Ross A. Hill: July 2010

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Promises! Promises!

Another day of hard work! Rod Whitson, master strategic plan leader is putting us through the paces as we plan the next few years for The Bankers Bank. Great meeting. Tonight we went to Sardi's for dinner and then off to Broadway. We saw Promises! Promises! It was a wonderful musical and comedy. Tons of fun. Across the street was the David Letterman's Show, Hello Deli and that pizza place he is always featuring. Work hard, play hard! Ross

Harlem - Apollo Theater

Wow what a night! Our good friends Kim and Marilynn Wheeler took us to the Apollo Theater last night. we road the subway out (that is another story) and arrive just a couple of blocks from the theater. We made the short walk through Harlem to the world famous theater. Amateur night! What a hoot! If you are ever in NYC this is a Must Do. Ross

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

So Much For Privacy!

Checking in at the airport today we had to use an electronic deal to check in. First you had to type your full name in. Then you had to type in your complete birthdate. Everyone within 10-15 feet could read the info. We were told by the employees it was required by the government! I did not like the system one bit! Before we left town we had to drop by the post office. Out in front, in a prime location, is a FedX deposit box. I am not kidding! No wonder the postal service is loosing it's shirt. Whoever dreams this stuff up is going to be dreaming up your health care and the new banking rules! Ross

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Would Be In The Poor House

I think I mentioned that I was reading through the Bible from front to back.  I am just entering Leviticus and I have to say that I am overwhelmed as I read the pages.  It seems God's people were required to make all kinds of offering for their sin.  The Bible is very specific about all of this.  It might be good for you to read Leviticus to see what I mean.

As I reflected upon  what I have been reading I am overwhelmed by my own sin.  If I was alive at that time I  would be at the tabernacle making offering(s) EVERYDAY.  I wondered how I would have time to do anything else.  I wondered how I would make money to acquire the things necessary to make the offering.  I soon realized that I would be in the poor house because of my sin.

Then I Praised God for delivering the ultimate sacrifice His Son so that I may be forgiven.  As I reflected more, I realized that all of the offerings that were required of God's people made them confront their sin directly.  It cost them directly.  It made them do without food and perhaps increase/income.  It hurt to sin.  You had to pay a price.

Today, I get complacent about my sin because it does not cost me anything immediately.  The cost is more indirect.  Because Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice so I don't have to pay it.  I am not loosing money, or time running around making sacrifices.  Jesus paid my debt/my sacrifices once and for all.  The question is, "what am I doing with the blessing Jesus has given to me?"

Friday, July 23, 2010

American Banking Association- Worth Reading

Topic A: Nothing to Celebrate

By Ed Yingling, ABA President and CEO

Although I have been invited to the signing ceremonies of most major banking bills for the last 25 years, I should not have been invited to the one for the Dodd-Frank Act, and I was not.

The Administration has been more than generous in inviting me to meetings, speeches and bill signings. But, here, ABA opposed the Administration’s proposal throughout the legislative process (although there were parts we supported). A signing ceremony, particularly on a major priority like this, is ultimately a celebration, as a White House spokesperson noted. The White House said only supporters of the bill were invited. Only those who believe there is something to celebrate should attend.

This week ABA had a major meeting in Washington. Our board, Government Relations Administrative Committee, Membership Committee and the leadership of the state associations all discussed this bill. Everyone in attendance opposed it. In fact, I have not talked to a banker who did not oppose it. Core parts of the reform are needed, but -- just as we had feared from the beginning -- this law is loaded up with massive new regulatory requirements and social engineering.
There are so many new regulations -- hundreds -- that lawyers cannot even agree on the number. While not all apply to traditional banks, ABA has a low-ball estimate that more than 5,000 pages of new rules will apply to traditional banks. The new consumer bureau, many believe, is the most powerful bureau ever created in terms of its authority and lack of checks and balances. And then there is the Durbin interchange amendment. The new regulations are so overwhelming that they cannot possibly all be written on time. There will be great uncertainly about the rules for many aspects of our business for years to come, and our litigation risk is huge.

