Comerica Bank: Doing It's Part to Kill Small-Town America
Shame on them:
Comerica Bank called $11 million loan, demanding liquidationComerica chairman, Henry F. Potter, was unavailable for comment. But a spokesman said that Mr. Potter would be willing to take on many of the Norwalk Furniture employees thrown out of work as tentants in his rental properties in "Potter's Field". The spokesman also noted that Mr. Potter was looking forward to the renaming of Norwalk as "Pottersville".
Thursday July 24 2008, 1:38 pm
The acting CEO for Norwalk Furniture said Comerica Bank, which holds $11 million in loans for the company, has refused to even talk to several investors interested in buying out the loans and taking over the company.
Aversa said he finds it suspicious that Comerica would call in a loan in Ohio in which the company had paid back $2 million within the past 60 days shortly after the bank closed their Ohio offices.
“I don’t think its an accident that Comerica closed their Cleveland offices (recently), they stopped making loans in Ohio and then they show up on our doorstep and say liquidate,” Aversa said. “They know they’re never going to do any banking here. If this was in Detroit, it would not be this way.
“What’s happening here is a crazy, panicked world. The dynamics are almost like a depression,” he said. “If this company was located in Detroit or Texas, would they be treating us like this?”
Friday July 25 2008, 1:40 pm
In just 16 hours, Norwalk Furniture employees gathered about 50 employees and headed up in a caravan to Comerica headquarters in Detroit with one message "Norwalk Furniture Calling, Answer Your Phone."
After Dominic Aversa, acting CEO in the company's reorganization, released details about Comerica's refusal to consider buyout offers and the bank's insistance on liquidation, employees finally saw a way they could join in the battle.
"I don't think they have any idea what they've done," said Kim Gross, an employee who helped organize the caravan. "We're going to show Comerica what we do for a living."
Company officials gave the employees several pieces of furniture made in Norwalk to take along to set on the sidewalk in front of the bank.
"Hopefully we can get Comerica to answer their phone," Gross said. Aversa said Thursday that bank officials wouldn't even respond to phone calls from the company or several groups of investors interested in buying out the loan and putting workers back in the factory.
The bank called company officials late last Friday afternoon insisting on full repayment of the company's $11 million loan and line-of-credit or immediate liquidation. The bank insisted the company shut down immediately, leaving about $1 million worth of unfinished orders sitting on the factory floor and finished items waiting undelivered in trucks.
After they rally in front of Comerica's headquarters, the Norwalk employees will head to Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers, for tonight's game against the Chicago White Sox at 7.
Gross said they will hold up their signs and talk to anyone who will listen about Comerica's treatment of businesses and employees in Ohio.
"Comerica paid $66 million for naming rights to Comerica Park," she said. "I guess that's their vision of community support, a little different from ours."
Gross also pointed out that Norwalk Furniture was the first account Comerica ever got in Ohio.