Tuesday, October 26, 2021

JPMorgan to launch UK digital bank next week

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Signage outside a Chase bank branch in San Francisco, Calif., On Monday, July 12, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | fake images

LONDON – JPMorgan Chase is gearing up to launch its long-awaited digital bank in the UK next week.

The move will see the US banking giant take on major British lenders, including HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest, as well as start-ups such as Monzo and Starling.

JPMorgan will also intensify its rivalry with Goldman Sachs, which launched its Marcus digital banking product in the UK in 2018.

New York-based JPMorgan first revealed plans to launch its Chase brand in the UK earlier this year. Instead of establishing physical branches, JPMorgan will only offer its services through a mobile app.

It marks the first international expansion of JPMorgan’s consumer bank brand in its 222-year history.

The news was initially reported by the Financial times and then confirmed by CNBC.

Sanoke Viswanathan, chief executive of JPMorgan’s international consumer division, said the bank’s UK expansion was a “very important strategic commitment.”

“We will spend hundreds of millions before breaking even and getting to a place where this is a sustainable business, and let’s not be in a rush,” he told the FT.

Chase will initially offer checking accounts along with a rewards program. He also plans personal loans, investments, and mortgages later.

The UK is home to an increasingly crowded retail banking market. Pro-fintech regulations have allowed competitors like Monzo, Revolut and Starling, who offer checking accounts and other services via smartphones, to prosper and become multi-billion dollar companies.

These digital banks have gained millions of customers from each other, while some have even tried their luck to enter the US market. Revolut, which now has more than 15 million customers, was last valued at $ 33 billion, making it the UK’s most valuable tech startup.

JPMorgan’s arrival in the UK will put further pressure on the country’s traditional lenders. State-backed lender NatWest tried and failed to take on fintech challengers with a competing digital bank called Bó.

Under CEO Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan has sought to combat the threat from financial technology stars such as PayPal and Square through a series of acquisitions.

As part of its effort to expand in the UK, the bank agreed to acquire online wealth manager Nutmeg in June. Later that month, he announced a deal to buy OpenInvest, an ethically minded investment platform based in San Francisco.

Earlier this month, JPMorgan said it plans to buy a majority stake in Volkswagen’s online payments unit.

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