New York (HedgeCo.Net) – While some top banking execs choose to blow millions on lavish area rugs or fancy, non functional commodes, Leonard Abess Jr. of Miami-based City National Bank had a better idea; give back to the people who made him his fortune.
According to an exclusive published in the Miami Herald, Abess took $60 million of his personal fortune and distributed it to over 400 current and former employees of the bank.
For some employees who had given their life to the bank, that amounted to tens of thousands of dollars. All employees were recognized and compensated, from janitors, to clerks, to tellers.
”Those people who joined me and stayed with me at the bank with no promise of equity — I always thought someday I’m going to surprise them,” Abess told the Miami Herald. “I sure as heck don’t need [the money].”
Last November, Abess sold a majority stake in the bank to Caja Madrid for $927 million. He held onto his CEO position while maintaining a minority share. While most people would assume his father who founded City National, merely handed down a cash cow, it wasn’t the case at all.
Abess Jr. took a bankrupt establishment worth only $21 million at one point and convinced about 200 investors to put their faith into it. He was then able to grow the bank from $400 million in assets to over $2.75 billion while more than doubling the offices.
Abess never seemed to let his status give him an ego. He told the paper, “”I saw that if the president doesn’t come to work, it’s not a big deal. But if the tellers don’t show up, it’s a serious problem.’
Let’s hope other billionaire banking execs are as modest and as appreciative.
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