JPMorgan adds to tech acquisitions with college platform Frank

JPMorgan Chase & Co. bought college financial-planning platform Frank, the latest in a string of acquisitions the largest U.S. bank has made this year to compete with both big technology firms and fintech upstarts.

Photo by Bloomberg Mercury

Frank will help JPMorgan bolster its relationships with college students, the New York-based bank said in a statement Tuesday. The platform, which offers a streamlined financial-aid application process as well as online courses, serves more than 5 million students at more than 6,000 higher-education institutions. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“We want to build lifelong relationships with our customers,” Jennifer Piepszak, co-head of consumer and community banking at JPMorgan, said in the statement. “Frank offers a unique opportunity for deeper engagement with students.”

JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon warned shareholders earlier this year that the banking industry’s disruption by technology has arrived. He pledged to “get faster and be more creative,” with the firm since announcing a series of related acquisitions. Earlier this month, JPMorgan said it reached a deal to acquire restaurant-guide company the Infatuation.

Frank was founded in 2017 by Charlie Javice, who was 24 at the time, with the goal of making college more affordable for millions of Americans. She will continue to lead Frank and become head of student solutions on JPMorgan’s digital products team.

— By Hannah Levitt