lending as well as he should. The bank lost $346,000 in 2001 and $280,000 in 2002. Selden would eventually leave the board at the age of 82.

The bank issued a statement in December 2001 that Paschall had resigned. [3] He was replaced on an interim basis by Charles V. Darnell, the bank's executive vice president. Tom Boyd was hired soon after and came from a bank in Tappahannock.

Check-kiting scandal

The bank lost $2.4 million when two local businessmen were drawing upon checks with insufficient funds. The scandal would ultimately lead to the closing of Ivy Industries. [1]

Around the same time, developer Richard Spurzem began buying up shares in Albemarle First. By 2004 he had just over 8.5 percent of the bank's outside shares. [1] Unsatisfied with the poor growth of the bank, Spurzem pushed the bank to sell. Boyd agreed to do so and a search for a suitor began.

Millenium Bankshares of Reston was the winning bidder. They agreed to keep the name and two of the board's directors. However, one of Millenium's stockholders, David Harvey, objected to the deal and filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal with Millenium fell through as Harvey rallied other Millenium shareholders.

Premier Bankshares would eventually purchase Albemarle First and the deal closed on July 1, 2006. The bank remained in operation as Albemarle First.

However, United Bankshares purchased the bank in January 2007. [4]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Web. The Life and Times of of Albemarle First, Doug Campbell, Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, Fall 2006 newsletter, retrieved February 20, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Print: Paschall to head up bank, Brian Root, Daily Progress, Media General April 9, 1998, Page .
  3. Web. Albemarle First Bank Announces Resignation of CE, retrieved February 20, 2016.
  4. Web. Albemarle First: Gone, healthy profits remain, Lisa Provence, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, July 19, 2007, retrieved February 20, 2016. Print. July 19, 2007  page 629.