I like starting off the new year with good news. After a lovely evening celebrating Bob's sister's birthday as well as the change in year, we got up late and had a simple breakfast. The sun streamed in - and yes, still no snow! - while we read the Post-Standard. In the business section Bob read an article to me that I want to share. If you would like to read the whole thing, please go to http://www.syracuse.com/.
There's a town in Western New York, Cattaraugus, that has the smallest bank in the entire state. It officially showed a profit of $5,000 last year and never has exceeded $50,000 in its 130-year history, according to Alan Feuer of the New York Times News Service who wrote this article. It exists to serve the people of this tiny village, and it serves them well.
One of the loans it made was to a farmer who needed $85,000 and who had no credit and annual earnings of under $3,000. But he was Amish, well-known to the community, and had sons who would help pay the loan. Another person lost his house to taxes so the bank president bought the house and leased it to him to repay the loan. People count here, not the bottom line.
This is the kind of bank of George Bailey fame in "It's a Wonderful Life", the bank that knows and cares about its customers. As we lose faith in banks and lending institutions - I know Bank of America has definitely earned my wrath in the past week - it is good to know there are places that continue to operate for people. As we start the new year, maybe we can bring some of that small town interdependency to all transactions. Start with faith that people will do the right thing, that they are not out just for themselves or to make life hard for others, but are contributing to the health and wealth of the community as a whole.
Good news is always welcome - and many thanks to the Bank of Cattaraugus for quietly leading the way.