The end result will be massive new costs for all banks, but community banks will suffer the most because they lack the scale to absorb the new costs. Ultimately, the economy will suffer, and consumer and business products, particularly loans, will be less available and cost more. Mortgage lending is a prime example of where extensive new rules will apply that will take years to settle down.

This tsunami of requirements overwhelms the positives of the bill, which include a systemic oversight mechanism, a method for resolving systemically risky institutions, and new regulation of non-bank entities. For years to come, new regulations from the bill itself and from the consumer bureau will remind us of what the law did.

U. S. Banks Sitting on Slippery Slope

Below is an article that appeared in OKC.Biz

U.S. banks sitting on slippery slope

Dean Anderson


Ross Hill of Bank2 says too many people are playing the blame game. Banks are failing at their fastest rate in decades, but only three lending institutions have gone under in the past 19 years in Oklahoma.

Largely operating as a mirror of the local economy in which they operate, Oklahoma’s banks may be one of the largest bodies of evidence in the argument that the state’s economy is largely insulated from the national economic woes.

And with no bank failures through the start of summer in the Sooner State, and just one this decade, that argument appears sound.

“Oklahoma has been insulated from many of the problems of the economy,” says Ross Hill, president and CEO of Bank2 in Oklahoma City. “Real estate never got overheated, and it wasn’t speculative. We have a more robust economy this time around, which helped us not feel as much pain as we did before.”

With more than 80 American banks going belly up through June, the failure rate was double that of 2009 through the same time. Estimates place the total number of failures somewhere in the 140s – the highest since 1992.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 565 banks failed nationally from 1992 through June 2010. Of that total, 148 were turned over to the FDIC in 2009 at the height of the banking crisis, and another 181 when the tech bubble burst in 1992.

During that time period, bank failures have been a rarity, with fewer than 10 institutions a year failing for 12 of those years, and no banks failing during 2005 and 2006.


“Those of us who have a little gray hair can remember how difficult those days were and how detrimental they were to our own economy,” Hill says about the mid-1980s. “It helps us feel their pain a little bit.”

The mid-’80s were awful, to say the least, for Oklahoma banks. The failure of Penn Square Bank grabbed headlines, but it was one of many.

In 1985, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska led the nation in bank closures, with 13 apiece. Another 16 state institutions failed in 1986, with local observers dubbing Oklahoma “the home of the FDIC.”

Hill says sometimes bank failures come down to a handful of bad decisions here or there. A bad commercial loan to a high school buddy or too large of a line of a credit to a trusted friend of the family can sink a smaller institution.

But at the end of the day, it’s the local economy as a whole that either floats or sinks all surrounding ships.


The Obama administration took steps last year to make sure the industry was on solid ground. Ramping up FDIC insurance to $250,000 per account was one of the higher-profile moves to bolster consumer confidence.

Behind the scenes, more pressure was applied on the institutions themselves.

To help shore up the deposit insurance fund, the FDIC mandated U.S. banks to prepay around $45 billion in premiums for 2010 through 2012 last December. Of that amount, $333 million was paid by Oklahoma banks.

While Roger Beverage, president and CEO of Oklahoma Bankers Association, says that amount wasn’t enough to create a financial hardship on banks, the consumer will feel it the most.

He says conservative banks operate on a 3-to-1 capitalization ratio, meaning for every dollar reserved, three can be loaned out. Take $333 million in capital out of Oklahoma banks, and that translates into nearly $1 billion in lost lending.

And then there’s looming legislation in some form to further tighten banking regulations.

Beverage says bankers are paying close attention to current measures and cringing. Earlier this year, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced legislation that would bar banks from used trust-preferred securities as sources of Tier 1, or lending capital.

