Detroit Banks Offer Mentoring, Funds to Minority Communities


Comerica Bank and First Independent Bank have teamed up to offer mentoring in mentoring communities. Pictured are Dimitrius M. Hutcherson, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Technology Officer of First Independence Bank (left) and Mike Ritchie, Michigan Market President for Comerica (right). // Photo courtesy of Comerica Bank

Two Detroit-based banks have partnered to work on mutual mentoring opportunities for minority communities. The agreement is backed by a $ 2.5 million deposit in support of the initiative.

Comerica Bank, headquartered in Dallas and headquartered in Michigan in Detroit, has partnered with First Independent Bank, the only minority depository institution based in Michigan.

The partnership is part of Comerica’s commitment to moving deposits of $ 10 million to minority custodian institutions across its five states and to building mutual mentoring relationships with these institutions. Minority depository institutions help minorities and underserved communities and improve economic viability in these communities.

“Our partnership with First Independence Bank will help entrepreneurs, small business owners, and the Detroit community navigate unprecedented struggles,” said Mike Ritchie, market president of Comerica in Michigan. “Minority depository institutions play a vital role in our neighborhood, and these commitments help provide vital resources that are geared towards empowering our communities.”

First Independence Bank is the only African American-owned bank headquartered in the state and the seventh largest African American-controlled commercial bank in the United States. It was founded in 1970.

“First Independence Bank and Comerica Bank both have free synergies and efforts aimed at strengthening minority custodians and the communities we serve, and we are really grateful for their targeted support,” says Dimitrius M Hutcherson, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Technology Officer, First Independence Bank.

Of the $ 10 million in deposits, Comerica allocated $ 2.5 million each to Broadway Federal Bank in Los Angeles and Unity National Bank in Houston.

“Comerica recognizes the critical role minority depository institutions play in communities hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Irvin Ashford Jr., Comerica’s chief community officer. “Entrepreneurs and small business owners are the anchor of local communities, and working with these MDIs will go a long way in helping them not only survive but thrive in the current business climate and beyond.”

The announcement is Comerica’s most recent move to help local communities continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, Comerica and the Comerica Charitable Foundation announced a total of $ 8 million in investments to support community programs and pandemic-hit businesses. Investments include:

  • $ 1 million and partnered with the National Business League to launch the Black Capital Access Program, an access to capital initiative that helps black-owned businesses across the country;
  • Invested $ 150,000 in Hatch Detroit to Establish the Hatch Detroit Small Business Alumni Relief Fund, which supports Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest alumni companies financially affected by COVID-19;
  • Hosting free virtual bootcamps for small businesses in Comerica’s five states of Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, and Texas; and
  • $ 3.1 million to three community development financial institutions to help underserved communities and small businesses access capital.

Comerica was founded in Detroit in 1849. The company employs more than 4,700 people nationwide.


Dusty Kennedy