Letters From Leton: Sweet As Tupelo Honey!

Besides being a Van Morrison song title, how much do you know about Tupelo honey? 

Tupelo honey is produced by honeybees who collect the unusual nectar from Ogeechee Tupelo trees in the remote wetlands of Georgia and Florida. The honey has an unusually high fructose to glucose ratio. This quality allows the energy in honey (sugar) to be released over a longer time, reducing the sugar crash associated with other sweets.

I thought a lot about honeybees this week as my wife’s cousin, Erik, the builder of buildings for Microsoft, and more importantly a “beekeeper”, shared that he had a good crop of honey in one hive. Unfortunately, he lost the other two hives.

My dad raised bees. He spent so much time with the bees that they knew his smells, sensed his actions, and could even anticipate when he would be around. 

They treated him like a big bee brother. He could take honey from their hives without smoking the hive (a tactic used to calm bees). He would often pick up bees that were too loaded with nectar to make it to the hive and place them at the hive entrance with his bare fingers.

Bees are amazing. They can fly for miles seeking nectar and other sources to produce honey. They work the trees, bushes, and clover then return home. My dad and Erik knew/know how hard their bees work(ed) to provide for the whole hive.

That reminds me of banking today. Nearly all of our loan officers and other production folks spend most days out of the office seeking deals, contacting customers and learning what’s going on in their communities. They return back home to the Bank throughout the day with information and deals.

Just imagine if bees stayed at the hive waiting for the nectar to come to them. How much honey would they produce?

In today’s banking (and business) world, bankers who stay in the office are like bees who stay in the hiveHow many loans (honey) would those bankers produce?

Now, some bees stay at the hive to defend it, tend to the young and work up the honey. They are equally as valuable and necessary.

However, without the honey that the worker bees bring in, there would be no hive.

The banking world has changed. Just like Erik lost 2 of his 3 hives this year, the banking industry has lost two out of three banks to mergers over the last 20 years. 

I wonder if the two-thirds that are gone failed to adapt to the new age of banking.

Tomorrow morning as pour some of Erik’s honey on my toast, I will be reminded of the value of those who leave the nest (the bank) to support us all.

Stay safe and have a wonderful weekend.

– 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.