“With the stroke of a pen – if that doesn’t change – then 640 banks in the country that issued trust-preferred securities – which, by the way, they were encouraged to do so by the then-head of the FDIC – will be undercapitalized,” Beverage says. “An additional 1,500 will then have a hit. This is the kind of stuff bankers are sitting out there saying, ‘What in the world is going on in Washington?’”

At the end of the day, Hill says it doesn’t always come down to good loans or bad loans. It’s something more basic.

“I think it’s integrity,” he says. “We want to play the blame game: The big banks did this to people, the mortgage brokers did this to people. As Obama calls it, the ‘fat-cat bankers’ did this to people. Where is the personal responsibility in all of this? Are you going to suggest somebody can’t figure out they can’t afford a certain dollar amount of house payment?” —Dean Anderson

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two Old Geezers Defeat Two Flat Belly's

I have less and less pride all of the time... thus I am calling myself one of the two "Old Geezers" referred to in the headline.  To protect the innocent, I won't name the other guy.

Last Saturday one of my "Old Geezer" golf buddy friends and I defeated a couple of "Flat Belly's" in our team four ball golf match.  It was so much fun!  The "Flat Belly's" were so discussed they would not even join us in the Men's Grill after the match.

I am not sure which I should be happier about, beating the "Flat Belly's" or getting their goat so much that they would not even enjoy a coke with us after the round!!!

Anyhow, let me assure you of this fact, the "Old Geezers" had a lot of fun!

"Remember, when the one Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He won't mark whether you won or lost but how you played the game."


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

God of Details

When is that last time you thought of God as a God of Details?

To be honest it is not hard to see that aspect of His nature but can you sight scriptural references to prove it?  No, I did not think so.

Just pick up the Bible and turn to the book of Exodus and read it.  God goes into all kinds of details, many times over and over to describe how to build the Temple, right down to the color of the thread to use, make offerings and worship Him.

God knows details, He believes in details, He values details, He is the God of Details.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Chickasaw Medical Center

"State of the Art", "Amazing", "Fantastic", "Beautiful", "History Making", "First of it's Kind".  These were the most common comments that were heard today at the ribbon cutting ceremony in Ada at the brand new Chickasaw Medical Center.

The facility is simply OUTSTANDING.  The medical facility is 370,000 square feet, 75 private hospital rooms, surgery center, obstetric center, third tier emergency room including a heliport, and numerous medical clinics are all housed in this new facility.

Thousands and thousands of people are going to be healed here, babies will be born, all kinds of good things will happen.  And yes, some will die here too.  The neat thing is not how beautiful the building is or how big or how many different things they can and will do there, the neat thing is the hospital administrator.  Dr. Judy Goforth Parker is the hospital Administrator and she loves the Lord.  It doesn't get any better than that.

This is the finest new hospital facility I have ever seen and a Christian is in charge.  Now that is not an accident, it is a blessing from God!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Smiles, Laughter, Kindness and a Relationship in Christ

This weekend I was invited to a "Colombian Style Feast" at one of my friends homes.  William is from Colombia and he and wife invited some friends over to eat authentic Colombian food.  William's mom is here visiting from Colombia and cannot speak English.

I was amazed at how quickly we became friends. Basically, I smiled, laughed and showed her kindness.  William interrupted for me and of course she knew William and I were friends.  But before the evening was over she and I were taking each others pictures. She invited Raynell and I to stay with her the next time we are in Colombia.  We were FRIENDS.

She was a sweet lady that loved the Lord.  We were friends because of several things but we had a spiritual bond that was special.  In a way, I think that is a picture of what heaven maybe like.  When we first arrive will be kind to one another, smile at each other,  laugh with each other and be one in Christ.  In a fashion we will be inviting each other over for dinner or offering our homes to one another.  Like last night, it will be special!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Roy Williams

I had breakfast a few days ago with Roy Williams.  What thrill to break bread with the former OU and Dallas Cowboys star. We were having a strategic conversation on some topics and looking for ways to help each other.

