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Chase extends reach into Delaware

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JPMorgan Chase will open four new branches in Wilmington and Newark by the end of the year as part of its larger plan to open 10-12 branches and more than 20 stand-alone ATMS in Delaware over the next five years.

In addition to a previously announced new branch at its Newark Corporate Campus that will be open only to employees, Chase will open branches this November in the Brandywine Commons shopping center off Concord Pike north of Talleyville and in December at 838 N. Market St. in downtown Wilmington in the former WSFS branch location off Rodney Square and in the Christiana Fashion Center adjacent to Christiana Mall near Stanton. 

In addition, Chase is opening three stand-alone ATMs in northern Delaware in 2019 including the Chase Center (already open), the 76ers Fieldhouse and Chestnut Run Shopping Center (both in the fourth quarter).

Chase opened its first Delaware branch in December 2018 at its 201 N. Walnut St. headquarters in downtown Wilmington. It also has an ATM location at the University of Delaware’s Purnell Hall. 

The nation’s largest bank said last September that it plans to open 50 branches in the Philadelphia area over the next five years, a decision that analysts have said is counter to what Chase’s competitors are doing in terms of shutting branches and reducing hours as more customers turn to digital banking.

Michele Lawrence

“These initial locations will enable us to service our customer base that hasn’t had the opportunity to walk into a bricks-and-mortar location,” said Michele Lawrence, director of the Delaware Valley Region, which includes Delaware, Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. “These locations were very intentional for employees, existing customers, and new acquisitions.”

Lawrence said Chase wants to “stay on the cutting edge” and offer “banking the way our customers want it,” explaining that millennials come into a branch at least once a quarter and 75% of its deposits come from people who have walked into a branch. The branches will include “digital bars” where customers can plug in their laptops and phones and learn how to use Chase’s online services.

“Putting a branch on Market Street shows how far Market Street has come,” said Wills Elliman, Wilmington office space specialist for Newmark Knight Frank. “The changes in the last two years there are remarkable, and a Chase branch in that location is a logical next step.”

Lawrence said Chase’s real estate team is looking at potential locations for branches and ATMs throughout the state and said the bank is still committed to its earlier promise of opening at least 30% of its branches in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. While the initial Delaware branches are going into inline locations (part of existing buildings), the bank is open to building stand-alone branches on separate pad sites.

Lawrence said Chase is accelerating the opening of its branches in her region, with 20 of the promised 50 branches in the Philadelphia area opening by year-end.

In an earlier interview, a Chase spokesperson said “Branches are still very important to our customers. For this reason, we’re entering new markets with a mix of different branch types including full service and digital-first locations, and enhanced ATMs that can perform more than 70% of teller transactions. We’re building our new branches to be more open and collaborative. We’ll have lounges, digital advice bars, free Wi-Fi, etc. that make the space both comfortable and inviting.”

Chase branches normally employ five to seven people and is paying entry-level employees “not less than $16.50/hour and they will also receive the firm’s full benefits package — valued at an average of $12,000 — whether part time or full time, including health care coverage and retirement savings. Chase also recently reduced medical plan deductibles by $750 per year for employees making less than $60,000. 

– By Peter Osborne
DBT Editor

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