The Doing and Doing
A Note From the Chairman
December 16, 2020
For many 2020 will be remembered as a beginning of something new, for some an end to what was and for many others a year they would just as soon forget.
The year started off seemingly quiet enough. We barely even knew what COVID was in January preceding this worldwide pandemic which continues to shutter both business and many social activities now in its third wave. The CARES act and related stimulus came quickly. Banks made government guaranteed loans based on the Paycheck Protection Program. Community bankers worked non-stop to complete applications during March and April. The Fed began to buy more assets creating increased liquidity.
By April, food banks were getting swamped, nail salons were closed, bars shut down, airplanes and cruise ships set aside. We’ve been through hurricanes, wildfires, protests, a hotly contested election process and all the while the markets continued to be volatile with the changing daily pulse of news.
Strangely enough, the Dow Jones average entered the year above 29,000 but by March hit a COVID related low of 18,200 and despite the continued pandemic has more recently logged a new high over 30,000. And at a local level, at Allegiance Bank, we can’t help but be in a posture of cautious optimism.
Indeed, it has been a year of tremendous uncertainty and change.
Trite though it sounds (and is compared to all of the above) my wife and I had hamburgers for Thanksgiving, just the two of us. We had planned to visit the kids in California – cancelled. Then it was to be a full turkey dinner at my sister-in-law’s home in Waller, but she got sick – cancelled. So it continues. But I remain positive. Though I do not like what appears to be a mess all around us, I believe I know the outcome. We are not the only generation that has faced great challenge and will likely not be the last. My hope springs from the fact that at the center of our communities rests a spirit of service to others. It shows up in food banks, in shelters, assistance ministries, adoptions, education advocacies, family services, discussions at the Greater Houston Partnership and beyond. There is more good out there than what is in the news and we are stronger than what is against us.
Words that inspire the pursuit of good, and the perseverance required to achieve it have been around a long, long time. While reading one of my father’s tattered book of poems, I ran across one which reminds us of our call to be steadfast and to continually be in service to others.
From the poem, “Nobility” by Alice Cary (1820 -1871)
We cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets;
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great or of small,
But just in the doing, and doing
As we would be done by, is all.”
Leaders can be visionary, strategic, motivational, shepherding, team-building, entrepreneurial, diplomatic, etc. but regardless of style they are all intent on one thing, moving people into action, getting things done. Once so inspired, we receive great intrinsic reward merely by doing the work, long before the objective is reached. When the purpose is to make an enduring contribution to others, the rewards are guaranteed.
During 2020, Allegiance Bank has kept very busy. We joined hands with our customers and non-customers with PPP loans, over 6,000 in all. We gave time and the largest contribution ever (many times over) to feeding those in need. We assisted our neighbors to the east when they were racked by hurricane Laura. This year, our Allegiance Advantage home mortgage product made home ownership possible for hundreds of families. We launched an effort to begin a banking program at Texas Southern University with the vision of creating a lasting impact. All the while we continue to support our usual long list of community partners as they serve the health and vitality of those in our region that are in need. We have been eager to provide all we are able.
In terms of the bank itself, our online service delivery is better than ever and even during the shutdown we have greatly advanced our ability to provide digital only account openings and lending services. We are growing both in terms of size and capability with every passing day. Progress has become common place, more agile than ever before.
Whether it’s a “whistle while you work” attitude or simply that staying busy is good for the soul, our doing and doing has kept us strong.
What we miss from 2020 and with growing anticipation to be resolved, has been to not be able to shake the hand of those with whom and for whom we serve.