Thankful to Be in the Company of Bankers

It is always a great pleasure to witness the success of Indiana banks. I regularly review dozens of bank ratings and rankings on every imaginable measurement to determine if any Indiana banks have qualified. It makes me proud to see IBA-member banks being recognized, especially for their acts of community service. Indiana banks have won multiple awards on both the state and national levels.

Recently a particularly notable event took place. The ABA Foundation, at the American Bankers Association annual convention in Los Angeles, honored six banks and one banker for exceptional community outreach. Bank awards were presented in six categories: affordable housing, community and economic development, financial education, serving nontraditional borrowers and the underbanked, protecting older Americans, and volunteerism. I am proud to report that Old National Bank of Evansville, Indiana, earned top recognition in the category of financial education. The bank was recognized for its 12 Steps to Financial Success program that empowers at-risk adults, specifically those incarcerated for non-violent offenses, to take control of their futures and achieve financial success. This program not only empowers participants with financial knowledge, but also encourages them to empower others once they re-enter society. Congratulations to Bob Jones, chief executive officer of Old National Bank, and his talented team.

The icing on this cake at the awards ceremony, though, was the individual George Bailey Distinguished Service Award. This award was created by the ABA Foundation to recognize a banker ‒ not a CEO ‒ who demonstrates outstanding initiative, effectiveness and inspiration to others. It was named after the George Bailey character, memorably played by Jimmy Stewart, in the movie classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This year the second annual George Bailey Distinguished Service Award was presented to Ben Joergens, financial empowerment officer at Old National Bank, who well embodies the spirit of community banking. Mr. Joergens has partnered with 27 nonprofit and educational organizations to make 144 financial education presentations to over 5,000 individuals this year alone. An example of his outreach is his work with the Henderson County Detention Center’s Substance Abuse Program, for which he developed the above-referenced 12 Steps to Financial Success program. Additionally he volunteers with HOPE Hall, the Salvation Army, Churches Embracing Offenders and area domestic abuse shelters. Congratulations to Ben Joergens for this prestigious award.

It was a proud moment to witness an IBA-member bank receive these top national awards. About 40 bankers from Indiana were present at the awards ceremony, along IBA’s Amber Van Til and myself. The event was yet another reason to be thankful to live and work in the company of Indiana bankers, who give so much to their communities.

– S. Joe DeHaven


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