Notes from Annette Billingsley

Spotlight: Interview with Michael Innis-Thompson

Senior Vice President and Head of Community Lending and Industry Relations. He joined Union Bank in 2010.

In your work with Union Bank's Consumer Lending group, you are responsible for two focus areas: multicultural and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) lending, which serves low and moderate income (LMI) customers. How are those two approaches connected?

If we do a good job of lending to LMI individuals, we will generally reach a good segment of the multicultural population as well. Both approaches help us serve important components of our markets and enable us to grow as a bank while making a difference in our communities.

Why is multicultural lending so important to Union Bank?

The multicultural population is growing rapidly. California, our largest market, is the first majority minority state as of the 2010 census. Hispanics are forecast to account for 40 percent of the estimated 12 million new households to be created in the U.S. over the next 10 years. The African-American and Asian populations are growing as well, with Asians already representing a third of the population in our home city, San Francisco.

These are significant numbers, and we are committed to understanding and lending to these diverse households.

Why is LMI lending a priority?

Union Bank is committed to meeting the credit needs of all of our communities. It is important for us to provide traditionally underserved LMI communities with equal access to responsible financial products and services.

What kind of partnerships has Union Bank created to help serve multicultural and LMI communities?

We have formed close partnerships with numerous "trusted intermediaries" that provide education and other services to the populations we're working to reach. These include minority real estate trade organizations and community-based organizations, such as Community HousingWorks of San Diego, where I'm a member of the board of directors.

What do you find most energizing about the work that you do?

We can make the dream of homeownership a reality for individuals who think they otherwise couldn't achieve it. There are many families in homes today because we've provided them with the right resources and the right partners. That makes me happy to come into work every day.