This Dream Team of Young Developers Is Rethinking Banking

This Dream Team of Young Developers Is Rethinking Banking

By Poornima Apte


Because the future of a robust economy hinges on the financial well-being of its youngest participants.

By Poornima Apte

OZY and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have partnered to bring you an inside look at how entrepreneurs and their good businesses are helping the communities around them. Enjoy the rest of our special series here.

Katie Sampson would describe herself as a run-of-the-mill millennial. She is cash-strapped most of the time, but loves spending on experiences. The one thing she doesn’t appreciate: feeling guilted about her small indulgences. She is not alone.

Money and emotions are tied closely, and millennials appreciate money management tools that divorce guilt from spending, says Melissa Feldsher, Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase. “Existing money management tools are stripped of emotions. So, while there are plenty of tools that can provide users with insights on how they spend money, the tools do it in a way that leaves the user feeling judged,” she notes. “The user ends up feeling bad about themselves for spending $50 on dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday even though that’s what that person wanted to do with that money.” 

Despite having a reputation as a spendthrift generation, the Chase Generational Money Talks Study finds millennials are actually good at sticking to a budget.


By comparison, the study found that was only true for 64 percent of Gen Xers and 46 percent of baby boomers. Millennials have different spending and savings habits, and they need a plan that caters to that.

Feldsher is part of a team of young leaders who are rethinking existing conventions about banking by keeping their young audience in mind. Having grown up steeped in technology, many consumers want to do all of their banking the same way they make most of their other transactions, which is online and on their phone. If they could order food on their phones, why couldn’t they manage their money on their phones, too?

Equipped with this data and placing the consumer squarely in the conversation, the group of young Chase leaders figured out primary drivers. “We wanted to make sure we addressed real customer needs, not needs that we perceived,” says Matt Gromada, Managing Director of Product Strategy and Development at JPMorgan Chase. He explains how the team met every three weeks for 18 months, with current and prospective customers to discuss their lives, goals, and challenges — whether they were related to money or not.

The end result was Finn By Chase, a mobile bank that not only allows users to do all their banking on their phone- it’s a checking and savings account with access to 29,000 free ATM’s and all the money movement features customers have come to reply on, but also has new tools to help them to gain control over their finances. The tool speaks to a younger subset of bankers by helping them set financial goals and develop their own roadmap toward realizing them.

The app also reaches out to millennials through a medium they love: technology. Market research shows that digital natives appreciate tech tools that cater to their emotional needs and are of practical use, and 90 percent of millennials believe technology can create more opportunity, according to a Webby research report.

That’s exactly what JPMorgan Chase’s team of young leaders has created: an opportunity to connect with their most tech savvy customer and to meet them on their own turf by understanding what it is that makes them tick. “It’s as if Finn is a much, much smaller ship that is allowed to get out in front of that company and chart a completely different course,” Gromada says. “…We are small and nimble and co-developing with customers to solve a real-world problem.”