The General Motors world headquarters, in Detroit's renovated Renissance Center, stands on the city's riverfront with the rest of downtown to the right in this aerial view from the city's east side. / J. Kyle Keener, Detroit Free Press
DETROIT -- Detroit's revitalization hopes are getting a boost from one of the deepest-pocketed players in U.S. finance.
JPMorgan Chase, the nation's biggest bank, will announce Wednesday that it is investing $100 million in Detroit over five years, strengthening the city's redevelopment efforts, speeding up blight removal, helping train city residents for new jobs, and making mortgage money available for home loans.
About half the cash will come in the form of loans and the rest in grants. Chase has been working for several months developing the program, which will be announced Wednesday at a luncheon featuring Gov. Rick Snyder, Mayor Mike Duggan and JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon.
Dimon told the Detroit Free Press that the idea started last fall when Detroit was going through its painful bankruptcy.
"Obviously Detroit was having issues," Dimon said. "I got together some of our senior people and said what can we do that's really neat, that could be really creative."
Chase is already a leading Detroit lender to consumers as well as to businesses.
Snyder hailed the commitment, calling it "very exciting."
"I think it really helps and it sends a great message that people see significant value in investing in Detroit and that there's a lot of upsides," he said.
Snyder added that Chase's commitment might help nudge state lawmakers to vote on the rescue plan for Detroit. That plan would see the state commit the equivalent of $350 million over 20 years toward a "grand bargain" to shore up Detroit pensions and protect artwork at the Detroit Institute for Arts from sale. It is currently being debated in the Legislature.
The successor company to the old National Bank of Detroit, which was founded in Detroit in the depths of the Great Depression, JPMorgan Chase has more than 1 million consumer customers in the region and more than 2,500 employees in southeast Michigan.
Dave Blaszkiewicz, president of the civic group Downtown Detroit Partnership and head of the Invest Detroit fund for local development projects, said the Chase investments will be key in advancing Detroit's revitalization efforts.
"You couldn't ask for a better time to bring these dollars in," he said.
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