Huntington Bank launches $5 billion lending initiative in Michigan

Lansing — Huntington Bank said Wednesday it would launch a $5 billion, five-year lending program that includes philanthropy and other spending aimed to help Michigan businesses and communities, specifically female-, veteran- and minority-owned businesses.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020.

The program will provide access to capital for businesses, money for borrowers seeking to own homes, and community efforts to provide affordable housing, work force development or food security.

The initiative in Michigan is part of a broader $20 billion plan the bank announced Tuesday. Details of its Michigan initiatives will be announced in the coming months.

“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,” said Sandy Pierce, senior executive vice president and chair of Michigan for Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called Huntington’s announcement an “exciting investment.”

“They need help now more than ever,” Whitmer said of small businesses in Michigan.

Huntington plans to expand lending programs and educational services to support increased home ownership by minority and low- to moderate-income borrowers throughout the Midwest, according to the bank’s plan. Huntington will also invest in community efforts related to affordable housing, food security, workforce development and social equity.

“This is an opportunity to take a more deliberate approach toward investing in the people and businesses that will have the greatest impact in our communities,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “I’m excited to see how we can build upon this partnership with Huntington Bank to advance equity in economic growth to ensure that new doors are open to a more diverse group of entrepreneurs at every stage of their business.” 

  The announcement came as  Whitmer was scheduled to provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. Joining Whitmer on Wednesday were Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive.

The update came as the Democratic governor faces pressure to allow fitness centers and movie theaters to reopen. The facilities have been shuttered since March. Khaldun told WDET on Tuesday that no decision had been made yet on their reopening.

Michigan has confirmed 103,186 COVID-19 cases and 6,495 deaths linked to the virus as of Tuesday. Michigan now ranks ninth nationally for COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Whitmer’s current state of emergency declaration extends through Friday. She’s expected to extend the declaration at some point this week.

cmauger@detroitnews.com