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JPMorgan Chase opens first Kent branch, plans future

Katie Tabeling
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JPMorgan Chase & Co. executives, staff and Delaware and Dover leaders cut the ribbon on the first Chase Bank in Kent County. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

DOVER — With a snip of a ribbon, JPMorgan Chase & Co. has finished the first phase of its Delaware expansion by formally opening its first Chase Bank in Kent County this week.

Now, the financial institution is primed for the next chapter. JPMorgan plans on opening another 40 Chase Bank branches in the Philadelphia area by 2027 with more in the First State to come. 

It’s the latest move in the company’s ambitious move to build 500 new branches and renovate 1,700 branches across the country. JPMorgan plans to hire 1,500 more bankers. 

“There’s a priority to how we’re going to grow, as well as where and when we do it. But it also means we will grow pretty meaningfully in Delaware,” JPMorgan Chase Delaware Market Leader Tom Horne told the Delaware Business Times. “There isn’t a cap. It’s about the need and demand. The success is there.”

For the last four years, JPMorgan Chase has been making waves by investing billions in adding new brick-and-mortar locations across the country, notably the Delaware Valley. Wilmington is home to the bank’s credit card hub which is in the middle of millions of upgrades. JPMorgan Chase has roughly 11,000 employees in the state, making it the No. 1 private employer in Delaware and third largest overall.

With the rise of online banking and smartphone apps, U.S. bank branches dropped to under 70,000 in 2023. But Horne told a crowd of business leaders and Dover area dignitaries that it’s less about standing out and more of taking a stand in the market.

The 3,400 square-foot Chase Bank serves as a gateway to reach Dover college students as well as airmen at the nearby Dover Air Force Base. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

“Our main objective is to be the bank for all and to be trusted in our communities. To be trusted, you have to be present in the community,” Horne said to the crowd on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s been proven time and time again that a brick and mortar presence plays a very important role in that.”

While JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has made it clear that Delaware holds a place in his heart, the locations of the new Chase branches also hold strategic value. Sussex County is one of the fastest growing areas in the region with retirees from New York, New Jersey and Washington D.C. moving in to enjoy a more favorable tax structure and the close proximity to the beach.

By opening a location on U.S. Route 13, JPMorgan Chase has the opportunity to tap into two unique demographics – college students and airmen at the Dover Air Force Base.

The new 3,380 square-foot Dover branch is right across the highway from Delaware State University and a quick drive from Wilmington University and Delaware Technical Community College’s Dover campuses. Meanwhile, the Dover Air Force Base has roughly 6,800 airmen and other personnel, according to Delaware Business Times records.

“It’s not all about wealth. A big part of our value is that we bring financial education and health, getting people introduced to products to people who are unbanked or underbanked,” Horne told the Delaware Business Times. “Dover’s the capital of the state and it’s the second most populous city in the state. We have existing partners with DSU and we’re looking forward to leaning in to the incredible things they’re doing.”

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