XII. Family Deception
Junior left the office with coffee in hand and went to his car to go to the club. Before he left the premises, however, he made a drive around the new building.
With the parking lot completed, he could maneuver around the construction materials and a get a good look at the outside of the bank. “Things are looking up,” he thought.
“It was coming along nicely and seemed for all practical purposes ready to move in,” he observed. But there was still all the inside work. “Not yet,” he thought.
“Joaquin was doing a great job and I look forward to getting in,” Junior surmised. The trailer was getting too small for them.
His heart was still waning from the deception it took to get by his Uncle Steve. “If only it could have been a different way to handle it – but then Uncle Steve would have blown up when he heard.”
“Especially with Dad recently leaving the bank. Uncle Steve would have seen some kind of collusion in the making even though it was not true,” thought Junior.
“Strange how things work out sometimes. There just does not seemed to be a good answer – you just have to do what you have to do,” he reasoned.
He concluded his thoughts, “Oh well, what’s done is done. Like it or not – this is the way that it is. We will just have to learn to live with it.”
That evening, Junior made a point of arriving early at the club. Clyde was already there in the bar chasing down drinks with his friends.
He did not want to go in and disturb him or even be around him when he was drinking heavily. “I just hope that he knows what is riding on this meeting tonight and holds back enough to be intelligible,” contemplated Junior.
Clyde had been known to get out of hand at times with his drinking. He got away with it because he was a man of money and influence in the community.
There had even been times when he was asked to leave the club due to his drinking but they always let him back in without question because of his power in the community and his money.
Junior called one of the waiters he knew personally. He asked, “How long has Clyde been here and how much has he had to drink?”
The waiter responded, “He only got here about an hour ago but he is putting them down. I guess the question is how much can you put down in hour?”
“Only an hour, good,” replied Junior, “I got a meeting this evening and he is one of the participants in that meeting. I hope he is not too out of it.”
The waiter laughed, “I can water down his drinks if you want me to. The manager tells us all the time to do that to him anyway to keep him under control.”
“Yeah,” Junior reacted, “If you think you can get away with it. Do it and it will be an extra tip in it for you.”
“Will do,” responded the grinning waiter. “It will be fun doing it.”
Junior went to the kitchen to check on the food for the evening. They were preparing beautiful steaks for them. They pre-grilled them while holding up only for the extent each wanted their steaks cooked. Junior checked on the room and it was set up per his request.
With 6 in attendance, he would sit on one end, with Clyde on the other end. He would put Jack to his right to keep him away from Clyde. The rest he would split around the table.
As Junior moved back to the lobby, he saw Carl and David sitting in lounge chairs over by the entrance. Ray walked in with Jack right behind him.
They had arrived in the parking lot at the same time but had never been introduced and did not know they would be in the same meeting together.
Junior met them and immediately introduced Ray to Jack. They laughed that they had walked in together but did not know they were going to be together.
Carl and David came over and Junior introduced them to Jack as well. He invited them back to the bar where he had seen Clyde earlier. And they could have a cocktail before moving on to dinner.
Walking to the bar, Clyde saw them and immediately came over to the group. Junior spoke to Clyde and then introduced him to Jack. The others exchanged greetings with Clyde. Drinks were ordered for everyone.
They grabbed a cocktail table and grouped around it standing sharing toasts for health, business, weather, friends, family, and everything that moved in Lebanon. Laughing, they tossed their drinks down and the waiter immediately brought them another.
Junior had given instructions to keep the liquor flowing as the drinks were consumed. No one was to have an empty glass.
Jack laughingly said, “Oh, I am going to have to watch this bunch. If my wife were here, I would be catching holy you know what if I were to drink more than she thinks I can handle.”
Clyde popped back, “Well she is not here and the drinks are on me so drink up buddy. We are going to have a good time tonight.”
After a couple of drinks, Junior replied, “Gentlemen, our dinner awaits. We need only to tell the chef how we want our steaks cooked.”
They moved back to the room chatting casually as they walked. Most wanted to know how the plans for the new Home Resources building was coming and was Jack still looking at the first of the year for a grand opening?
Jack responded, “Well, yes we are. I met with our contractors’ yesterday afternoon and we hope to have the financing in place by Monday with their go-ahead.”
Clyde blabbered, “Well, we will see if we can get that squared away tonight – right Junior? If its money you want – this boy’s got it.”
Junior was taken back. He had wanted this meeting to be more professional and not be based on alcohol so much that no one would remember what was done the night before.
