Chase Bank’s first Community Center branch in Corktown has additional services than a standard banking center.
Photo provided by JPMorgan Chase
Chase Bank has already established itself in its over 85-year history in the city of Detroit as a community-centered financial institution.
Now, they are expanding their footprint with a new Corktown location that features a community-inspired model with plans to help & Latinx consumers grow businesses.
On Thursday, August 5, Chase held a grand opening of its first Community Center branch in Detroit on 1620 Michigan Ave, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the bustling street corner in front of the business.
The new branch in the Corktown neighborhood features a new community-inspired model offering free financial health resources like skills training, pop-up shops, and fintech innovation for residents and small businesses, Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase said to reporters after the event.
The Corktown branch’s vision is to help the community discover a better financial future through tools and resources, including growth support for local entrepreneurs starting or expanding their small business, mentoring for entrepreneurs, and access to a pop-up space to display and sell their merchandise, workshops to build financial health and Wi=Fi for community groups and residents to use for remote learning and work.
The Corktown location is the seventh Community Branch of its kind among Chase’s 4,800 branches nationwide, according to a press release.
“We’re moving beyond community banking to community building,” said Lawrence Bailey, Chase’s Head of Community and Business Development for Chase Consumer Bank nationwide. “We’re deeply committed to this city and remain focused on giving more residents access to financial education, Chase advisors, and products they need to succeed, so they can participate in Detroit’s continued recovery. Our new Community Branch in Corktown is another example of this commitment in action. We want to help people build a strong financial foundation so they can thrive and build wealth.”
Chase officials also described how they are making it a priority to promote the growth of Black- and Latinx-owned small businesses, including through increased lending and technical assistance to businesses in Black and Latinx communities.
To help advance this commitment in Detroit, the firm announced a $1 million philanthropic investment in the New Economy Initiative (NEI) to help support the local small business ecosystem and create an innovation fund to pilot new programs and products to support micro-entrepreneurs, according to the press release. This new fund builds on NEIs reasoning on existing and new small business owners that are navigating the challenges of COVID’s impact and looking ahead for growth opportunities. Through the NEI network, small businesses will be able to access capital, practical assistance, information, and trusted connections to business resources. NEI is a philanthropic collaboration and special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
Dimon said that with Chase being one of the biggest banks in the city, it was important to make a meaningful impact.
Dimon, who has been here since 1986, said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony that “Detroit is coming back,” along with the Black businesses thriving despite the economic pressures from the pandemic.
“Healthy policy and growth will help the Black community,” he added.
“Investing in underserved small businesses can change the trajectory for struggling neighborhoods, build wealth among entrepreneurs of color and women, and improve the economy, overall,” said Pam Lewis, Executive Director of the New Economy Initiative (NEI). “JPMorgan Chase’s support of inclusive entrepreneurship and the nonprofit network of support demonstrates their understanding that small businesses are key to equitable economic growth.”
The new Corktown branch is part of the firm’s $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity and bring more economic opportunities to diverse and underserved communities.
As part of this commitment, JPMorgan Chase recently launched a new program that provides mentorship, coaching, and technical assistance to businesses in Black and Latinx communities in 13 cities across the U.S., including Detroit.
Through the new program, small business owners will be paired with a senior business consultant who will provide advisory services such as mentorship, business development coaching, resources, and financial planning to help strengthen sustainable business growth for minority business owners.
During a roundtable discussion with the press on Thursday, September Hargrove told the Michigan Chronicle that Black and Latin X communities are working on building up their generational wealth by intentionally creating deeper and more meaningful relationships that they have with their banking partners like Chase.
“As the person that is on the ground working in the community (their response) has been overwhelmingly positive,” Hargrove said. “Especially with our commitment to … be more intentional with how we create more wealth in the Black and Latin X communities. So, we really have been looking at what are some of the drivers of wealth accumulation.”
Hargrove added that Chase, and their community partners, have tested out ways to help residents in the community become homeowners. It’s paying off, too, because one of Chase’s customers – a renter and single mother on the Eastside for 10 years – was able to recently own the home she once
“As a result of some innovate, new ways that we’re helping people think differently about homeownership in the community,” she said. “We’re looking at more opportunities us to continue doing things like that.
The branch also includes a full- time Community Manager – a new role created by the bank – who will engage the community and businesses to increase awareness of available resources and tools and help connect them with financial health education. The Community Manager will establish free interactive programs on topics such as credit and budget building, how to save for the future and others.
Customers will discover a new branch that looks and feels different from a “typical” bank – it combines a modern design, layout, and state-of-the-art banking technology, to reflect how customers engage with Chase today. Employees welcome customers in casual meeting spaces with comfortable seating in booths and couches, to highlight a more consultative approach, along with self-service transaction areas including smart ATMs, according to a release.
Other features include pop-up space to showcase local small businesses – especially those without a storefront – to highlight their products and services. Art featuring local artists is also integrated into the branch design.
The prototype of this new branch model launched in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood in 2019, followed by Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.
In 2014, the banking institution committed to investing $200 million in Detroit’s economic recovery by the end of 2022. As part of that commitment, the firm has worked to address key drivers of economic opportunity, from creating and preserving affordable housing to boosting minority-owned small businesses and supporting job training to prepare residents for the future of work.
Chase serves nearly two million customers and more than 160,000 business clients in the Detroit metro area and has a local network of nearly 120 branches.
For more information, go to chase.com.