Against Banking Trend, JPMorgan Will Open Hundreds of Branches

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Among the prevailing trends among large bank companies is the desire to close branches as quickly as is practical. Branches are expensive, both in terms or rent and employees. Online banking and ATMs can cover almost all the needs of consumers and small businesses. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) said it plans to move against the tide and open about 400 new branches.

The announcement about the branches is part of a sweeping change in JPMorgan’s consumer bank unit. The bank will invest about $20 billion over five years in what it describes as a “comprehensive investment to help its employees, and support job and local economic growth in the United States.” This investment will include an increase in pay for about 20,000 workers, who will get raises in base compensation from $15 an hour to $18. It will increase loans to people who want to buy “affordable homes” by 25% to $50 billion over the five years. The bank also will increase lending to small businesses by $4 billion.

The branch expansion will also mean new hiring:

JPMorgan Chase intends to expand its branch network into new U.S. markets, opening up to 400 new branches over the next five years. These new branches will directly employ about 3,000 people.

Currently, the firm has 5,130 branches in 23 U.S. states and intends to expand to 15-20 new markets in several new states over the next five years. Today, Chase serves 61 million U.S. households across its Consumer & Community Banking franchise and in 2017 supported over $900 billion in consumer and small business spending through credit and debit card products. The credit card, home lending, auto finance, merchant services and business banking businesses are largely national businesses already. The Consumer Bank is starting the formal application process for national expansion.

While JPMorgan has operations in 23 states, its management says it does not have facilities in a number of large metro areas “which include Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, and many others.” Washington is the sixth largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States. Philadelphia is the seventh largest and Boston is the 10th largest.

The move by JPMorgan risks that people will move away from recent consumer banking technology and return to branches.