JPMorgan to open digital retail bank in U.K. next week

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will launch a digital retail bank in the U.K. next week, the first step in the firm’s plans to expand its consumer business overseas.
The operation, called Chase, will start on Tuesday with current accounts, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Photo by Bloomberg Mercury

The product offering will broaden over time with the bank planning to invest “hundreds of millions” in the venture, Sanoke Viswanathan, head of JPMorgan’s International Consumer division, said in an interview with the Financial Times, which reported the news earlier.

Britain’s consumer-banking market has been roiled in recent years by the emergences of digital startups such as Monzo Bank Ltd. and Starling Bank Ltd. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. brought its online bank, Marcus, to the U.K. in 2018.

The move has been more than two years in the planning. The U.S. firm agreed to buy U.K. digital wealth manager Nutmeg Saving and Investment in June, and Viswanathan told the FT more acquisitions may be considered. Viswanathan also said the bank wanted to become a force in U.K. retail banking and could ultimately expand in Europe and Latin America.

The Chase operation has about 600 employees in the U.K., including 500 new hires. That’s dwarfed by the roughly 19,000 staff in JPMorgan’s existing U.K. unit, which centers on the investment bank. That business hit the headlines earlier this year when the firm bankrolled soccer’s breakaway Super League, a decision that drew sharp criticism from fans before the project collapsed.

— By Tom Metcalf (Bloomberg Mercury)