Ben Hampton has strong roots in Zena, Jay and Grove. Solidified roots in the community is what's led to the impressive success story of Bank of Grand Lake over the past decade. The same inherent path integrated with an identical set of business ideals has served both Hampton and the financial institution very well – Making the roots much brawnier, and even leading to an additional branch.
Surrounded by several educators in the family, it's no surprise that he learned a lot of lessons while growing up in Northeast Oklahoma. It was instilled him that difficult challenges serve as navigational tools later on in life. Hampton discovered how to crawl before walking by listening before speaking. At 11-years-old he was helping out the family business – an ice house – delivering 25-50 pound bags of frozen water to resorts and marinas in the area. He still has fond memories of those 8-16 hour workdays.
“It was very hard work, but what's cool is how much of Grand Lake I got to see. We served a lot of customers around here,” said Hampton.
He also put the same type fortitude and passion into high school sports, even attending the notable Ray Guy Kicking Camp. While a senior at Grove High School, Hampton was ranked #10 in the country as a football long snapper. His precision on the field meant rarely taking risks, but that all changed when it came time to select a college. He turned down a full scholarship at a smaller school to attend the University of Oklahoma. Despite a few verbal judgments that were tossed in his direction, his decision turned out to be a good one – Both academically and in athletics.
“I wanted to take a chance on myself and go to OU. The plan was to become a dentist so I was taking pre-dental courses. Then, at the last minute, I changed my mind. It was like the second big-boy decision I made,” said Hampton with a laugh.
His next course of action in life was a little more complicated because his future wife, Cassie, was now a beautiful part of the equation. Their thoughts and dreams were usually in line with one another, making their choice for a future destination both mutual and desirable.
“I knew I would end up coming back. I just didn't know when. Then I met Cassie, who was from the same area, and it just made sense to do it sooner. And I'm glad we did,” said Hampton.
He moved back to Grove and was working for a bank, but there was something missing. He wanted to be somewhere where the depth of professional history in the industry was far and wide. This wish was met in overflowing fashion with Owner & CEO Ed Townsend and President Gary Smith. Leaders by example. And willing to be priceless mentors. The professional integrity associated with Bank of Grand Lake is what Hampton found most appealing. He takes pride in the fact that he is contributing to a team that puts benevolence above self, treats customers with kindness and respect, all the while providing unmatched services to those in the community. It's a work environment that encourages and reinforces attainment – Rewarding diligence from within.
Hampton became a great illustration of these practices as he began to climb a ladder of success at the bank. Then he began to scale a wall. His improving job titles changed five times in six years. The most recent is President of North Grand Lake and Chief Lending Officer. It's a pinnacle that comes with great respect.
“I've always had high expectations for myself, but I really want to give my parents a lot of credit. They've always supported me and taught me how to make and reach goals. My grandparents taught me how to do those things as well. And I couldn't have done any of it without the support of my wife,” said Hampton.
His doctrine remains the same – Believing in his future, without forgetting where he came from. His willingness to build and nurture relationships is also intact. For both Ben Hampton and Bank of Grand Lake – The roots are only getting stronger.