“Why can’t we make Detroit an example of American exceptionalism?” Dimon said of his thinking Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes." “Have people roll up their sleeves, get together and change the tide of history right there, right now?”
It was also driven by a sense of responsibility, Dimon said.
“I think we all have to re-earn our trust a little bit because of what happened,” Dimon said. “It’s OK to say, ‘we should do better than we did last time,’ and I think that’s true for everybody that was involved in the crisis.”
Five years later, Dimon and JPMorgan have committed about $200 million to Detroit.
They’ve invested in workforce development, financed housing projects and made loans to minority businesses underserved by the financial industry.
“This is non-traditional banking,” Dimon said. “I call it venture banking. Look beyond what you do normally, take a little bit extra risk, give them more help.”
The Motor City investment is not about the money, the CEO said.
“It was about the help, the advice, the consulting, the ideas, the human capital.”
More specifically, it was about the data. JPMorgan had massive data sets on consumer trends and demographics — points important to urban planners. The firm’s analytics empowered Detroit to identify ideal sites for businesses or affordable housing.
“We know in a certain part of town that you’re travelling 20 minutes to buy milk or 20 minutes to go to a restaurant, which means that a store could be [opened] 10 minutes away,” Dimon said of the type of information he contributed.
Analytics also helped Detroit lure investors. JPMorgan pinpointed the city’s skills gap, and that guided Detroit’s employment agency to funnel residents to job-training programs specifically suited to fill high-demand jobs.
Detroit As A Blueprint For Other Cities
Dimon and his staff also provided non-financial resources to startups and entrepreneurs, including educational programming on management and budgeting. Altogether, JPMorgan has helped more than 5,000 Detroit businesses.
“They’re an important piece,” Duggan said of Chase's role in Detroit’s revival. “They’ve pushed the recovery of the city along a track faster than it would have been.”
JPMorgan said it will leverage its experience in Detroit to inform investments in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and other cities.
The stock was down 0.59% at $129.61 at the time of publication.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, left, and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on June 26. Photo by Dustin Blitchok.