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JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon outlines Del. expansion plans

Katie Tabeling

JP Morgan Chase & CO. CEO Jamie Dimon appeared in Wilmington this week as part of a town hall held at the Chase fieldhouse. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

WILMINGTON — With ambitious plans to nearly double its retail presence in the greater Wilmington region, JP Morgan Chase & Co. has its eyes set on opening 100 local branches in the area, with about 20 planned for the First State.

JP Morgan Chase is already the state’s top private employer with around 11,500 employees in 2023, according to Delaware Business Times records. In the last year alone, the finance corporation hired 1,255 people across Delaware campuses and has 600 open roles in the state right now.

Still, Chase holds less than one percent of total deposits in Delaware and 11% of Philadelphia region as of June 30, 2023, according to data released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. 

But JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said he is confident that the expansion plan will pay off in time, and soon Chase will surpass other established banks. He appeared in Wilmington on Wednesday for an employee town hall meeting at the Chase Fieldhouse at the city’s Riverfront, shortly after meeting with top Delaware officials.

“It’s called building a business. We’re very rigorous with branches. It’s about how to build them as attractive places, how to attract clients — and the kind of track we expect them to do,” Dimon told reporters before the town hall. “You’re not going to have No. 1 market share overnight, but within three or five years, you’ll build a book of businesses.”

Dimon also believes Chase offers special products and services like cash management and digital services that rival other banks. But he also pointed out that existing customers that have a Chase credit card may be inclined to start banking if they saw a local branch in their neighborhood.

“In-person banking services have been kind of flat, but we have 8,000 to 10,000 people a day that visit our branches,” he said. “They still work, and it’s also quite necessary for small businesses to drop off currency, pick up certified checks and get a wire transfer. It’s easy to go to a branch, and believe it or not, private banking clients and middle market clients all use branches.”

Delaware has more than 11,000 JP Morgan Chase employees, and scores of them gathered for the company town hall held on Wednesday in downtown Wilmington. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

Chase has been bullish on bringing brick-and-mortar locations back on the market for the last five years, with initial plans to bring 10 Delaware branches by 2023. One key aspect to this strategy was to make them smaller, staffed with two tellers, a mortgage loan officer, a wealth manager and a small business advisor. 

The bank also reimagines customer service through using “digital bars” where clients can plug in their laptops and phones and learn how to use Chase’s online services. Today, there are 11 branches in the First State of the 57 in the Philadelphia region.

In recent years, Chase has also added a new model to its market: a community-centered focus that offers mentoring for entrepreneurs, workshops to build financial health, free technology services and an events space. In February 2023, Chase opened its first Philadelphia community center branch.

With 16 Chase community center branches today, there are eventual plans to work up to 32 across the country. Dimon said this model has been a “home run.”

“In business, you’re always testing and learning,” he said. “These branches have become more advice-based, because people need advice. They want to sit down and talk about their IRA, how to get a mortgage and how to invest in money.”

Delaware has played a key role in Dimon’s history, starting when he became CEO of Bank One in 2000 and first came to the First State to meet with the staff. Years later, Bank One merged with JP Morgan Chase. Since then, the company has built data centers here and invested in its corporate centers in Newark and Wilmington.

Last winter, JP Morgan Chase announced it was investing “hundreds of millions of dollars” in major upgrades to several of its Delaware offices. Those plans include modernizing offices with new lighting, standardized sit-stand workstations with dual monitors, grab-and-go snack pantries, and meeting spaces that emphasize collaboration with technological upgrades. Those plans are still on track to be complete by 2026; once complete, it will be the bank’s largest investment outside its headquarters in New York City.

“Delaware has been a great home. You have great mayors and governors, and it’s pro-business,” Dimon said. 

Among other civic leaders Dimon met with in Delaware on Wednesday included state Attorney General Kathy Jennings to discuss the company’s “second chance hiring” initiative. In 2019, the company changed its policy to not ask job candidates to disclose a criminal record and has since launched expungement clinics. In Delaware, JP Morgan Chase has hired 282 people with criminal records.

Dimon noted that with the nation’s shrinking workforce, it is “absolutely” a way to find alternative workers. But it’s also about justice and giving non-violent offenders a fair chance at finding a job.

“I’ve met with two former felons and they told me they didn’t think when they got after serving two years it would affect their lives for 20 years later. You’re excluded from society and still have to pay your bills,” he said. “It’s about a job, it’s good for the economy, but it’s about justice. America was a second chance country.”

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