The Story Behind MAX

in 2006, FOCUS Bank developed a marketing campaign to promote its high interest, reward checking account known as MAXimum Free Checking. While discussing ideas to promote the product, the President and CEO of FOCUS Bank, Don Burnett, mentioned using an "ugly" dog to help attract attention through billboards, television spots, and newspaper ads. Jeff Barker, FOCUS Bank CFO, knew just the dog for the job: his family pet.


According to Debi Barker, Jeff's wife, MAX, a.k.a. Oscar, was a seven year old English Bulldog "with a face only a mother could love." This incessant slobbering family pet, bought for The Barkers' youngest son, Ben, on his 16th birthday, was an extremely pampered pooch that weighed in at a healthy 75 lbs. Oscar enjoyed eating and sleeping, but most especially he enjoyed aggravating the family cat, Baloo.


As the famous saying goes — "You take the good, you take the bad"…well that's what the Barker's did with Oscar. Unfortunately, he suffered from numerous food allergies, and therefore he required a special diet consisting of duck, venison, and potato, and got weekly allergy shots.


In the spring of 2013, Oscar was preparing for a new photo shoot when he fell extremely ill. He passed away suddenly, and will be greatly missed by his FOCUS Bank fans, family, and most especially the Barker family.