LBEC Chooses 365 to Rich Bank Shadow Day Essay Contest Winner
(second from right) Jose Gamez, a student at Crescent City Christian School in Metairie, won the Louisiana Bankers Education Council's 365 to Rich Bank Shadow Day Essay Contest. Jose shadowed bankers at Metairie Bank in October. Seen here congratulating Jose (remaining, from left) are LBA Chief Operating Officer Ginger Laurent, Robbin Hardee and Ron Samford, both with Metairie Bank. Read his winning essay below written on the assigned topic, "What I learned during 365 to Rich Bank Day, from what career opportunities are available in the banking industry to how important financial literacy is to my future to how banks support their communities."
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (1 Cor. 13:11). On October 11th, I was able to take part in the LBA’s 365 to Rich Bank Day program at Metairie Bank. Not only did I have a wonderful time, but I also had the opportunity to meet many incredible people along the way. I would like to thank everyone at Metairie Bank who gave their time and effort guiding me through all the different career opportunities available in the banking industry and showing me that it is never to early to start thinking about your future.
The idea of possibly working in a bank as my future career never occurred to me until the day I was elected to be part of this program. I believe the reason for that would be because I always thought that a bank simply consisted of several tellers who interact with customers and handle transactions, such as deposits or withdrawals. Now, I realize that is absolutely not the case. The number of positions in a bank, such as Metairie Bank, was so many I lost count. Not everyone who works in a bank is an incredible mathematician that is proficient with numbers. Although many positions do require a degree, it is quite possible to start in an entry-level position and work your way up from there. There are also many positions in a bank that never require handling money or associating with customers, which honestly surprised me.
Everyone plays a very important role in building a strong, professional, trustworthy community. What really intrigued me was how long some people had been working in the bank industry. I met people who had been there for about six months and I met others who had been there for thirty plus years. It just goes to show you that it really is possible to love your job so much that you would do it for the majority of your life.
Financial literacy plays a vital role, not only in my future, but also in everyone else's future as well. Understanding the system and knowing how to use it to your advantage is a great accomplishment that will benefit you in numerous ways. As a senior in high school, I tend to think about my future a lot considering I am about to graduate. It is a bittersweet feeling to be honest. Part of me is excited to step out into the real world and make a name for myself, but the other part is engulfed in fear and regret. A reason for this fear is because no one ever showed me how to prepare for my future. I come from a poor family, both my parents come from poor foreign countries, and neither one of them were able to go to college; my father was not even able to attend high school. I do not blame them whatsoever for not being capable of teaching me certain things, instead I am grateful for everything they were able to do for me: to help me become the person I am today. I only wish I would have known the things I know now about finances five years ago when I still had a lot more time to prepare for my life after high school.
This experience with the 365 Days to Rich Bank Day program has tremendously helped me better understand what steps to take in order to achieve a better financial future. What I learned most about was developing good credit and how crucial it is. When I go out to buy my first house or a new car, credit will play such an important role. Lenders will look at your credit score to determine how much money they are willing to lend you. With an excellent score, your insurance and interest rates will be lower. The problem with credit cards is that many people are not disciplined with them. That is why I am glad I was able to learn so much about finances through this event at Metairie Bank.
What I admired most about this specific bank is the relationship the bankers build with their customers. When a bank is able to build loyal, lifelong relationships with their customers, our community is able to prosper. Some of the most important events in our lives are when we go to college, start a business, or buy a home, and it all starts at the bank. Being able to trust and build a strong connection with your bank is the first step in achieving many things in life, so that you and your bank are able to work together towards the common good.
I am eternally grateful to have been given this opportunity to learn about a potential career choice and finances. Not only did I meet incredible individuals who genuinely care about their customers, I got to open up about my personal life with the CEO and was gifted with impactful advice directed towards my future. I would once again like to thank everyone who invested their time into me, this truly was an experience I will hold with me forever.