CHICAGO, MAY 31, 2022 — CIBC today announced that it has invested $1 million in First Independence Corporation, parent of First Independence Bank, the first Black-owned and operated commercial bank in Metropolitan Detroit and the state of Michigan.
“This investment is a testament to our commitment to community,” said Beth Witczak, head of CIBC U.S. Community Development. “First Independence Bank shares the same philosophy as CIBC when it comes to serving our communities, and this investment enables them to deliver financial services with a focus on underserved and minority communities.”
First Independence Bank, which opened in 1970, offers full-service banking products and services to local communities, primarily in the Detroit Metropolitan Market. The bank currently has 3 branch locations in Detroit and in the Twin Cities, with a fourth location scheduled to open later this year. First Independence Bank intends to focus on developing programs to support minority homeownership and business development and has commitments and leadership guidance from the large financial institutions currently in the market.
CIBC serves the Detroit market with consumer and small business products that are affordable and offer flexible underwriting. The bank has dedicated community mortgage small business lenders focused on serving diverse clients in the market. From closing cost assistance and down payment programs for eligible home buyers to small business programs designed for start-ups and companies with revenue less than $1 million, CIBC has a suite of products that are designed to meet the needs of low- to-moderate-income borrowers.
First Independence Bank is one of just 17 Minority-Owned Depository Institutions (MDI) designated as African American and is also a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and the bank itself is one of only 142 minority depository institutions in the country. It is the only MDI headquartered in the state of Michigan and the only bank headquartered in the city of Detroit.
An investment in an MDI is highly responsive to the need for capital and banking services in low-and moderate-income and minority areas. CIBC’s investment, together with financial backing from other institutions, will support affordable housing and small businesses, stabilize communities, and meet the financial needs to individuals where they are located.
“We believe the keys to success for any business include a strong foundation and positive community impact,” said Witczak. “First Independence Bank has both, and that’s why we’re proud to support them and the communities they serve.”