Here’s where Chase is opening new branches in Florida

(Courtesy of Jacksonsville Business Journal)

Chase will open 16 new branch offices in Florida this year, including in the Jacksonville area.

Chase, the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), also is entering the Gainesville and Ocala markets as part of its Florida expansion.

Other new branches are planned for Fort Myers, Tampa and Orlando.

While the number of branches industrywide, and at Chase, has been shrinking overall, a brick-and-mortar presence is critical to the bank’s growth, said Thasunda Duckett, CEO, consumer banking for JPMorgan Chase, during an investor day presentation on Feb. 28.

Chase had 5,258 branches overall at the end of 2016, down 3 percent from 5,413 branches in 2015, an investor presentation said (see below). But the average deposits per branch employee, a measure of efficiency, jumped 10 percent, from $11.4 million in 2015 to $12.5 million in 2016.

The company opens branches in higher growth areas and consolidates branches with lower servicing volume, Duckett said.

The bank will open four offices in Ocala and two in Gainesville by the end of year, the press release said. The new branches will offer a full range of services and the bank plans to hire local staff.

Jacksonville and Orlando each are in line for one new branch. Sarasota and Fort Myers will get two branches. One of the Fort Myers branches already has opened, a spokesman said.

Since the 2008 acquisition of Washington Mutual, Chase has added nearly 250 branches in Florida and now has 398 across the state. As of June 30, the most recent date for which information is available from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Chase was the fourth largest retail bank in Florida with a 5.3 percent deposit market share.

In the seven-county Tampa Bay area, Chase had a 3.7 percent deposit market share as of June 30, and was the seventh-largest retail bank.

JPMorgan Chase employs nearly 14,000 people across Florida in all its lines of business and the firm contributed $10.7 million in nonprofits statewide in 2016.

Watch out Venmo: Bank of America launches peer-to-peer payments with Zelle

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is now offering peer-to-peer payments through Zelle, a payments network that is embedded in BofA’s mobile banking app.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank is one of many companies to join Early Warning’s Zelle Network. Early Warning is a financial-technology company that delivers innovative payment solutions to banks.

Zelle is an inclusive network open to banks and credit unions in the U.S. The idea behind the payments tool was to create a faster, safer and more convenient payment option. It will compete with the likes of Venmo, PayPal’s free mobile wallet that allows users to pay and request payments.

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Bank of America, an early adopter of Zelle, incorporated the tool’s features in its own mobile-banking app. There is now an option to send, request and receive money under transfers in the mobile app.

“The bank’s clients will be first among Zelle users to be able to split expenses among multiple contacts or friends — such as a group dinner check — and they can even add a personal note along with the payment transfer or request,” BofA writes.

Other partner banks are expected to launch Zelle later this year. The network originally said it would launch in early 2017.

Bank of America also says it will continue to add mobile enhancements in 2017, including the ability to add cards to the digital wallet on customers’ devices directly from the mobile-banking app as well as the ability to add cards to services such as Visa Checkout and MasterPass.

Bank of America also says it will continue to add mobile enhancements in 2017, including the ability to add cards to the digital wallet on customers’ devices directly from the mobile-banking app as well as the ability to add cards to services such as Visa Checkout and MasterPass.

Bank of America launched its mobile app 10 years ago. Today, the app is the bank’s most-used channel, with about 22 million active users and more than 3.7 billion logins annually.

“As one of the first banks to offer mobile banking a decade ago, we’re excited to usher in a new era of high-tech, high-touch banking,” said Michelle Moore, head of digital banking. “In 2017, you’ll see a strong focus on payments and intelligent solutions that will deliver personalized experiences clients never imagined were possible.”

Bank of America is the second-largest bank in Central Florida, with $9.46 billion in local deposits.

BDO acquires LBA Wealth Management LLC, continues Jacksonville expansion

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

BDO USA LLP has acquired LBA Wealth Management LLC as it continues its expansion into Jacksonville.

The group had previously purchased the longtime Jacksonville accounting firm the LBA Group in November. This latest move is an attempt by the professional services firm continues a push into Florida.

LBA Wealth Management LLC is a fee-only investment advisory firm that operated with seven professionals managing $350 million in assets. The Florida market will be a “stronghold” for BDO’s continued expansion of its wealth advisory practice throughout the Southeast, according to a statement by BDO.

“LBA’s experience working with high-net worth clients in Jacksonville, Gainesville and throughout North Florida, combined with our previous expansion in South Florida last year, greatly increases our wealth management resources in the state of Florida,” said Steve Parish, National Leader of Wealth Advisory Services at BDO USA.

David Albaneze, who was the chief investment strategist at LBA Wealth Management, said when the LBA Group joined BDO, the company began working on joining BDO’s wealth advisory practice.

“As part of a national firm, our clients will have access to a wider range of services and our people will have access to many more opportunities to pursue career growth,” he said.

BDO USA has about 400 staff serving Florida businesses in offices in Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Winter Haven.

Wells Fargo quietly discloses that its annual meeting will be in Jacksonville

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)

Wells Fargo has revealed the site of its annual shareholders meeting: It will be at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., near Jacksonville, at 10 a.m. on April 25.

This would not be breaking news for most major corporations, where the announcement of details for the annual meeting is routine. Wells, however, has often played cat-and-mouse on the location of the meeting since 2012, when loud and raucous demonstrations against the bank disrupted the gathering in San Francisco. The bank’s meeting hasn’t been in its hometown since, instead taking place in places like Salt Lake City and San Antonio, Tex. The location has been usually announced in its proxy statement roughly a month in advance.

This year the annual meeting details come a bit earlier, amid a 15-page report filed Wednesday detailing steps Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) has taken to restore trust and fix its reputation in the wake of a sales scandal. In September, it was publicly disclosed that bank employees had opened up to 2 million accounts over several years without customer permission in a bid to meet stringent sales targets. The bank was fined $185 million by regulators and its culture came under intense scrutiny that culminated in the resignation of CEO John Stumpf.

The bank included a timeline of major events in the past six months including Stumpf’s departure in October, a new compensation plan in January and eliminating bonuses for top executives earlier Wednesday. The bank also eliminated product sales goals for retail bankers and established additional monitoring and controls to provide oversight of sales processes.

All that makes the first annual meeting since the scandal broke a high-profile event for both shareholders and critics alike. At least they’ll have a few more weeks to make travel arrangements.