Sanoke Viswanathan, head of JPMorgan’s international consumer division, told the Financial Times the launch of Chase would be officially announced next week. A source close to the process said an announcement was due on Tuesday.
“This is a very big strategic commitment from the firm’s standpoint,” Viswanathan told the FT. “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.”
JPMorgan first announced plans to launch Chase in the UK in January and has hired hundreds of people in the UK to work on the project. The banking giant, which has over $3 trillion on its balance sheet, snapped up British digital wealth manager Nutmeg over summer as part of its expansion plans. Chief executive Jamie Dimon visited the bank’s Canary Wharf offices in London last week.
Chase will offer retail bank accounts through a digital app and plans to build out full consumer banking services over time. It marks JPMorgan’s first international expansion in its 222-year-history. The bank has traditionally shied away from overseas operations because of the cost associated with opening branches and hiring staff. The relatively low cost of branch-free digital banking changes that equation.
The launch of Chase adds yet more competition to the UK’s crowded digital and consumer banking market. Domestic startups like Monzo, Revolut and Starling have won significant market share in recent years, while traditional players like Barclays, NatWest, and Lloyds have all invested huge sums in improving their own apps.
“I see this as a huge endorsement, both of the highly attractive UK current account market, and of Starling,” Anne Boden, Starling’s founder, told the Standard. “All the big banks want to copy us.”
JPMorgan’s arch rivals Goldman Sachs launched its own digital consumer bank, Marcus, in Britain in 2018. Marcus offers savings accounts that will not compete directly with Chase, at least initially.