Photos of the new Chase Bank being built in East Greenwich (Photos by Frank Prosnitz)

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, is gaining a foothold in Rhode Island as part of a nationwide expansion that includes 13 new branches in the Ocean State. The nationwide 400 branch expansion in 10 states was announced in 2018, with the first Rhode Island bank opening in Providence in 2019.

Next month, Chase will open branches in Cranston (1177 Pontiac Ave.) and Smithfield (438 Putnam Pike), and by summer’s end, it will also open branches in Middletown and East Greenwich, according to Briana Curran, a bank spokeswoman. Other branches, she says, are being built in Cranston, Warwick, Providence, and Barrington.

According to plans filed with Middletown’s Building Department, a portion of the existing Rite Aid Pharmacy at Two Mile Corner into a J.P. Morgan Chase bank, including drive-up ATM services. (Photo Credit: Town of Middletown)

Since opening its first Rhode Island branch in 2019 on Providence’s East Side, the bank has opened branches in Wakefield and downtown Providence.

“Rhode Island is an ideal place for Chase to grow and serve the financial needs of consumers and small businesses beyond our Commercial Bank and Private Bank teams that have been in the market since 2017,” says Ashlee Kelly, Chase’s real estate strategic plan director. “Rhode Island aligns well with Chase’s New England strategy given its size and robust economy, and we are excited to continue growing and being part of the community.”

Chase is the nation’s largest bank with $3.03 trillion in assets; 5,130 branches in 23 states (before the expansion); and 22,000 jobs (before the expansion). 

The expansion will bring Chase to 10 states. Besides Rhode Island, the bank is building new branches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Alabama, and Nebraska. 

When Chase announced its $22 billion expansion in 2018, it anticipated the project to take five years, add 3,000 jobs nationally, and include an average wage increase for all employees of 10 percent.

Curran says that despite the pandemic, Chase is “on track with our original plans,” and has already opened 180 new branches.

In Rhode Island, Curran says, the bank has added nearly 100 bank employees, with several more to be hired in the new branches.

“Chase is hiring local staff to support its new branches, including bankers, branch managers, business bankers and financial advisors, giving customers access to its banking services while creating more than 100 local jobs for residents,” Curran says. 

Additionally, she says the expansion is helping to boost the local economy by providing jobs for “local construction crews we hire, our real estate and design consultants. Chase’s new branches provide a ripple effect” that support the Rhode Island economy.

She also says that Chase and its employees are supporting local non-profits, contributing nearly $430,000 to non-profits and among sponsors of the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Besides Chase’s expansion in Rhode Island, other banks are building new branches, seemingly in areas that are already well served by the banking industry. In East Greenwich, just south of the main business district on Post Road, Washington Trust is opening a new branch this month, perhaps no more than two football fields from Citizen’s and Santander Bank branches.

In terms of Rhode Island, and bank branches, Bank Branch Locator, lists the state’s largest banks as Citizen’s with 76 offices, Bank of America with 30 offices, Santander with 29 offices, Washington Trust with 23 offices (a 24th is opening this month in East Greenwich), Bank Rhode Island with 20 offices, and Bank Newport with 17 offices. Chase will be seventh on the list with 13 offices, once it completes its Rhode Island expansion.

Bank Branch Locator lists 21 local and national banks in Rhode, with 248 branches (before the Chase and Washington Trust expansions) in 38 municipalities.

Chase, when it announced its expansion, called it a jobs program, and an effort to “drive local economic growth in America.” Additionally, the bank said it would accelerate affordable housing lending in low- and moderate-income communities.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal....