Despite a prediction that National Bank of Washington will capture "the leadership in the Washington banking community," NBW Chairman Luther Hodges Jr. warned stockholders yesterday that 1981 profits are unlikely to match the bank's profit picture before the turbulence of the last year.

Nothing continuing federal investigations of the bank stemming from questionable loan practices, Hodges, in his first stockholders meeting since taking the bank's reigns last year, said at the bank's annual shareholders meeting that those problems "were not created overnight."

But, in a prepared statement, Hodges said that "through strong management, effective internal controls and aggressive planning and marketing, we will be in a much stronger position in the future than we ever were in the past."

Despite a year of turmoil surrounding the loan practices and an agreement with the comptroller of the currency to change bank operations dramatically, and a year during which profits dropped from $6.8 million in 1979 to $4.0 million last year, no shareholders asked questions.

Hodges said the lack of questions was not surprising in light of the bank's frank assessment of the year in an annual report and proxy statement released last month. "The proxy statement was the epitome of disclosure," he said later. "I don't know that there was anything more to say."

Therefore Hodges stressed the bank's future, while noting that the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission are continuing investigations. He said NBW management has been "assured that the bank itself is not a target of any investigation."

Hodges called on a restructured NBW board of directors to help bring new business to the bank and said the bank will try to attract international customers. After the meeting, Hodges said that NBW plans to set up an international advisory board for that purpose.

Two new directors, Kenneth Blaylock, president of the American Federation of Government Employes, and Louis Simpson, senior vice president of Geico Corp., were elected to the board, bringing its membership to 25.