The Banker

I started my career in Banking right after graduation, that is right after I graduated from Kindergarten.

My career training started even earlier...when I was still in diapers.

Dad, being both a CPA and a Personal Financial Planner, wanted to make sure his kids knew the value of money right from the start:

While other parents hung butterflies and duckies over their babies's cribs, Dad made us a crib mobile out of tens and twenties. While the money spinned over our heads, we dozed off listening to the soothing sounds of "We're in the Money", "Money Money", and "Money (That's What I Want)". Instead of Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck, our nursery wallpaper had pictures of J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and E.F Hutton.

Mom and Dad were so proud when I said my first words: "Monnie" and "Dalla"

While other kids were shaking rattles, stacking up baby blocks and learning to not put square pegs in round holes, my sister and I were shaking dice cups, stacking up hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, and learning to stay out of jail and find tax loops holes during high-stake Monopoly games with Mom and Dad.

As soon as we could walk and talk, our parents put us to work. Like other kids, we were assigned household chores to earn our allowance: We washed the dishes, took out the garbage, mowed the lawn and made cold calls. When we weren't busy memorizing annuity charts and mortality rates or studying for our broker's licenses, we were handing out flyers for the family Tax Prep Business.

I learned about a compound interest at six, when I opened my first savings account. While other kids were struggling to learn their times tables, I already knew the prime rate. And I quickly figured out that I do better.

So, I deposited half of my allowance money in the bank at 5.9% and the other half I loaned out to the other kids at school -- holding their toys for collateral -- for about 186% a week. I used to race home after school to get the latest stock quotes and call my broker.

Just like now, things didn't always go smoothly. Some of the kids couldn't keep up with their payments.

Sometimes it got ugly:

I remember Skippy missed a payment...I sent him a piece of Mr. Potato Man's ear.

And then Bunny missed a couple...I sent her a lock of Barbie's hair...and then her Barbie Dream House went up in flames...

Yep, I really liked playing with matches...didn't you?

Anyway, after that, no one missed their payments.

On another occasion, one of my long-term clients, Scooter, asked me to hold a signed Mickey Mantle card for an additional line of credit. I wasn't sure that the cutesy signature with the curlicued M's was authentic so he threw in Gil Hodges, Sandy Koufax, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Yogi Berra -- before I agreed to loan him 5 bucks.

What I did not know was that the Mickey Mantle card belonged to his dad. Well anyway, not until Scooter's dad showed up at my house.

Man, is it painful to see a grown man cry!

Needless to say, Mom stepped in, Mickey was returned, but Gil, Sandy, Duke, Jackie and Yogi mysteriously disappeared. And Scooter's account was closed, but not until his dad paid me back the twenty bucks Scooter owed me and bought a Term Life Insurance Policy from my dad. Then I squeezed Dad for a piece of his commission.

And thus I learned my first lessons in Banking and Business:
  1. Know Your Customer
  2. Always do a Title Search
  3. And Cross-Sell, Cross-Sell, Cross-Sell!

Copyright ©2004 Roxanne Hoffman

Click to hear Ginger Roger's singing "We're in the Money"

Credits: Soundtrack is Ginger Roger's singing "We're in the Money" from the film "Gold Diggers of 1933"

Courtesy of