New partnership with FirstMerit will provide home loan assistance in Cody Rouge

MEDIA CONTACT: Acting Chief of Staff & Director of Communications Bill Hanson, 734.355.3191

On Monday, FirstMerit Bank announced a partnership with Skillman Foundation to offer qualified applicants in the Cody Rouge neighborhood up to $15,000 in down payment and closing costs assistance for home buyers and current homeowners.

FirstMerit will offer applicants up to $7,500 in assistance, and Skillman will match those dollars up to $7,500. Under the partnership, FirstMerit also will offer a customized, non-traditional mortgage loan, with relaxed guidelines, to refinance home improvements to an existing property. A Homebuyers Education course, in partnership with a HUD-certified counseling agency, will provide residents with flexible classes to become a certified home owner.

Additionally, FirstMerit and Skillman are co-sponsoring a monthly Financial Literacy Educations Series in Cody Rouge, covering such topics as how to beautify and maintain a property, how to manage a budget, how to avoid scams and the responsibilities of home ownership.

"The revitalization of the Cody Rouge neighborhood, supported so strongly by the Detroit business community, is not only exciting for this community, it acts as a momentum builder for the ongoing progress being made across the entire Detroit area," said Sandy Pierce, vice chairman of FirstMerit Corporation and chairman and CEO of FirstMerit Michigan. "By providing financial assistance to area residents and hands-on volunteer work through our employees, FirstMerit is pleased to partner with Skillman and play a part in the revitalization of this deserving community."

On Wednesday, August 13, FirstMerit and Skillman employees joined Life Remodeled, a local nonprofit organization, to provide cleanup services to the Cody Rouge neighborhood as well as help renovate the Cody High School campus.

"Home ownership is critically important to the stability of a neighborhood," said Skillman Foundation President & CEO Tonya Allen. "We are delighted to partner with FirstMerit Bank to offer Cody Rouge homeowners this important assistance. It's good for the neighborhood, and it's good for Detroit."

FirstMerit and the Skillman Foundation are also partners in FirstMerit's Blue Shirt Campaign in downtown Detroit. Skillman is one of five nonprofits featured in FirstMerit's high-visibility campaign on the exterior walls of downtown buildings.

FirstMerit is an active partner in the Detroit Land Bank, providing similar financial programs to qualified applicants looking to purchase a home through the Land Bank.

About Skillman Foundation
 Created in 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to improving meaningful graduation rates in the Detroit region, so kids are ready for college, career, and life. The Foundation has assets of nearly a half-billion dollars, with an annual grants budget of $17 million. The Foundation works to achieve its goal by investing in community leadership, neighborhoods, safety initiatives, high-quality schools, social innovation, and youth development.

About FirstMerit Corporation
 FirstMerit Corporation, an equal opportunity lender, is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Akron, Ohio, with assets of approximately $24.6 billion as of June 30, 2014, and 379 banking offices and 412 ATM locations in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania. FirstMerit provides a complete range of banking and other financial services to consumers and businesses through its core operations. Principal affiliates include: FirstMerit Bank, N.A., FirstMerit Mortgage Corporation and FirstMerit Title Agency,