Comerica Bank senior vice president Irvin J. Ashford Jr. has been named national director of financial literacy. Ashford will continue his role in managing community development and external affairs for Texas, Arizona and Florida. Ashford will report to Wendy Bridges, senior vice president, corporate communications and executive administration.
“Irv has been instrumental in broadening Comerica’s focus on financial literacy in the communities it serves,” Ralph W. Babb, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, Comerica Incorporated and Comerica Bank said in a press statement. “His new title is a reflection of the incredibly worthwhile work he has done to serve a vital community need, while bringing important national recognition to Comerica and its financial literacy programs.”
According to the Financial Services Roundtable, research shows that students with access to financial education earn significantly higher credit scores. In addition, the FSR noted that students who took a formal financial literacy class increased their knowledge of earning, saving, spending, borrowing, and protecting their money. With respect to adults, including older ones, financial education is critical well beyond the retirement age.
“Comerica is committed to providing students and adults with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully navigate the increasingly complex financial world we live in,” Ashford says. “Our EMPOWER series, for example, in which we partner with the Dallas Public Library and the local chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants, is free and geared to help the community be more successful in navigating the worlds of finance, budgeting, savings and investing. These are the types of programs in our markets that Comerica embraces because they foster good financial principles and knowledge.”
In April, Comerica Bank received an Innovation in Financial Education Award, presented by Nasdaq and EverFi, and accepted by Ashford on behalf of the bank. The award recognizes Comerica’s significant efforts to improve the financial capability of adults and children through unique digital learning initiatives. Ashford was instrumental in forging Comerica’s partnership with EverFi and the expansion of the bank’s Money $ense program for local students at no cost to schools or taxpayers. The program has reached over 2,000 students within Comerica’s footprint who have completed 5,300 learning modules since the 2014-15 school year.
Ashford joined Comerica Bank in 2000. He was recognized by The National Association of Black Accountants and The National Black MBA Association for his leadership and support of programs benefiting low- to moderate-income individuals and communities in Dallas. He was named to the 2007 United States delegate class of the British-American Project. Ashford is a Woodrow Wilson International Studies and Public Policy Fellow, and an American Marshall Fellow.
Ashford was the recipient of the 2015 Individual Achievement DiversityFirst Award from the Texas Diversity Council. He was named the 2015 Change Happens! Community Hero and was awarded the Driving Diversity Advocacy Award for Outreach from the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, Ashford became the first two-time winner of the Dallas Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award.
Ashford’s civic and community involvement includes serving on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas, The PeopleFund, Kym’s Kids, University of Dallas Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business Advisory Board, Focus on the Teens, and the Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation. He is a longtime volunteer at the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, teaching small business classes.
A graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio, Ashford earned dual master’s degrees — public affairs from the University of Texas and business administration from the University of Dallas.