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October 26, 2018

JPMorgan the newest kid on the block in Maine commercial banking

Photo / Renee Cordes
Photo / Renee Cordes
From left, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Michael Griffin, Portland executive director of commercial banking, and Morgan McGrath, New York-based head of international banking. Griffin said he's excited to join JPMorgan Chase at a time when it's reinforcing its commitment to New England.

About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase, whose roots go back more than two centuries, is a leading global financial institution with assets of $2.6 trillion, more than 250,000 employees and a presence in over 100 markets. JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking provides credit and financing, treasury services, international banking and real estate services to corporations, municipalities, institutions, real estate investors and nonprofit organizations.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), the global financial services powerhouse with $2.6 trillion in assets, has a new commercial banking presence in Maine led by industry veteran Michael Griffin.

The Cape Elizabeth resident joined the company as Portland executive director of middle market banking in June after three years as senior client manager and senior vice president at Citizens Financial Group Inc. and more than 20 years of industry experience.

Based in a Commercial Street office suite that opened less than a month ago, Griffin is actively on the hunt for new business — and additional bankers to join the team.

"I have two mandates coming in," he said in an interview. "One is to attract great clients to the platform and exercise discipline around client selection. The other is to attract what we believe to be great teammates that could strive here."

Despite record-low unemployment in Maine and nationwide, Griffin doesn't anticipate major hiring challenges given JPMorgan's mega-network of 250,000 global employees — he laughed about running into a colleague at a highway rest stop in Kennebunkport — as well as its use of internal recruiters and online tools like LinkedIn.

"We definitely want to expand the team," he said. "Do you know anyone?"

Morgan McGrath, head of international banking with JPMorgan Chase in New York who was in Portland for the day and was hoping to try a lobster roll for lunch, was equally enthusiastic about a bigger footprint in Maine.

"You don't get a lot of opportunities in a company like ours that's over 200 years old to start a new business in a new city, with all the strength that comes with that," he said. "It's a pretty exciting thing."

New England expansion plans

One of the oldest financial institutions in the United States, JPMorgan sees big opportunity not just in Maine, but throughout New England after expanding in other parts of the country.

Over the next five years it's planning a big regional retail expansion with more than 60 new branches, 130 ATMS and 350 new hires, including veterans — all part of its recent $20 billion, five-year investment in its business and local economic growth. JPMorgan opened its first Boston office in 1995 and employs 1,500 today across New England, where it serves a million consumer clients and more than 70,000 business clients.

Griffin, who has worked with mid-sized and large companies throughout the Northeast, said JPMorgan's middle-market bankers tend to be generalists rather than specialists, and work with vertically integrated companies in a number of sectors.

But he underscored the importance of selecting the right clients, saying: "We're not going to try to be everything to everyone."

The range of services will include advice on trade finance, cash management, international banking and "events' such as a private equity buyout or setting up an employee stock ownership plan, as well as private banking for a company's owners.

McGrath said the bank emphasizes its full-service value to clients over the long term, including around cybersecurity, and a focus on developing long-term relationships lasting decades.

"Part of our culture is to invest in relationships, get to know the clients' business really well, and then to deliver the kind of product expertise or solution a client might need from the great arsenal of solutions we have globally," he said.

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