Huntington pledges $20B to address racial, income inequality

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Huntington Bancshares in Columbus, Ohio, said Tuesday that it would pledge $20 billion over the next five years to improve economic opportunities throughout its Midwestern footprint.

Huntington’s 2020 community plan focuses essentially on three areas of need: improving access to capital for small businesses, expanding affordable housing and home ownership and community lending and investment. The plan is particularly focused on low-income communities and people of color and follows a similar pledge that was completed a year ahead of schedule and developed with input from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

Huntington's 2020 plan is $4 billion higher than a similar community development initiative it undertook in 2016.

“While we’re proud of the progress we’ve made, our work as a company is not done,” said Stephen Steinour, Huntington's chairman, president and CEO. “We believe these areas are fundamental to helping people not only find basic economic security but also prosper. We know by making our communities stronger, we create additional opportunities for those that live and work here, including us.”

The $118 billion-asset Huntington is the latest in a series of large and regional banks to make major financial pledges in response to civil unrest over racial inequality and the pandemic’s outsize impact on minority communities. Bank of America pledged $1 billion over four years, U.S. Bancorp committed $116 million this year and PNC Financial Services Group said it would spend at least $1.05 billion.

Like those other efforts, Huntington’s five-year plan will be a combination of lending, investments and philanthropic donations. The company said $7.6 billion would be earmarked for small businesses, $7.5 billion for expanding housing and $4.9 billion for community efforts to improve food security, workforce development and other issues.

Huntington’s plan is $4 billion higher than a similar pledge it made in 2016 as part of its acquisition of FirstMerit in Akron, Ohio, and finished a year ahead of schedule. It worked with the NCRC to develop that plan and charter a National Community Advisory Council. It plans to consult with the advisory council and the NCRC in its latest effort.

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Regional banks Small business lending Under-served populations Huntington Bancshares Black Lives Matter Steve Steinour