Name: Ralph Babb

Occupation: Chairman and CEO, Comerica Incorporated and Comerica Bank

What’s Comerica’s commitment to Southern Dallas?

When Comerica formally entered the Texas market in 1988, we recognized then that Southern Dallas had the potential to become a major economic asset to this city. The area just needed investment. And as a 162-year-old bank, we believe we know a thing or two about good investments.

How have you continued to grow in Southern Dallas since your first investment?

Since our initial program, we’ve grown in Southern Dallas and opened five other banking centers in this community, and we’re not a mass-market retail bank. So our new Bricks and Mortar investment is significant to us to the tune of millions of dollars. We’ve also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to area nonprofits like project Still I Rise, the Southern Dallas Development Corporation, and many other 501c3’s that serve critical niches in this community.

What is Comerica’s formula to get the community behind the dollars?

Our successful formula includes putting people, specifically our colleagues, behind the dollars. That’s why they have a strong focus on nonprofit board membership. We’ve held free financial workshops at the libraries both in English and in Spanish. After our first investment announcement in September of 2009, we have since made a combined capital and philanthropic investment totaling more than $7.7 million dollars here in Southern Dallas alone. And with education as a core commitment, we’ve adopted two area library branches and started financial literacy collections and African American e-book collections there. We want it known that Comerica’s commitment to enhancing the communities we serve does not end with the signature of a check.

What’s the next step for Comerica in the community?

We’re getting more involved in area schools like Adele Turner Elementary, where we’ve piloted our youth savings program to teach the students how to save and become financially independent. With all of the examples of the community work that we do, we’ve seen great returns on these investments. And we are not going to stop here; in many respects our collective work to help grow South Dallas is just beginning.

Photo and interview contributions by; Mike Savoie Photography