JPMorgan Chase Baltimore Community Manager Joel Gamble, left, with President & CEO of Parks and People Foundation Dr. Franklin Lance, Maryland Governor-Elect Wes Moore, Branch Manager LaToya Cooper, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott. (Photos Courtesy of J.J. McQueen/Office of Mayor Brandon M. Scott)

By Nicole D. Batey,
Special to the AFRO

JPMorgan Chase has launched a new community branch experience in Baltimore, the Mondawmin Community Center Branch, with a $600,000 commitment to empower local small businesses.

This commitment by JPMorgan Chase is crucial to an area that experienced major setbacks, with the sudden closing of the Target store at Mondawmin Mall in 2018, and a slow recovery from the 2015 Freddie Gray uprising.    

The branch utilizes an innovative, community-inspired model to help local consumers and businesses realize a better financial future through cutting-edge tools, resources and programming. Everything about what is being called the Community Center is designed to create a positive financial footprint in West Baltimore, bringing with it the hope of long term gains for area residents, small businesses and community partners.

The location is the first of its kind in the area and looks and feels different from a typical bank, combining modern design, spacious layout and state-of-the art banking technology, to reflect how customers will newly engage with JPMorgan Chase.  

At the grand opening, held Dec. 7, JPMorgan Chase’s Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, pointed out that the branch was impressively built in six months by a woman-led construction company and the art was done by local artists. 

“Baltimore is a vibrant community with enormous opportunity,” said Dimon. “As JPMorgan Chase grows in Baltimore our firm will do its part to provide greater opportunity—especially for underrepresented and underserved populations. It’s important for our customers, employees, communities and our company to drive inclusive economic growth.”

Others in attendance at the branch’s grand opening were: Maryland Gov.-elect Wes Moore, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott, Maryland State Sen. Antonio Hayes; City Councilman James Torrence, and President and CEO of the Parks and People Foundation Dr. Franklin Lance. 

Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott, Johns Hopkins Health System Vice President of Economic Development and Community Partnerships Alicia Wilson, Councilman James Torrence (District 7), JPMorgan Chase Head of Chase Network Expansion Raquel Ogden and JPMorgan Chase Baltimore Community Manager Joel Gamble. (Photos Courtesy of J.J. McQueen/Office of Mayor Brandon M. Scott)

“What we have seen in so many of our communities is a fundamental breakdown and the only way you are going to address a fundamental breakdown is with a fundamental build up. That means knowing that everybody—philanthropy, the private sector, the public sector, government organizations, the people—needs to have a role in terms of what that build up looks like,” Moore said. “Every single place in our state needs to have pathways to work, wages, and wealth. The beauty of what we’re seeing right now and right here is this place symbolizes all of that.”

In addition to offering traditional banking services, the Community Center will offer free services for customers and non-customers that include:

  • Specialty financial health workshops on topics such as, budgeting, credit and homeownership hosted by experts for both individuals and groups
  • One-on-one mentorship support to help local entrepreneurs grow, start or expand their small business
  • A community “living room” area to serve as event space for partnering non-profits
  • Free Wi-Fi for community groups and residents to utilize for remote learning and work.

In their ongoing commitment to West Baltimore, the Community Center also features a strong team of native Baltimoreans that includes Community Manager Joel Gamble, who was raised in West Baltimore—who will provide ongoing support to residents with financial literacy and economic wellness.

JPMorgan Chase is also giving $600,000 to the Harbor Bank of Maryland Community Development Corporation, as part of its $20 million five-year philanthropic commitment  to expand the bank’s Entrepreneurs of Color initiative. The funding will allow Harbor Bank to provide strategic technical assistance, access to capital and financial services to small and diverse-owned businesses.   

“JPMorgan Chase has been an incredible partner in our collective mission to promote equitable growth, close the wealth gap and promote access to financial services across our city,” Mayor Scott said. “I want to thank them for their belief in Baltimore and their continued commitment to economic mobility in historically redlined and underserved communities. This is a great example of the role private institutions play in Baltimore’s renaissance.”

JPMorgan Chase has been doing business in Greater Baltimore since 2012 and currently has 16 branches in the region with 36 expected by 2025. The firm employs more than 1,300 people in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.

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