Roy was part of the Pro's For Africa trip to Uganda that Bank2 and I were part of earlier this year thanks to Ray Sanders and Giant Experiences.  Roy was in OKC to help promote the free clinic at the fairgrounds this past weekend.  Roy really cares about helping the poor.  I was impressed by him and what he had to say.

He was humble, quite and unassuming.  He was happy to get a bowl of grits for breakfast.  The rest of us were pigging out on all kinds of great food.

One of the other things I noticed about him, he was happy to shake every hand, take a photo with everyone and just generally be available to people.  We went there to have a quite breakfast but when you are with a public...forget it.

Any how, I gave him one of Mark Batterson's books and my blog address.  He gave me a blessing to know he wants his life to count.  He is working to figure out how he can best do that beyond football.  This year as you watch him play for the Bengal's be sure to route extra hard for this former Sooner Star.  He deserves it.


Fighting Deadlines

This is a post from my friend Mark Batterson's Blog today.  I think it is great and I wanted to share it with  you.

"I need deadlines.  Without them, I'd never tie off the umbilical cord on anything.  Deadlines help me overcome my perfectionism.  they also help me overcome my procrastination.  All of that to say, I'm fighting a deadline.  Trying to wrap up my next book, Soulprint, by July 31".

"Ever heard of Parkinson's Law?  It basically states that the amount of time it takes to do something is determined by how much time you have!  If you have two days, it'll take two days.  If you have two weeks, it'll take two weeks.  In my experience, there is a lot of truth to that.  To extrapolate, if you have a deadline it'll forever!"
                                          Mark Batterson
                                          National Community Church


Monday, July 12, 2010

One of the Thrills of Being a Grandfather

Sunday was a day to Praise God as one of our grand kids was baptized.  I was thrilled to be there and witness it first hand.  Let me tell you, it doesn't get any better than that.

Jaden was my second grand kid to accept Christ and be baptized.  I have been blessed to witnessed both being baptized and I thank God I was able to be in church and witness their acts of obedience.  What a thrill to know that our faith is being transferred from one generation to the next.

After church I got an extra long hug from Jaden that I will remember for all eternity. One of the thrills of being a grandfather!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nike Ad

All of your life you are told the things you cannot do.
All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough for talented enough,
They'll say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this.
They will tell you NO, 
a thousand times no until all the no's become meaningless.
All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly.
They will tell you no.
And you will tell them YES.

Please Read Friday's post and tell me what you say.  
so far 100% have said YES!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Micro Loans - For the Very Poor

Did you know that over 4 Billion people in the world live on less than $4 dollars a day?  Did you know that over 3 Billion live on less than $2 dollars a day?

It is true!

We  have approximately 6.6 Billion people on the planet and nearly 2/3 live in poverty that is beyond belief.  

So, one great solution is that we need to help people create jobs for themselves by helping them start a micro business such as a delivery service, a street sales business, a sewing business, etc.  You get the idea.  A business that does not require a great deal of capital to start but has an upside.  A business that will immediately help improve the life of the owner.

Since I have been a banker for nearly 35 years, I have had several organizations and friends encourage me to start a micro lending business to make loans to those in need.  There are already numerous non-profits doing this.  In researching the prospects of starting my non-profit micro loan fund I have discovered that most of the current funds charge interest rates from 12% on the low side to 30%++ on the high side.  This stopped me cold in my tracks.

Here is the problem, I can not morally charge interest to people that are living on less than $4 a day.  I just can not do it.  Numbers of loan funds are, but if that is what it takes I am not going to do it.  NOT ME!  Every time I read about or listen to some guys tell me how they do their loan program my eyes glaze over.  I told my good friend Tim about it and how I feel about what is going on. Tim said that I am suppose to "reform banking".  Once I get that done, I will know how to loan these people the money they desperately need. "Reform Banking!"  Every time Tim would say that to me, I would think, Tim, are you crazy?  (I never told Tim what I was thinking but if he reads this blog I guess he will know!  Sorry Tim).

