Comerica taps exec to head new Asian-American outreach efforts

Comerica in Dallas announced a pair of efforts Wednesday aimed at broadening its relationships with Asian American businesses and nonprofits that seem likely to face a longer climb out of the pandemic-induced economic slump than most other groups.

The $86.3 billion-asset company appointed Sonya Trac, vice president of external affairs in its Northern California market, as national Asian American business development manager. Comerica also said that it is depositing $2.5 million at Royal Business Bank, a minority deposit institution in Los Angeles that serves the Asian American community.

“I look forward to working with our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, our bankers, local Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions to identify innovative solutions to support Asian American business’ needs,” Trac said in a statement.

Sonya Trac, who is based in northern California, will serve as Comerica’s national Asian American business development manager.

Hand-out/Comerica Bank

Roughly 79% of Asian American business owners reported sinking into fair or poor financial condition last year, more than any other groupsurveyedby the Federal Reserve banks in September and October.

Trac will work closely with Comerica’s Asian American Pacific Islander business resource groups, including Chief Diversity Officer Nate Bennett and Chief Community Officer Irvin Ashford, Jr.

Comerica last year began depositing $10 million at other minority deposit institutions across Texas, Michigan and California to help provide financing to business owners that have had a hard time accessing capital during the pandemic.

The bank also launched a campaign this year to raise awareness around violence against Asian senior citizens. More than 1,000 personal safety alarms have been distributed because of the effort, and several financial programs were set up to help curb rising rates of fraud. In her new position, Trac will be reaching out to new organizations and nonprofits, Comerica said.

The number of anti-Asian incidents reported in the 12 months ending March 31 — including verbal harassment, assault and civil rights violations — stood at around 6,600, according to the group Stop AAPI Hate.

Numerous banks have been rallying resources to address the problem. In March, a foundation supported by East West Bank in Pasadena, Calif., said that it was contributing to nonprofit organizations that are responding to anti-Asian hate.

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