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A Conversation With … Brenton Kembell

Executive director, JPMorgan Chase's commercial banking in southwest Missouri

Posted online

Last edited 9:21 a.m., Nov. 27, 2019

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is expanding its footprint in the Springfield market. What’s your role in that?
I help lead the expansion market for the commercial middle-market bank. We call it MMBSI. It might be helpful to look at JPMorgan Chase as a whole as it relates to serving businesses. You can really break it down into three businesses. The first is business banking (to) serve a younger, smaller, maybe startup type of company. The commercial bank, of which the middle market bank sits, is going to serve in seasoned, established companies, primarily privately held, but also some smaller, publicly traded companies. The (corporate) and investment bank is going to serve your larger, publicly traded company. The office that I represent is the commercial middle-market bank. We serve businesses of all size through their life cycle from startup to expansion to (initial public offering) and beyond. And we’re in all of the top 50 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. It’s delivering those services to the Springfield area in a more local way than we have in the past.

With 30 banks operating inside Springfield, the city has been characterized as overbanked. Where does Chase fit in?
We have been here, and we have had bankers that have covered Springfield, specialized industry bankers – they have just covered Springfield from out of the Springfield market. This is really just kind of a commitment that we’ve covered this market, we want to invest in this market, and we want to deliver this in a more local way. Every bank has a different DNA. We’re laser focused on banking middle-market businesses with a kind of new energy and local delivery. Chase has been invested and been in the Springfield and southwest Missouri community for over 20 years. We employ 1,200 people.

You are bringing services local, but you’re not a local bank. With so many options of locally or regionally based banks, why would businesses choose to work with a national bank?
This is not us trying to put a middle-market company into a large publicly traded banking platform. This is also not the opposite. We’re not putting a smaller banking treasury platform and scaling that up for a middle market. We have designed our technology and our platforms specifically for middle market, something that includes both domestic and international. I saw a statistic that 50% of middle-market companies do business internationally. We’d like to think that we’re the bank of choice for these companies, not just companies that are importing and exporting, but also companies that have locations both in the U.S. and overseas. That includes a focus on banking U.S. companies that own foreign subsidiaries and also U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned businesses.

Could Springfield expect to see a retail Chase branch open?
We plan to build up to 400 new Chase branches in several new markets over the next five years. We are not in some significant markets like Springfield, but hope to be soon. We’re still confirming our plans.

What industries do you see as areas of growth within the Springfield economy?
Springfield has a strong middle-market sector in manufacturing distribution, there’s health care and education industries, too. I’m a primary relationship manager ... and as companies fit within what we call the specialized industries, we have a banker that does nothing but bank within that industry come alongside of me. I’ve been at Chase for 90 days, and I’ve already had four separate industry bankers come to market literally in a day’s notice. With financial sponsors … that’s another area that I think we’re going to really differentiate ourselves in the market. Financial sponsors means private equity-owned companies. We’re going to be going after that business as well.

Brenton Kembell can be reached at brenton.kembell@chase.com.

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