Ross A. Hill: May 2010

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Various News Items

Many of you that read my blog will remember the story "I Met Courage Today" posted 2.2.2010.  You may want to go back an re-read the story but just a quick reminder is in order.  At age 24 Taylor suddenly and without warning went completely blind in one eye and has significant loss in his other eye.  In fact, he is considered legally blind.  Well, this past Friday. I had a wonderful experience with Taylor and his dad.  We play golf together and Taylor shot 47 on the front 9.  He continued to play well on the back but did not finish the last couple of holes.  We had a great time!.  His dad lined him up on his shots and then Taylor hit the ball.  It was amazing.  He beat me on the very first hole!  After 4 holes he was one up on me.  Taylor continues to inspire me.  He has every reason to quit but Taylor is an OVER COMER.

By the way, my friends Steve Carmack and Terry Hague at Legacy Bank in OKC hired Taylor to work in their call center.  I thank God for men like these guys that will give someone with a problem like Taylor's a chance to work.  These guys live their faith.

Off To Fish City For Dinner Tonight!
Whisper of Hope is having a fund raiser at Fish City Tuesday night.  15% of everything you spend for dinner tonight will go to Whisper of Hope Ministries!  Whisper of Hope reaches the lost through the arts. This is a great opportunity to get a great meal and support a most worthwhile Christian ministry.  Come join us!  Fish City is at the corner of 15th and Bryant in Edmond.  The event runs from 11-9 p.m. tonight.

GiANT Experiences Mission Trip to Peru
GiANT Experiences founder Ray Sanders recently returned from a mission trip to Peru.  The trip was a huge success and Ray has been invited back in September by the V. P. of Peru to speak and teach at some Universities and to some business groups in Peru.  GiANT Experiences mission is to awaken the hearts of leaders.

Hospital of Hope in India Update
Just two weeks ago GiANT Experiences and Global Action attempted to raise $106,000 to build a 5,000 sq. ft. hospital in a remote part of India. The breakfast event was held at a local club and to date has raised over $70,000 towards this goal.  Soon mothers and babies that were dying at home or on the side the road during child birth will have a hospital fully equipped and staffed to deliver babies.  Global Action mission is to reach the world's poorest people for the cause of Christ.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Weekend

This is a special weekend.  As a child growing up in Ohio we had a huge parade every Memorial Day weekend.  It seemed like it lasted hours and the entire city turned out to watch.  The floats were very elaborate.  I loved every second of it.

I had no idea what was really going on. What the celebration was all about. Why all of the American Flags?  Why all the military honor guards?  Why all of the bands playing patriotic music?  Why the parade ended at the city's cemetery?  Why so many visited the cemetery and why they were all decorated with beautiful flowers?  As a kid it was all just Red, White and Blue to me. Just great times and great memories for me.

Now, as an adult, I get it.  We honor the memories of our loved ones that have come and gone.  We honor our hero's that have protected our country and gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom and our boarders.

This Memorial Day take a few minutes to honor those you love that have gone ahead of you and those that loved our country enough to give their lives so we can have freedom.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Reunion of Sorts

Today was a fun day.  A really fun day.  Today through the blessings of the the Internet and Facebook I was reunited with one of my childhood friends.  Janie and I were friends from an early age, classmates and graduated from high school together. But like so many, we went our separate directions after high school.

Our parents first introduced us years ago.  They were great friends.  They did lots of things together.  Today, my dad is gone and Janie's mom is gone.  Her dad and my mom continue to be friends and stay in touch via the phone.  As of today, Janie and I reconnected through Facebook, a reunion of sorts.  It will be fun to get catch up with each other and find out what all has happened in our lives over the past 40 years.

Did I just write 40 years?  YUCK!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I was reading today about a guy that was betrayed by his older brothers.  He was sold by them and ended up as a slave.   His brothers told their dad that he was dead.  As if that was not bad enough, he was then falsely accused of a crime and thrown into prison.  After spending considerable time in prison he got out and actually became the 2nd most power man in the nation that had imprisoned him.

Then his defining moment came.  His brothers showed up and asked him for help.  They did not know it was their brother.  They did not recognize him but he recognized them.  He was so excited to see them that he had to excuse himself and went to a private room and cried.  He was over joyed to see his brothers and to find out his dad was still alive.

