Hurricane Harvey, one of the most damaging hurricanes in U.S. history, might have put on a show during its destructive performance across Texas, but the philanthropic efforts of BBVA Compass employees also took center stage. Although the storm made a costly appearance, the bank’s team members demonstrated how the invaluable impact of helping others could be enough to outlast the the storm’s moment of fame.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, BBVA Compass team members committed themselves to relief efforts — from offering support to fellow colleagues to helping people in affected communities. Following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, BBVA Compass President and CEO Onur Genç complimented their humanitarian efforts in an internal message to employees and conveyed the bank’s mission and promise of being an organization of people serving people.
Genç: One person can shift the outcome for another in significant ways.
“Through all of our team members’ stories of neighbors helping neighbors and strangers helping strangers, they reminded us how we’re interconnected and truly one team,” said Genç. “One person can shift the outcome for another in significant ways.”
The efforts of BBVA Compass South Texas Valley District Retail Executive Juan Garcia and 19 of his team members were a testimony to Genç’s statement. Post-Harvey, Garcia and nine of his South Texas Valley team members drove two and a half hours to meet ten other bank employees from Corpus Christi. The crew of twenty then drove 30 minutes to Rockport — where Harvey made its first Texas landfall — to remove debris from damaged homes, serve meals and offer comfort to a community that was hit hard by the storm.
Garcia: Not only do we help our community with their financial goals, but we help them with life.
“Not only do we help our community with their financial goals, but we help them with life,” said Garcia. “When you step up, you think about how you can make the communities better from the ground up.”
Other bank team members stepped up to help the Rockport community, including College Station Branch Retail Executive Frances Johnson who distributed supplies and helped serve meals to 6,000 storm survivors and volunteers. That same spirit of community support was extended to the Houston area.
Ben Walker, BBVA Compass Houston-area retail project manager, was neck-deep in flood waters as he guided a fishing boat to rescue dozens of stranded Houstonians during the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Walker, along with five men from his church, collaborated with the Cajun Navy, a group of Louisiana volunteers who gained local and national media attention during the storm, to rescue people and pets from flood waters in west Houston.
“The desire to get up and get out had to do with my faith,” said Walker, who also collected clothing and toiletries for donation and removed mud from flooded homes since the storm rescues. “My home was okay, so it was only right for me to go out and help.”
Also in Houston, BBVA Compass Tax Consultant Matt Theurer has been responsible for coordinating flood relief efforts at his church located in the city’s Meyerland neighborhood, another area hit hard with flooding. Theurer and his church have helped 13 congregation families as well as dozens of other families whom were flooded. Immediately after, and even before, flood waters subsided, Theurer and his church spent every day up through Labor Day sending out crews to assist homeowners with tearing out wet drywall and removing damaged flooring. Theurer and his church continue to lend ongoing support to the community, aiding with food, clothing and demolition efforts every weekend since the storm.
Theurer: I’m very proud to be a part of BBVA Compass, because we are real people helping real people.
“My supervisor has encouraged our group to get out and help anyway we can. I truly appreciate BBVA Compass for giving me the time and support to give back to the community,” said Theurer. “I’m very proud to be a part of BBVA Compass, because we are real people helping real people.”
As Theurer highlighted, the bank is a people-oriented organization, and the act of helping others is embodied by the employees who came to the aid of BBVA Compass Treasury Management Sales Officer Robbie Serrano.
Evacuating with just the clothes on her back and her two dogs, Serrano left her west Houston home before it was flooded with about 16 inches of water after a nearby reservoir breached. Serrano lost her car and nearly everything on the first floor of her house. It will take about four months for her house to be liveable again, but her BBVA Compass colleagues have been a support system after an experience she called “surreal”.
Serrano: Bank employees donated cleaning supplies and took up a collection to help my family…
“After I told my manager I had to evacuate, she immediately contacted human resources to make sure I had what I needed and that my immediate needs were being met,” said Serrano. “Several team members helped me clean my home, and bank employees donated cleaning supplies and took up a collection to help my family with clothing and immediate out-of-pocket expenses.”
Stories like Serrano’s, Garcia’s, Johnson’s, Walker’s and Theurer’s are echoed throughout the BBVA Compass community, reaffirming the bank’s commitment to helping its employees and the communities it serves.
BBVA Compass has set up two support funds for its employees — the Employee Disaster Relief Fund, a 100 percent bank-funded effort, and BBVA Compassion, an employee-to-employee relief fund where the bank will match donations up to $200,000.
For more information on how BBVA Compass is helping those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, click here.
For more Hurricane Harvey and Irma articles and stories, click here.