When Jim Perna started working at piano maker Wurlitzer in Detroit circa 1962, the city had a vibrancy that was contagious, heady and colorful.

Perna, who has served as president/CEO of the $23 million Health One Credit Union in Detroit for 42 years, said he has seen his fair share of the city’s financial struggles over the last few decades. So, it didn’t come as a surprise when the metropolis famous for its Motown music roots filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18. With debt estimated at $20 billion, Detroit became the largest city ever in U.S. history to declare bankruptcy.

“I’ve been here 43 years in downtown Detroit. I’ve seen it all—rewrites, chargeoffs and just about everything going on with Detroit,” Perna said. “But I firmly believe the city is coming back.”

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