Finance

JPMorgan to launch digital bank in the UK next week

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Key Points
  • JPMorgan will launch its hotly anticipated U.K. digital bank next week, the firm confirmed to CNBC.
  • The move will see JPMorgan take on Britain's established banks as well as challengers like Monzo.
  • It marks the first international expansion of JPMorgan's consumer bank brand in its 222-year history.
Signage outside a Chase bank branch in San Francisco, California, on Monday, July 12, 2021.
David Paul Morris | 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.

New York-based JPMorgan first unveiled plans to launch its Chase brand in the U.K. earlier this year. Rather than establishing physical branches, JPMorgan will only offer its services through a mobile app.

It marks the first international expansion of JPMorgan's consumer bank brand in its 222-year history.

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

Sanoke Viswanathan, CEO of JPMorgan's international consumer division, said the bank's U.K. expansion was a "very big 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. It also plans personal loans, investments and mortgages further down the line.

The U.K. is home to an increasingly crowded retail banking market. 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 more than 15 million customers, was last valued at $33 billion, making it the U.K.'s most valuable tech start-up.

JPMorgan's arrival in the U.K. will place further pressure on the country's traditional lenders. State-backed 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 purchase a majority stake in Volkswagen's online payments unit.