After making its presence in Richmond felt in a big way on Patterson Avenue last year, a bank from Kilmarnock has a slightly less visible spot in mind for its next local branch.
Chesapeake Bank, a $692 million institution that entered the Richmond market about five years ago, is opening a location in Lakewood, a retirement community off Lauderdale Drive in the West End.
Frank Bell, head of the bank’s Richmond operations, said it already has branches in three other similar facilities around the state at the Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury on the Northern Neck, and Patriots Colony and Williamsburg Landing, both in Williamsburg. Those branches hold a combined $24 million, according to the bank’s figures.
“We’ve just had a lot of success with them,” Bell said.
The practice is not unlike banks that set up branches in places like grocery stores, where they have a chance to capture business from a more captive audience. At Lakewood – a community consisting of apartments, cottages and villas, convenience store, barber shop and other amenities – Bell said the bank has the chance to win business from the community’s 400 residents, as well as its employees and the family members of residents.
“A lot of banks have tried to go into grocery stores – this has just been something that’s worked for us,” Bell said.
The bank will be replacing BB&T, which plans to shut down at Lakewood next month, Bell said. Chesapeake Bank will lease its nearly 1,000-square-foot space and plans to open by early June. It has already received approval from state banking regulators to open the new office.
While it won’t have road signage to announce its presence and likely won’t draw a ton of outside foot traffic, the Lakewood branch will technically be open to the general public, Bell said.
“We don’t look at them as a typical retail branch,” he said. “We use it as an opportunity to go in, host seminars, socials, to introduce residents to our investment group and estate planners. We’ll start by doing a survey of all the residents and ask what they need and what hours do they want.”
The new location will add to the bank’s Richmond presence, which is anchored by its $4 million, 8,000-square-foot office at 5501 Patterson Ave. It also has a small loan office on Courthouse Road in Chesterfield County.
The company has 15 offices, mostly around the Northern Neck and Peninsula.