JPMorgan Chase pledges $100 million to aid Detroit recovery

A sign outside the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in New York, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co announced a $100 million, five-year commitment on Wednesday to help spur bankrupt Detroit’s economic recovery.

The plan, which the bank developed over several months with community and government leaders, includes $50 million to finance capital projects in struggling Detroit neighborhoods and for small businesses, $25 million to address residential property blight and $12.5 million for job training.

“With this investment, we are putting our resources and expertise to work to help Detroit chart a course back to economic prosperity,” JPMorgan Chase Chairman and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a statement. “We have been in Detroit for a very long time, and we’re here for the long term.”

Detroit, which filed the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history last July, has also gathered $466 million in pledges from philanthropic foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts museum for a key element in its plan to adjust $18 billion of city debt. The institute, in turn, has approached Detroit’s three automakers for help in raising its $100 million share.

The so-called grand bargain, which also requires a $195 million lump sum payment from the state of Michigan, would be used to ease pension cuts for Detroit retirees and protect the museum’s art work from being sold to raise money to pay city creditors. A U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing on the debt plan is scheduled to begin July 24.

JPMorgan Chase’s commitment also allocates $7 million to provide support for Detroit’s small business clusters and a $5.5 million investment in strategic initiatives, such as a light rail system, that are considered essential for the city’s economic growth. The bank said it will deploy volunteers from its work force to lend their expertise to nonprofit groups in the city.

Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Peter Galloway