Behind the career: B.Todd Dempsey

Position: Chief operating officer of First Virginia Community Bank based in Fairfax.

When B. Todd Dempsey answered an advertisement in the newspaper about a management training program at a community bank, little did he know he would remain in banking for his entire career. He now leads the operations of a bank that he helped start in 2007.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

A bank recruited me and wanted me to start on Dec. 8. I was in charge of the business lending group. I soon found out that they had a huge group of [delinquent accounts]. I went in to fix it with a group of three people. We had 23 days to clean it up [before the end of the year]. We started with millions in delinquencies and brought it down to $32,000.

Another accomplishment I’m proud of is when we started Heritage Bank in 1987. We started out at zero. I was a key employee. We grew the bank to $120 million and sold to Cardinal Bank. I was there the day before we started to the day we sold to Cardinal.

Todd Dempsey is the new COO of First Virginia Community Bank. (First Virginia Community Bank)

If you could do any part of your career over again, what would it be?

I would have increased my network. I would have made more effort to maintain and establish contacts. You think you’re going to go do something different, but I wish I would have kept my Rolodex. I could be able to pick up the phone and say, “Hey I’ve known you 25 years, can you do this?”

Also, I would have listened to people’s recommendations related to accelerating my career. My career would have moved faster. I didn’t have a mentor. It would have been nice to have a mentor, not so much to see mistakes as much as to see opportunities.

What does it take to be a successful leader in banking?

Good leaders in banking have similar attributes. They have to be informed. It’s a complicated industry. They have to understand all the pieces. They have to be community oriented. Banking is a trust business. The community has to trust you.

— Interview with Vanessa Small

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