Photo of helping hand reaching out to another hand

Letters From Leton: Doing the Little Things

As I write this, I am hearing on the radio the bells ringing for the victims of 9-11. In some ways, we’ve had our “vision” of heroes displaced by movies and the media. What we forget are the heroes who exist because they are “super caring”.

A few years ago, we were approached by Southwest Virginia Workforce Development (SWVD). Among many things they do is to work with folks who have fallen on hard times due to drug or alcohol abuse. Through SWWD involvement these individuals have improved their lives, developed skills, and are ready to return to the workforce and contribute to society.

Just one catch. Many do not have transportation to get to their new jobs. So SWWD got funds to support the purchase of cars for the folks coming back to the workforce. They would “put up money” for a bank to loan to these folks. The worker would pay off the cash-guaranteed loan and have a vehicle to drive to work. And the funds could be used again and again for other workers to purchase a car.

Now the loans would be small (several thousands of dollars) and the Bank (by the time we counted human and system costs) would make no money. (Like most small loans we go in the hole). They talked to many banks. No bank that they spoke with who wanted to do this. After all, most of the folks we are talking about helping have very poor credit and perhaps other legal issues.

Doug Meade with SWVD came to me. We talked. I prayed. Thinking of the impact on the bank. Thinking of what we are chartered to do as a community bank. Thinking of folks who were trying to change their lives. Thinking of their families. I decided we would do it and help the SWVD.

Today a few of us will be attending a luncheon meeting sponsored by SWVD to thank us for stepping up as a bank. Especially Carol Hayes who has served as the lead lender for this initiative. Maybe we can’t leap tall buildings. Or run faster than a speeding bullet. But what we can do is care about the communities we are blessed to serve.

And on 9-11 being a servant hero is a noteworthy thing.

Have a great week.
– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.