He provided from his wealth for his family in need.  

Now that is forgiveness!  I don't know that I could do it.  What an example.  If he could do that maybe I can find it in my heart to practice forgiveness.  I am going to try.  Will you join me?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Depressed? Heck NO!

Some people asked me if I was depressed about all of the changes in our industry especially after my last blog.  Heck NO!

I can not change what congress is doing but I sure don't have to be depressed over it.  I can not control them.  I can control me and I am not about to let a bunch of guys in DC get me down.  Those guys can not keep Americans down for long.  We will overcome.

America needs capital to prosper.  No bunch of politicians are going to be able to keep capitalism down for long.  Americans will figure another way.

While I believe my predictions about our industry from my last blog, I also have some ideas about the future.  It is going to be good, big and bright because that is just how Americans think.  We like to chase our dreams.  Like one of my friends said to me today, you are a Lion Chaser.  I am chasing my dream.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Banking Reform? You Have to be Kidding!

All I can say is get ready for some major changes in the banking system.
The Senate just passed a huge sweeping "Banking Reform" bill into law.  Over 1,500 pages, over 250 amendments.  It was crazy and what is more crazy they exempted most of the players that caused the melt down from the new legislation.  Do we need some reforms?  YES!  Did this do it?  NO! 

Here is what I predict will happen over the next 5-10 years:
  The total number of banks will dramatically reduce
  Maybe half as many as there are today
  Over 9,000 today
  Consumers will get far more disclosures that they won't read or be able to understand
  The cost of a consumer loan will increase, more fees, higher interest rates.
  Fewer banks will make loans to consumers
  Small businesses will find it much more difficult to find a loan
  They will pay more in the form of fees and interest
  There will be far more rigidity in the loans. 
  Banks will not be able to tailor a loan to your need
  Banks profits will continue to decrease
  Banks will be forced to merge and be far bigger than they are today
  Thus service will become a thing of scarcity
  More and more paper work will be forced upon banks
  Consumers and Small Businesses will be overwhelmed by the paper work to secure a loan
  Consumers and Small Businesses will be less served because of the new regulations
  ATM's will dry up
  Debit (check cards) will cease to have value
  Today there are nearly 500,000 ATM's, that number will be cut in half if not more
  You will be more dependent upon the hours your bank is open to secure cash
  The end to "Free Checking Accounts"
  The end to "Great Rate Checking and Savings Account"

I hope I am wrong.  I am going to save this and I will let you know every time one of my predictions becomes a reality.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Remarkable Response

Wow!  What a response to my posting about "Disappointment".  I was really taken back by your comments.  Thank you.

There is more to the story.  Today, the gentleman and his sons returned to my office.  He came to thank me for the letter of recommendation I wrote for him and to tell me he got the job.  I was very happy for him.

I asked him to step into my office by himself for a minute.  I told him what I suspected had happened to my Mario figurine.  I explained where it came from and how special it was to me.   I asked him if he could check his car and ask his sons if they knew where it might be.  I told him I knew they were just small children that needed their dad to keep teaching them about life.

I tried to be kind and non-condemning.  Believing it was the right thing to do I tried to treat him and the boys with respect and dignity.  The way I knew I should.  He assured me he would try to find Mario and return it to me.  I thank him and walked him out of my office and bid them all a good day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Recently, I was in Colombia and I was given a wonderful gift from a little girl.  I wrote about her several weeks ago.  She gave me a Mario Brothers plastic figurine.  Edilynn told my wife that I looked like him!  Big guy wearing a red shirt.  She insisted I take it.  She had nothing, nothing at all.  She lived within a sand iron of the city sewage lake.  Yet this little girl insisted on giving me her toy.

I was so proud of it and I brought it back and proudly displayed it in my office.  It meant a great deal to me.

Late last week a customer came in and asked me to write him a letter of recommendation.  He had his two sons with him.  I gave them each a gold dollar which is my custom.  I praised them about being good young MEN.

The next day the Mario Brothers figurine was gone.  It hurt and deeply disappointed me.

What a contrast.

These American boys live in the abundance of American instead of the poverty of Colombia, accepted gifts of kindness, praise and material possessions and then steal more from the giver.

