JPMorgan Chase expanding Detroit investment to $150M

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Detroit — A $100 million, five-year investment plan to spur Detroit’s economic recovery has gone so well the last three years that financial giant JPMorgan Chase & Co announced Wednesday it is upping its total contribution to $150 million by 2019.

Executives with JPMorgan, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and nearly two dozen local partner organizations gathered Wednesday at Focus: HOPE in Detroit where they held a roundtable discussion on the last three years of work and heard by phone from Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

Dimon has said the firm exceeded its initial 2014 investment in Detroit two years ahead of schedule and credited the progress to strong collaboration between civic, business, and nonprofit leadership, as well as improving economic conditions in the city.

On Wednesday, Dimon told Duggan the mayor was the company’s inspiration to invest.

“We couldn’t have done this without you. It’s leadership, leadership, leadership. The man is devoted to fixing the city,” Dimon said.

Since 2014, JPMorgan Chase has invested more than $107 million in loans and grants to further Detroit’s economic recovery, including $50 million in community development financing, $25.8 million to revitalize neighborhoods, $15 million for workforce development, $9.5 million for small business expansion and $6.9 million in additional investments.

More than half of JPMorgan’s investment supports a market-based approach to create loan programs for residential and commercial development, small business capital and home rehabilitation.

Nearly all of the partners in the program said JPMorgan’s investment the last three years has allowed them to build capacity in their programs.

Ray Waters, president of the Detroit Development Fund and a partner in the program, said on Wednesday that his company has given out 44 loans for $3.5 million dollars. Ned Staebler, CEO of Techtown Detroit, said there is tremendous interest in business in the neighborhoods and he held retail boot camps to get people toward their goals.

Nicole Sherard-Freeman with Detroit Employment Solutions Corp. said one key difference in the last three years is that employers are seeing workforce training as an investment.

“The only thing to make it work long term is for folks to see it an investment and not charity,” Sherard-Freeman said.

Future investments will focus on further revitalizing Detroit’s neighborhoods, strengthening the city’s workforce system and helping minority-owned small businesses grow, Dimon said in a statement.

The firm’s investment in Detroit has allowed it to test solutions, adapt programs and find models that can be applied to other cities, Peter Scher, head of corporate responsibility for JPMorgan said on Wednesday.

Specifically, Detroit’s Motor City Mapping project has provided the company with insight into how blight mapping can be applied in other cities to bring community partners together to fight blight.

JPMorgan has already shared the mapping technology in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

“I get asked a lot: why did it work in Detroit?” Scher said on Wednesday at the roundtable. “If you get the right people around the table, you have the data....and focus on solutions. It’s not brain surgery...It’s the type of leadership to make the tough decisions.”

The firm’s extended commitment will include continuing to make investments of about $30 million focused on creating livable, inclusive and sustainable neighborhoods; preparing residents with the skills needed for high-paying careers and providing small businesses with capital, officials said.

About $13 million will be reinvested from loans paid back into two community development investment funds that JPMorgan Chase helped create with Invest Detroit and Capital Impact Partners.

“We can’t stop and put ourselves on the back. We are in it for the long haul,” Scher said.