Comerica joins list of big banks assisting Black-run institutions

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Comerica in Dallas is the latest big bank to offer assistance to minority banks.

The $84 billion-asset company said Wednesday that it had commited to place $10 million in deposits at minority-run banks. The commitment included $2.5 million deposits at the $265 million-asset First Independence Bank in Detroit, the $504 million-asset Broadway Financial in Los Angeles and the $109 million-asset Unity National Bank in Houston.

Comerica plans to deposit another $2.5 million at other minority depository institutions within its five-state footprint.

In addition to the deposits, Comerica plans to partner with the lenders by offering them "mutual mentoring relationships" to support key business lines.

"Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the anchor of local communities,” Comerica Chief Community Officer Ivan Ashford Jr. said in a press release. “Working with these MDIs will go a long way to ensuring that they continue to not only survive but thrive in the current economic climate and beyond.”

Comerica created the chief community officer position in January, tapping Ashford, who joined the company in 2000, to oversee its community reinvestment activities.

In May, Comerica invested a total of $3.1 million in three California-based community development financial institutions — Lendistry, Clearinghouse CDFI and California FarmLink — to promote access to capital in underserved neighborhoods.

Several large banks have provided support to minority institutions in recent months. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and U.S. Bancorp have agreed to work with minority-run banks as part of the Treasury Departments mentor-protege program.

The deposits from Comerica will help Unity make low-interest loans to customers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Laurie Vignaud said.

“We are living through very unusual times,” Vignaud said in the release. “Having financial institutions like Comerica reach out to offer assistance, is very noteworthy and meaningful.”

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