PORTSMOUTH – Chase is the latest institution to open a bank in the city, host to more than a third of all the banks doing business in the state of New Hampshire.
Chase’s Portsmouth bank — the fourth in the Granite State in recent months — opened in June at 1574 Woodbury Ave., part of a shopping plaza that includes the new Whole Foods grocery store.
“We’ve long viewed Portsmouth as a place we wanted to be,” said Laura Cortese, Chase’s market director for New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. “We look forward to building new relationships and helping our customers during life’s most important moments, like opening their first savings account, buying their first home or planning for retirement.”
Chase becomes the 17th bank in Portsmouth. With branches, that increases to 25 bank locations in the city (and that number does not include credit unions). That 17 represents 38.6% of the 44 banks currently doing business in the Granite State, according to the database of FDIC-insured banks.
Gerald Little, bank commissioner of the N.H. Banking Department, cites the state’s “vibrant” economy as a reason why so many banks are coming here, particularly institutions from out of state.
“When the department has the opportunity to ask out-of-state bankers what attracted them to New Hampshire, it becomes apparent that they consider New Hampshire’s economy to be particularly vibrant and, in their opinions, able to support additional competition,” said Little. “In short, they see opportunity to expand their existing market area.”
In recognizing the competitive market here, Cortese said what will stand out about Chase is its people.
“I believe our team is going to set us above and beyond,” said Cortese. “Portsmouth is a beautiful community; it’s where people want to be.”
The 3,270-square-foot bank opened June 22 at Durgin Square along Woodbury Avenue. It is the fourth Chase bank to open in New Hampshire over the last several months, preceded by two in Nashua and one in Salem. A fifth is scheduled to open soon in Manchester.
Chase is creating a brick and mortar presence in the state where it already has 300,000 customers and some 12,000 business clients.
“Everyone wants convenience and they’re served digitally, but people also want to be served in a full-suite way with people from their own community helping them,” said Cortese. “Our branches are good for the local economy. They’re good for our customers. People want to come in; they prefer that high-touch advice when it comes to those moments in life: retiring, buying a house, sending kids off to college.”
Chase said the Portsmouth bank has a different look and feel from other banks. It said in a statement that “it combines a modern design, layout, and state-of-the-art banking technology, reflecting how customers engage with Chase today. Employees will welcome customers in casual meeting spaces, emphasizing a more consultative approach, and offer self-service transaction areas including a digital access bar, smart ATMs, and free WiFi.”
Cortese described it as a “very living room, relaxed feeling.” There is plenty of open space inside the doors with couches and tables. Glass offices offer privacy when needed. The teller stations do not face front but are out of view around a corner.
Jonathan Lakaszcyck, the Portsmouth branch manager, is from the area and returned from a Chase bank on the West Coast to manage the new local bank.
“We have a fantastic team of bankers here in Portsmouth who are dedicated to meeting the needs of our customers,” said Lakaszcyck. “We want to be where our customers live and work which is why we’re excited to be growing our presence here in the Seacoast region.”
Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co., a global financial services company with assets of $3.4 trillion and operations worldwide. Chase serves more than 60 million American households with a broad range of financial services, including personal banking, credit cards, mortgages, auto financing, investment advice, small business loans and payment processing.
While some of the banks in Portsmouth were originally chartered in New Hampshire, many are from out of state, particularly Maine – Bangor Savings Bank, Kennebunk Savings Bank, Camden National Bank and Partners Bank of New England, to name a few.
Little attributed the out-of-state attraction to “a light regulatory touch that makes it fairly easy for out-of-state institutions to enter the market.”
“Conceptually, the increased competition benefits state consumers in the form of greater choice and better pricing,” he added. “Regarding Maine, New Hampshire is, obviously, their only state-next-door option and the Seacoast area is a particularly attractive market. There is similar cross-border activity involving institutions from the greater Boston area and northern Massachusetts, so they see the benefits, too.”