(The Center Square) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sandra Pierce, Huntington Bank’s director of Private Banking, Insurance Agency, Vehicle Finance and Regional Banking, announced a $5 billion plan to reinvigorate the state’s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The five-year plan will include loans, investments and philanthropic activity directed at businesses, consumers and communities throughout the state. According to a joint statement from the governor’s office and Huntington Bank, the plan revealed Wednesday is part of the bank’s $20 billion Community Plan that was announced on Monday to provide support for small businesses, as well as advance social equity, economic inclusion and affordable housing.
“In this critical time when businesses are confronting the extreme challenge of a public-health crisis, recession and issues related to social equity, Huntington’s purpose of looking out for people calls us to do more for Michigan’s small businesses, consumers and communities,” Pierce said. “We believe this commitment is a very meaningful investment in Michigan’s economic future.”
Pierce said she was born and raised in Detroit, and was glad to be part of Huntington’s financial commitment to Michigan. She said her employer’s “purpose is to make people’s lives better, help businesses thrive, and strengthen the communities that we’re privileged to serve.”
The three focus areas of the Huntington plan include access to capital for small businesses owned by minorities, women and military veterans.
Second, Pierce said, is affordable housing and home ownership through increased lending programs to minorities and low- to moderate-income borrowers. This, Pierce asserted, would increase generational wealth through home ownership.
Third, Pierce addressed community lending and investment to assist in affordable housing, food security, workforce development and social equity.
“This is great news for Michigan’s small-business owners who have faced unprecedented challenges as we have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic over the past six months,” Whitmer said in a statement.
“These are Michiganders who have spent their lives building their businesses and who need our help now more than ever,” Whitmer added. “I am proud to work with Huntington Bank as they continue to provide support to our small-business owners and build strong communities in our state …”
Hector Hernandez, executive director of Southwest Economic Solutions, also was present at the governor’s news conference.
Huntington boasts 278 offices in the state, more than any other bank. According to a 2019 MLive report, Huntington ranked sixth in the amount of total deposits in Michigan in 2016 ($10 billion), which at that time was slightly under 5 percent of the state’s total market share.
The bank is based in Columbus, Ohio, and currently holds $118 billion in assets.