January 27, 2023
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BENJAMIN SIMON

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Chase Bank celebrated the opening of its newest branch in St. Louis at the Covenant Blu-Grand Center.

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Chase opened its 20th branch in the St. Louis area on Wednesday and has promised to open 31 branches by the end of 2024.

The newest branch will be located in the Covenant Blu-Grand Center area of ​​MLK Plaza. About 60 people gathered in the 3,000-square-foot space on Wednesday, where they celebrated the opening and cut the ribbon, as Cardinal Ritter’s college prep cheerleaders chanted, “Fund and save! Go to Chase Bank!”

Participants welcomed the new branch as an influx of resources into a traditionally underinvested community.

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“When I see this room here today, I will tell you that it revitalizes the reason we do this,” Raquel Auden, Head of Network Expansion at Chase, told the crowd. “We want to be part of all communities, and we want to be part of communities that have been underbanked and underserved. And the reason for this is that you matter, and we are there, and we will support you.”

For many years Chase, a subsidiary of JP Morgan, building with resistance in the fragmented St. Louis banking market. But since Chase opened its first branch in Kirkwood in 2019, the number of St. Louis Chase branches has skyrocketed throughout the area.

This comes despite many banks closing branches across the country in the wake of the 2020 pandemic — nearly 4,000 branches in 2021 alone — according to bloomberg. In January 2022, Chase closed 129 branches. At the local level km reported anecdotal evidence that St. Louis residents struggled to find open banks.

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But Auden says Wednesday’s opening is indicative of Chase’s desire to continue expanding in St. Louis, with about 10 more branches to follow in the next two years. “I’m going to promise you that we’re here for the long haul,” Auden said.

click to enlarge Raquel Auden, Head of Network Expansion at Chase, addresses the gathering at the new Chase Bank at the Covenant Blu-Grand Center.  - BENJAMIN SIMON

BENJAMIN SIMON

Raquel Auden, Head of Network Expansion at Chase, addresses the gathering at the new Chase Bank at the Covenant Blu-Grand Center.

The new facility at 3625 Page Boulevard, where the nail salon used to be, will employ eight people, including four associate bankers. In addition, it will have two ATMs. Oden says 30 percent of Chase branches are in low- and middle-income areas.

“This is not a stadium, this is not a museum,” she said. “This is a bank branch. But I think you guys understand how important it is that we as a community understand the importance of financial health, financial literacy, but more importantly wealth creation.”

Ward 21 Alder Laura Keyes, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony, tells RFT that there are not enough banks in the area.

“Banking is so important to the community where often we were not really aware of money and banking and how they work,” she says.

Although Keys does not represent the neighborhood, she does have a personal connection. She grew up just a few blocks from us. As she stood outside for the grand opening, she says the plaza, now home to Save-A-Lot, Foot Locker and Chase Bank, looks very different than it once did.

For her, this is a sign of the coming times for the neighbors.

“It’s on the way,” she says. “It’s on the rise.”

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