Anyhow, today I was reading in Exodus: 22:25.  The Lord says that if we are going to loan to the poor we should not do it the way the bankers are doing it.  The Lord says we can not charge interest on loans made to the poor.  That is correct, we can loan to poor, we just can not charge them interest.  NOW that is "REFORMING BANKING"! 

I excited about that idea, I am in, do you have any interest in helping me if we don't charge interest or fees?  If so, reply to this email.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Are Not Here By Mistake

The other day I had the great fortune to have lunch with a good friend of mine.  We had not seen each other for a while but we stay in touch through my blog and through his harassing emails!  Like I said, we are good friends.   ALL of my good friends harass me!

We have both had the experience of going overseas and seeing the great need.  We both know most America's just don't have a clue about how pitiful the living conditions are for millions of people.  We know we did not have a clue until we went overseas.  We know we can do more to help and we need to do it now.  As we discussed things over lunch we discussed things like "what should we be doing?"  "How far do we go?"  "How much is expected of us?"  "What is realistic" "How do we help them by making sustainable changes...sustainable by them?"  These were REAL questions, soul searching questions.  We did not conclude anything at that moment and we promised to have lunch soon to keep the discussion going.

Tonight, I was reading and came across this line, "you are not here by mistake".  I got to thinking about my lunch conversation.  It was not by accident that we had lunch today.  It was not by accident that we both think we have to do more.  We are here for a purpose.  Our time is now.  We need to do what God is putting on our hearts because, We are not here by mistake. 


Monday, July 5, 2010

Everybody Has a Story

The other day when I had the good fortune to meet and hear Dan Cathy, he shared a video that Chic-fil-A is now using to train its staff.  The  theme of the video was that every customer and employee has a story. The story is not what you see on the outside.  Some stories are great and encouraging and others are difficult and stir the inner most part of your heart.  Many of us make the mistake of just seeing the outside and do not take time to know the person and their story. I am a relationship person but this concept hit me like a ton of bricks.  All too often I stop on the surface.  I have been thinking about this for days.

Below are just a few of the stories I have seen since seeing the video.
A cancer victim fighting and winning the fight over breast cancer.  Being loved and cared for by her husband and friends.
A mom who lost her teenage son in a terrible car wreck one year ago, fighting through the grief determined to not let the death of her beloved son ruin her life.  She is winning the fight one day at a time.
A little girl and boy abandoned by their dad but living through the pain because of a mom that loves them and a step dad that fathers them as if they were his own flesh and blood.
A wife caring for her sick husband as an unexpected and unknown disease has interrupted their new marriage beyond any ones comprehension.  She loves him, cares for him and stands behind him every step of the way.

Not every story has been difficult, I have seen some really good stories over the past few days as well.

Bottom line,  I would encourage you to write those 4 words down on you desktop, phone, someplace that you can see and be reminded of the idea constantly.  My hope would be that it would motivate you to give grace and encouragement to those you come in contact with because Everybody Has A Story.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Freedom Rings for Mario

Head Line

Mario is Back!  Mario is Back!  Mario is Back!

In a story that only God could write Mario is free and back in my office and on my desk!  PTL! The father of the two boys showed up yesterday with Mario in hand.  I am absolutely thrilled beyond words.

To bring my new readers up-to-date, Mario was given to me in April of 2010 while I was on a mission trip to Colombia.  Mario was a gift from a little girl whose home is at the sewage lake for the large city of Cartagena, Colombia.  Raynell and I visited her home and she took a liking to us.  She told Raynell that I looked like Mario (I had a red shirt on) and she gave it to me.  Out of her extremely limited resources she gave a gift to me.  It touched my inner soul like nothing before.

