Comerica: Bank Raising Expectations in the Community

by Savoy Staff

(l to r) Vanessa T. Reed, External Affairs Manager, Comerica Bank National and Laurie Vignaud, President
and CEO, Unity National Bank 

By Irvin Ashford, Jr., Chief Community Officer, Comerica Bank

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be extraordinary and far-reaching. Our bank and charitable foundation
responded by investing more than $20 million throughout our fivestate footprint in 2020.

These funds were primarily distributed to Community Development Financial Institutions in support of strategic programs designed to meet the needs of small and micro businesses and underserved communities.  Community service organizations that provide services to youth, seniors and other vulnerable populations received grants as well — particularly those organizations addressing food insecurities and access to health care.

“Our goal is to consistently raise expectations of what a bank can be through our efforts to help those disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” said Vanessa T. Reed, National External Affairs Manager. “We want to be intentional in the way we deploy our resources so that they can have maximum impact on, and in the communities we serve.“

Here’s a recap of how Comerica Bank raised expectations in the community last year.


Comerica stood in the gap for teachers, students and families in need as schools transitioned to a virtual setting last spring, while others prepared to return to in-person learning in the fall.  In some cases, our bank provided access to hot spots, bridging the remote learning technology divide for under-resourced families, or presented students and schools with school supply kits and personal protective equipment.

Our external affairs team also continued to offer the Comerica Money $ense financial education curriculum virtually to schools and other nonprofits for children throughout the pandemic.

Health Care Drives

We sponsored PPE drives administered by community partners; giving away masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and disposable gloves in low- to moderate-income areas.

Housing and Rent Assistance

Comerica allocated dollars to support nonprofits providing housing and rental assistance to underserved individuals and families.  Through this initiative, nonprofits received grants to assist residents with loans and financial counseling.

Hunger Relief Efforts

Food banks, churches, soup kitchens, and after school programs received assistance in feeding the food insecure in all five markets.  Overall, Comerica Bank funded more than half a million dollars in grants aimed at fighting hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small Business Support

Business $ense Bootcamps

Comerica hosted virtual Business $ense bootcamp sessions in collaboration with various community partners; including Black Chambers of Commerce, Minority Diversity & Supplier Councils, Urban League chapters and other nonprofits assisting minority-owned businesses.  These free online financial education sessions helped businesses acquire technical assistance and tools needed to scale and sustain during these unprecedented times.

Community Development Financial Institution Investments

We made over $5.9 million in investments to CDFIs in support of these organizations’ small business lending programs.  Underserved communities and small businesses will benefit from the bank’s national CDFI contributions to Lendistry, Clearinghouse CDFI and California Farmlink as well as additional market-based investments.

Minority Depository Institutions

Comerica moved $10 million in deposits to Minority Depository Institutions, as well as building a mutual mentoring relationship with these institutions. This contribution will help foster economic viability in some of the most under-resourced communities.

National Business League

We launched a new partnership with the National Business League that includes a $1 million investment over four years to assist in launching the Black Capital Access Program.  A one-stop online platform for Black-owned businesses, BCAP will offer access to a capital toolkit, wide variety of technical services, financial planning information, webinars and more.

For more than 170 years, our bank has supported the communities we serve and will continue to do so during this critical time and beyond.



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