Townsend Oast, president of the People's Bank of Chesapeake since its inception in 1966, has been elected president of the Virginia Bankers Association.

Oast succeeded John W. Lainhart III, vice chairman of Fauquier National Bank, at the trade association's 92nd annual convention last week at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va.

Oast said he plans to concentrate on expanding internal VBA programs such as the Banking Advisor Program, which provides speakers for talk shows, seminars and conventions across Virginia at no charge. Currently, the program committee consists of six high-level Virginia bank executives who are willing to speak on state-related banking issues.

Oast also said he is interested in starting a commercial lending school for VBA members. The group already cosponsors a general banking school in conjunction with the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. An association spokesman said nearly 300 bankers attend the school each year. All 169 banks currently operating in Virginia are members of the VBA. TRADE

At a news conference last week, the Business Coalition for Fair Competition unveiled its latest project -- a book titled "Unfair Competition in the United States: A Report for State Business Leaders on How to Combat Competition from Nonprofit Business Ventures." The book offers suggestions to state business leaders and guidelines on recognizing unfair competition. Kenton H. Pattie, senior vice president of the International Communication Industries Association, stressed that the BCFC is not targeting associations specifically, but is focusing on universities, hospitals and other nonprofit, non-tax-paying groups that the BCFC claims have been competing unfairly with small for-profit entities.

Members of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association have elected John N. Palmer, the president and chief executive officer of Mobile Communications Corp. of America, as president of the group. In his acceptance speech, Palmer noted the extensive growth of the fledgling cellular industry over the past year, and emphasized the need for business leaders to work together to achieve common goals rather than allowing regulators to make decisions for the whole industry. Two current topics of research at the CTIA are mobile car-phone safety and "roaming," which would enable customers to travel outside of one billing radius and switch to another phone company's system. According to CTIA statistics, the number of cellular radio-telephone systems has grown from eight urban areas across the United States in May 1984 to 45 areas as of May 1985.

The National Council of Savings Institutions has appointed a new general counsel, a legislative counsel and an assistant counsel/tax associate to strengthen its legislative and regulatory activities, an association spokesman announced. Rebecca H. Laird was promoted from regulatory counsel to the group's general counsel. Harding Williams moves from corporate counsel to legislative counsel, with continued duties as corporate secretary. Finally, Wendy S. Schonman will join the staff as assistant counsel and tax associate. Schonman formerly was a tax consultant for the National Wildlife Federation.