C&F dives deeper into C-ville

C&F's branch on Patterson Avenue in the West End. (Michael Schwartz)

C&F’s branch on Patterson Avenue in the West End. (Michael Schwartz)

Less than six months after expanding its lending office in Cavalier country, a local bank is taking a bigger step in Charlottesville.

C&F Bank has a new branch in the works on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, its first full-service location in that market.

Tom Cherry, president of the bank, said it is leasing space below its loan office, which it expanded last summer by luring a group of commercial lenders from Fulton Bank.

The new branch will sit at 306-308 E. Main St. It will be full service, but small, at about 1,000 square feet, Cherry said.

It will enter competitive territory, surrounded on the mall by several regional and national banks. A Union Bank & Trust branch sits a few doors down at 400 E. Main St., and United Bank, Virginia National Bank, Wells Fargo, Fulton Bank and others are nearby.

“Most banks that have a presence in Charlottesville are on the Downtown Mall,” Cherry said.

Cherry said there’s no firm timetable for when the new location will be open, but he expects it by the second quarter, following regulatory approvals and some renovations.

C&F’s expansion is the latest example of a two-way trend that’s picked up steam in recent years, bringing out-of-town community and regional banks to Richmond in search of new revenue–and vice versa.

Locally based Essex Bank last month bought a branch building in Lynchburg to tap into what it sees as a small, but thriving, economy. Coming into the Richmond market by way of Abingdon, Virginia, First Bank & Trust, a $1.5 billion privately held institution, set up its first local loan office in Hanover County.

For C&F, the push into Charlottesville marks its biggest expansion in about a decade, when it moved into the Peninsula in Hampton Roads. It added to its holdings in that market in November by acquiring a wealth management practice in Williamsburg, Cherry said.

C&F is headquartered in West Point and has 25 branches, including 17 in the Richmond market. It has $1.42 billion in total assets, according to its most recent financial statements. It controls more than $775 million in deposits in the Richmond area, making it the second-largest community bank doing business here based on its deposit market share.

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