Magazine article American Banker

Talmer Creates Fund to Revitalize Detroit Neighborhood

Magazine article American Banker

Talmer Creates Fund to Revitalize Detroit Neighborhood

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Barba

Talmer Bancorp in Troy, Mich., can't revitalize all of Detroit, but it can try to play a major role fixing one part of the city.

The $4.5 billion-asset company has entered into a partnership with the City of Detroit to offer $1 million to people looking to make the Marygrove College neighborhood their home.

Homeowners can receive a forgivable loan for buying a home from the Detroit Land Bank auction site. Under terms of the loan, borrowers can have up to $5,000 forgiven for each year they live in the home, capped at $25,000.

"Downtown and midtown are recovering nicely, but neighborhood revitalization is the key to a successful turnaround of Detroit," says David Provost, Talmer's chief executive.

Michigan banks often avoid Detroit, a trend that existed long before the city filed for bankruptcy protection in July. They skirt the area by going to the tonier Oakland County suburbs, or by outright avoiding southeastern Michigan.

Talmer entered Detroit last year through another bankruptcy. It bought several banks from Capitol Bancorp., and Michigan Commerce, Capitol's largest bank, had a Detroit branch. "We are trying to take a leadership role in helping the city," Provost says.

"We have a branch there now and are setting up loan-production offices in these neighborhoods," he adds. "There are a lot of funds that are available, but our hope is that this commitment is springboard for additional programs."

Detroit is huge, Provost says, and Talmer's greatest return on investment -- measured by revitalization, not revenue -- centers on propping up one neighborhood with long-term homeowners. …

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