Ross A. Hill: February 2010

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pros For Africa Voting Update

So far the voting is 50/50.

Vote and I will update the final numbers on Monday.

Pros For Africa

Last night Raynell and I attended the Pros For Africa fund raising event at the Governor's Mansion. The pavilion was jam packed. A fun night for a great cause. Adrian Peterson, Mark Clayton, Roy Williams and Tommy Harris were all in attendance. Tommy Harris sang Happy Birthday to the President of East Central University. That was a classic, Tommy can sing and they should get him on American Idol!

During the auction I found myself bidding against Governor Henry for a mission trip to Uganda. The bidding got very intense and I quickly learned I was in a no win situation. Should I out bid the Governor of Oklahoma?

If I out bid the Governor would that be considered political suicide? If I stop bidding, after running the price up, would the Governor be upset because now he has to fork over big money? How do I get myself into these situations? Thank goodness his term is about to expire!

What do you think I did?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The following quote from Tim Cook is something I read in"Seth's Blog" yesterday.

Tim Cook at Apple: “This is the most focused company I know of, am aware of, or have any knowledge of... We say no to good ideas every day.” Cook then pointed out to analysts that every single product the company makes would fit on the single conference table in front of him. “And we had revenue last year of $40 billion."

I would like to add the following comments;

As a Mac and I-phone owner I can vouch for the superior products and the service they provide at the Apple Store.

While most of us want to keep adding products and doing more and more Apple has learned to FOCUS and in doing so has become a huge and wildly successful company. But, I have noticed it's not just true of big companies. I was at Eischen's this week. Have you ever noticed how many items are on their menu? 8. That is right 8. And the place was packed on Wednesday night. This weekend they will be on a 1-2 hour wait for Chicken on Friday and Saturday night. Why do we always try to do more when we should be focused on doing what we do better?

This is a great lesson for all of us...more does not constitute success. How many things can you be great at? How many things can you be the market leader in?

F-O-C-U-S = S-U-C-C-E-S-S

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Tell Me I Can't Do It!

When somebody tells me I can not do something, I get motivated to prove I can. When someone says "it can't be done" it moves and motivates me to accomplish more than anyone thinks is possible. Let someone say "Hill, you are not qualified to do xyz" or "Hill, what makes you think you can figure this out when nobody else can?" I start getting excited. I start challenging the thinking. I start seeing a vision of how it can be done. I believe in myself and I believe in the ONE that created me.

I love a challenge, I thrive on it. It brings the best out of me. It helps me to be creative and to see "how it can be done" instead of accepting "it can't be done". Today, it seems like many just want to accept that we can not change things or are willing to accept "it can't be done".

Not me, the world needs a lot more people that accept the challenge, role up their sleeves and get excited about fixing problems.

It can be done and I am just the guy to do it.
How about YOU?

In A Pit?

In Mark Batterson's best selling book "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" I was reminded of a simple truth that is often forgotten. Mark writes,"God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go".

Step back from all of the rush of the day and just reflect on that sentence for 10 minutes. This is a powerful thought that should help us to see that things in our life do not happen by chance.

We have hope. We have a purpose. We have a destiny.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dangerous Surrender

Most of you realize I am an avid reader. I just finished Kay Warren's new book named 'Dangerous Surrender". I have to tell you, she is gifted, you must read it. To be honest the book was very hard for me to read because Kay is able to describe in graphic details what she sees and more importantly what she feels. She is amazingly honest with her feelings. I found it totally refreshing that she was so forth right. She does not pull any punches. You will be captivated. At times, I found myself tied up in knots because she was able to help me feel the moment. Also, at times I found myself very uncomfortable as I did not like what I was reading. Sometimes I did not want to keep reading but I knew I needed to know. I am so glad that I finished the book.

I am really not doing justice to her book so just let me say this. I don't think you will be able to set it down. Just go buy it and read it, you will not be sorry. After you read the book, let me know what you think.


"It's Not About Me!"

Friday, February 19, 2010


Interesting, I just received the Journal Record's 2010 Most Admired CEO's publication.

It confirmed most everything I wrote in my earlier posting today. The vast majority of these men and women have spent decades building their businesses.


Does It Ever Stop?

Does it ever stop? I have so many things to think about and juggle at the same time. I am sure you feel the same way. How do I get it all done? How do I do everything everybody wants me to do? How do I give too everything that wants my time, energy and money? So many good and worthy things. Far more than I have the capacity to fulfill. Many hands are stretched out looking for help. I want to do it all, I want to help everyone. I want to be used but at the end of the day what of lasting value do I create if I try to do it all?

I have found that if I am going to accomplish anything of lasting value I have to FOCUS.

I spent 9 years fixing a bank that was about to fail in Yukon, OK. Over nine years we took that bank from the front page of the USA Today Newspaper as "one of the 10 worst capitalized banks in Oklahoma" to one of the "top 25 banks in the country" according to the American Banking Journal (July 2000 edtion) It took undivided FOCUS to accomplish this task. Today, that bank remains a strong financial institution.

