The generous banker is Leonard Abess, Jr., who recently sold a majority stake in Miami-based City National Bancshares. He took $60 million dollars of the proceeds and split it between all 399 bank employees, including tellers, bookkeepers, and clerks. He even tracked down 72 former employees and gave them a share.
His father, Leonard L. Abess, founded the bank in 1946. Abess Jr. was first employed in the bank’s print shop, which made documents and forms. He worked his way up from there. Along the way, he gained appreciation for the role that employees paid in the bank’s success.
He said, “I saw that if the president doesn’t come to work, it’s not a big deal, but if the tellers don’t show up, it’s a serious problem.”
When he received the huge purchase price for his shares in the bank, it didn’t seem right to him that his employees would receive nothing, particularly considering that many had recently lost large amounts in their 401(k) plans due to the recent fall in the stock market.
We know the world has its Bernie Madoffs. It’s nice to know that the world also has generous people like Leonard Abess, who recognize the value of the contribution of the average person.
I rejoice every day that I am surrounded by generous people who contribute to the kingdom of God in little and not so little ways. That is how the kingdom is built and always will be.
©2009 C. David Hess