JP Morgan Chase and Co. may be headquartered in New York, but as the bank expands its market portfolio with a second office in the Upstate today, its bankers want to drive home the company’s commitment to establishing local roots.
“That’s the beauty of our firm,” said Alfonso Hernandez, Chase’s new South Carolina market director. “Regardless of the complexity or the size of the business, we’re able to help, and our folks, ‘the boots on the ground,’ are trained to ask those questions and understand a lot about the individual’s need and the complexities that their businesses might have.”
The new commercial and retail branch, located at 652 Haywood Road in Greenville, will add small to medium-sized business advising expertise to the company’s existing Upstate presence, according to Mark Lucas, the Carolinas market director for the bank’s wealth management arm. In 2015, the company established its first Greenville commercial office that specializes in medium to large business services and in 2019, opened its first South Carolina retail branch in Clemson.
Overall, the bank now serves more than 22,000 businesses and 600,000 consumer customers across the state, according to a news release.
“We’ve already been helping a lot of mid to larger-size businesses, so that group is obviously extremely excited for us to get our doors open to the branches so that we can completely fill out that entire suite of products,” Lucas said, adding that on a national level, JP Morgan Chase is ranked second for small to medium business banking services.
Following the launch of the company’s $20 billion, five-year investment in local economic growth and business expansion strategy, Chase plans to open two additional branches and two off-site ATM locations in the Upstate in the months ahead, adding up to seven South Carolina branches by the end of 2020. A Mount Pleasant branch opened in October, while a location at 2 State Park Road in Greenville is slated for a Dec. 15 ribbon cutting, according to Allison Reed, spokesperson for the bank. The bank is also working toward a January opening date for a retail location at 1221 Woodruff Road and year-end commencements for a Summerville and second Mountain Pleasant location.
The bank initially was attracted to the growing customer base in the Greenville market as it develops into “one of the most desired places to live,” said Hernandez, adding that he was excited to become a part of the community and tap Upstate talent.
So far, Chase has about 100 employees across the state with about eight bankers per retail branch. Reed said leadership often relocates from another Chase branch, while other employees are trained within the branch market, with entry-level employees earning $15 per hour and a benefits package valued at $12,000.
The manager of the incoming 2 State Park Road location, Dayana Bisono, moved to Greenville a year ago after working within Chase’s Miami market and is currently helping train the next team of employees.
“We’ve gotten talent from here that know our clients,” Bisono said.
The Haywood Road location was retrofit to fit the bank’s new age design, but when a new bank is built from the ground up, Hernandez reiterated that Chase also likes to link into the local business community and select regional contractors for the job.
Through its existing ties in the Upstate, Chase has helped fund the renovation of a 240,000-square-foot facility in Spartanburg for Highland Baking Co. through a $4.1 million New Market Tax Credit investment that helped create 196 permanent positions in the area, according to Reed.
In line with its economic development goals, Chase also delivered a $100,000 grant to Upstate SC Alliance’s Upstate Global Competitiveness Council to implement its regional export strategy, according to a news release.
“When we came out and said we were going to go into more than 40 branches in North and South Carolina, Greenville was obviously always on that road map,” Lucas said Wednesday. “That was announced a few years ago by Chase, so we were always planning to help up the small businesses in Greenville and do it in a big way. We’re just glad to finally be able to get the doors open on the first one tomorrow.”g