After spending a year working as a credit analyst in my first banking job, I was promoted to Private Banking Officer and moved to a branch just north of downtown Dallas, Texas. There were a number of older neighborhoods around the bank and the branch had a significant number of elderly customers.
In fact, the bank had hired a banker who had been retired for a number of years to welcome and spend time with the customers when they came into the bank. He was our Wal-mart “Greeter”. One of our customers, Mr. Butler, was from a town only six miles away and in the same county as my hometown of Liberty, Texas. Mr. Butler always wore an old tweed coat with a big tear in the front pocket and sleeves that were unraveling.
After I had been in my new position for a couple of months, our “Greeter” retired. After that, Mr. Butler made it a habit to stop in and visit with me every week when he made his trip to the bank. I soon learned that Mr. Butler’s weekly trip to the bank was a social event for him, and that aspect of the trip was much more important to him than any banking business he needed to conduct.
I became friends with Mr. Butler and even went to visit him and his wife a couple of times at their tiny A-Frame home just a couple of blocks from the bank. Mr. and Mrs. Butler were both retired teachers and they had been married and had lived in this same home for over 60 years.
Many months after I first met him, Mr. Butler asked me if there was anything we could do to help him earn a little more interest on his CD’s. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that despite the many times he had come to visit me, I never once even thought about looking to see what business he had with our bank. Was it his old, torn coat?
I pulled up his accounts on my computer and was surprised to find that he had five $10,000 certificates of deposit with us. Pretty amazing that a couple of retired teachers would have $50,000 in savings laying around. I was also really excited that I could help him. “Mr. Butler” I said. “We pay higher rates for CD’s beginning at $50,000. All we need to do is roll all your CD’s into one, and we can pay you a higher interest rate on your savings!” I was very pleased with myself for finding a way to help this fine gentleman in the ratty old tweed jacket.
“Son, I’m not really worried about the $50,000 I have here.” He said. “I was thinking you might be able to help me with the $3,000,000 I have on deposit at the Teachers Credit Union.”
Needless to say, Mr. Butler was one of the most important clients I ever had in my career. And it was not because of the large balances he brought to me, substantial though they were. Much more important was the valuable lesson he taught me.
Appearances can be deceiving, so don’t judge a prospect by his coat. You never know when you are going to find your Mr. Butler.
Please don't hesitate to contact me at 405.608.1903 or firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything I can do for you.
Joey P. Root
President & CEO