What seems like a lifetime ago, I worked at a little bank in Sandy Springs that grew up to be a medium size bank (eventually sold to Regions Bank.) A dozen or so folks raised a little capital from a few lucky friends and launched a bank. I was lucky enough to land happily among these great minds and warm hearts. Many say that the front line of any organization is a reflection of the leadership. Metro Bank was no exception. This little bank had a customer-base of loyal customers who enjoyed and appreciated good customer service. It was expected that all the customers would be known by the employees but, it was amazing how well the customers got to know the employees. The president of the bank, Ray Fisher, is one of the warmest people I know. Unlike many bank presidents, Ray’s office was six steps from the front entry of the bank and his door was always open. He was a second generation banker and managed with a peaceful strength. I was reminded of his peace, strength and hilarious humor recently. While looking for my birth certificate, I found an envelope containing a nice note from him and a photos from some of the company parties. I had forgotten all about these. Encouraging his staff was a part of his everyday life.
A tradition starting with Ray, an award for the dumbest loan of the year was awarded to the loan officer who made the dumbest loan. In an environment where “heart” was a part of the lending process, there were many opportunities to earn this prestigious award.