Huntington Bancshares is partnering with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and more than 100 of the NCRC’s local community organizations, to launch a five-year plan that will see Huntington invest more than $16 billion for community development throughout the Midwest.
The program, announced jointly by the NCRC and Huntington, is part of Huntington’s previously announced merger with FirstMerit Corporation, which will see Huntington expand its network of operations Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky to include FirstMerit’s operations in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The merger is expected to be completed in third quarter of 2016, with the community development plan set to begin in 2017.
According to the announcements from Huntington and the NCRC, Huntington’s community development plan will see the bank increase its mortgage and small business lending in low- and moderate-income communities, as well as community development lending and investments, along with a philanthropy program, and other services to increase access to financial services in low- and moderate-income communities and communities of color.
As part of its community development plan, Huntington is committing to:
- Funding $5.7 billion in single-family mortgage lending in low- to moderate-income areas
- Funding $6.6 billion in small business lending including within low- to moderate-income areas
- Funding $3.7 billion in community development lending and investment targeting affordable housing access and community-based loan funds
- Funding $25 million of additional grants and philanthropy primarily targeting housing and small business credit service access
- Creating $30 million in further economic impact through support including 10 new branch locations within low- to moderate-income areas and/or majority minority areas; the addition of dedicated community mortgage loan officers; and the formation of a dedicated mortgage processing team to handle unique underwriting opportunities
"With the merger of FirstMerit into Huntington, we think it is important to share our intentions in continuing to provide exceptional support and service to the communities where we live and work," said Stephen Steinour, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Huntington.
"The strength and vitality of these communities and the people we serve are integral to our shared future,” Steinour added. “Huntington has a 150-year track record of investing in our communities and we will continue to do so as we expand."
According to information provided by Huntington, the metro areas that will be targeted by its community development plan include: Akron, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Flint, Michigan; Lansing, Michigan; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Toledo, Ohio.
“We commend Huntington for working with local community advocates to reach an agreement that will help many people in working class communities and communities of color build wealth,” said NCRC President and CEO John Taylor.
“This plan lays out activities that will produce the kind of significant public benefit that needs to be created when banking institutions merge,” Taylor continued. “Commitments like this are only possible with strong leadership from the highest levels of institutions, and we applaud Huntington Chairman, President and CEO Stephen Steinour for his leadership in this process.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, also celebrated Huntington’s plan, especially considering that once the FirstMerit merger is complete, Huntington will be the largest bank in Ohio.
"I applaud Huntington for going the extra mile in working with community organizations throughout Ohio and in the neighboring states it serves," Brown said. "Huntington has a proven track record of investing to address critical needs in the communities where it does business."