This I Believe

Ken - Altus, Oklahoma
Entered on January 28, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65

I Believe in the Ministry of Banking

I know it sounds funny, but I really believe that banking is a ministry.

While trying to talk my daughter into following a banking career rather than missionary work, I told her that banking is a ministry. After she stopped laughing, I explained that by definition banking served others by helping them. We help people buy homes and cars; we educate students, and we prepare people for their retirements.

When I served as the chairman of the American Bankers Association, I chose a “theme of the year.” As I examined previous themes, I saw the high ideals that had gone before me: bringing affordable housing to our country and helping others become financially literate.

Once again, I thought of banking as serving others, as a ministry. Of course, I have known bankers and the many wonderful things they have done for their communities–mostly unselfishly.

My involvement with banking at a national level broadened my perspective so that I believe that bankers serve a ministry. However, bankers are not good at telling their story, and most perform community service simply because it needs doing. I asked bankers to tell me their stories about their community service projects–ways they have improved their own environments.

As a result, I heard from great bankers who have used financial and human resources to support youth organizations, fund art projects, organize food banks, and teach financial management skills. Bankers help get hot meals to the homebound, work with inner-city kids dreaming of college, raise money for medical charities, teach on-the-job skills to teens, provide afterschool activities, build playgrounds, and host sporting events. To further their worth, bankers have made a habit of helping towns recover from hurricanes and have helped get people and businesses rebuild after tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, and mudslides. Stories abound about ministering banks and bankers.

What is a community without a reliable place of financial support? Where would building, re-growth, and development come from if banks and bankers didn’t minister to those in need, to those who wish to receive a college degree, to those who must start again after tragedy, to those who wish to leave a positive mark on our world with their ideas and projects and plans and blueprints?

If these examples don’t prove that banking is a ministry, then I don’t know what will. Where there is a need, there is a banker. Bankers help secure our futures because without their support and foresight and cooperation, there really wouldn’t be a future.

Now for my daughter, she did marry a minister and is now teaching in a Title 1 school, but it leads me to believe even more in what I am doing, in the goodness of bankers and that banking is a true ministry.