Comerica Makes Grant to LISC to Fuel Lending for Minority-Owned Small Businesses in Detroit, LA and Phoenix

Oct 22, 2020 12:15 PM ET

NEW YORK, Oct. 22, 2020 /3BL Media/ — Comerica Bank is teaming up with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to expand access to capital for small businesses and nonprofits led by people of color—especially organizations without the size or track record to attract conventional financing on their own.

Comerica is providing a $1 million grant to serve as a backstop for patient, flexible loans in communities where LISC is working to catalyze economic opportunity in Los Angeles, Detroit and Phoenix. The grant will fund a loan-loss reserve that mitigates risk, so that at least $4 million in new capital can flow, and it will also support technical assistance to help owners and operators address challenges in their markets, including COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted many small businesses who continue to seek necessary funding,” said Comerica Bank Chief Community Officer Irvin Ashford, Jr. “Small businesses serve as pillars in our local communities, and Comerica remains committed to ensuring small business owners from low- to moderate-income communities can access critical capital to successfully navigate these turbulent economic conditions. With support from LISC, small business owners can continue to serve as the economic engine for our communities.”

The new grant builds on an existing partnership between LISC and Comerica that has focused on expanding businesses and jobs, supporting affordable housing development and fueling a broadly shared prosperity in places where both organizations operate.

LISC is the nation’s largest community development organization, with 35 metro-area program offices, a national rural development program, and more than $22 billion invested in thousands of urban and rural communities across the country.

“Small businesses and local nonprofits are the economic backbone of their communities,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO. “When we bridge capital gaps that prevent them from reaching their full potential, good things happen—jobs and incomes expand, nearby residents gain access to vital goods and services, owners invest in their communities, and the local tax base grows.”

The opportunities are particularly noteworthy for entrepreneurs of color, he said. These owners are less likely to have the cash reserves and credit needed to sustain their employee base through a recession like the one caused by COVID-19, or to be able to offer the opportunity for their staff members to work from home.

“Now, more than ever, it is essential that we give entrepreneurs the best chance possible to recover, rebuild and grow,” Jones said. “Partners like Comerica can help our economy work better for everyone, and drive growth long into the future.”

About Comerica

Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) is a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and strategically aligned by three business segments: The Commercial Bank, The Retail Bank and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. In addition to Texas, Comerica Bank locations can be found in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. Comerica reported total assets of $83.6 billion as of Sept. 30, 2020.

About LISC

With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $22 billion to build or rehab more than 419,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 70.3 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit