Ryan Falvey knew his organization, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, was highly regarded at JPMorgan, but he was shocked to see it so prominently featured in CEO Jamie Dimon's annual shareholder letter.
Falvey joined the non-profit CFSI in 2014 to lead the Financial Solutions Lab, a $30 million initiative from JPMorgan aimed at funding projects that could improve consumers' financial health. The lab is investing in nine start-ups a year.
Dimon called out CFSI and the lab on page 10 of Tuesday's 46-page shareholder letter, highlighting it as a centerpiece of the bank's focus on technology and innovation. Of the company's $9.5 billion investment in tech last year, $600 million went to
CFSI, whose projects "help consumers manage their daily finances and meet their long-term goals," have supported 18 companies that have gone on to collectively raise $100 million in follow-on capital, Dimon wrote.
"I was completely blown away," said Falvey, a managing director at CFSI, in an interview on Wednesday. Falvey said that when he was told CFSI was in the letter, "I was expecting it to be on page 60 of corporate responsibilities."
For Dimon, technology has become a central talking point and strategic priority. In addition to the bank's embrace of Silicon Valley start-ups, JPMorgan is turning into a sophisticated tech shop for its internal efforts.
The lead section in the addendum to Dimon's shareholder letter carried the title, "Technology continues to fuel everything we do."
It reads like a recruiting brochure for engineers. The company is focused on "cloud and agile development," "iterative" software development, "end-to-end automation," and its first "state-of-the-art" data center that opened this year