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JP Morgan’s UK digital bank ready for launch

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JP Morgan is set to open the virtual doors to its long-awaited UK digital retail bank next week.

The digital-only lender will initially offer current accounts with a rewards programme, but intends to expand into personal lending, investment, and even mortgages in a bid to ‘upend the UK banking market.’

Sanoke Viswanathan, head of JPMorgan’s international consumer division, told the FT that JP Morgan would invest heavily to turn Chase into a serious force in the UK before potentially expanding into other countries in Europe and Latin America.

“This is a very big strategic commitment from the firm’s standpoint,” he explained.

“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.”

Over the summer, the US giant spent a rumoured £700 million on digital wealth manager Nutmeg to bolster the forthcoming Chase launch.

The digital bank was codenamed ‘Project Dynamo’ during its two years of development, and has been compared several times to Goldman Sachs’ Marcus product. However, Viswanathan noted that Chase seeks to enable its customers to do all their banking with them within three to four years.

JP Morgan’s deep pockets will be needed, Chase will not only be up against Marcus and the UK’s high street giants, but also a host of home-grown digital challengers to have entered the market in recent years, including Starling, Monzo, Atom and Revolut.

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