Community banks take great pride in being the foundation of their communities. When their cities and towns are in need, they don’t hesitate to help in any way possible. These banks are also just as quick to react when the neighborhoods of their peers need assistance.
Following the May tornadoes, the Oklahoma Bankers Foundation began collecting funds to provide assistance to those in need. As expected, community banks saw this need and began to provide funds to the foundation. An impressive amount of $202,457.43 was donated.
“These guys (banks), when the chips are down, stand up big, they stand up tall, they take care of people,” said Roger Beverage, OBA president and CEO. “That’s what community banks do.”
In Oklahoma alone, there were 134 separate donations. Some donations were from individuals while others were from OBA-member banks and one donation of $20,000 was given anonymously. The donations from Oklahoma totaled $137,782.43.
“We were discussing what happened in Moore as far as the financial institution that was hit as well as the individuals that were affected by the tornado and what would we do if that happened to us,” said Diana Lowe, vice president at Security Bank in Tulsa, of the bank’s donation. “We decided ‘Let’s give, let’s donate some money to the victims.’ I think it had a great deal to do with the fact that you think it could never happen to you or your bank but the fact that it did made us want to donate.”
Providing additional proof of the strength of the community banking industry and its willingness to help communities, many donations came from outside of Oklahoma. Thirty-four states each had at least one donation. Those donations arrived from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
“When a natural disaster hits hard at the Heartland, we all realize that it could have been our community,” said Hod Kosman, chairman, president and CEO of Platte Valley Financial Service Companies in Scottsbluff, Neb. “Platte Valley Companies and our associates felt the need to reach out to our friends to the south and lend a helping hand when and where we could. Community banks are vital to their communities and are dedicated to serving their hometowns. We were just glad we were able to provide assistance when it was needed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families that were affected.”
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An additional donation was received from the Asociacion De Bancos De Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Overall, $64,675 came from out-of-state donations.
Funds in the foundation are being provided to victims who need assistance in the form of checks and gift cards based on their needs. Most requests are for help with paying insurance deductibles and temporary housing as well as purchases of new clothing and household needs. To date, $169,299.50 has been provided to victims of the May tornadoes. The foundation is still accepting requests for assistance and the form can be found on www.oba.com.
The OBA conducts more than 70 educational programs and seminars each year, which reach more than 5,000 bankers across the state. The Association represents approximately 230 banks across the state and serves as the primary advocate for the banking industry. It’s also heavily involved in fraud training and prevention as well as legal and compliance services and communications for its member banks.