Us older folks have a secret. Young folks tend to think we might be kind of smart – sometimes. Thing is, when you’ve lived as long as some of us you just sort of accumulate knowledge. Granted, yours truly has started forgetting a whole lot, but that’s a story for another day.
Today’s story is about one of the most amazing business models I’ve seen. Ever. Anywhere. Anytime.
And that is no hyperbole.
Hoosier Heartland State Bank has transformed itself into a company that transcends good business. Yes, they make a profit. Yes, they are a good place to work. Yes, they have many happy customers.
Truth to tell, though, a lot of banks, a lot of companies can say the same thing.
The difference here is, how many can say they give away more than 10 percent of their profits to good people, good causes and good events in the community? How many can say their mission statement goes beyond words and is truly practiced? How many can say they put their time, treasure and talents where their mouth is?
Hoosier Heartland can.
Like a lot of you, I read about the bank’s Shared Values and the banquet the company held earlier this month. Like a lot of you I was floored when I read the bank handed out $50,000 in donations to local non-profits and to teachers.
I mean come on, we don’t live in a metropolis where companies like Eli Lilly are located. And this is not a giant national bank with branches in all 50 states and various countries around the globe. No sir, right here in Crawfordsville, Indiana a locally owned bank (owned by its employees, thank you very much), gave away (let’s repeat that – gave away) $50,000!
Where did this come from?
“Coming out of the merger (Linden State Bank and Farmers State Bank in New Ross merged in 2009 to form HHSB), we had given away under $10,000 (in community donations),” CEO Trey Etcheson explained. “I’ll never forget that board meeting. The question was, ‘if we didn’t exist, would anyone care?’ ”
Etcheson and President Brad Monts said that led to the group bringing in a facilitator to lead them through that question and many more. The facilitator wasn’t just anyone either. HHSB worked with New York Times best-selling author and bank consultant Roxanne Emmerich of the Emmerich Group out of Bloomington, Minn.
A lot came out of that relationship. A lot. Everything.
“We came together as a team,” Monts said. “It was the beginning of defining our mission, our vision, our values. The biggest thing is, if we are a community bank we need to be a part of the community.”
Truth to tell, I’ve heard that a lot before. It is easy to say. Take it from a guy who’s worked from North Carolina to California and a few places in between, I have never seen a company live up to it like HHSB does.
For example, there are 53 employees. Each one gets $200 for their birthday that they can donate to any non-profit they want. That $10,600, coupled with the $50,000 given away at the Shared Values Award Dinner, was less than HALF of the $149,986 HHSB donated in 2017.
For proof-readers, editors and the eagle-eye observers out there, that’s not a typo. Hoosier Heartland State Bank gave away right at $150 large last year!
And that’s after the $129,046 given away in 2016. And the $119,030 given away in 2015. And the $110,527 in 2014; the $79,506 in ’13; $26,088 in ’12; $12,536 in ’11 and all the way back to $9,368 that first year.
Which means since HHSB came into existence just eight years ago the company has pumped $636,087 into groups, organizations and people who do good things in our community. Just think what would happen if every company – or even just the locally owned ones – did that.
This truly is a special company with special people who give their time, treasure and talents back in important ways. Hear more from Monts and Etcheson next week in this column. And for more about the business side of it, turn to our Management 101 column this coming Sunday.
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at