By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,
JPMorgan Chase held the grand opening of its new branch at Howard University (HU) on March 21, marking the first college-based branch for the financial institution.
During the ceremony, the firm also announced a $3.5 million philanthropic investment to Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation (CHCTDC).
“What makes this historic is this is the first branch that we actually have in all of network expansion on a campus directly. We have branches that are near universities, but this is the only one where have the honor of being directly on campus next to the bookstore, which I think is very strategic because that’s where the students are coming to engage on their learning and education” said Racquel Oden, head of consumer network expansion for JPMorgan Chase.
“We’ll be there to engage with students on financial health, learning and education because they go together.”
JPMorgan Chase has been HU’s primary operating bank since 2021, enabling the university to adopt digital payment technology, increase cash flow and ramp up cybersecurity. But, before this grand opening, HU students did not have access to a physical JPMorgan Chase branch on campus.
HU president Wayne A. I. Frederick said the new branch will help students prepare their financial futures and start to build generational wealth.
“We live in a society where, especially, Black and Brown students question our democracy. They question authority, and as a result of questioning authority, they lose faith in authority and lose faith in our institutions,” said Frederick.
“I’m here today to say that one of the institutions that I hope they will continue to have faith in is JPMorgan Chase, and that’s because I think the commitment that JPMorgan Chase has been making especially to Howard University and underserved communities is the kind of commitment that institutions that really mean business about supporting our ecosystem need to be making.”
During the ceremony, CHCTDC was announced as the winner of JPMorgan Chase’s Annual Challenge competition, which supports organizations that advance wealth creation and economic success for women of color.
A nonprofit organization, CHCTDC seeks to improve the quality of life for D.C. residents in underserved communities with economic development services, including business development, entrepreneurship training and financial management.
The organization will use the $3.5 million to support the Congress Heights Economic and Employment Readiness (CHEER) program, which improves the economic indicators for up to 250 families and 500 residents in Wards 7 and 8.
It will also use the funds to develop the “Blackbone” Incubator Hub, which will aid Black women-owned start-ups and micro businesses.
“The Blackbone project exists to create the right opportunity, the right space to cultivate talent, the right network, access to capital and opportunity to build confidence among Black women,” said Monica Ray, executive director of CHCTDC.
“I am so appreciative of this significant investment that expands our ability to facilitate a holistic strategy to grow the Black woman entrepreneur ecosystem.”
Megan Sayles is a Report for America Corps member.