Profile | 6 min read
Bank of America’s Victor Branch seeks economic prosperity as lifetime resident
October 27, 2022
Profile | 6 min read
October 27, 2022
“We are only as strong as the communities we serve, and we want to make sure we are doing business in strong, vibrant communities,” explains Victor Branch, President of the Richmond Market for Bank of America.
A prominent member of the Greater Richmond community thanks to his time spent volunteering with various non-profits, Victor makes it a priority to give back to the community, not only for himself, but also for his organization.
“Bank of America invests greatly in Greater Richmond because it’s a dynamic and growing region,” explains Victor.
To strengthen the Greater Richmond area, Victor has dedicated more than 30 years both personally and on behalf of Bank of America to improving the local business community.
“I often tell my teammates inside Bank of America that I get to work in the best market that we sit in across the country. It’s a very business friendly community, and it is a community that is modest in its appearance, but it is rich in resources, and it is a diverse and growing region,” he says.
Bank of America is a Director-level member of the Greater Richmond Partnership’s Regional Leadership Circle, an exclusive advisory council consisting of GRP’s top investors. The group is comprised of senior-level executives among GRP’s private sector investors contributing a minimum of $25,000 annually.
He understands that economic development is a team sport and cannot be carried out through just one sector. “It’s a public-private partnership. You’ve got to have everybody coming to the table with a common goal then rolling up their sleeves and striving for that objective.”
Both public and private sector investors are extremely important to the economic development of Greater Richmond as they each work to create new initiatives that boost the region’s perception.
“It is a privilege to serve on the GRP Leadership Circle, getting to see what the Partnership is focused on and strategically help work towards the region’s economic development,” says Victor.
Bank of America has a very robust ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategy. Victor finds great pride in Bank of America’s ESG initiatives as he believes it is their corporate responsibility to the region.
“Richmond gets a considerable number of resources that we deploy locally. In the last two years — particularly since the pandemic and civil unrest — we’ve been able to deploy over $4 million back into the region to support underserved and under resourced communities to help lift all boats in the rising tides.”
Furthermore, Victor shares that Greater Richmond is getting its share of a $1.25 billion Advancing Racial Equality commitment over the course of five years that will address issues surrounding jobs, housing, small businesses and health for people of color. One such example includes Bank of America’s pledge toward local Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“One of our best examples is where we gave $1 million this past fall to Virginia Union University for them to expand their business programs so that their students can get exposure to banking and finance,” says Victor. “And then we can eventually employ those students as they come out of Virginia Union.”
“This GRP is not your Grandfather’s GRP,” says Victor. “It’s an economic development organization that is driving collaboration through innovation and creativity. It has been at the core of so many of Richmond’s recent announcements and, going back 10, 15, 20 years of companies expanding and relocating to this region and bringing in all that diverse and enriching populations to add to what was already here.”
Victor describes Greater Richmond as a modern and innovative location that attracts flocks of young people from all over. “That’s a sign of a healthy region. Richmond is on fire and we can thank GRP for that dynamic, exciting, vibrant and young community.”
With 182 net new residents per week and several relocating companies joining the region, Greater Richmond is a melting pot for young new talent.
The resources provided by GRP to investing organizations include project management, site selection assistance, in-depth market data, workforce recruitment, financial and entrepreneurial resources and more.
“GRP helps raise the bar and drive opportunity and expansion in economic development across all sectors. They are the champion and advocate for the Greater Richmond region. I have seen what they do and I’m excited about what they will continue to accomplish in the region. Bank of America is very proud to be a partner and investor in GRP.”
“GRP has one of the best professional staffs that you could ever want to work with. If you need research on the region, if you want to know what this region looks like compared to sister regions, GRP is that resource that can give you all that rich data and its team is prepared to support what you and your organization want to do.” Victor BranchPresident of the Richmond Market, Bank of America
Economic development impacts the entire community. As someone who has grown up in the Greater Richmond area, Victor has watched the region flourish due to an influx of new businesses and opportunities over the years.
“I come from an impoverished background in the southern end of this region in a time when job opportunities were limited. But when an economic development alliance is working and firing on all cylinders bringing new job opportunities and business to an area it gives people that opportunity to be self-sufficient and to thrive, and that’s what you can see happening in Greater Richmond.”
Investing in economic development organizations like the Greater Richmond Partnership provides a large return on investment. Not only do investors gain the opportunity to be involved in the region’s economic development, but it also allows for collaboration and connections to be made between investors in both the public and private sectors.
“If you want your business to grow and have more customers and have more opportunities for expansion, then you need to be investing in GRP because the return that you will get back would be immeasurable and better than tenfold,” says Victor. “Bank of America has been a long-term investor in GRP. And we do it because we know that we get back more than we were able to give to the group.”
“You need to be investing in GRP because the return that you will get back would be immeasurable and better than tenfold.” Victor BranchPresident of the Richmond Market, Bank of America
Learn more on how you can invest in the Greater Richmond Partnership here.