“Somehow I am going to have to slow Clyde down. I don’t want this to turn into a dinking contest,” he thought.
“Oh, I have made a presentation and I am sure Jack will give it the proper attention. May the best man win,” willfully hoping Jack would not take offense at Clyde. They entered the room and took their seats as Junior suggested.
The Chef – with waiters to serve the salads and a tray of dressing per each to select – came in. He described his cooking techniques for getting steaks just right. He took their selections and left the room.
Junior turned to the waiter he knew and ordered drinks for everyone, winking at his waiter friend about Clyde. They settled into an evening of great food and conversation.
At the beginning Carl, David, Ray, and Clyde gave details to Jack about their business and its relation to Lebanon’s overall growth. Each considered their particular interest responsible for all the growth. They laughed at the suggestion.
Clyde seemed to be calming down a bit as well as they engaged themselves in conversation about business. Lebanon was truly a small community but one with the potential for tremendous growth.
Junior pointed the discussion to the concept that Jack would endure himself well through these men. Becoming a major player within the community would be a boost for Home ReSources.
He laid it out for Jack, “These men are the movers and shakers of what goes on in Lebanon when it comes to jobs and the economy. You could do quite well, Jack, to join in their endeavor for the city.”
Jack replied, “Well one thing we at Home ReSources have always sought to do when we move into a city is to become part of the overall progress in the growth of the area. I would consider it an honor to work with you men as partners in business in Lebanon.”
“Carl,” he explained, “for example your being in the lumber business, you know we do a lot of small lumber sales. The small sales can add up to large orders for you. At Home ReSources – we like to do business locally if we can. I am going to certainly want to talk with you as we get to that point.”
Clyde let that slide as he knew that he would want to talk to Jack as an agent for Carl, but jumped in that he too would like to look at the feed business with Home ReSources – especially if they might carry feed for animals on farms.
Jack acknowledged Clyde’s offer, “We haven’t gotten into that line yet. But this is not to say we won’t. Corporate is always looking for other ways to make a buck.”
Jack glanced at Ray and said, “Of course we are going to need vehicles for the store and I am sure you can help us there. Plus maintenance will always be an issue that you can add to our ensemble. Vehicles do break down.”
He laughed when he looked at David, “We don’t buy chickens, but maybe repair items such as electric motors – those types of things for your plant could be in the future. I could even inventory some of your needs if you wanted so that you could get immediate delivery.”
“Boy this could be a great match made in heaven for all of us,” Junior interjected. “That is what networking is all about in a small community like Lebanon.”
Clyde moved at this point to get down to business. “Junior, you know what we should do? We should make Jack – here – a member of the 500Club.”
“The 500Club – you ask – what is it?” laughed Clyde looking at Jack.
“Jack, we all have invested in Junior’s bank with our accounts and received 500 shares of stock from him. Thus that is the 500Club.”
Clyde continued, “We agreed with our investment that we would work together to – first, make Junior a success and – second to further the business community in Lebanon.”
Acknowledging, “Now we know that everything comes with risk. We – the men here – invested our personal funds in some cases; our company assets in others to make it possible for Junior to clear the State Banking Commission.”
He continued, “Nothing illegal – mind you. It is what happens every time a new bank is formed anywhere in the country. Our stock right now has actually no value as the bank is not up and fully operating but when it does, the value will skyrocket.”
Clyde elaborated further, “Thirdly, we agreed to work with each other to further our business interest. Carl wants to better his interest with his lumber; Ray, his cars, trucks and right on down the line.”
He concluded, “If you can see your way to help Junior with your account and be above board with it, I will let you have 500 shares of my stock. That will make you a member of the 500Club.”
He went in depth with the plan, “The 500 shares of stock are worthless, but in less than a year they could be invaluable. All you have to do is work with us to further your interest and the interest of Home ReSources.”
“I need another drink – Junior,” bellowed Clyde, “send that waiter back in here with drinks all around. What do you say, Jack, you want in as a 500Club member? “
“Hell, I might even talk to you about just giving you the 500 shares. It’s worthless anyway. Then we all work together to help each other,” laughed Clyde.
“Well I don’t know,” started Jack, “I am just an employed staff member with Home ReSources. Buying stock could be a problem right now.”
Junior was dumbfounded. This man would go along with them if he had the money to buy the stock. He does not know that the stock certificates could be given free for just bringing in the Home ReSources account to the bank.
Junior almost jumped out of his seat. He tried to respond calmly, “Jack, the stock does not have a current value so you really wouldn’t be out that much to buy in to the 500Club.”