I have spent 9 years building Bank2 into a strong financial institution. In fact, one of my banker friends recently called to compliment me about the banks strong performance ( We not only have a strong local presence but we have a market leading national presence in a niche product. But it does not stop there. Our bank has a global outreach. We have made a difference in places such as the Dominican Republic, Sumatra, Indonesia. and Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Our mission is to Build Better Lives and we are FOCUSED on our mission.

It never stops, you have to F O C U S.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Fear of Losing

Have you ever been afraid of losing what you have gained? YES!

You work hard to accomplish a goal. Once it is accomplished you want to guard it. You want to hang on to it. You want to keep it safe. You know how hard you worked to gain what you have. You know how difficult it was, how much blood, sweat and tears it cost you. So you start figuring ways to hold on to it, to protect it, to keep it safe. It is natural but it could be a mistake.

Erwin McManus in his book Chasing Daylight said, " The greatest danger that success brings, aside from arrogance, is the fear of loosing what has been gained". This fear limits us because we become focused on the here and now and miss the future. We focus on maintaining instead of on building.

I am in the risk taking business and have been for over 30 years. Even in times like these banks must continue to take risks or we start to lose what we have gained. If we let "The Fear of Losing" dictate our future we have already sealed our fate...We will loose. However, if we seize the moment we can accomplish even more and we will live the future.

The choice is yours. For me, I am not a loser, I choose to focus on the future and keep building.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Banking 101 FDIC Responds To Video

FDIC's response to 'handling of loans' video
Many of you have seen the “video” about the handling of loans from the failed IndyMac FSB by OneWest. It made the rounds repeatedly last week, and we've had several calls about it.
Here's the FDIC's response:
FDIC Director of Public Affairs Andrew Gray said, “It is unfortunate but necessary to respond to blatantly false claims in a web video that is being circulated about the loss-sharing agreement between the FDIC and OneWest Bank. Here are the facts: OneWest has not been paid one penny by the FDIC in loss-share claims. The loss-share agreement is limited to 7% of the total assets that OneWest services, and OneWest must first take more than $2.5 billion in losses before it can make a loss-share claim on owned assets. In order to be paid through loss share, OneWest must have adhered to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
The producers of this video perpetuate other falsehoods. The FDIC has not requested to borrow money from the Treasury Department. Indeed, we continue to be funded by the banking industry through assessments, not by taxpayers as claimed in the video.
This video has no credibility. Regardless of the personal or professional motivations behind its production, there is always a responsibility to be factually correct and transparent. The FDIC made available a fact sheet on the day that the sale of IndyMac was announced that details the terms of the contract. It's too bad that the creators of this video opted to premise it on falsehoods.”

Monday, February 15, 2010


Today, I spent some time with some friends. Both recently had their vision seriously impaired. Both can barely see. It recently happened to both of them suddenly, without any real warning.
The best doctors in the world don't know what caused it and don't know how to fix it.

Taylor is 24 and Heather is 39 (forever ) :):). Neither know if they will ever regain what they have lost. My thought was to get them to know each other, to encourage each other. So, I introduced them.

I tried to be silent (you know how hard that is for me) and let them visit. It was an experience that I don't think I will ever forget. They engaged each other like they were long lost friends. They shared their struggles, their pain, their zest for life and their desire to not let their loss define them as individuals. I wish you could have all been their to witness this event. Lauren, Taylor's wife, was by his side and actively participating in the conversation but like me listening more and talking less. She is an amazing woman that loves her man.

I was overwhelmed by their spirit. They are brave, courageous and driven to live life to the fullest regardless of the problems that confront them. They were able to laugh and share their true feelings. They are realistic. They know it is not going to be easy.

Everyone agreed, that if it were not for the support of family, friends and God Himself they would not be able to overcome.

As the meeting concluded they shared contact information, everyone hugged each other and I was overwhelmed by strength of these two. The resolve to cast a new vision for their lives whether they can see or not.


"Giving in it's purest form expects nothing in return".

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Banking - 101

New Mexico House Votes to Move Money to Community Banks
The New Mexico House this week voted unanimously for legislation to move money from the state’s general fund depository account from Bank of America to New Mexico community institutions. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe), would direct the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration to give preference to community banks and credit unions to act as fiscal agents for up to $5 billion in state funds. The bill is headed to the Senate, and Gov. Bill Richardson (D) has said he supports it.
Egolf has said the plan would free up credit for local communities because community banks have been lending during the financial crisis while the largest financial institutions have reined in credit. He also has introduced a joint memorial encouraging New Mexico residents to bank with community institutions instead of the nation’s largest banks. ICBA and the Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico strongly support the measure.

Finally, some truth and wisdom from our elected officials. I hope other states catch on.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Tribute To Ladies Part 2

A friend of mine told me not to just see but to notice.

