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Monday, January 24, 2022
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I heard a great parable that helped me capture an experience that I had with a recent client.

The story goes - every morning, the CEO of a large bank in Manhattan walks to the corner for a shoeshine. He sits in an armchair, studies his Wall Street Journal while the shoe shiner buffs his shoes to a mirror shine.

One morning the shoe shiner asks the CEO, “What do you think about the situation in the stock market?” The executive answered dismissively, “Why are you so interested in that topic?”

The shoe guy replies, “I have millions in your bank,” he says, “and I’m considering investing some of the money in the capital market.” “What’s your name? “ asked the banker. John H. Smith was the reply.

The CEO arrives at the bank and asks the Manager of the Customer Service Department; Do we have a client named John H. Smith? “Certainly, answers the Customer Service Manager, “he is a high-net-worth customer with 12.6 million dollars in his account.” The executive walks out, approaches the shoe shiner, and says, “Mr. Smith, I would like to invite you next Monday to be the guest of honor at our board meeting and tell us the story of your life. I am sure we could learn something remarkable from your life’s experience.”

At the board meeting, the CEO introduces him to the board members. “We all know Mr. Smith, from the corner shoeshine stand, but what many of you don’t know is that Mr. Smith is also an esteemed customer of our bank. I invited him here to tell us the story of his life. I am sure we can learn a great deal from him.”

Mr. Smith began his story. “I came to this country fifty years ago as a young immigrant from Europe. I got off the ship without a penny to my name. The first thing I did was change my name to Smith. I was hungry and exhausted. I started wandering around looking for a job but to no avail. Fortunately, I found a coin on the sidewalk. I bought an apple. I had two options, eat the apple and quench my hunger or start a business. I sold the apple for 25 cents and bought two apples with the money. I kept buying and selling them as I continued in business.

When I started accumulating a few dollars, I was able to buy a set of used brushes and polish and started polishing shoes. I didn’t spend a penny on entertainment or clothing; I just bought bread and cheese to survive. I saved penny by penny. After a while, I bought a new set of shoe brushes and polishes in different shades and expanded my clientele.

After a while, I was able to buy an armchair, so my clients could sit comfortably while I shined their shoes. That investment brought me even more clients. Still, I did not spend a penny on anything in my personal life. I kept saving every cent I earned. A few years ago, when the previous shoe shiner on the corner decided to retire, I had already saved enough money to buy his shoeshine location at this great place”.

“Finally, six months ago, my sister, who was unemployed in Chicago all of her life, passed away after winning the lottery and left me 12.6 million dollars. I immediately deposited that money with your bank.” I remembered this story after speaking with a client who had an accepted offer to buy a house “all cash” – I will leave the story at that!

Shout out and happy birthday to Adina Abrahams, Ilana Austein, Ellysheva Awerbuch, Michael Chapman, Yosi Fishkin, Daniel Hartstein, Rachel Fischer, Jason Flynn, Fruma and Daniel Remin, Yonah Schmidt, Philyss Seidenfeld, Elissa Siev, Jamie Srolovits, Talia Wigod.


Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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