VNB earns nearly $1 million on trusts

Managing trust accounts, that high-fee business of investing the money of rich people who can't or won't do it themselves, brought Charlottesville-based Virginia National Bank $980,000 in income last year, nearly a third of its overall net earnings of $3,086,000. Further good news for the bank is that loan write-offs amounted to just $11,000 last year, according to the February 15 release from the bank. While the loan-loss amount is nearly double 2004's loan losses of $6,000, both figures are microscopic in the banking world. (Consider that the other locally-operated bank founded in 1998, Albemarle First, lost $2.4 million in just one botched situation in 2003 when the president of a now-defunct picture moulding company engaged in a criminal check-kiting scheme.) Shares in VNB, which have been trading in the $25-$26 range for about a year, were little changed by the news.

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The big news was the press release that came out two days earlier. Not only has longtime Monticello development executive Paula Newcomb moved over to VNB's trust department, but also VNB has lured away trust guy Hill Ewald from Bank of America. The February 13 release sayst that VNB has over $100 million in trust accounts. Nice!