JPMorgan Chase acquires financial planning platform Frank to connect with college students

Dive Brief: 

  • JPMorgan Chase announced Tuesday it is acquiring Frank, a financial planning platform for college students, as a way to build deeper relationships with this demographic and their families. 
  • The bank is buying Frank’s entire business, including its online tools that help students submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid and financial education content. The companies did not release the terms of the deal. 
  • Frank already has deep connections with the college-going demographic, serving more than 5 million students across 6,000 higher education institutions, according to a news release. 

Dive Insight: 

JPMorgan Chase’s acquisition of Frank sits at the crossroads of two trends in higher education. One is the growing number of platforms that help students understand and pay for college costs. 

Frank serves as one example, raising more than $20 million since 2017. But other companies have also been providing tools to help students select colleges they can afford or pay off their loans. 

The other trend is financial institutions’ yearslong push to establish a stronger foothold on campuses and strengthen relationships with students to gain lifelong customers. 

Traditional marketing techniques may not cut it with the newest generation to set foot on college campuses, suggests a 2017 report from IBM and the National Retail Federation. They suggested companies should instead experiment with new ways of engaging with this group.

JPMorgan Chase said the move will help it strengthen its relationships with college students. The bank already has branches on or near more than 300 college campuses, according to the news release. It also has products designed specifically for college students, including checking accounts, credit cards and content about money management. 

“With Frank, we have the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with students by creating a one-stop destination for their money needs — including tools, products and content — that help them plan for and navigate their financial journey to college and beyond,” a JPMorgan Chase spokesperson said in an email. 

It’s too early to say whether JPMorgan will promote its products on the Frank platform because it’s just starting to integrate the two companies, the spokesperson said. Frank’s founder and CEO, Charlie Javice, will continue to lead the brand as the head of JPMorgan Chase’s student solutions on the digital products team. 

The financial institution’s first priority is to raise awareness of Frank’s tools for college students among Chase’s customers, the spokesperson said.

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