Robin Schwartz
Robin Schwartz PR
(248) 508-5985

Lisa Wilmore
The Wilmore Agency
(313) 980-4766


  • First Independence Bank clients will have access to a full line of insurance and investment products and services, through a dedicated team of MassMutual Great Lakes financial professionals
  • An in-branch advisor will be located at the bank’s 7 Mile location in Detroit

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (May 10th, 2021) – MassMutual Great Lakes (MMGL), a Southfield-based firm offering a wide range of financial products and services, is pleased to announce a strategic alliance with Detroit-based First Independence Bank (FIB), the only African American-owned bank headquartered in Michigan and the 7th largest in the country.

The alliance will enhance FIB’s ability to provide comprehensive financial services to its retail and commercial clients in Detroit and nationwide, many of whom have been historically underrepresented when it comes to accessing these services.

“At MassMutual Great Lakes, we believe every individual, small business owner and corporation deserves the right to financial services and strategies designed to create stability,” said Manuel Amezcua, president and CEO of MassMutual Great Lakes. “Our commitment is to develop meaningful relationships that reshape the financial well-being and success of a diverse group of individuals and institutions in the communities we serve.”

MassMutual Great Lakes helps protect the needs of individuals, families and businesses through insurance, wealth accumulation and investment planning, business, retirement and estate planning, trust services and more. MMGL Wealth Management Advisor, Maurice Miller, Jr. CFP®, ChFC®, and Detroit resident, will serve as an onsite advisor at the 7 Mile branch location. Starting in May, he will be available virtually 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays and by appointment on Saturdays.

To kick off this partnership, an initial series of virtual financial wellness educational sessions is being offered starting in May. These complimentary sessions are open to FIB employees, clients and the broader community. Topics include: Understanding Life Insurance; Envisioning Retirement; and Setting Financial Goals. Interested participants can register directly at MassMutual Great Lakes website.

“We are thrilled about our new partnership with MassMutual Great Lakes. Together, we will help move the financial literacy, stability and mobility of our Detroit community and beyond,” said Kenneth Kelly, chairman & CEO of First Independence Bank. “This ongoing partnership, where MassMutual Great Lakes holds equal measure of commitment and lends its resources to serve FIB customers and our surrounding community, will add value to all involved.”

“The investment and advisory products that will be made available through this alliance will complement our current product offerings to our retail and business banking customers,” added Dimitrius Hutcherson, executive vice president, CAO, CTO, First Independence Bank.

First Independence Bank opened its doors nearly 51 years ago in May of 1970. While many things have changed, there is still a significant racial wealth gap in the U.S. According to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances conducted by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the 2019 median wealth of Black households in the U.S. was $24,100, compared to $189,100 for white households.

“For more than five decades, First Independence Bank has played an important role in addressing economic inequality and helping to create economic stability,” said Gina Coleman, MMGL Chief Sales Officer. “We are excited to form this alliance with FIB to increase financial education opportunities and access to financial products and services while enhancing the level of convenience offered to the bank’s clients and the surrounding community.”


About MassMutual Great Lakes
At MassMutual Great Lakes, we believe every individual, small business owner and corporation deserves the right to a comprehensive financial services and strategies designed to create stability. Our commitment is to develop meaningful relationships that reshape the financial wellbeing and success, for both individuals and institutions, in the communities we serve. Visit us at

Local firms are sales offices of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), and are not subsidiaries of MassMutual or its affiliated companies.

Securities offered through registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC (MMLIS), Member SIPC® (, or a broker-dealer that has a selling agreement with MML Distributors, LLC (MMLD), Member SIPC®, or MML Strategic Distributors, LLC (MSD). MMLIS, MMLD, and MSD are subsidiaries of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001, all members of FINRA (

Strategic Alliances are not exclusive relationships. You are free to choose your own professional for these needs. Strategic Alliance firms are not affiliated with MML Investor Services, LLC. And are solely responsible for their own products and services provided.

Investments and/or insurance products offered

  • ARE NOT insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency
  • ARE NOT bank deposits or other obligations of or guaranteed by the bank
  • ARE subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of principal amount invested

About First Independence Bank
First Independence Bank is the 7th largest African-American-controlled commercial bank in the United States. It offers a variety of high-quality banking services from managing accounts to personal loans, mortgages, consumer education and investments. First Independence bank has three locations and offers banking solutions online and digitally through its mobile app. Established in 1970, the bank continues to be a responsible leader, efficiently serving the financial needs of its community, its businesses, and its customers nationwide. First Independence Bank is a member of FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. For more information visit

First Independence Bank is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC.