JPMorgan takes on British rivals with launch of digital bank chase

JPMorgan is challenging British rivals on their home turf with the launch on Tuesday of its long-awaited digital retail bank, Chase, as part of what the U.S. lender hopes will be a global expansion.

The launch marks the first foray into retail banking outside North America by one of the United States’ most dominant lenders, heaping pressure on British incumbents such as Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest and HSBC which are already battling low interest rates and upstart digital rivals.

The venture, if successful, could see the U.S. bank expand into continental Europe and then globally, he said.

JPMorgan will tempt customers to sign up for the fee-free accounts with introductory offers, including 1% cashback on debit card spending and 5% interest on small change rounded up from their purchases and set aside in a separate savings pot.

The Wall Street giant enters a competitive British market with razor-thin margins caused by low central bank interest rates and a tradition of free current accounts, as opposed to most global markets where customers pay for even basic services.

JPMorgan is following U.S. rival Goldman Sachs, which scooped up billions of pounds in deposits when it launched its Marcus digital bank in Britain in 2018 with a then-market-beating interest rate of 1.5% on savings.

It will also compete with digital-only banks such as Monzo, which has attracted around 5 million customers with its signature coral pink cards and user-friendly app, but struggled to turn that into steady profits.

The bank has already hired some 500 staff in Britain, Viswanathan said, and will add more as it builds up its customer support teams.

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