Banking on Me

In 1974, my dad’s boss decided to retire and close his business. He gave my dad a two week notice that he would no longer be employed. I was the oldest at 14 years old with three younger siblings. The youngest child was just one year old with severe epilepsy and developmental delays. Fortunately, my dad’s boss gave him his tools and the truck he drove for work. With only $57 to his name to support a wife and four children, my dad went down to talk to our local banker to ask for a loan and open a business bank account to start working for himself (and all of us) in oilfield work. Because my parents had a personal bank account and didn’t want to get the business and personal banking accounts mixed up by the bankers or themselves, my dad put me on his business account as a joint account owner when I was just fourteen. I had no idea that women weren’t allowed previously to have an account without a man co-signing. I grew up in a world and educational system that encouraged women to be and do whatever they wanted as far as a career. I stepped right up into that equality of the 1970s and never really understood the past difficulties for women in U.S. society. At 15, I had a driver’s license and regularly helped my dad with his banking business depositing checks and paying expenses. I even had a business credit card. I am grateful for the difficult times that challenged us as a family and helped me grow as a young person into independence and to learn how to be responsible and take responsibility for my actions. For most, there is no silver spoon, but only the diligence of our own hands pulling ourselves up by our boot-straps to make a life in this world. My dad did, and he passed the torch to me. Many of today’s young people would benefit from challenges, difficulties, and a few hard knocks in life to learn to live and cope when life hands you lemons. When one does learn, work, overcome, and grow, the lemonade is all the sweeter sipped in the shade on a swing after a hard day with one’s work well-done. Thanks to all who have gone before to make life better, sweeter, and easier, but let us not forget that each of us needs the struggle of the caterpillar from a cocoon to become a butterfly.

My article was based on a post I read posted by Paul Thomas on Facebook which reported the following:
Until 1974 in the USA women were unable to open a bank account or acquire a line of credit without a man co-signing.
The financial services industry was led by (usually white) men. So eight women came together to turn everything around by opening their own Women’s Bank.
Carol Green, Judi Wagner, LaRae Orullian, Gail Schoettler, Wendy Davis, Joy Burns, Beverly Martinez, and Edna Mosely founded the bank’s board by each pitching in $1,000.
On 14 July 1978 The Women’s Bank opened for business. People stood in line down the street in downtown Denver to deposit their money.
The first day’s deposits exceeded $1 million.

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