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JPMorgan to launch digital bank in the UK next week


Signage outside a Chase bank branch in San Francisco, California, on Monday, July 12, 2021.

Getty Images LONDON — is gearing up to debut its hotly anticipated digital bank in the U.K. next week.| Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON — JPMorgan Chase is gearing up to debut its hotly anticipated digital bank in the U.K. next week.

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

JPMorgan will also step up its rivalry with Goldman Sachs, which launched its Marcus digital bank product in the U.K. in 2018.

JPMorgan of New York first revealed plans for its Chase brand to be launched in the U.K. early this year. JPMorgan’s services will not be offered in physical locations.

This marks JPMorgan’s first ever international expansion of its consumer bank brand over the course of its 222-year existence.

The news was initially reported by the Financial Times and later confirmed by CNBC.

Sanoke Viswanathan (CEO of JPMorgan’s international consumer division) said that the bank’s U.K. expansion was an “important strategic commitment.”

“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,” he told the FT.

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

There is a growing retail banking sector in the United Kingdom. Fintech-friendly regulations have enabled challengers like Monzo, Revolut and Starling — which offer checking accounts and other services via smartphone — to flourish and become billion-dollar companies.

These digital banks have gained millions of customers between them, while some have even tried their luck at entering the U.S. market. Revolut, which now has over 15 million customers, was last valued at $33 billion, making it the U.K.’s most valuable tech start-up.

JPMorgan’s entry in the U.K. is likely to put additional pressure on traditional lenders. State-backed lender NatWest notoriously 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 of fintech stars like PayPal and Square through a number of acquisitions.

As part of its effort to expand in the U.K., the bank agreed to acquire online wealth manager Nutmeg in June. Later that month, it 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.