JP Morgan Chase is planning to open a new “community branch” in West Baltimore later this fall, the company announced Tuesday.
Mayor Brandon Scott joined city officials, community leaders and representatives from Chase for a groundbreaking event outside Mondawmin Mall, where the bank plans to open the new location.
The move comes as part of Chase’s Mid-Atlantic expansion. The bank has committed to building out 140 bank branches in the region by 2023, at least 30 percent of which will be located in low- and moderate-income areas.
Twenty more are planned in Baltimore and the surrounding communities.
“We believe in Baltimore, and we are doubling down on our commitment to this great city because we see the possibility and we see the promise,” said JPMorgan Chase Vice Chairman Peter Scher. “Like many communities we also see the challenges. We see the disparities, and when we come in and have a presence in a city like this, we want to be part of the solution to those economic challenges that too many of our fellow citizens are facing.”
The incoming branch in Mondawmin will be different. Community branches operate like standard branches, but also feature space for meetings or pop-up events and free Wi-Fi.
Chase also plans to hold regular financial health classes, small business mentorship programs, and home buying workshops out of this community space.
This new branch will also feature a full-time community manager, tasked with helping residents and local small businesses tackle financial goals.
“Black communities deserve to be banked, and I’m happy Chase is saying that as well,” said Councilman James Torrence, whose district encompasses Mondawmin.
Chase opened its first community branch in Harlem, New York City in 2019. The model has since expanded to 17 locations, including the one announced Tuesday. The first in the Mid-Atlantic region opened in Southeast Washington D.C. in 2021.
The community branch format also follows the bank’s $30 billion effort announced in 2020 to help advance racial equity and close the racial wealth gap.
The bank has specifically committed $75 million to philanthropic and flexible low-cost loans to help close the racial wealth divide in the region.
“All Baltimoreans regardless of their zip code, whether you grew up in 21215 like me, or 21217 like my friends behind me, all those people deserve the opportunity to have the access to the tools that they need to prosper financially,” Scott said.
Chase’s investment into Greater Mondawmin builds on earlier announced plans to transform the former Target anchor into a “community hub.”
Whiting-Turner CEO Tim Regan announced in late March he’d purchased the years-empty building for $1 million. Plans to transform the space are underway.
“When folks think about Mondawmin, they think about the (2015) uprising, they think about a tragic incident in Baltimore’s history,” Scott said. “But what you’re seeing today is an investment and how we can become the best version of ourselves and believing in a community that so many people want to write off forever.
“We can restore Mondawmin to its critical status in the community as a hub and giving it the attention and investment that it deserves.”