ABA Banking Journal - May 2014 - (Page 6)
BY BILL STREETER
When opportunity knocks,
will you answer?
"Such stories remind us
that there is no wall between
business and life, or between
life and anything else.
IT'S ALL ONE"
ABA BANKING JOURNAL
ometimes a motivational speaker
really does motivate. Such was the
case with the subject of our First
Person article this month (p. 44). The
story is about Ken Wood, a bank director who runs a water-drilling business.
Here's how he describes his reaction upon
hearing a motivational speaker talk about
conditions in Africa: "When God rings the
phone, you better pick it up."
All of us have moments when something
awakens us to an opportunity-a comment
from a trusted friend, a mentor, or our own
intuition. These moments usually can be
uncomfortable because they present us
with a decision-will we act?
The bank director did act on his "call,"
and, as you can read, it has made all
the difference in his life and the lives of
Such stories remind us that there is
no wall between business and life, or
between life and anything else. It's all
one. We are presented with a combination
of time and circumstances in which to
live. How we use those ultimately is the
most important thing.
Bank CEO Kelly King spoke about this
at some length at the end of his keynote
address to the ABA Real Estate Lending
Conference last month.
"Life goes by really fast," said the head
of BB&T Corp., where he has worked for
42 years. "And the shame of it is most
people spend their lives either living in
the past or in the future. ... Not one of
us can change yesterday," he said, "and
not one of us has tomorrow promised. The
essence of life is to get hold of that reality
and to live in the moment, focused on
doing the best you can do today." (Read
a transcript of King's remarks at http://
In another article (p. 28), you'll read
how the visit of a banker to an inner city
classroom inspired a young black man to
strive to be like that banker. That alone
would be a good result, but the young man
did not pursue success only for himself.
He built an organization to help others in
poverty to "learn the language of money,"
which he believes is the key to achieving
That young man, John Hope Bryant,
founded Operation Hope in 1992. In
March, ABA and Operation Hope agreed to
partner toward the goal of increasing financial literacy and economic empowerment.
Quite a few banks have worked with
Operation Hope over the years, but many
may be unfamiliar with the group. The
article will tell you a lot, but the best way
to learn about Hope is to see it in action.
In early April I took the subway to the
125th St. branch of Popular Community
Bank to attend the opening of the first
Hope Inside office in New York City. There
I had a chance to speak with two participants in the Hope Inside small business
seminar-Chauntee Jackson and Mansur
Abdus-Salaam. This was an inspiration in
itself. Both spoke convincingly of their
commitment to get their fledgling businesses up and running. Any bank would
want them as customers.
There are likely millions of people like
these two around the country who, as
Bryant observes, don't need a handout,
but a hand up. This new ABA alliance is
an opportunity for the industry to embrace
a task for which it is very well suited.
Doing so can only bring benefits short
and long term to a bank, its community,
and the country.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - May 2014
Who will fill the chair?
Pass the Aspirin
Doing well by doing good
ABA At Your Service
ABA Banking Journal - May 2014