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JPMorgan Chase extends urban renewal investments to Chicago

A JPMorgan Chase & Co building is shown in Irvine, California

A JPMorgan Chase & Co building is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co will invest $40 million over three years in Chicago to revitalize neighborhoods, finance small business growth and promote job skills training, the bank said on Thursday.

The investment program in Chicago, where the bank has significant business interests, is modeled on a $100 million urban renewal program that JPMorgan began in Detroit in 2014 and this year boosted by another $50 million. (http://reut.rs/2y6mXYx)

"A lack of opportunity is a root cause of Chicago’s gun violence, concentrated poverty, and persistent racial and economic inequities, so the firm’s investments will focus on key drivers of inclusive economic growth," the company said in a news release.

Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 61, has turned more of his attention lately to advocating for public policies to promote the economy, including infrastructure improvement and job skills training.

Since becoming chairman of the Business Roundtable, a CEO group, in December, Dimon has been spending more time in Washington discussing policies that go beyond banking. (http://reut.rs/2fjGexX)

JPMorgan is the biggest bank in the United States, with $2.56 trillion in assets. It earned $24.7 billion in 2016.

In Chicago, the bank has 5.8 million retail customers and 360 branches.

The 2014 Detroit investment grew out of a desire by Dimon to better direct JPMorgan's community contributions to projects with lasting impact. Monies were directed to specific locations there in consultation with local officials.

The Chicago investments will be directed to the city's South and West sides. They include money for established job training organizations and community development financial institutions.

(Reporting by David Henry in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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