More than just a bank, Chase branch in Southeast DC also serves as community center

Members of a marching band launched the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Chase Innovative Branch in Skyland Town Center in Southeast D.C. Tuesday.

A bank branch with a mission, it aims to help people and small businesses in Wards 7 and 8 realize better financial futures.

“This is what makes me proud of the company,” said Jamie Dimon, chair and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. on what is now the 11th of 16 planned community-inspired models in the U.S.

“We have this huge program of $30 billion nationwide, $8 billion of mortgages, $12 billion affordable housing, small businesses, financial education, financing, minority depository institutions; but it all comes down to what happens at the local level,” Dimon said.

The branch is the physical embodiment of what the company hopes to do, and Dimon said here is where “we’ll be making mortgages here, and doing financial advice here, and be part of the community.”

Speaking from what looks like an open conference room next to the banking business area, Dimon emphasized that the branch hires members of the community.

“We hire local people. We have local art. We want it to be very welcoming when you use this room to [for example] do financial education for mothers and ex-felons and small businesses,” Dimon said.

The location’s branch manager has lived in Ward 8 since 2000, and is extremely excited about what this means for the community.

“What it means for me is being able to see the community change, to see this community grow, to be able to see the lives change and the families to become homeowners, small business owners, to the point that they’re able to grow, develop and hire others and grow this economy right, to be able to experience that luxury of being a homeowner and create a legacy for your family,” JPMorgan’s Jua Williams said.

Skyland community manager Brian Atkins also is a proud resident of Ward 8.

“I’m currently teaching classes on financial health topics, such as savings, building credit, small business entrepreneurship, and money management. Business owners and startups can gain access to resources and capital, so they can be more successful,” Atkins said.

The branch also will host small business pop-ups and skills training. It has free Wi-Fi, and nonprofit organizations and residents can access the community space for a variety of uses.

Atkins invited residents in the crowd to pay a visit to the branch.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser noted that she is the fifth and last mayor to usher in the long-planned Skyland Town Center.

“The Chase Skyland Community Center is going to help us give more residents and local entrepreneurs a fair shot,” Bowser said, adding that the community worked for years to make the center a reality, and spoke of its benefits to residents for years to come.

“Supporting Washingtonians as they start and grow businesses and buy homes in D.C. is one way we can keep prosperity in the community and ensure the Skyland development lives up to the vision of the Ward 7 community — a site with new housing, a grocery store, good amenities and jobs and opportunity for D.C. residents,” Bowser said.

About 26% of the D.C. area is below 200% of the federal poverty line, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., about one-fourth of D.C.’s population is either unbanked or underbanked.

Peter L. Scher, Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., is shown on the monitor inside the bank.

Chase Innovative Branch in Skyland Town Center in Southeast D.C. aims to help people and small businesses in wards 7 and 8 realize better financial futures.

Brian Atkins speaks during the opening of the Chase Innovative Branch in Skyland Town Center in Southeast D.C. Tuesday.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been changed to reflect the correct number of planned community-inspired models in the U.S.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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