“Tell you what; let’s make the deal for Home ReSources on its merits ‘yea or nay’ first. Then we can talk about whether or not you want in the 500Club.”
There it was – the hook, line and sinker was set and the bait was on. Now it was up to Jack to respond. Either this was the biggest hoax manufactured on the back of alcohol and Clyde, or Jack would go for it to be in on the ground floor with Junior.
“You mean I could get 500 shares of stock in Junior’s bank for what it’s worth now – which you say is practically just paper. Then if in turn Home ReSources agrees that Junior’s proposal is the best – which benefits Home ReSources – it would escalate the value of the stock immediately? That’s a win-win or it’s the alcohol talking.”
“This man is no fool,” blurted Clyde, “That is exactly what we all have done. We are all going to see the results of our investment in less than a year.”
“Well, gentlemen, that is quite an offer and I will have to give it consideration. Junior’s proposal and his willingness to make adjustments where needed on some of our loan requirements are very much in line with the Community Bank including the benefits we would gain if we got tax incentives,” revealed Jack.
Jack concluded, “Junior, can I let you know my decision on this Monday. Don’t count me out as I like the idea of the 500Club, but I do have to present your proposal to the advance team to get them to go along with me. I will let you know Monday.”
“Fine, no problem with Monday,” answered Junior. He was elated. He could get the business for the Home ReSources account and could go to work on it Monday with Jack and the team.
“That is,” he thought, “if the alcohol does not wear off by Monday. And the truth comes out before then. The stock was indeed a semi back door incentive – a personal incentive.”
They excused themselves from the dinner meeting. Carl, Ray, and Jack stopped by the bar to have another drink. Clyde – feeling no pain was escorted to his car by one of his assistants who had stayed in the bar waiting for him.
Junior wanting to rid himself of any doubt concerning what had just happened excused himself and did not join them at the bar. Instead he went home to June to report on the meeting and to give her the good news.
“However, that is without all the details of the proposal,” thought Junior. “No need to worry her with his work.”
Monday, Jack needed to put the proposals to rest and make the best decision for Corporate that could be accomplished. He contacted Jody to further inquire concerning the tax incentives for his proposal from the city council.
The call was placed thru to Jody. After pleasantries were exchanged, Jack started, “Jody, my primary interest at the moment is not the interest rate dollars but instead the tax incentives you can get for Home ReSources should we go with your bank.
“You know these are quite valuable to the company,” shared Jack, “and I feel that to make a final decision, I need to have some idea where we can go? I have got to look as these proposals as apples to apples and not apples to oranges.”
Jody, responded, “Jack, thank you for letting me clear that for you. I do have some information regarding the tax incentives. I can get 5 years for you, and I will be glad to do it.”
At that point, the proposals from both banks were getting close. He wanted, however, to have the entire advance team on board and to compare the numbers before releasing the project.
“Let me run this by the team and I will call you right back,” responded Jack. Jack hung up and began to crunch the numbers in his computer to get the comparisons. He called the team together to report his findings.
Jack’s recognized the computations based on 5 years of tax incentives would not match Junior’s lower interest rates. It would take at least 8 years to equal out the difference.
Therefore if he could get Jody to commit to 10 years, the prospect would lean toward the Community Bank over Junior. He had to consider the interest of Home ReSources first,” he thought.
Thinking to himself, “I would love to get into the 500Club and make no mistake, I know that goes out the window should I go with Jody. But I also know my future with Home ReSources hinges on the best corporate deal that can be made.”
The stock could not be a deciding factor. Home ReSources would be in the community for a lot longer than he would live. The difference in the rates as they stood right now shifted toward Junior but if he got tax incentives for 10 years, Community would become the better choice.”
He reflected, “I will go back and ask for 10 years to see if Jody can deliver. If not, I will have to break away from him and go with Junior.”
Melissa informed Jody that Jack was on line 2. Jody picked up immediately. “Yes sir,” began Jody, “Do we have a deal?”
“Well,” countered Jack, “Yes and no, the team is not happy with 5 years. They say we can go with you if you feel you can get us 10 years.”
Jody responded, “Jack, that has never been done before, but that does not mean that it can’t be done. But it is a little above my pay grade to promise. Let me get with Mr. Johnson. I will get right back to you.”
Steve had come in the office and was alone. Jody went immediately over to his office and informed him of Jack’s request.
