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Local Community Lender adds Comerica Bank Executive to Board

Irvin Ashford Jr. lauded as national champion of diverse small businesses, financial inclusion

Irvin Ashford Jr
Irvin Ashford Jr

DreamSpring, a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that supports underserved small businesses throughout Texas, has appointed Comerica Bank’s chief community officer Irvin Ashford Jr., to its board of directors.

DreamSpring strategically selected Ashford, who is based in Dallas, because of his national leadership experience with Comerica and his longstanding commitment to championing financial inclusion. DreamSpring has plans to rapidly increase its outreach and positive impact in Texas’ diverse communities, and in other states it serves. Ashford is uniquely qualified to help guide DreamSpring with strategic development, policy oversight, financial stewardship, and network development.

“Systemic inequities in access to capital undermine local and national economies even in the best of times. The pandemic only exacerbated an existing problem,” Ashford said. “I believe more than ever that CDFIs are an essential part of the solution, and DreamSpring is a proven authority on advancing financial inclusion. I am thrilled to have this opportunity.”

At Comerica, Ashford oversees community reinvestment nationally and leads the bank’s diversity business resource groups. He also serves on the board of directors for the Texas Women’s Empowerment Foundation, the Dallas Theater Center, Kym’s Kids, and Focus on Teens. 

Ashford has received accolades and awards from organizations, academic institutions, and publications nationwide for his contributions to community and economic development initiatives in diverse and underserved communities.

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“Our entire team at DreamSpring is honored to have such a distinguished leader and advocate of economic opportunity join our board,” said DreamSpring president and CEO Anne Haines. “Irvin has been a long-standing champion of our work to advance financial inclusion by providing business loans and support to underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs in hundreds of communities across the region.”

Since 2015, DreamSpring has issued almost 7,500 loans, totaling $56 million to 5,560 small businesses in Texas. Those businesses estimate nearly 14,000 jobs have been sustained or created as a result. 

“Irv’s depth of experience and personal interests align perfectly with DreamSpring’s mission and corporate culture. He simply is the ideal addition to DreamSpring’s board, and we are lucky to have him,” said Clarence McAllister, DreamSpring board chair and CEO of Phoenix-based Fortis Engineers.

DreamSpring’s board of directors is comprised of volunteer leaders who exhibit national leadership in a range of relevant industries and also through their contributions to advance financial inclusion. Other board members are Yashoda Naidoo, president and owner of Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café in New Mexico; Michelle Coons, senior vice president and regional president of WaFd Bank in New Mexico; Betty Arkell, equity shareholder at Robinson Waters & O’Dorisio, P.C., in Colorado; Edmond Johnson, president and CEO of Premier Manufacturing, Inc., in Colorado; Greg Levenson, president and chairman at Las Vegas Bancorp –Southwest Capital Bank in New Mexico; Jerrie Merritt, senior vice president and community development manager of the Bank of Nevada in Nevada; and Bill Ridenour, attorney of counsel for Fennemore Craig in Arizona.

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