JPMorgan Chase celebrated the grand opening of its Skyland Town Center branch on Sept. 28. Situated in Ward seven, the bank is one of 11 community-inspired Chase banks in the nation, and it is a part of JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion initiative to champion racial equity and community success.
In accordance with its mission to engage with the community and equipped with more than 1,000 square feet of community space, the Skyland branch targets Wards seven and eight, hosting and facilitating financial help workshops, listening sessions, skills training and individual conferences with local residents and business owners.
These educational forums and meetings focus on money management, savings, budgeting and credit. They are entirely philanthropic.
Jua Williams and Brian Atkins are the bank’s branch manager and community manager, respectively.
“It is definitely fulfilling to be able to help residents such as myself — just knowing it’s some of the same shoes that I was in at some point in time in my life, it’s just very empowering,” Atkins said.
Atkins himself is a resident of D.C., and he has worked in community engagement roles for over 15 years, including 13 years in the nonprofit sector. He worked with Events DC, D.C.’s source for conventions, sports, entertainment and cultural events. His role with the bank is to build connections with the community and increase awareness about the resources available for individuals, people and non-profits.
So far, Atkins has worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens (NAARC).
“We first came in contact with Chase from Brian Atkins who we know. He informed us he was now with Chase and they were looking at doing things in the community,” the NAARC said.
“Chase has been doing training with NAARC employees around financial literacy and Credit. We are also hoping to partner with Chase for events in the community and have chase as a sponsor,” the NAARC said.
Williams started his banking career 21 years ago working as a branch manager with Citi. He also worked with the University of the District of Columbia, where he was responsible for overseeing campus operations, services and industry, and stakeholder partnerships.
“As I had to learn about how money works in order to do my job and then help to educate customers — the appreciation I got in return, that was definitely rewarding to me. It’s just a passion of mine to make sure I can empower others,” Williams said.
Williams and Atkins touched on the existence of disparities in the community, and how, for many community members, there is a lack of financial savvy, access to capital, and there is a general inequality of opportunity.
“A lot of these small businesses are doing excellent work, they’re doing great work, but they’re not being profitable for themselves, and the reason is a lot of them are using their own capital to make ends meet and make their businesses operate,” Williams said.
The branch will pair businesses with Chase senior business consultants who specialize in small business and entrepreneurship as well as non-profits.
Tuesday’s grand opening was attended by JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon.
“We are excited to continue investing in Greater Washington because we see business, government and community leaders working across state and city lines toward a common goal of creating economic opportunity for more people,” Dimon said.
Khamla Erskine, JPMorgan Chase’s Managing Director for Community & Business Development for Market Expansion was also in attendance.
“Our new Skyland Community Center is another example of our commitment in action. We want to help people build a strong financial foundation so they can thrive and build wealth,” Erskine said.
The Skyland branch is the firm’s third branch opened in the Anacostia area, and there are and will be many more branches in the DMV area.
JPMorgan Chase Vice President and Mid-Atlantic Communications Manager Carolyn Evert said, “The Chase network is in the middle of a major branch expansion. We have 58 branches from Baltimore all the way down to Richmond, and we’re on target to have more than 70 open over the next couple years.”
JPMorgan Chase has also invested around $50 million in the Greater Washington area since 2017 to help businesses and nonprofits.
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