Back in the early eighties I was a commercial banker up in LA. I loaned money to middle market companies to help them grow their companies and accumulate wealth. I was pretty good at it too. But that was a long time ago.
A few weeks ago I made another loan. It was just a little $25 personal loan brokered by Kiva to a grocery shop owner in Indonesia to help her stock her shelves. It was a simple way to make a big difference in someone's life, and something I'd highly encourage everyone to consider doing (www.kiva.com).
Today I made another loan that required me to tap into the skills I had learned back in my banking days. This time, as an occasional volunteer with the micro-enterprises department of the International Rescue Committee, (the world's largest organization assisting refugees), I approved a $15,000 loan to an Afghan refugee to help him buy a Lincoln Town Car which he'll use to shuttle executives to and from the San Diego airport. It was a blast helping this guy get what he needs to carve out a better life for his family here in the US, and it actually required almost as much analysis as those $5 million loans I made back in LA.
I used to give money to the guys who rode in the back seats of those Lincoln Town Cars. Today I gave money to the guy driving the car. Sometimes life takes you full circle and you get to use the things you learned at one time in your life and apply them in a whole new way in an unexpected setting. And that feels good.