It was only three years ago JPMorgan Chase announced it was closing 300 retail branches nationwide. But the country’s largest bank announced on Thursday it’s opening up to 70 physical locations in the D.C. region, with plans to employ as many as 700 local residents.
“The law imposes an affirmative obligation for banks to do positive things in the community,” says Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. “The theory is if you take deposits from the community, you need to be reinvesting in the community.”
Van Tol says JPMorgan Chase’s foray into the Washington region could be a boon for people who live in banking deserts. A fifth of the bank’s D.C.-area branches will open in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods, according to a press release. Chase has also signaled a commitment to supporting the local economy, allocating $4 billion over five years for small-business and home lending in the area, and another $500,000 to affordable rental housing maintenance and construction.