JPMorgan Chase Throws Detroit a Lifeline

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM) hopes its $100 million injection into the Detroit economy will strengthen the community and spur investment in the ailing city.

The U.S. bank said on Wednesday that it plans to invest $100 million over five years in loans and grants. The funding will help the city's redevelopment efforts by speeding up blight removal, helping train city residents for new jobs and making mortgage money available for home loans, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"We invest and develop communities around the world. And we've been doing this since our heritage started 200 years ago," JPMorgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon said on The Today Show. "So that's what banks do. They do it commercially. They do community development."

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder hopes JPMorgan Chase's investment will spur further outside investment in the city.

"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," Snyder told USA Today.

"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," he added.

Detroit -- which declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July 2013 -- is the largest U.S. city to seek bankruptcy protection. The city has a debt load of around $19 billion and an unemployment rate of almost 14%, which is more than double the national average, and so growth prospects seem dim.

In the city, more than 40% of the buses are broken and 40% of the street lights don't work, while a third of the city's population has left over several decades, according to the Today Show. But Dimon sees opportunity.

"We're doing this to grow investments, to grow the city, and create a healthy and vibrant city,'' Dimon told Today's host Matt Lauer. "And if that happens, it's good for us, too. I also look at it as an American patriot. This is one of the few cities that hasn't had a renaissance. Most other cities have. If it's done right, they can have one here, too."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan sees the investment as a great start.

"It's a good jump-start," Duggan told Lauer. "With what Jamie and his team are doing, we're going to have money to loan to entrepreneurs, so we can bring not just the neighborhoods back, but the businesses back."

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At the time of publication, the author had no position in the stock mentioned.

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This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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