Tag Archive for 'banker'

I Loved Mike Menzies

Mike Menzies was an original, founding member of Jim’s Brain Trust, going back more than 16 years to 1998. This is Jim’s tribute to his good friend.

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There’s a disturbance in the Force.  Mike Menzies is dead.

There’s an empty locker at Team Menzies. Their champion, devoted husband of Midge, proud father of Mike Jr. and Cal, has left the stadium for the last time.

There’s a boat on his beloved Eastern Shore, motor still, lines secure. Captain Mike won’t be takin’ ‘er out anymore.

There’s a quiet office at Easton Bank and Trust. Those honored to have been led by Mike for so long will now be sustained by memories of how he conducted himself with grace and professionalism.

There’s a hole on Main Street in Easton, Maryland. Without Banker Mike, to whom will small business owners now turn?

There’s an enormous void in the marketplace of ideas just now. When Mike spoke, people listened. At a time when we can ill afford it, one of the most compelling, knowledgeable and fiercest voices for free markets has been silenced.

There’s a new fault in the banking landscape today. As the industry trends toward giant banks, independent community banks have lost a giant.

Emotions are raw, the sadness overwhelming. Women are lucky—they weep. Men well up, but tears are scarce because we begin with anger. Then tightened jaws become unspoken feelings stipulated with a nod to each other. And finally Mike stories shared out loud with laughter. Mike would be angry if we didn’t laugh.

And stories and laughter there must be in the world Mike Menzies has left behind. How else can we honor the way he blessed our lives in his much too short life? What better way to celebrate Mike’s abundant life?

As singer-songwriter Warren Zevon was losing his own battle with cancer, he was asked what he had learned about life. Zevon said, “Enjoy every sandwich.” Mike Menzies enjoyed every sandwich. And if you ever had the fortune to be in his company, he made sure you did too.

There’s a disturbance in the Force today: Mike is dead and our lives will never be the same.

Mike Menzies made a difference. He was an enormously important and benevolent force who made the world a better place.

And I loved him for that.

Speak “banker” as a second language

Once a storm caused two ships to sink in the same area and all on board were lost at sea, save one from each ship, who survived only because they swam to a nearby island.

Fortunately, the two men hauled themselves up on the beach within sight of each other. But the survivors’ celebration soon faded as they realized that each spoke a language unknown to the other.

Immediately they had the same thought, “I don’t speak his language, but if we’re going to survive, we have to find a way to communicate.”

In many ways, this tale actually plays out every day. But instead of on the high seas, our story takes place in the marketplace. And instead of shipwreck survivors, our real life players are small business owners and bankers.

Like the castaways in the first story, the latter two often realize that:

  1. They need each other to be successful
  2. They don’t speak each other’s language very well, if at all.

With so much common interest and so little mutual understanding, can these two create a successful survival story? Absolutely, but only if they have Blasingame’s Official Translator for Banks & Small Business. Here are a few key examples of how the Blasingame Translator works.

For small businesses to understand banker they must:

  1. Identify their banker as a success partner and their business’ best friend.
  2. Stay close to their banker when things are going well and even closer when things aren’t.
  3. Believe that an uninformed banker is a scared banker and a scared banker won’t help you.
  4. Pay attention to what motivates and impresses a banker, like attention to detail.
  5. Understand pertinent bank rules and regulations, so as not to ask for something that can’t be done.
  6. Reward banker loyalty with your loyalty.

For bankers to speak small business, they must:

  1. Understand that it’s redundant to say “undercapitalized small business.”
  2. Recognize that starting a small business is easy - operating a successful one is not.
  3. Explain banking rules and regulations more often.
  4. Realize that it’s the banker’s job to recommend services and products.
  5. In the credit scoring process, always find a way to give small business owners credit for character and past performance.
  6. Reward small business loyalty with banker loyalty.

For small business, and bankers to avoid being castaways, speak each other’s language and become partners.

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On my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I recently talked with Mike Menzies, President of Easton Bank & Trust in Easton, Maryland, about the key elements of a successful relationship between a small business and its bank. Take a few minutes to click here to listen or download our conversation.

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