JPMorgan will invest $1.75 billion into American communities — and the CEO says it’s good for business

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said it's necessary to see community outreach as a necessity the same way that small businesses do.

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JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said it’s necessary to see community outreach as a necessity the same way that small businesses do.
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Getty/Win McNamee

  • This post is part of Business Insider’s ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
  • JPMorgan Chase is investing $20 billion in its US operations over five years, $1.75 billion of which is going to philanthropic causes.
  • These causes include enhancing educational and entrepreneurial initiatives in communities like the South Bronx and Detroit.
  • He agreed with the ideals in BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s recent CEO letter, explaining that being a good community member creates value for shareholders.
  • We also talked to Dimon about the bank’s healthcare initiative with Amazon and Berkshire Hathaway, and why he won’t run for office. You can read the full Q&A here.

For JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, having the bank invest $1.75 billion into American communities over the next five years is only logical.

“I’ve never been conflicted between shareholder value, being a good community citizen,” he told Business Insider in an extensive interview, “and I tell people if I don’t run a good, healthy, vibrant company, all other bets are off.”

The investments are part of a five-year, $20-billion plan beginning this month connected to a projected after-tax profit increase in the wake of tax reform. JPMorgan is not only raising wages for 22,000 customer service employees and opening 400 new branches, but is enhancing educational and entrepreneurial initiatives in communities like the South Bronx and Detroit.

We spoke to Dimon in the Bronx, where he announced he was expanding the bank’s Entrepreneurs of Color program by $5 million across San Francisco and the South Bronx, after seeing the program’s success in Detroit.

“By expanding this fund, we will help ensure more small businesses thrive and create local jobs,” Dimon said at the event. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz thanked Dimon for the investment and said he wished it were “contagious.”

JPMorgan has also committed $150 million to Detroit’s economic recovery, as well as $75 million to a New Skills for Youth initiative, dedicated to connecting young people with apprenticeships in underserved communities.

When asked what he thought about BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s recent, popular letter about the need for companies to benefit society in some way, Dimon said he’s always held that view.

The way he sees it, creating value in the communities where JPMorgan Chase operates is not only philanthropic, it’s good for business. When these communities have small business owners and employees flourishing, his company also benefits.

Dimon said that as long as his bank is performing well, “we always participate in the community, just like if you owned a corner bakery store, you would participate in the community.”

“It shocks me that people think that’s a surprise that we should do that,” he added.