A Century of Banking Excellence
It was Christmas of 1900 when the first steam train rumbled through the town of McKenney. In the late 1890s, William R. McKenney, an attorney for the Richmond, Petersburg, and Carolina railroad, set his sights on a parcel of land 11 miles southwest of Dinwiddie next to the San Marino post office. He succeeded in having the railroad establish a water stop in this community and the town named after him.
The emerging settlement revolved around its freight and passenger trains and a prosperous lumber industry. McKenney bustled with commercial activity, including the Bank of McKenney, first chartered as the Bank of Dinwiddie, which was established on June 5, 1906, with $10,000 in stock. The bank surpassed the odds and continued to grow even during the depression when many banks shut down.
First signs of growth
In 1956, the bank made expansion plans for a new $50,000 building at the corner of First Street and Route 40. The brick structure, rectangular in shape and modernistic in design, was finished in 1957 and adjoined the McKenney Hardware and Supply Company building. It wasn’t long after the move that the bank changed its name to Bank of McKenney.
Dinwiddie County man runs bank
Richard M. Liles
In 1989, Richard M. Liles became bank president. Liles immediately embraced the community banking culture and led the example by putting customers’ needs first. In 1990, he was quoted, “Our niche in the market is that we know our customers and meet their needs.” Liles also knew that to remain competitive in the marketplace, the bank would have to grow.
For 86 years, the bank remained a one-branch operation and proudly served the residents and businesses of McKenney. In 1992, the bank initiated its biggest change since 1906 – the opening of a second branch. With the growth of Dinwiddie County, bank leadership knew it was time to expand and offer customers more convenient banking. The Airport branch was opened at the entrance of the Airport Industrial Park.
Technology enhances services
Along with growth, bank leadership also knew that keeping up with technology was just as critical for servicing customers as the friendly smile that they had grown accustomed to know. When the Dinwiddie branch opened in 1995, it opened its first onsite Automated Teller Machine, now more widely known as an ATM. Having this modern-day convenience gave Bank of McKenney the “high-tech” edge over its competitors, all the while still offering the same down-home business friendly environment.
Awarded top business
On May 30, 1995, Bank of McKenney was honored as Dinwiddie County’s Corporate Citizen of the Year and recognized for outstanding contributions to the county. “We’re very proud to be a community bank – knowing people and serving people is what we’re all about. If we can help you out, that’s where we come in,” said president Richard Liles in a post-award interview with the Progress Index.
Offering customers more convenient locations
Bank of McKenney expanded its roots into Chesterfield County in 1998 with two locations: one in Matoaca and one in Ettrick. In 2003, the bank opened a new branch in the city of Colonial Heights. As president Liles said in 1996, “In order to remain independent, we have to grow. The bank plans to continue to grow but at a 'controlled' rate. We’re not out to be a major bank, and that’s OK.”
The bank’s board of directors and senior officers understand that having more branches gives customers greater banking convenience. “We have an advantage over the competition. Not only do we offer multiple branch and ATM locations, we are what the competition wants to be. We’re the hometown bank that all the other banks want to be. While we understand convenience plays a major role in our bank’s marketability, we also know that customers will stay when they’re treated right. It’s really quite simple, the Golden Rule works,” says April Green, marketing coordinator.
The bank expanded its footprint in June 2006 with a temporary branch in Prince George County. A new state-of-the- art facility in Prince George opened on December 3, 2007.
Even with growth, some things remain the same
Although Bank of McKenney has grown from its original location in McKenney to a bank servicing the communities of Dinwiddie County, Chesterfield County, the City of Colonial Heights, and Prince George County, one thing remains the same–SERVICE. Regardless of where a branch might be, Bank of McKenney has always been known and remembered for its down-home, friendly service. It’s a business where people are treated like friends. Bank of McKenney takes great pride in knowing its customers and calling them by name. It’s the same friendly service that brought Bank of McKenney to its 100-year milestone that will lead it to the next!
June 5, 2006, was a very special day for Bank of McKenney. It was the 100-year anniversary of the bank. To commemorate the occasion, the bank rang the closing bell of the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York City. It was quite an honor for a community bank and the opportunity brought substantial media attention, but the recognition and overnight popularity didn’t change the heart of the bank’s purpose. President Liles said, “At times such as this, I’m reminded of how important the personal service dimension of community banking truly is. With dedicated employees, loyal investors and supportive customers, we hope to continue into another century of banking excellence."