Edilynn (my little Colombian friend) lives in poverty I can not begin to adequately describe.  Edilynn gives gifts from her heart and her meager possessions to an American that only gave her a smile, a huge and a prayer.

What a contrast, indeed.  I pray I never forget the lesson Edilynn taught me.  In reality it is far more precious than the Mario Brothers figurine.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Today.  RJ and I attended a fund raiser put on by Giant Experiences.  We enjoyed a great breakfast at a local club and heard about a village in India where there is no medical facility within a 3-4 hour drive. We heard stories about how some young women are bleeding to death during child birth and how some babies die at birth because of the lack of adequate medical facilities.

In our minds that sort of poverty and lack of access to health care is unheard of yet, it is a reality.  It is as though we can not conceive of a world so impoverished.  But, it is not just a fable.  Three of my friends have been there and witnessed this up close and personal.  My mind and some of my friends say "why should you care, it is a half way around the world? You will never see those people and there is plenty of people that need help right here in OKC".

Yes, perhaps this is true but RJ and I did decided to care.  To care about the poor and needed half way around the world that we may never know in person.  And many others showed they cared as well. We will all know we helped to build a hospital half way around the world that will serve scores and scores of people long after we have gone to be with our maker.  This Hospital of Hope will provide much needed medical care so that lives can be saved in more ways than one.

Milt Kuyers a successful business man said, "Stewardship is not really so much about what you give but what you allow yourself to keep."   


Lots of people write and talk about Leadership.  Perhaps the most famous on that topic today is John Maxwell.  I am a big fan of his and I believe I have read every one of his books.  There are many others, too numerous to count.  Everyone seems to have there ideas, many are very good.  However, I often wonder about their advice.  It seems to me most miss some very basic but essential qualities.

I often wonder where the discussion is about Integrity, Honesty, Being Men or Women of Our Words, Kind Heartedness, Empathy and similar qualities. I especially wonder about where the discussion is about "saying you are sorry" to your employees, customers or vendors when your employees make mistakes. The Leader needs to take responsibility.  Perhaps most importantly the Leader needs to say he or she is sorry when they are the ones that have made the mistake.  I think, in part, it is called, being accountable.

Leadership is more than having the corner office,  the title, or the best parking place or best car.  In my opinion real leaders say they are sorry and make amends when necessary.  Real leaders are willing to humble themselves and show their human side.  Real Leadership understands that people and relationships are the bottom line.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hail the Size of Softballs!

I think the news media many times makes things seem worse than they are in reality.  But I am not being the news media here when I tell you OKC had hail the size of softballs yesterday.  I saw it on TV.  I am thankful I did not see it in person!

This was the biggest hail storm I have ever seen.  When the helicopters showed the pictures from the air it looked like a snow storm.  The ground and the roofs were covered with what appeared to be snow but was really hail.  My friends home had all of his windows on the north side of his house knocked out. TV showed some homes that had holes in the siding like a rocket shell had been shot at the house.  My golf course is closed for the next three days so they can clean up and make repairs.  They will announce on Wed. if they need more time.

I suspect the damage from the this storm will be huge and insurance rates will go up.  No tornado's and to my knowledge no deaths.  

The good news is we have a bright sunny day today.  The bad news is we have more storms coming  Tuesday - Thursday.  Just spring time in Oklahoma

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Going the Extra Mile

Going the extra mile is one of my mantra's.  I love people that make a habit of going the extra mile.  I want to surround myself with people that go the extra mile.  I want my company to be full of employees that go the extra mile.

Today I got an email from Loan Le.  Loan is a high school senior and did a one day shadow of some of our employees over Christmas break this past year.  It is a program that the downtown Rotary Club sponsors.

Loan wrote me an email to thank me for giving her a booklet about going the extra mile.  She said she carries it with her and reads it a lot.  She said she is attempting to make it part of her life habits.  Wow, read that again.  Is that refreshing or what?

Loan, you made my day!

