Leap Year Effect

Today is February 29, a date that rolls around only once every four years. Of the four-year rotation, my favorite is leap year. Not only do we gain a day, but we also experience the Summer Olympics and the presidential and gubernatorial elections. For a sports and political junkie, it doesn’t get any better than leap year!

Most people give little thought to February 29, other than an extra day to have to work. I doubt, though, that many bankers feel that way, despite the venomous tenor from the national media vilifying bankers. I have always found that bankers share a deep pride in and obligation to serving the needs of their communities.

This fall, the Indiana Bankers Association will survey our membership to gauge Indiana banking community support efforts. Two years ago, when this survey was last conducted, the results were astonishing. Nearly 20,000 different community groups were assisted by Hoosier bankers in 2010—either financially, through human volunteerism or both. That same year, more than 17,200 bankers from throughout the state volunteered time to community groups. Interestingly, there are 17,300 bankers in Indiana, reflecting a participation rate of close to 100 percent. Granted, one banker volunteering with three organizations would be counted three times, so I am not claiming that all volunteered, but it is worth noting that the statistical results show a remarkable volunteerism rate. The average amount of volunteer time by each bank employee was three hours per month, or a total of 36 hours per year.

Additionally the Indiana banking community donated nearly $25 million in 2010 to a variety of community causes. And this altruism does not even count bank financial literacy efforts. More than 3,000 Indiana bankers made 5,400 financial literacy presentations in 2010, reaching more than 110,000 students and adults.

Bankers are proud of these facts and feel a sincere obligation to their various community groups and causes. The year 2012 puts a bonus day on the calendar … and a bonus day of service from the Indiana banking community. Maybe we can call it the Leap Year Effect!

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