Chase and its predecessor banks have been helping small businesses grow since 1799 — almost as long as the United States has been around. In fact, Aaron Burr was the first director of The Bank of The Manhattan Company, the earliest banking forerunner of JPMorgan Chase & Co. This small business focus continues to be important to Chase Bank.
We spoke with John McCourt, national director of field management for Chase Business Banking, about why small businesses remain important clients to the nation’s largest bank by asset size.
John McCourt, National Field Director for Chase Business Banking
McCourt is responsible for overseeing the five Chase Business Bank divisions of the United States. Chase Business Bank provides deposit, credit and cash management services to small businesses. McCourt has spent the last 29 years with Chase, where he has held various field, client experience and operations roles.
Prior to joining Business Banking in 2011, McCourt was Chase’s chief administrative officer and was heavily involved with the merger conversions and systems integration. McCourt earned his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany and his master’s degree from Hofstra University.
We had the opportunity to ask McCourt the following questions about Chase, its relationship with small businesses, and whether business owners should be concerned about an economic downturn:
Chase Invests in Owners Who Can’t Qualify for Traditional Capital
FSB: In 2018, Andrew Kresse, then the CEO of business banking at Chase, said Chase is always looking for ways to support small business owners who can’t qualify for traditional capital. That’s why the bank invested in myWay to Credit, a bank referral marketplace for small businesses. Why is this an important issue for Chase?
McCourt: “Access to credit is a big challenge for most entrepreneurs and small business owners. Lending is one of the most important things we do as a financial partner. So even when someone doesn’t qualify for traditional capital, we wanted to be able to make them aware of other alternatives.”
Chase Seeks to Be a Trusted Advisor to Business Owners
FSB: Chase has been clear that it wants to act as a mentor for small business owners, along with giving them great financial products. What types of advice are small business owners most frequently looking for?
McCourt: “It’s a privilege to be a partner and trusted advisor to a small business owner, and it’s a responsibility we take seriously. We advise on ways to manage cash flow, payroll, payment acceptance, fraud protection and even things like hiring. For small business owners, employees are like family.
“Business owners often ask me what we can do for their employees, which is exciting. Many are also looking for technology to make administrative tasks faster, easier and less manual so they can focus on their business. We’re working on ways to give business owners insights about their business that simplify their day-to-day operations. We also provide free advice on marketing and social media strategies through locally hosted ‘chats’ in branches and the Business Insights Seminars we do in various cities.”
Chase Notes Many Business Leaders Are Optimistic About the State of the Economy
FSB: The bank’s 2019 Business Leaders Outlook showed that executives are less optimistic this year about the state of the local and national economy than in past years. Should small business owners do anything now to prepare for a downturn?
McCourt: “We still see pretty strong optimism compared to years past. Nearly three-quarters of business leaders are optimistic about their company’s performance. More than half feel good about their local economy and expect increases in sales and profits. Nearly all plan to maintain or increase spending, and many are investing in technology. We see these as good indicators that small business in America is healthy. At the same time, our bankers can help them prepare for tough times.”
Chase Is Focused on Helping Business Owners Become More Efficient
FSB: What do you see as emerging trends in small business banking in 2019?
McCourt: “Small business owners are increasingly looking for technology and automated insights to help them run their business more effectively. They want to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time growing their business. We’re working on ways to give business owners insights about their business so that they can run their day to day operations more efficiently.”
What Chase Does for Small Businesses
Chase is a multinational bank and investment firm that provides small businesses with business checking and savings accounts, small business credit cards and cash management services. Chase also offers a variety of financing options for small businesses, including Small Business Administration loans and lines of credit. Its small business products are scalable, ideal for both new and established firms as they grow.
The first Chase predecessor bank was founded in 1799. Some of the bank’s forerunners helped finance construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty. Today’s publicly traded bank (JPM) is the result of mergers between J.P. Morgan & Co. and Chase Manhattan Corp. in 2000 and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank One in 2004. In 2018, JPMorgan Chase was ranked as the sixth-largest bank in the world by S&P Global with total assets of $2.534 trillion.