By the way, I think Loan Le needs to be a banker and work in the Loan Department.  What do you think?  Email me your answer.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I just watched the latest Creativity Show on OETA.  Wow, what a show!  It featured many of the Integris Heart Hospital Doctors and Executives and my good friends Chris and Micah McGahan Founders of Bella Forte Glass Blowing Studio.  My good friend Derek Watson was the photographer and producer for the show.  He did an awsome job.

The show draws the correlation between how the medical heart specialist at Integris take people with hearts that are broken, in need of repair and use their creative skills to develop alternatives to heart transplants and the glass blowing creations that Chris and Micah create out of broken pieces of glass.
Both use wonderful Creativity to give second chances.  The doctors use their Creativity to give people with broken warn out hearts a second chance at life.  Chris and Micah use their Creativity to give life to broken pieces of glass that were destined for the trash can.  In the end, both create "Redento Raffinato's" Italian words meaning "Redeemed Elegance".  This is the name Chris  has given to his art creation but as I reflected on the similarities of the two I think it is fitting to call both the redeemed patients and the redeemed glass Redento Raffinato's=Redeemed Elegance.  I like it. Creativity!

Some powerful quotes from the show were;

"Where there is need there is opportunity".
                                                  Dr. Long
                                        Heart Specialist
"You have to be willing to accept risk to attempt to make a difference in life".
                                                                              W. H. Jackson
                                                                              Heart Patient
"We both try to take broken things and try to make it better".
                                                                      Karl Nelson
                                                    Administrative Director
                                                     Integris Heart Hospital
"Creativity changes your life forever".
                                Chris McGahan
"Creativity knows no bounds".

Watch the next airing of this Creativity Show on OETA, you will be blessed by watching it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tragedy Turns to Inspiration

Just 24 hours ago every local TV station was covering the story of the 21 tornados that ripped through Oklahoma late Monday afternoon and evening.

Tuesday, everything was back to normal on TV but not in the lives of those hit by the tornados.

Whisper of Hope is one of the many Ministries that came to the aid of Oklahoman's that were affected by the storms.  They sent word out through their organization that they were going to put together Blu Hope Totes for the victims.  They asked for donations of essential items, gift cards, money, etc. to help people put their lives back together.

Raynell sent out an email to all of the Bank2 employees and in just a few hours we gather about $1,200 dollars between the employees and the bank's matching funds.  I was so impressed by the generosity of our employees.  They are so giving.  They are a great example to me.  They never fail to step up and help those that are hurting.  They inspire me to do more.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Wow, I Guess Spring is Officially Here!

I trust none of you were hurt yesterday with the breakout of numerous tornado's in Oklahoma.

We have wondered if spring was ever going to get here and then it hit us in the face yesterday.  Even after living here for 35 years I am still amazed at how quickly these storms can appear and the damage they can cause.  I could hardly believe the photo's the TV stations were showing from the damaged areas.


On another note, in my blog yesterday I said the story was on 20/20.  In fact, the story aired on 60 Minutes.  My apologies for stating the wrong show.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Did You Watch 20/20 Last Night?

My blood pressure shot up 100 points as I listened to people talk about the fact that they made enough money to pay their home loans but that they refused to pay them because the value of the home had dropped significantly.  That is right, they can make the payment, they just are not going to do it.  Why, because the economy went against them.  Too bad for the bank or mortgage company that made them the loan.  They don't care about them.  They are not going to pay for the house.

They don't care that they promised to pay it back.  They don't care that they signed papers committing to pay it back.  They don't care that the bank had nothing to do with the value of the house shrinking.  They don't care that the nation's economy went into the toilet.  They don't care that they are still employed and make enough to make the payment.  They just don't care.  They are walking away.  One couple admitted they had not made a payment in five months!  They were not going to make another payment.  They were going to save the money and keep saving until they have to move out.  They laughed (one national TV) about getting to live in the house for free! Too bad for the bank.  That is the way the cookie crumbles.

Somebody is going to pay for this mess.  The somebody is us .  We are left holding the bag.  For they have NO CHARACTER.

Our parents and grandparents did not do this during the depression.  Our parents and grandparents buckled down and figured a way to pay the money back.  It was hard.  But parents and grandparents were better for it.

These people have no character.  They made a promise, a promise to pay it back!  If this character flaw grows and becomes the fiber of America I have one thing to say.

