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Chase Bank to spend billions on new systems targeting millennials

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Chase Bank to spend billions on new systems targeting millennials

JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, the retail arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the largest consumer bank in the U.S., is preparing to spend billions on upgrading its systems as it wishes to cater to the generation of clients known as millennials.

So-called emojis — digital graphic messages expressing human emotions — are among the features rolled out by the bank in its new apps, said Sol Gindi, chief administrative officer for JPMorgan's consumer bank, at a London conference Nov. 29.

Also, the bank aims to have a single computer system across its entire network at the end of the reforms, Gindi said. "A lot of investment is required to do that," he added.

"We are a bank that's the product of many mergers and acquisitions. We have many systems — if I count the number of systems that are in operation in our branches it's in the dozens, so we have inconsistency. Customers want seamlessness and they want the same experience everywhere," Gindi told the audience at the RBR Branch Transformation event.

Gindi then told S&P Global Market Intelligence on the sidelines of the conference that of the roughly $10 billion that JPMorgan planned to spend on new network infrastructure "a big chunk … in the billions" was earmarked for the infrastructure of the Chase unit.

Less than 10% of bank accounts in the United States are opened online, Gindi said. Meanwhile, deposits made through a mobile app usually clear the following day, while in-branch transactions take effect instantly. Only 10% of the bank's customers use branches exclusively, without online services, while two thirds use a combination of both, he said. "We continue to invest in our branches, which we call our most valuable asset."

Millennials are becoming the most important user group for the bank, the executive suggested.

"We know that a majority of deposits — over 70% are done via ATM and mobile. We also know that a majority of our new customers, well over 50%, are millennials, and that millennials behave differently and interact differently with their bank."

Customers have come to expect "instant gratification," and Chase is also experimenting with emojis in some versions of its mobile phone applications, according to Gindi.

Although the definition of the millennial generation varies, the term is widely understood to refer to those people born after 1980.