I brought him home and put him on a table in my office to always remember the little girl and my trip.  Well one day not long after a couple of boys visited my office with their dad and as it would be they decided Mario would be fun to play with at home.  So off he went, stolen out of my office and I was heart sick.  I spoke to the dad about Mario maybe a month ago. I told him how I came to have Mario and how import it was for me to get him back.  Never heard a word from him.  I was just telling the story to some friends on Thursday night.

Just in time to celebrate the 4th of July, Mario has been set free and he is home. I am rejoicing. Now the 4th of July has even greater meaning to me! Yes, Connie I am going to put Mario into a glass case so he will remain safe and free in my office for decades to come. Thanks for the idea! Both Raynell and Connie told me I was going to get him back.

Mario has significant purpose in my life, he is a symbol for me, a daily reminder to me of how blessed I am and how great the need is to free children from the bondage of poverty.

Mario was first a gift from a little poor girl that lives in conditions like none of us have ever experienced.  A gift from God to remind me to help Freedom Ring For The Poor.  A reminder to all of us that we have the ability to help. Our life has purpose and meaning.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Below Average

Below is Mark Batterson's blog today.  He is one of my favorite writers.  I think this blog was written for me.  I wonder all of the time why people want to read my blog.   I am amazed nearly everyday by the responses I receive from you guys.  I just want to give God the glory.  I hope you enjoy this posting.  It explains how I feel and why I keep writing.
Posted: 02 Jul 2010 12:37 PM PDT
Last night I was unpacking some boxes at our new house and I found anoccupational inventory that I took when I was in graduate school. Not sure why I kept it, but I couldn't help but laugh when I looked at it last night.

Writing was one of the occupational tracks that the inventory measured. I scoredbelow average in both ability and proclivity. How funny is that? God doesn't call the qualifiedGod qualifies the called. I don't think of myself as a naturally gifted writer per se, but when God calls you to something He gives you the competence to do it. God doesn't always call us to do what comes naturally. He calls us to do what comes supernaturally. That way he gets all the glory!

Celebrate the 4th!

If you will remember when our forefathers claimed their independance it was just the beginning of the fight for our freedom.  We eventually won our freedom but it came a significant cost.  It took time.

Since the day that we truly became a free nation our freedom has continually been challenged.  American's have rallied time and time again and answered the call to fight for our freedom.  There have been many wars, and millions have shed their blood to protect what we have.  We should honor our hero's this weekend.  The hero's are the forefathers that had the guts to stand up and say "enough is enough".  "We want our freedom."  Then they wrote the Declaration of Independence which became the lighting rod that rallied the rank and file to stand up and fight for our freedom.  The hero's are all that have fought to protect our way of life.

To me honoring them by going to a parade, or having a cookout or watching fireworks is not enough anymore.  I think our freedom is being threatened on many fronts today and we need to stand up like our forefathers and be counted.  We need to stand strong for the principals upon which we were founded.

"We the people!"

This is our country, our constitution and if we are going to survive we are going to have to make sure it is honored and preserved.  If YOU are not going to do it WHO will?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A

Today I had the good fortune to meet Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A, along with several of his staff members and a handful of interns.  I was invited to an executive breakfast hosted by GiANT and this was an absolute treat for me.

To get to meet this humble man and hear his vision for his company and his commitment to the cause of Christ through his business was one of those unique life experiences.  These events come along all too infrequently.  I learned a great deal from him in just a short time.

After his talk I got to shake his hand and have my picture taken with him.  In the picture he is handing me a business card that gives me a free sandwich at any Chick-fil-A.  As we were taking the picture a thought came to my mind.  I asked him for one more photo and he obliged me.  This time I am handing him my business card and I told him it would be good for one loan at any of our locations!  We both laughed and shook hands and wished each other God's best.

Dan Cathy is down to earth, cares about people and cares even more about using his life and his business to make a difference for the Kingdom.