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FINANCE/INSURANCE


JOHN ASBURY PRESIDENT AND CEO, ATLANTIC UNION BANKSHARES, RICHMOND


A native of Radford who graduated from Virginia Tech and received his MBA at William & Mary, Asbury now leads the largest regional bank headquartered in Virginia. Atlantic Union, which employs 1,839 people in Virginia, reported $677 million in revenue in 2020. It also has $19.6 billion in assets. Asbury previously held executive positions at community banks in New Mexico and Alabama, as well as working for 17 years for Bank of America. In 2016, he became Atlantic Union Bankshares’ president and was named CEO in 2017. Asbury said the past year was the most challenging he has seen. The bank processed more than 15,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans for $2.2 billion as of March, and it recently opened two new branches in Richmond. Asbury is also chairman of the Virginia Bankers Association.


FIRST JOB: My first college summer job was at Ferguson Enterprises in Radford where I worked in the warehouse. I still know a lot about plumbing from this, and how to operate a forklift!


WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Set goals and go after them. I have learned to not just react to whatever comes your way.


G. ROBERT


ASTON JR. EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, TOWNEBANK, PORTSMOUTH


Aston, who co-founded TowneBank in 1998, began his banking career in 1964 and held leadership roles at Citizens Trust Co., Commerce Bank and BB&T of Virginia. TowneBank has 2,700 employees, 1,800 of them in


Virginia, and last year earned $411 million. Aston is a board member for Virginia Wesleyan


University, the Virginia Business Higher Education Council, Reinvent Hampton Roads and the GO Virginia Foundation. In 2019, he received the Urban League of Hampton Roads’ Martin Luther King Jr. Award, which rec- ognizes community service, demonstrating King’s values and positive contributions to others. He attended the National Installment Credit School at


the University of Oklahoma and the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Virginia and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Old Dominion University.


WHAT MAKES ME PASSIONATE ABOUT MY WORK: The ability to improve the lives of others.


TOP FACTOR THAT HELPED COMPANY WEATHER THE PANDEMIC: Our culture of serving others and enriching lives.


THOMAS BARKIN PRESIDENT AND CEO, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND, RICHMOND


Since 2018, Barkin has led the Fed’s Fiſth District, aſter 30 years at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. He also previously served as chairman of the Federal Reserve’s Bank of Atlanta.


The Fiſth District includes Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina and part of West Virginia, and Barkin’s areas of oversight are policy, bank regulation and supervision, and payment services. Barkin sits on the powerful Federal Open Market Committee, which makes decisions about U.S. monetary policy. In May, he told CNBC and an Atlanta Rotary group that he thought inflationary pressures would subside in 2022 and that the Fed could wait on hitting employment and inflation goals before raising interest rates.


Closer to home, he has made it a priority for the Fed to bridge the economic gap between rural and urban areas, as well as finding solutions to racial economic disparities. He serves on the Emory University board of trustees, U.S. Golf Association executive committee and the Greater Washington Partnership’s board. He received his bachelor’s degree, MBA and law degree from Harvard University.


MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen,” by Rita Gunther McGrath


JEFF BENTLEY PRESIDENT AND CEO, NORTHWEST FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, HERNDON


Aſter more than 30 years in consumer and commercial lending, Bentley joined Northwest Federal in 2014 as a senior vice president and was promoted three years later


to lead the institution. Bentley has overseen a period of growth for the state’s fourth larg- est credit union, which was founded in 1947. Last year, its assets grew from $3.6 billion to $4.1 billion. In July 2019, Northwest merged with Constellation Federal Credit Union, adding 8,000 new members. Last year, the credit union wrote 1,560 Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses totaling $111 million. Bentley also serves as the chairman of Northwest Federal’s philan- thropic foundation, which focuses on children and college students. He also has served on the Montgomery County, Maryland, Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.


VICTOR BRANCH SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, RICHMOND MARKET PRESIDENT, BANK OF AMERICA, RICHMOND


The Richmond market president for Bank of America, Branch started his career in 1984 at BOA predecessor Sovran Bank. The Dinwiddie County native oversees roughly 2,000 area Bank of America employees, 25 branch offices and the bank’s Henrico County-based technol- ogy and operations center. He serves on the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Venture Richmond, Virginia Historical Society and the Richmond Metropolitan YMCA, and was named in 2020 as a Richmond Times-Dispatch Person of the Year. Branch serves on the board of visitors for


William & Mary, from which he received his bachelor’s degree in sociology.


78 VIRGINIA 500


FIRST JOB: Server at Shoney’s Restaurant in Petersburg.


HOBBY/PASSION: Working in my garden and jogging


PERSON I ADMIRE: My mentor at Bank of America, Mary DePillars, a trailblazer who opened doors for others to follow.


MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson


ONE THING I WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: I would change Virginia’s slow adaptation to change and move away from its steadfast commitment to traditions.


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