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Monday, February 16, 2009

Banker gives $60 million of own money to his employees

Lately it seems like the "feel good" stories have become even more few and far between. So when one is found, I feel more than a little compelled to give it a shout-out.

Take, f'rinstance, what Leonard Abess Jr. did. Back in November he sold a majority share of his holdings in Miami-based City National Bancshares.

And then, Abess gave away $60 million of the profits to EVERYONE that was on his bank's payroll. He even went so far as to find 72 former employees so that he could give them a share of the money, too. More than 400 people got the "bonuses", and depending on how long they had been employed some got more than $100,000

This is an awesome story of capitalism and corporate responsibility, folks. And when I say "responsibility", what I mean by that is a company or business owner going above and beyond in rewarding its employees - who have already shown loyalty to the company - without it being mandated by some decree of government. Nobody made Abess give up his own money. In my opinion, Leonard Abess Jr. made a smart investment in his own company. And I'd be willing to wager an RC Cola and a Moon Pie that City National Bancshares might be among the better managed banks in this day and age.

Abess didn't publicize his good deed, but it was inevitable that news of it would get out. When asked about his motivation...

Abess said he had long dreamed of a way to reward employees. He had been thinking of creating an employee stock option plan before he decided to sell the bank.

"Those people who joined me and stayed with me at the bank with no promise of equity -- I always thought some day I'm going to surprise them," he said. "I sure as heck don't need [the money]."

Leonard Abess Jr., you're a good man. And you deserve a tip o' the hat for your good deed :-)


Anonymous said...

Leonard Abess is a good man. I've worked under him for years and I'm glad he's getting the recognition that he deserves.