JPMorgan To Revamp Its Processes For Small Business Banking

The bane of small business may be administrative tasks, and JPMorgan is betting that banking convenience, alongside less paperwork, can help spur deeper and stronger relationships with smaller clients.

In an interview published by American Banker on Wednesday (May 27), Jenn Piepszak, who was recently installed as the bank’s head of business banking, said JPMorgan is on the lookout to streamline small business banking.

“When you start a small business, you have a vision, you have an idea, have a ton of passion,” Piepszak said in an interview with American Banker. “The next thing you know you’re doing a bunch of administrative tasks and you’re not doing what you really, really love. … One of those things is banking.”

Piepszak said the bank’s efforts could take up to two years to be fully realized and produce revenue growth, and will aim to make small businesses’ relationships with the bank more “worthwhile.”

“There are 28 million small businesses in the U.S.,” Piepszak continued. “We have relationships with 4 million of them. Sure, I would love that number to be 6 or 8, but more importantly, we would rather have those 4 million have their entire relationship with us.”

In addition to its 4 million small business clients, Chase has been named the nation’s No. 1 SBA lender to women- and minority owned businesses for three years in a row, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. But the company has other small business ambitions on the horizon, too.

One way the bank will seek to deepen ties with the smaller business realm (and with companies sporting sales of less than $100 million), is to cut paperwork, the executive noted – especially as clients must fill out a spate of separate applications to create deposit accounts or get JPMorgan business credit card, known as Ink. And, Piepszak stated, JPMorgan cannot ignore the fact that alternative lenders, with new technologies, offer relatively easier customer experiences.

Nick Miller, who heads Clarity Advantage, which helps advise banks in their small business efforts, told American Banker that owning the complete relationship with a small business is a “holy grail,” and for the bigger banks, that will surely involve technology initiatives.

In the less distant future, Chase will be honoring its small business clients with the announcement of its Mission Main Street Grants program, unveiled during National Small Business week. The program will award $100,000 grants to 20 small businesses, with nominee announcements expected in September.

“Our Mission Main Street Grant recipients have become part of the Chase family,” Piepszak said in a May 4 release. “Their energy, spirit, enthusiasm, and business acumen represent the core elements that make small businesses so important to our communities.”

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