Steve said, “Wow, Jody – 10 years – that is a lot. Tom Jacobs has never gone that far before. He has never even given me 7 years before when I asked for it. What do you think we are up against? Is Junior giving stock; cutting rates; back-room deals; any idea?”
“At this point,” Jody replied, “It is hard to say. If it is stock; the offer can’t be so great that Jack is ready to go with him as he has come back to us.”
“I contacted my friend on the team,” Jody told Steve, “he says that the discussion this morning has been strictly on the tax incentives and no mention of anything else. Other than lower interest rates, I do not know what incentives Junior has to offer.”
“Tell you what,” countered Steve, “you go back and tell Jack, we can get him 7 years if he will sign today. I will break Tom Jacobs’ arm twisting it if I have to in order to get the 7 years.”
Jody replied, “Will do. At least we know we are in a safe zone working our policies and not up against a rogue banker working his. No disrespect to Junior intended.”
“None taken,” confirmed Steve. “I am pleased to know that Junior seems to be playing by the book.”
Jody went back to his desk and called Jack. “Jack,” he stated, “I can promise 7 years if we sign today, but not 10. 7 will not be easy, but we feel we can get it for you. Do we have a deal?”
“No,” Jack responded hesitantly, “I need 10 years for the team to approve. Ten years was the bottom line for them.”
“Sorry Jody,” stated Jack, “but if that is the best you can do, then, no, we do not have a deal. Thanks anyway, maybe next time.”
They hung up the phone and Jody went back to Steve. “They said 10 years was their bottom line and I left it there. I appears Junior is going to get the account,” recounted Jody.
“Don’t worry about it,” said Steve. “This is not the last account you will lose. This is banking as banking is.”
“The work you, Allison, and Sharon presented should have knocked it out of the park if we were working against normal circumstances,” congratulated Steve, “with a back handed compliment.”
“By ‘back handed’ I mean you did what you were supposed to do and it should have been successful. The fact that it was not – was not on you but the circumstances,” he explained.
Steve wanted Jody to know his work had been superior. “This is the type of work I am pleased that we can do for now and in the future.”
“This is Junior’s first opportunity to go up against us. I will let him have his lower rates and just have to live with it until he gets his feet on the ground,” said Steve.
Steve decided now would be the time to tell Jody, “By the way, I talked it over with Warner and Sandra. We feel you have earned our respect and admiration.”
“We want you to accept the position of Senior Vice President for Loan Development and to move Allison and Sharon to Vice Presidents of Loan Development,” Steve added.
He explained, “Y’all have earned it and I think the bank will be better for it with you in these positions. With the work the three of you are doing, we will replace the loss of Home ReSources in a month and see new revenue to coming our way.”
“If you agree to accept and Alison and Sharon go along, I will have Sherry draw up the inner office memo this afternoon. We will post it after work.”
Steve continued, “I will call the staff together in the morning before we open the door and make the announcement. The bank has a salary scale encrypted on computer for the positions based on time of service.”
He instructed, “Get Sherry to open the file and then you can inform the girls. I have already told her to open the file for you. I think you will like the adjustments.”
Steve finished, “No briefing this morning. I think we have covered everything already unless you have something else?”
“No, other than being disappointed we lost Home ReSources, I’m good,” Jody lamented. “Thank you for the confidence you have put in us and we will make this up, I guarantee it.”
“Don’t say you lost Home ReSources. You did not lose Home ReSources – Junior won Home ReSources. That is not you losing – now get out of here,” laughingly Steve sent Jody on his way.
Jody turned and left the office stopping by Sherry’s desk to view the encrypted file for salary ranges. He asked her to email the salary ranges to his desk.
Jody thought, “Wow, this is a first – lose an account and get a promotion – what a great job this is.” He immediately called Alison and Sharon to his office to share the good and bad news.
As Jack reviewed what had just happened, he thought, “Now if Corporate comes in here and wonders why I did not sign with the Community Bank with the tax incentives, I can tell them that the Community Bank would not meet our demands.”
He calculated, “The savings Home ReSources gets with the lower interest rates with Junior is better than the tax incentives would have given us. Plus we get the dollars from New Age Bank now and not in the future.”
Jack remembered from previous loans with other banks he had worked, “Tax incentives are a hit and miss anyway. They are given as a promise to help get them – where the lesser interest rates on a signed contact are now.”
His concern for Corporate was now secure in his mind, “Corporate will go for it. The entire team agreed with me.”
He picked up the phone and called Junior. “Junior, old buddy, I guess I can call you old buddy now, we want to go with you on your proposal. When can we start? I need you meeting with our people yesterday.”