God, help us all.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mothers Day

For those of you wondering why I have been writing about my mom this week,  Mothers Day is Sunday.  As I hope you can tell, I love my mom.  She has not always been easy to live with (I was NEVER the problem) but the bond between a son and his mom is deep.

My mom will be 85 in August.  It is hard to see her grow old.  I am sure it is harder on her.

I have one more story to tell about my mom.  When I graduated from high school I decided to go to college at the Cincinnati Bible Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I sold my car and pulled all of my money and belongings together and my mom drove me down to Cincinnati so I could enroll.  Once we got everything unloaded from the car and in my room I walked my mom back out to the parking lot.  When we reached her car she stuffed a check in my shirt pocket, gave me a hug around my neck and said, "I hope to hell you know what you are doing"!  Then she got in car and drove off leaving me standing in the parking lot.  As I walked back to my dorm, in a strange city, in a large metro, with no real knowledge of the town or the school I thought..."I hope I do too".

I pulled the check out off my pocket and it was for $500.  The only money I was ever given to go to college, $500.  My mom was not being mean or selfish.  She did not have much.  But even if she did have more, I don't think she would have given it to me.  To her, it was time for me to be a man.  I decided to go off to college.  I did not ask her, I told her what I was going to do.  So, in her mind, if I was man enough to tell her, she was mother enough to let me sink or swim.  Because of my mom, I found out the truth about me...I was a pretty good swimmer.

Thanks mom, Happy Mothers Day and don't forget, I love you. 

Children Are To Be Seen and Not Heard

Another of my mom's mantra's is "Children are to be seen and not heard".

What?  Surely your mother did not treat you in this manner!  Well, actually she did.  My brother and I learned at an early age we were not hood ornaments to be paraded around and shown off to their company and the neighbors.  We learned that the world did not exist for us to be the center of attention.

We learned to be polite and respectful of our elders. We learned that good parents made sure their children were not allowed to be the focus of attention on a non-stop merry-go-round.  You know what I mean. When was the last time you could not wait to go over to your friend's house to watch two hours of home movies of their vacation?  Yea, me too!!!

In the case of my brother and me, I believe much of our success goes to a mom that thought it was more import for "children to be seen and not heard".

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Joy of Helping

My mom taught me the importance of helping.  Helping do "chores" around the house.  Helping her by running down to the neighborhood store to get something she needed to fix dinner.  Helping my brother with his paper route, doing the yard work or worse, and shovel snow.  I hate snow!  Helping my dad rake leaves or paint something.  Helping the kid next door that had a childhood disease that kept him inside most of his childhood.  Mom insisted I go over and play games with Kevin.

Mom insisted that I not just help but that I do it with a cheerful heart.  Nothing else would satisfy her.  And if I did not have that attitude she found many more things I could do "to help" until I had the right attitude. My attitude was a big thing to my mom.

Today, my GREATEST joy comes in helping people.  Most of the time I don't get paid for it, I just do it out of my "cheerful heart".  Seriously.  I enjoy helping people.  I like doing it.  Sure, it takes effort but it is fun.  Sometimes it is even really hard to help but when you are done you feel great.

I sometimes wonder, if my mom had not taught me to help with a joyful heart, how many blessings would I miss?  I wonder if my heart would be broke.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Faith Requires Persistence

My buddy and I have been working on a project for sometime.  Some days it goes well and other days not so well.

One of the common gauges people use to determine success is how much money is in their checking account.  Where this project is concerned not so much money.  But, neither one of us want to give up.  We see things moving and we believe it is about to kick off.

We have had much success in things other than the amount of profit we have generated. It gives us hope. Therefore we want to keep going.  It is called persistence.  Some people call it insanity.  Others call it crazy.  I call it faith, the hope of things not seen.

Faith requires Persistence!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tear Down the Walls

Yesterday, I sang a song about tearing down the walls.  The song was not talking about physical walls but rather interpersonal walls.  You know, the walls that you have built between you and your spouse, your parents or your kids.  The walls you have put up between your co-workers or friends.  The walls we put up between ourselves and a person of a different race.  The walls we put up just because we think we should but many times we don't have any real need for the walls.

What a great thought.  What would the world be like if we did this?

What walls do you need to dear down?  Tear them down today.