The digital banking sector will get a bit more crowded in the UK following the news that JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) is planning to launch a digital bank in the country. JP Morgan will follow in the footsteps of Marcus, created by Goldman Sachs, entering the fray to compete with the likes of Revolut, Monzo, Starling Bank, and others.
According to the bank, the digital iteration will be based in London with operations in Edinburgh. Sanoke Viswanathan will be the CEO of the digital bank and the new operation is said to have already hired 400 people with more to follow. Of note, Viswanathan is on the board of Digital Asset and thus he is engaged with the blockchain/digital asset sector.
Gordon Smith, CEO of consumer and community banking for JPMorgan, commented:
“The UK has a vibrant and highly competitive consumer banking marketplace, which is why we’ve designed the bank from scratch to specifically meet the needs of customers here.”
JP Morgan’s presence in the UK harkens back to the late 1700s. According to the bank, J. Pierpont Morgan’s father, Junius, was in the merchant banking business in London from 1854 until his death in 1890.
No word on branding for the new digital bank. Perhaps, JPM will take a page out of the Goldman playbook and call the new bank Pierpont. Regardless, UK consumers will not have long to find out as the launch is expected within the next few months.
The move by JPM is interesting and represents another attempt to maintain relevance in the Fintech world (remember Finn?). By creating a differentiated product, with leadership tasked to capture market share from other Fintechs, JPM should be better positioned to compete with fast-growing upstarts like Revolut. The UK is one of the most vibrant and robust Fintech ecosystems in the world. If the JPM digital bank gains traction with the Brits expect it to cross the channel and perhaps the Atlantic.