JPMorgan Chase bank has committed to paying its newly hired tellers, bankers and branch managers in the Washington area a minimum of $18 an hour, the company announced Tuesday, part of a national expansion plan that is expected to bring hundreds of new entry-level jobs to the area.
JPMorgan Mid-Atlantic Region Chairman Peter Scher said his company wants to do better than the District’s $13.25 minimum wage to attract the right people at all levels of the company. The company has also made a commitment that 40 percent of its entry-level workers should later move up within the firm, he said.
“We think it’s important to pay people fairly,” Scher said, “and we think that will allow us to attract top talent and retain top talent.”
The bank is in the early phases of a national expansion that will bring its bricks-and-mortar locations to the greater Washington region for the first time, eventually creating up to an estimated 700 positions at 70 Washington-area bank branches.
Its first location officially opened Tuesday in the District at 1401 New York Ave. NW, near the McPherson Square Metro station. The bank plans to open five more branches this year in the region, including two in Wards 7 and 8 to the east of the Anacostia River, one in Columbia Heights, one in Navy Yard and one in Arlington.
JPMorgan has been riding a financial windfall in recent years that has been bolstered by last year’s corporate tax overhaul. It recently increased companywide minimum wages throughout the nation, and minimum pay rates are between $15 and $18 an hour.
It is making the choice of expanding its bricks-and-mortar footprint when the consumer banking industry as a whole is shedding physical locations in favor of consumer websites and apps. The number of bank branches in the District, Maryland and Virginia fell from 4,732 in 2010 to just 4,000 in 2018, according to records maintained by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The new minimum wage is part of a broader set of efforts to win goodwill in Washington for JPMorgan. Last year, it announced a $10 million charitable contribution to extend economic development efforts in the District’s eastern Wards 7 and 8, which are home to lower-income neighborhoods. It later announced a commitment to donate an additional $15 million throughout the region.