JP Morgan launching new UK bank

New digital bank, Chase, will launch in the UK this year, announces JP Morgan

JP Morgan Chase Co

American banking company JP Morgan has announced it is launching a new digital bank in the UK, under its consumer brand Chase.

The new bank is currently undergoing internal testing, as it’s a completely new platform that the organisation has created from scratch. It’s expected to launch later in 2021.

400 new staff members have been hired, which will have its headquarters in Canary Wharf and a major contact centre in Edinburgh. The contact centre is viewed as a major selling point as the bank aims to offer “fast to access, personalised service around the clock.”

It comes after years of speculation, with staff working on ‘Project Dynamo’ forced to keep the announcement under wraps until this year.

Further investment from US companies

JP Morgan is now the second major US lender to offer a consumer bank account in the UK. Goldman Sachs was the first, offering digital savings accounts under the Marcus brand name since 2018.

There are already 500,000 customers of Marcus, who flocked to sign up thanks to above-average interest rates, with new applications blocked since last summer when demand became too intense.

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    In the US, Chase is a brick-and-mortar bank with around 4,700 branches, and nearly half of all American households have an account holder. However, the UK offering will be digital-only, placing it in direct competition with challengers such as Monzo and Starling.

    The UK has a vibrant and highly competitive consumer banking marketplace, which is why we’ve designed the bank from scratch to specifically meet the needs of customers here.

    Gordon Smith, Co-President of JP Morgan

    Major staff appointments have also been announced, including veteran City bankers. The former Lloyds and Citibank chairman, Win Bischoff, has been appointed to the board and will serve as the head of the Risk Committee. Clive Adamson, the former director of the Financial Conduct Authority, will chair the business. The chief executive is Sanoke Viswanathan, the current chief administrative officer of JP Morgan’s corporate and investment bank.

    Commitment to the UK

    JP Morgan already had a large presence of investment bankers in the UK, although many roles where moved to offices in the European Union due to the impact of Brexit. JP Morgan claims that this move shows it is still committed to the UK, and has over 18,000 people employed here.

    Our decision to launch a digital retail bank in the UK is a milestone, introducing British consumers to our retail products for the first time. This new endeavour underscores our commitment to a country where we have deep roots, thousands of employees and offices established for over 160 years.

    Daniel Pinto, UK-based Co-President of JP Morgan

    Chase will have some way to go to establish itself as a major player – the ‘big 6’ lenders of HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, Natwest, Santander and Nationwide Building Society still hold around 87% of the UK retail banking market.