TCF Bank’s pledge to lend $1 billion over five years to minority- and women-owned businesses extends into West Michigan, where the company’s market leader in Grand Rapids says the effort will require leveraging community partnerships.
The commitment from Detroit-based TCF — the parent company of Chemical Bank — requires outreach to organizations to execute and deploy the capital, said Krista Flynn, Chemical Bank’s regional president in Grand Rapids.
“Working better together to get greater results is what I would like to see over the next few years,” Flynn said. “It has to be an active, actionable effort. We can’t just say, ‘We’re going to do it,’ and it happens. We have to make sure we are out there promoting it with partnerships, with our nonprofits, with our economic development arms. They can help us identify where these needs are most prevalent.”
Flynn added that the effort will likely involve “going into the neighborhoods, listening to people, listening to business leaders within the minority community.”
TCF Financial a year ago merged with the former Chemical Financial Corp. in a $3.6 billion deal creating a bank that today has nearly $50 billion in assets and 500 offices in nine states, primarily Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota.
Existing Chemical Bank offices will take on the TCF Bank name once the corporation integrates systems in August.
In addition to the $1 billion in loans for minority- and women-owned small businesses, TCF Bank created a $10 million grant program to assist low- to moderate-income home buyers.
The bank launched the initiatives after law enforcement’s killing of George Floyd in May in Minneapolis — where TCF Financial was previously based — that resulted in widespread protests “and what I hope is a movement,” said TCF Bank President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Shafer.
Floyd’s killing “caused a moment of pause for our entire country, but also the energy to say, ‘We need to lead on making change and creating opportunity,’ and bringing a much wider segment of the community into the opportunity for the American dream — homeownership, business ownership, stability of jobs, which creates stability of neighborhoods,” Shafer said.
“We believe that with the capacity and scale of our organization, and the marketplaces that we’re serving, we can make a meaningful difference in our markets and our region and, hopefully, for the country as we move forward over the next couple of years,” he said. “We think this is the best way to lean in and make a difference in the conversation that’s taking place right now.”
TCF will couple the loans with technical assistance for entrepreneurs provided through partnership, Shafer said. He sees chambers of commerce, community development financial institutions, religious groups and neighborhood organizations are among the partnerships TCF look for form to execute
“This is not something we can do on our own,” Shafer said. “It has to be collaborative and creative in finding new paths to create economic growth for people who have been excluded from many opportunities.”