J.P. Morgan Chase is doubling down on the physical storefront known as the bank branch.
Under pressure to cut expenses after the financial crisis, U.S. banks have been shuttering branches for most of the last decade. That trend accelerated as Americans got used to banking online and then on mobile phones.
But J.P. Morgan is opening 50 new branches in Philadelphia, Delaware and southern New Jersey over the next five years, the bank said Monday in a release. It's part of a plan disclosed in January to open 400 branches across the U.S., an aggressive move to use its corporate tax cut windfall to strengthen its retail reach. While J.P. Morgan is the biggest U.S. bank by branches and deposits, there are still regions the company considers growth opportunities. Wells Fargo, PNC and Citizens are the top three lenders in Pennsylvania by branch count.
"When we come in, we bring in the full force of J.P. Morgan" including philanthropy and affordable-housing efforts, Jamie Dimon said in an interview with Jim Cramer on Squawk Alley. Noting that 1 million people visit Chase branches daily, Dimon said that "you still need to serve the client the way they want to be served, not the way I want to serve them."
The bank said it will hire up to 300 employees for the Philadelphia-area branches. It will also put $3 billion towards mortgage and small business lending in the area, including grants for low-and-moderate income communities, as well as $5 million to help revitalize Philadelphia's Kensington Avenue neighborhood.
That's in contrast to Wells Fargo, which last week said it was cutting employee levels by as much as 10 percent as it targets costs. Wells Fargo had the most U.S. bank branches at 5751 as of June 30, while JPMorgan had 5091.
Dimon will be also by on Mad Money at 6 p.m. to discuss.