I know you see your bride everyday but have you noticed her? Have you notice her incredible ability to handle children? Many women are so relaxed with them. They can laugh at their kids, cry with their kids, discipline their kids, clean up after their kids, love their kids and the list goes on and on. You get the idea. For the most part it does not bother them. Where do they get this ability? All of this energy? Not the kids... the MOMS?

And then, many work full-time, run the home and care and support their husbands. Some of them even have to fix everything that breaks at home (sorry Raynell).

Most women I know make the Ever Ready Bunny look like a wimp.

Guys, don't forget your bride this weekend. Without her you are not complete. God has given you a wonderful blessing, be sure to notice her in a very special way.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Tribute To Ladies Part 1

God, after creating man said it was "not good for man to be alone". So he created Eve to be a constant companion. Men, where would we be without our Bride?
They love us in spite of ourselves. They believe in us even when we don't believe in our self. They know just what to say to encourage us when we are down or to inspire us to greatness when we get bogged down in the muck of life. They know how to humble us and how to tease us. My wife loves to tell me "it takes a woman to do a man's job"! She smiles as she announces it to the world and gives me that wonderful grin that keeps me loving her more each day.

V-Day is just around the corner, make sure you let your Bride know how much you love her.

Super Bowl 2010

Great Game!

Great Commercial!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Have you ever notice how much energy you receive when you get with your friends? It can be like plugging in your cell phone and charging it up.

This week has been a rather intense one.

Then tonight, we had dinner with some dear friends and now I am recharged and ready for more of the journey. Friends are a good thing.

What A Blessing!

Today was very special for me.

17 employees met in our board room early this morning to have a short prayerful "sending Forth" ceremony. A couple of weeks ago we had challenged our employees to make a difference for Haiti. Together we raised $13,050.00! We asked God to multiply it 100X per the scripture in Mark 4:8. We met and prayed together and agreed to ask God to grant our request. We believe the money will be used to feed the hungry, cloth the poor, heal the hurt, provide housing for the homeless, and hope for the orphans.

There were not too many dry eyes in the room when we were done. It was a mountain top experience.

We also announced an initiative to send two employees to work in Haiti to help with the relief work. Several employees expressed interest in going and asked questions about getting passports.

What a great group of people to work with. As I said, What A Blessing!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thought For Today

What we do in life echoes for eternity.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Met Courage Today!

Today was an incredible day. It was jammed packed from start to finish. It was one of those very intense days...full of stress, no time for lunch, no time to return calls. You all know the type of day I am talking about, we all have them.

But, I don't think I will ever forget today. Not because of my meetings but because I was richly blessed. Today, I met Courage up close and personal, his parents named him Taylor about 24 years ago. Just a few months ago Taylor had the world by the tail, he is a good looking, fit, young man with a beautiful bride, a promising career, a new home and a personal relationship with God. What more could you ask for?

Tragically, about 30 days after returning home from his honeymoon he started loosing his eye sight. Now 4 months into this ordeal, visiting the best doctors, specialist and even the Mayo Clinic, his sight is all but gone. But Taylor is not a quitter. He is still fighting, still hoping but he is also smiling and he is accepting his life and moving forward. He believes God will bless his life one way or another. He told me today "I am closer to God than I have ever been in my life".

He is determined to overcome this challenge and make the most of life. Will it be easy, heck no! But, he believes he can and he also believes he can use this tragedy to help make this a better world. With his bride at his side he smiled, laughed and expressed how thankful he was for the support he has received. His loving, caring, encouraging bride was a perfect picture of a Godly wife.

His mom was there too and I thought how tough it must be to see her son face this challenge...but how proud she must be that he has the courage to not quit, but to overcome.

I met Courage today and his name is Taylor. God Bless you Taylor and thank you for inspiring me.

Decisions Can Be Tough To Make

I was helping a friend of mine the other day. He was excited about a business opportunity. He had so many things to consider, so many options to consider it was overwhelming for him. I sensed his anxiety. I felt for him for, I knew exactly what he was feeling. I have been there.

It reminded about a man that I used to work for back in Ohio. He always made me write down my "great ideas" in detail. I would take him an idea, he would say "write it down and bring it back when you have finished writing out your idea and plan for implementation". Man, I hated to hear him say those words. If Hugh said this to me once, he said it to me a hundred times. It got so bad I did not want to tell him my latest and greatest ideas!

The truth is that he was helping me a bunch. It is way easier to come up with ideas than it is to figure out how to execute them. I have a lot of friends and customers come to me with ideas for new business or expanding their current business. They tell me their ideas and I tell them to "go write it down". "Think it through," "count the cost," "figure out how you are going to make this happen". I give them the same advice my mentor gave me nearly 40 years ago.

In my 30 year banking career, I have learned that the guys that do write it down, figure out each detail, "count the cost", ultimately have success. The guys that just let the moment of excitement and emotion dictate their actions seldom succeed. Most of the time they never even get started.

Need to make a tough decision, write it down along with the plan to implement it.