Message From the President: The Neighborhood Impact Program

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    In this issue of Community Connection there are articles and information about an initiative called the Neighborhood Impact Program (NIP).  The plan is to provide grant money for home­owners to make repairs to their house.

    Blight and deteriorating neighborhoods is a residual effect of the foreclosure crisis and is conspiring to plunge home values even lower than the already critically low bottom they are at now.  In addition to loan modifications and credit counseling that Fifth Third and other banks are performing to stem the tide of foreclosure, we believe this next step, cleaning up the blight, can save whole communities and even cities from being caught in the undertow just as the economy is trying to drag itself out of the water and up on the beach.

    This local NIP initiative that Fifth Third is driving is receiving corollary support from the federal government who is implementing a program to achieve similar objectives through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.  This private public partnership is a model for the way broad community policy can be executed successfully at the grassroots level to achieve maximum success.  In the case of Detroit, successfully clearing blight from our neighborhoods and improving home values while increasing the quality of life is one of the primary strategies for transforming the city and bringing it back from a financial crisis of epic proportions.

    In the end, however, no public or private grant program can be successful without the willingness and initiative of the everyday citizen.  Homeowners across our city have to investigate these programs to see if they qualify and invest their time in making the repairs happen.  It will be up to us as a community if we want this to work.  It will be through our collective efforts if we are going to repair our neighborhoods and restore our city to the luster it once had.  It may materialize one house or one block at a time, but it can happen.  If you have an interest in this program, please contact us at Fifth Third Bank and we will work together to build a better tomorrow in the neighborhoods of Detroit.

    I would also like to take this time to welcome Chris Bryant to the pages of the Community Connection.  Chris is brand strategist who specializes in people.  In other words, Chris believes we are all like brands and we say something to people about who we are by the way we present ourselves.  In other words, we are our brand.  Last month Chris conducted a personal branding seminar for 75 Fifth Third managers and I will tell you that his session generated more positive feedback than just about anything we have done to support the personal growth of our employees.  I hope you will read Chris’s column this month and on into the future.  I am sure you will find it enlightening and fun to read.

    David F. Girodat
    President, Fifth Third Bank
    Eastern Michigan

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