JPMorgan to hold annual meeting in Detroit May 19

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the nation’s largest investment bank, will hold its annual meeting in Detroit on May 19, the latest effort by the financial giant to focus attention on the Motor City.

In early 2014, the New York-based bank committed $100 million to support economic development, blight removal and job training in Detroit. Through mid-February, it had disbursed $32 million in the form of investments and grants.

The bank’s annual meeting will be held May 19 at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit. Shareholders will vote on whether to divide the jobs of board chairman and CEO, both held by Jamie Dimon, among other resolutions.

This isn’t the first time a major firm has held its annual meeting in Detroit to show support for the city. In April 2012, General Electric held its annual meeting in Detroit at the Renaissance Center and protesters attempted to disrupt the event. General Motors Co. in recent years has also held its annual meeting in Detroit.

JPMorgan grants awarded in Detroit include $1.2 million to Focus: HOPE to support college engineering programs and expansion of its Machinist Training Institute. The bank created its Detroit Service Corps to “bring more than 50 of our top managers to work full time with Detroit nonprofits to help them analyze challenges, solve problems and give them the best chance for success.”

“It’s in our interest that Detroit do well,” Dimon told The Detroit News in February. “We want to see Detroit revive and thrive. Detroit is one of the major American cities that hasn’t recovered. We’ve never done a comprehensive thing like this in a city. I don’t (care) about naysayers. People love what we’re doing in Detroit.”

In the bank’s annual report, JPMorgan noted it has been conducting business in Detroit for more than 80 years.

“We brought all of our resources to bear in a special, coordinated way, which we never have done before, to try to help the city of Detroit. We have been doing business there for more than 80 years and already are the largest consumer, commercial and investment bank serving Detroit’s consumers and companies. But we wanted to do more to help kick-start the city’s recovery.

“This effort is a $100 million commitment, which includes investments, philanthropy and our people working in tandem with a set of city leaders who have come together to work toward a common purpose,” the company said.

Mayor Mike Duggan toured Eastern Market with Dimon during Dimon’s two day trip to Detroit in February. Duggan credits the financial powerhouse with delivering on its promise to support investment, offer rehab loans and provide managerial know-how.

“They are now hitting the point where they are affecting the city in so many positive ways,” Duggan said in February. “When you get to that point, you know you’ve got something.”

JPMorgan’s effort has been mirrored by similar if smaller efforts by such financial heavyweights as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to bolster Detroit’s recovery with support for small-business owners, would-be entrepreneurs and organizations that aim to train workers for work.

“Detroit has a mayor that’s a force of nature,” Dimon said. “If we didn’t feel the mayor could do” what he’s setting out to do, “we wouldn’t have made this kind of investment.”