As an extension of Howard’s partnership with J.P. Morgan Chase, the university became the first in history to establish a Chase branch on campus in late March. The branch wants to reinforce its relationship with Howard students and the surrounding community by providing them with banking services, financial workshops and educational resources to assist them.
The Chase branch will be located to the right of the Howard University Bookstore on Georgia Avenue. All students are welcomed to go into the branch and ask questions about how to open an account, receive tips for financial success and greet Howard alumnus and Branch Manager, Presley Nelson Jr.
Nelson Jr., Howard School of Business class of ‘07, is the branch manager of the newly established branch and expressed his gratitude and excitement for coming back to his alma mater and serving the Howard community in this capacity.
“To bring financial literacy and just to make sure that the students get the resources that I didn’t have going to college is priceless,” Nelson said.
“We as a company want to hit all facets of financial services for the students…so establishing this partnership with my alma mater was just monumental,” he continued. “I’m looking forward to creating unique opportunities for our students, just like I was, and thinking outside the box.”
With the branch seated on Howard’s campus, the representatives spoke heavily on providing resources to the students for financial literacy and health, such as providing workshops, collaborating with student organizations to help facilitate events on campus and promoting programs like the J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Advancing Black Pathways (ABP) fellowship program.
The ABP fellowship is a six-week program for undergraduate sophomores interested in exposure to careers in financial services who are committed to the advancement of people in underrepresented communities. Applications for the summer 2023 cohort are currently closed with the 2024 cohort opening in the fall.
Additionally, “We’re looking forward to bringing our senior business consultants in and just answering any frequently asked questions,” Brian Atkins, the D.C. community branch manager for Chase, said. “It’s not just a banker and it’s not just making deposits and withdrawals, if you have questions, you have a bank on campus willing to help with these questions.”
Atkins describes his role as being, “a quarterback for the community,” and emphasized the importance of positive financial health especially for college students and what those resources look like.
“You don’t have to have an account with Chase,” Atkins said. “You can bank with any other financial institution, you still receive financial services as if you bank with Chase.”
The grand opening was held on Mar. 21 inside Howard University’s Interdisciplinary Building on Georgia Avenue, and was attended by numerous people including guest speakers Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, President Wayne A.I. Frederick and Co-CEO of Chase Consumer and Community Banking, Jennifer Piepszak.
“I’m here today to say one of the institutions I hope [students] will continue to have faith in is J.P. Morgan Chase,” said President Frederick. “This institution is here to support us in amplifying other people’s humanity, especially the humanity of those in the Black community.”
As Co-CEO of Chase Consumer and Community Banking, Piepszak has been with J.P. Morgan Chase for 29 years and is responsible for leading banking and wealth management.
“Howard University has played an important role in this community and beyond,” Piepszak said. “We’ve watched and admired what happens here at Howard and wanted to be a true partner with [Howard] and HBCUs across the country.”
In addition to these resources, the partnership is a direct alignment with Howard’s Forward strategic plan in its efforts to support the university’s goals of improving efficiency and effectiveness that serves the community. The implementation of J.P. Morgan Chase’s technology is for the purpose of simplifying processes such as delivering student refunds, facilitating donor transactions and creating stronger preventative measures around fraud and cybersecurity.
With Chase now on campus, students hope that this partnership ensures their well-being with the promised financial resources and their presence on campus.
“I would like to see them invest back into the university and the students directly beyond just taking up space here and providing credit cards and bank accounts,” Yasmine Grier, a senior honors political science student said.
“I do plan to follow the trajectory of the bank to see how it ends up and how much students engage with it,” said Grier.
Christopher Nwagbara, a graduate film student also shared Grier’s perspective, emphasizing that the partnership shouldn’t only reap benefits for the university itself. Nwagbara also questioned what forms of support would the branch as a whole be able to provide to the students and community while seated on this campus.
“When that $5,000 [refund check] hits their account…how is Chase gonna help them balance it better and just learn how to manage it without losing it all?” said Nwagbara.
All members of the community are welcomed to come chat with Chase representatives within the newly established branch on Georgia Avenue. The branch operating hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with operations suspended on Sundays.
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee