It’s loan professionals like Michael Bingham that make the industry look good, both literally and figuratively. I mean, with style like Michael’s, you can see that he classes up pretty much any room you put him in. But in the less literal sense, his dedication to the community and open heart definitely make him worthy of being called this month’s Guardian Angel from Guardian Mortgage.
“I do believe, however, that when people truly realize that their lives are valuable, most will try to do better; when people come to understand that they can better themselves and their lives with a little effort, they will try to do just that,” Bingham said.
We couldn’t agree more, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have a man such as Michael Bingham on our site and in our community. Congratulations, Michael!
CandysDirt.com: I’ve heard you, your wife and your entire family are very adamant about community service. What kind of activities do you participate in?
Michael Bingham: Yes, it’s most certainly a major part of our lives. I along with my wife (who is a recent ovarian cancer survivor) and our children strive to spend 10 to 15 hours every month in community service. The work we do is Bible based. We live in a world with a lot of issues: social problems, economic problems, health problems, marital and family problems. People are constantly bombarded with bad circumstances and bad news. We have found that the Bible provides needed positivity and encouragement for people. The main thing that we do is offer free Bible study sessions for individuals and families.
CD: What inspired you to be active in serving the community? How long have you been doing it?
MB: I really started taking it very seriously when I was in my mid-teenage years, so I’ve been really active in community service for about thirty years now. My parents were heavily involved in this work, (and still are) and I remember clearly that it brought them a lot of joy. They always taught me and my siblings that to truly be good citizens, giving back to our neighbors…the community…is absolutely essential.
CD: What’s the most satisfying part about community service?
MB: Knowing that we’re doing the right thing, and actually seeing measurable positive changes in people’s lives. Also, when people express sincere appreciation for you spending your time to assist them with whatever issues they are dealing with…it’s extremely gratifying.
CD: I know you also help young men in the community with addiction and gang-related problems. What’s that like?
MB: I’ve found that oftentimes when people engage in negative, self-destructive behaviors, they generally are trying to fill some sort of void in their lives. Sometimes they don’t even realize what that void is. I don’t try to psychoanalyze anyone because frankly I’m not professionally qualified to do that. I do believe, however, that when people truly realize that their lives are valuable, most will try to do better; when people come to understand that they can better themselves and their lives with a little effort, they will try to do just that. So, that’s what I try to do: show these young men (and sometimes not so young men) that they have value and that if they put forth the effort their lives can definitely improve despite what obstacles they currently face.
CD: How important do you think being a good male role model is to them? What does it take to be that role model?
MB: Extremely important. There are some segments of society where the father is absent from 70% of households. This causes a plethora of problems. Because of this phenomenon, the family unit suffers, and inevitably the community suffers as well. It’s a problem that repeats itself far too often as well. What does it take to be a good role model? That’s a good question…I would say providing for the family’s spiritual, material, and emotional needs; providing a sense of stability. Teaching the importance of respect for others, but also teaching the importance of self-respect as well. Instilling the importance of kind guidance and direction, but when needed, firm discipline too. Being a good communicator is also very important: not just conveying your own thoughts, but listening willingly as well. I’m not perfect at any of this…but I try…
CD: On a lighter note, a little birdie told me you like to wear bow ties … every day. What started that?
MB: (Laughs) Yes! I am quite fond of bow ties, I don’t quite wear them every day. I do wear neckties at times, but probably 80-90 percent of the time I wear bow ties. When I meet with Realtors, financial planners and other referral partners I generally always wear them. I also always wear bow ties to my closings. I’ve always liked how bow ties add a certain “panache” to an outfit, but I didn’t purchase my first bow tie until about 2005 and didn’t wear it for a few weeks because I couldn’t tie it correctly. One afternoon a practiced tying it for about an hour and a half until I could tie it with my eyes closed. I liked the look, and I was hooked from that moment forward.
CD: I think bow ties are really coming back, so you actually may be quite the trendsetter! How many bow ties do you have in your collection? Any favorite designs or patterns you love to wear?
MB: Well, thank you! People do notice them. Whenever I go to networking events, inevitably someone says “I know you…you’re the loan officer that wears bow ties all the time on Facebook!” I always get a kick out of that. As far as patterns go, I don’t really have a favorite…I like stripes, polka-dots, plaids, florals and paisleys. If I had to guess, I probably have 75 or 8o bow ties. My 15-year-old son likes wearing bow ties too, so if I’m ever missing any, they’re always in his closet.