Business

‘We didn’t come here to do 1%’


PROVIDENCE – To those who say that no one goes to the bank anymore, Jamie Dimon will tell you otherwise.

Speaking from a corner office in JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Olneyville branch on Wednesday, which he visited as part of an annual “bus tour,” Dimon, the chairman and CEO of the financial services giant, doubled down on his branch expansion strategy.

“We make these decisions because 800,000 people visit our branches every day,” Dimon said. “It works for the client and that’s why we do it. I can not spend the money, I’d be happy to, but obviously it works.”

So Dimon is spending that money: $120 million in Rhode Island based on the $6 million-per-branch opening cost and the 20 branches the company is aiming to bring to the Ocean State by 2025. 

JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., the consumer banking arm of the company, made its debut in the Ocean State in 2019, part of a planned $20 billion nationwide expansion to add 400 branches over a five-year-period.

Even in the face of inflation and supply chain snafus that threaten many project timelines and budgets, Dimon remained steadfast in his commitment to the brick-and-mortar business. He quickly brushes past how higher costs or more time that might affect his Rhode Island expansion goals.

“That doesn’t change our plans whatsoever,” he said.

His vision for growing his behemoth company – already the largest financial institution nationwide with 14% market share as of 2021 – relies on a chess-like strategy. As his competitors shutter their brick-and-mortar branches amid the increasingly digital world of banking, he invades those now-open spaces with his own pawns. 

“Sometimes, when people close too many branches, that creates an opportunity,” Dimon said.

To be fair, JPMorgan also shuttered nearly 300 branches in 2021, which was partially offset by 169 new branch openings, according to the S&P 500.

Even the closings are strategic – Dimon makes sure not to leave a market entirely, for fear of someone else swooping in.

“If you close that branch, I guarantee one of the competitors will take over that lease and our clients,” he said.

When deciding which new markets to tap into, Dimon said he looks for areas with new housing, business growth and a strong transportation network. The presence of other banks is a factor, but he doesn’t necessarily shy away from a saturated market.

“It doesn’t really matter if another bank is there because we could take their business,” said Joe Evangelisti, a company spokesperson.

Dimon has a specific percent of market share he’s hoping to hit in Rhode Island, although he wouldn’t share what that number is.

“We have a 1% share today. We didn’t come here to do 1%,” he said.

Exact locations and timelines for the nine Chase Bank branches slated to open in Rhode Island were not immediately available. 

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for PBN. Contact her at Lavin@PBN.com

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