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Bank Manager Maintains Connection to Home Town

Bank Manager Maintains Connection to Home Town

Al Jones, a vice president at First California Bank on Esplanade Drive, has worked diligently to maintain his banking career and his charitable volunteer work in the Oxnard area. (Photo Credit: Tim Pompey)

By Tim Pompey

Al Jones is loyal to Oxnard. A resident of the city for more than forty years, he has a passion for living and doing business here.

As a bank manager, Jones has worked at locations from Santa Paula to Newbury Park and been successful at taking over small bank branches that were losing money and turning them around. But even while he worked to make these branches successful, his primary goal was to eventually return to Oxnard. When he was hired several years ago as a branch manager at First California Bank on Esplanade Drive, he finally got his wish.

Six months later, an offer was made to him—to leave Oxnard and become a regional manager at First California. He thought about it and turned the initial offer down. Instead, he counter proposed a deal that would allow him to stay right where he was at. Why? “Part of my rationale for being in Oxnard is that these banks have money to invest in the community,” said Jones. “I thought as a branch manager that I could be more effective in making sure the money stayed local.”

His management philosophy has its roots in basketball coaching legend Phil Jackson and his famous triangle offense. Jackson designed his offense to be flexible and share the ball.

Jones has applied the same philosophy to working with his bank employees. As he explained: “If it’s good for the customer and if it’s good for the branch and if it’s good for the bank, you’re empowered to do it.”

A few years back, Jones had an epiphany about his own life: “I thought, ‘You’re having a great life,’ but I felt like I had a responsibility to help pay back the people who helped support me when I was growing up.”

Meanwhile, as the financial recession took its toll in Oxnard, he saw what the crisis was doing to businesses and families. Applying the triangle principle, he resigned from much of his previous volunteer work and decided to refocus his time and energy to local causes.

He took on issues related to food and nutrition and got involved with Food Share. He saw people suffering from lack of medical insurance and volunteered with the Ventura County Medical Association. He noticed how the financial crisis was impacting the homeless and he is now a commissioner with the City of Oxnard Commission on Homelessness.

Now Jones has another opportunity to help with local nonprofit causes. It’s called the Al Jones Charity Golf Classic (www.aljonesgolfclassic.com), scheduled this year for July 1, 2013, at the Spanish Hills Golf & Country Club in Camarillo. Proceeds from the golf tournament will benefit the SchollyMe Foundation Inc., and the Oxnard Police Department’s Heroes & Helpers program.

The event will include a 4-person scramble, a continental breakfast, lunch and drinks on the course, and other special activities. It will be topped off by an awards ceremony following the golf tournament.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Shotgun begins at 11:00 a.m. Fees are $250 for an individual, $475 for a twosome, and $1,000 for a foursome.

Jones feels that his current volunteer activities and this tournament in particular have given him a new sense of hope. “It has renewed my faith in my fellow man,” he said.

“These people who are involved in the tournament, I sit and think to myself, ‘Why are they volunteering for this committee? What motivates them to help me?’ I still don’t understand it, but I’m grateful for their support.”

In basketball, the triangle is known for being complex and sometimes difficult to learn. Everyone has to share the ball.

Applying this to his life has taken some years of adaptation, but after all he’s gone through, he seems to have finally mastered the principles. Good reason to think that, for Jones, the triangle is working just fine.

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