PNC’s Ramsey L. Harris Grandfather Helped Write His Success Story
Ursula V. Battle | 6/15/2018, 6 a.m.
This is Part I of a two-part series on Ramsey L. Harris, and the native Baltimorean’s ascension up the PNC corporate ladder.
Ramsey L. Harris is Vice President and Territory CRA Business Advisor in the Retail Lending Distribution Management division at PNC Bank. Harris is responsible for overseeing and executing strategic plans that enable the bank to achieve specific Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) focused goals and measures of lending to businesses located within designated, inner-city/Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) areas. These areas include Greater Maryland, and Greater Washington/D.C.
At just 36, Harris’ many accomplishments read like a corporate success story. He credits his grandfather —the late Bishop Huey L. Harris, Sr. — with his success. Bishop Harris, Sr. was the founder and pastor of Abundant Life Worship Center in Elkton, Maryland. Harris believes that had it not been for his grandfather, his story might have played out much differently.
“I was born in West Baltimore,” said Harris. “We then moved to East Baltimore, and then to Baltimore County. My father was a chemist. He worked for DuPont, but was relocated to Houston, Texas. My grandparents stepped in to help my mother. They wanted to make sure I was not another young man in Baltimore without guidance, or another statistic, or involved in a life of crime..”
He added, “I began getting in trouble and my grandfather stepped in. He had me with my mom throughout the week and with him in Delaware on the weekends. I accepted my call to ministry at the age of 14 at my grandfather’s church. I graduated from Eastern Tech High School and really did well academically. I wanted to go to Morehouse College, but my grandfather refused to let me go to Morehouse.”
Harris explained: “We agreed that if I went away for four or five years to Atlanta, I would miss his tutelage,” said Harris. “I went to the University of Delaware, which allowed me to be close to him and active in his church. While I was at the University of Delaware, I did work study at Bank of America to make money while I was in school. I found that banking was applicable in ministry. I was working in the finance department at my grandfather’s church as a trustee and assistant treasurer and was always around money. It was a natural fit.”
He added, “I also majored in English at the University of Delaware because I wanted to have a good handle on communications. I also knew it would help me in ministry. I decided I wanted to get into banking because I heard there were good programs for college graduates to make money. I thought I would do this through Bank of America. But, a recruiter from PNC reached out to me. She made sure I got into PNC’s leadership program, and the rest is history.”
Harris has over 18 years of management, consultation, small business banking and lending, community development, and financial services experience. Prior to joining PNC, Harris started his banking career as a Sales Consultant at Bank of America. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Business & Technical Writing from the University of Delaware.
He is a third generation Pentecostal minister. For over 20 years, he served in ministry at the Abundant Life Worship Center, Inc., under Bishop Harris, Sr.
“My grandfather was my pastor, bishop, coach and cheerleader,” said Harris. “Young men have to connect with mentors early in their lives. When my grandfather told me not to go to Morehouse, I did not like it. But I came to appreciate having a mentor that saw the bright future God had for me.”
He added, “He wanted me to take
advantage of the time he knew I couldn’t get back if I went away. It helped me to understand the power of mentorship and having a strong father figure in my life.”
Ramsey Harris also was his grandfather’s “Ram in the bush”
“I was on his pastoral staff and interim pastor for his church when he was ill for two years,” said Harris. “That on the job training would have never happened had I gone away to school. He had a grandson he had groomed all these years while he recovered. That put the stamp of approval on my pastoral calling and gave me a greater vision for what the next chapter in my life would look like.”
He added, “I knew God had called me to Baltimore City. I know my calling is unique and specific to Baltimore City.”
Coming next week - Baltimore City: The setting for Harris’ newest chapter with PNC Bank and the launch of a new church.