JPMorgan Pushes Into Philadelphia Region With 50 Branches

(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. is opening its first retail branches in the Philadelphia area as part of a broader plan to bolster the consumer bank by expanding into more than a dozen new markets over five years.

The largest U.S. bank by assets is planning to open about 50 branches and hire 300 people in Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey, according to a statement Monday. The firm plans to increase mortgage and small-businesses lending by $3 billion in the area through 2023. This marks the bank’s first retail presence in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

JPMorgan unveiled a plan in January to earmark $20 billion over five years to open 400 branches in 15 to 20 new U.S. markets, boost employee wages, lend more and promote economic growth after its corporate tax rate was slashed. The bank said in April it would open as many as 70 branches in the Washington, D.C., area as part of the expansion. The Philadelphia push brings the new-branch tally to 120.

Many competitors are shutting outlets as people handle more transactions digitally. The number of branches in the U.S. declined to the lowest level in about a decade last year, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data. At year-end, JPMorgan had about 5,100 branches in 23 states, it said in a filing.

Crowded Market

In Philadelphia, JPMorgan will be trying to muscle into an already crowded market. Wells Fargo & Co., PNC Financial Services Group Inc., TD Bank and Citizens Financial Group each have at least 140 branches in the metropolitan area. Together, they hold about $190 billion in deposits, FDIC data show.

The expansion may pose a particular challenge to local firms such as Beneficial Bancorp, a publicly traded lender that’s based in the city and operates about 60 branches around the greater Philadelphia area and Southern New Jersey.

JPMorgan already has about 1 million customers in the Philadelphia area, mostly in credit cards. It’s betting that its size, the breadth of its products and services and the convenience afforded by its digital offering will attract consumers as well as companies. JPMorgan plans to open four branches in the area by year-end.

“We’re already here in investment banking, commercial banking, private banking -- retail is a gap,” Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said in a CNBC interview from Philadelphia on Monday. “This city’s doing better and better and better, but parts of it are not and so we do make a special effort in those parts.”

The bank said it plans to commit $5 million to help bring resources to the under-served Kensington Avenue area of Philadelphia.

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