By Matthew Largent
I had never thought about a banking career. I was lucky to think about my account—unless I was out of money. You see, as a young man I had always dreamed of service, and mainly law enforcement. Being a hero was something I loved the idea of—and building something to last was my goal. I wanted people to point at me and say, “I want to be like that,” or, “Matt made that.” Then life happened, as it invariably does.
A failed marriage and single fatherhood later, I was a young man owning a business—and doing well—but I never got the chance to do those two things I loved and sought for my success. So I decided to change.
In my mid 20’s I sold all I had and joined the Marine Corps. For eight amazing years I got to travel while I studied police science, law enforcement, law, or anything towards that future I thought I really wanted. I got to save lives and free some pretty amazing people. And after feeling like I was accomplishing one of my goals, I decided it was time to go back into the civilian world so that I could be closer to family and accomplish the other goal. In the waning part of that career, I was on recruiting duty when I was the one who got recruited.
City National Bank of Lawton, Oklahoma called me out of the blue. It was a regional manager in the Oklahoma City area asking me if I had thought of banking as a career. To say stunned would be an understatement. I decided to meet with them, as police testing took time, federal applications did as well, and see what this was about. And after a few meetings, I left my family in the Corps (though you never really leave them) and joined a new family at City National Bank.
That was 13 years ago. During that time, I joined the Army National Guard and spent a great career continuing military—and City National was amazing about it. I was deployed to Afghanistan and they held not just my job, but my family, and looked out for everything I needed at home. They simply said, “We have you Matt, serve with honor.” I learned something amazing in this time and throughout these experiences.
You see, you can be a hero and you can build something amazing as a banker. Because you help impact lives. And lives are the greatest thing you can build. We impact lives by helping, teaching and saving. We impact lives by not charging fees, but rather teaching how to avoid fees. ALL fees. We impact lives by caring about the person, not the business or the account. That’s building something that will last generations. Legacy.
And as for hero? Well, I have five amazing kids, one serving as a Marine now and one about to bless me with a grandchild. I have three others that teach me lessons every day. I love being their hero. And as I spend time traveling and sharing experiences and ideas across the country, I still have my City National Bank of Lawton family welcoming me as their hero too.
If you get nothing out of this, look at your job, your title, your position not as work but as a gift. We get to impact and change the world. One amazing person at a time.
Matthew Largent is senior vice president at City National Bank & Trust.