Fifth Third Bank invests up to $ 20 million in Historic West End

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Fifth Third Bank has announced that it will invest up to $ 20 million in Historic West End.

The money will go to loans, investments and philanthropic support which includes grants for neighbors in the historic West End.

“Fifth Third has invested across the city,” said Lee Fite, president of the Mid-Atlantic Region of Fifth Third. “Statewide for many years. We have been in the Carolinas for 15 years, but last year a group of bankers from our bank who focused on the economic development of our community began to discuss with the management team how we can make a more targeted and concerted effort at the neighborhood level. “

Philosophy at the neighborhood level is what interests the executives of Fifth Third Bank.

“If you look at it literally at the neighborhood level,” Fite said. “Things like: is there access to fresh food? Is there access to health care? Affordable housing is something we have long focused on in the Charlotte area, but what about small businesses – what about revitalization – what about teaching people how to budget. Teaching people how to prepare for success and that takes a lot of partnership. “

Ralphine Caldwell is with LISC Charlotte. This non-profit organization will partner with Historic West End and Fifth Third to develop a plan to make the most of the money.

“We’re going to have a plan,” Caldwell said. “And when we finish and complete this plan, we’ll have some key metrics we’re going to measure, such as how many companies are still at this stage. How have they grown from when we started with them until now? How many homeowners do we have who were living in their homes when we started this program and are still living in their homes? How many seniors have we got that already made their wills – have their estate planning and it all done all down the hall.

Caldwell has been in contact with the community and said this change is what neighbors and business owners have been looking for.

“They’re also incredibly excited,” Caldwell said. “One of the things we want to make sure about this initiative is that it is community driven and that is what makes this initiative very unique. That’s what we see as a place-based initiative and what it means is – go to the community, you talk to the community. You let the community drive what they would like to see in the community – not Fifth Third or LISC saying what needs to happen in the community.

Fifth Third says it’s hard work, but that won’t stop them from investing. Charlotte is one of nine neighborhood programs Fifth Third has invested in. The other communities are located in Avondale, Cincinnati – South Chicago, Illinois – Buckeye Cleveland – East Tampa, Florida – Grove Park, Georgia – Arlington Woods, Indianapolis – Near East Side, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky.

Fifth Third says Charlotte by starting the Corridor Vision made this investment possible.

“Part of what made it so appealing,” Fite said. “Do I think for both of us the city provided a strategic framework. There were corridors in which we knew the city had to invest. We knew there were opportunities to improve life … knowing that there was already this infrastructure in place and partners – this made it attractive because it increases the likelihood of a very positive and selfish outcome – we want to be able to do more.

The Community Conversations air Fridays on WBTV’s On Your Side Tonight with Jamie Boll.

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