I was honored to stand with Joseph Otting, President and CEO of OneWest Bank and a friend of mine. I have known Joseph for more than a decade, but I gained genuine respect and high regard for him when I heard he was part of a group that had acquired a true problem institution — namely IndyMac Bank.
IndyMac was — and I try to always use my words carefully and with high purpose — simply a horrible institution. They took advantage of people, and didn't seem to care much about the outcome. I remember contacting their then CEO, and I still have a bad taste about the experience. But then came Joseph and his team. He and they purchased IndyMac Bank, turning it into what we now know to be OneWest Bank. Not a perfect institution (those do not exist), but an honorable one. When Joseph Otting tells you something, you can bank on it. Literally.
And while I write this post to announce a new and exciting commitment and pledge they have made around our work on-the-ground with Project 5117, I am honored to say that in all of these years, I have never done substantial business with Joseph. In fact, his 'support' for Operation HOPE before March 3rd, 2015, could at best be described as respectfully modest. I didn't ask, and he did not offer. We simply respected each other. But as we approached the 150th anniversary of the Freedman's Bank, I was certainly 'asking,' and Joseph respected with a powerful and substantive offer.
I asked Joseph and OneWest Bank to be a leader not just at OneWest Bank, but for the banking industry, and Joseph responded by pledging to help open 100 HOPE Inside locations throughout Southern California. Up to 10 of these new HOPE Inside locations would be located within his own bank branches at OneWest; in transitional communities in his footprint.
You can read all about Mr. Otting's exciting commitment and pledge here, around 100 new HOPE Inside locations for Greater Los Angeles (adding to our existing commitment of 100 HOPE Inside locations from 2014, nationwide and from 15 different banks), but I say thank you here, publicly, for the most important thing. Showing up.
Joseph Otting 'showed up' to purchase an underwhelming institution years ago, and he 'showed up' at our HOPE Global Forum in Atlanta, and last week he 'showed up' at the U.S. National Archives, to pay respect to the 150th anniversary of the Freedman's Bank. A bank chartered to 'teach freed slaves about money.'
I like people who show up.