Chase Brand Chief: Why banking is cool now (it’s not all about digital)

There's no reason the ramp-up in digital banking usage that accelerated during the Covid period should lead financial institutions to think that branches are dead. JPMorgan Chase's plans still call for adding more offices to cover the U.S. map.

It’s the rare JPMorgan Chase earnings call when some analyst or other doesn’t bring up the 4,600+ branch network. “In the digital age, really?” is always the implied question.

While the bank is consolidating branches in some markets, it is also stepping up the pace of long-planned openings of new branches such that the megabank will have retail branches in every one of the lower 48 states by the end of July 2021.

In a recent industry video podcast, Leanne Fremar, Chief Brand Officer, said that “branches play a critical role for our consumers, who like to visit branches for certain things.” While much has been made about the aggressive growth in digital banking channels usage during the Covid period, Fremar says that increasing digital traffic and continuing desire to be able to visit branches aren’t contradictory.

For one thing, Fremar said, consumers see branches as an extension of their communities, not just a place to perform banking transactions, but, increasingly, as a place to seek consultation. As America continues to reopen, people want to be able to have contact with their bankers.

 

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