JPMorgan is ready to bring its Chase retail bank to the UK

JPMorgan is to launch a digital retail bank in the UK next week, under its Chase brand.

The US banking group will begin by offering current accounts and a rewards programme to British consumers, before expanding into other areas such as loans and investing.

The move, which was first announced in January, is JPMorgan’s first experiment with retail banking outside of the US. If successful, the company will look to roll out the brand to other countries.

In the US, Chase is a high street bank with more than 5,000 stores and 17,000 cashpoints. But its UK incarnation will be digital-only.

More details for potential customers will be released next week when the bank officially launches.

Earlier this year, JPMorgan acquired Britain’s digital investing app Nutmeg, in a move that was seen as a springboard for planned launch of its own digital bank, giving the Wall Street stalwart an instant customer base and the local knowledge of Nutmeg’s staff.

Launching in the UK will put Chase in competition with both high street and digital banks, as well as JPMorgan rival Goldman Sachs, which operates digital savings brand Marcus here.

The new venture has even poached talent from local fintech firms and banks, according to Financial News, which reported that 500 of Chase’s UK staff are new hires while 100 were transferred internally within JPMorgan.

It will be led by Sanoke Viswanathan, who previously held several roles at JPMorgan including chief administrative officer of the corporate and investment bank, where he oversaw technology, operations, data and analytics. He started his career at consulting firm McKinsey.

“This is a very big strategic commitment from the firm’s standpoint,” Mr Viswanathan said in an interview with The Financial Times. “We will spend hundreds of millions before we get to break-even and get to a place where this is a sustainable business, and we’re not in a rush.”

He added that further acquisitions like Nutmeg are on the table as it expands.

JPMorgan, like its Wall Street peers, has seen profits soar so far this year amid a flurry of new stock market listings, as well as the release of cash it had held back in case it needed to weather the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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