🏦 Chase branches out

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 by Snacks
Money grows on bank branches (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Money grows on bank branches (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Money grows on bank branches (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Money grows on bank branches (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
38,521 (+0.37%)
S&P 500
4,954 (+0.23%)
Nasdaq
15,609 (+0.07%)
Bitcoin
$43,195 (+1.26%)

Hey Snackers,

The least romantic question: “Are you AI?” For those tired of wondering whether their dating-app matches are real, Bumble intro’d a tool to remove suss profiles. The feature’s powered by AI.

Stocks edged up yesterday as investors digested the latest slew of earnings. Fed officials echoed J. Powell’s suggestion that the US central bank is in no hurry to lower rates.

BRANCHOUT

1. JPMorgan chases branch expansion because mobile banking can’t replace brick and mortar

Branchin’ out… JPMorgan Chase announced plans to add 500+ new branch locations by 2027, targeting “low-to-moderate income and rural communities,” plus cities including Boston, Charlotte, and Philly. America’s biggest bank by assets already has the US’s largest branch network, with nearly 5K locations in 48 states. Now JPM hopes to expand into markets where it’s less represented (picture: under 5% of branch market share).

  • Tellers wanted: JPM also plans to renovate ~1.7K of its existing US branches and hire 3.5K+ employees to support its expansion.

  • Big deposit energy: JPMorgan raked in record profit last year, and holds more than $2T worth of deposits, up nearly 2X from a decade ago. Its expansion could help it achieve its goal of holding a fifth of all US deposits (up from 12% now).

Life on autopay… The rise of mobile banking (and other app-y fintech options) kicked off the decline of physical bank locations, which have shrunk by a fifth since 2009 — with 2.5K+ branches shuttered last year alone. Nearly half of Americans prefer to bank on their phones, and even OGs like JPM and Bank of America have invested heavily in sleek apps and remote customer support. But the decline of brick and mortar has worsened the US’s banking gap: 7M+ households are unbanked, and 64% of those are in Black, Hispanic, and Latino communities.

THE TAKEAWAY

IRL relationships still matter… especially when it comes to serious business like $$. While online banking can handle a lot of transactions, it’s unlikely to replace physical locations. Banks know some customers want the security of face-to-face help, plus services like safe-deposit boxes, cashier’s checks, and ATMs. It’s why they’re still investing in IRL: Bank of America has plans to open locations in nine new markets and four states.

Ring

2. AT&T launches an anti-robocall service as the US struggles to stop the spam flood

About your car’s extended warranty… If you’re like 80% of Americans, you don’t even consider answering a call from an unknown number. Spam and robocalls (which make up more than a quarter of all US phone calls) have changed the way consumers use phones — and left carriers and regulators holding for solutions. Last week AT&T, in partnership with TransUnion, announced a branded call service that verifies rings from legit businesses by displaying their name and logo onscreen. If other carriers begin using the tech, it could make a dent in a major problem:

  • Straight to voicemail: US consumers get 4B robocalls a month, and the FCC received 1.2M complaints about robocalls last year. Unwanted calls are the agency’s top consumer complaint.

  • AI boost: After 25K AI-generated robocalls impersonating President Biden (urging voters not to vote) spread through New Hampshire last month, the FCC proposed making genAI calls illegal.

It’s not an easy fix… The FCC’s implemented some semi-successful robocall countermeasures, including mandating that carriers like Verizon, Comcast, and T-Mobile implement anti-scam call tech in 2021 (the result: just an 8% drop in robocalls). Recently the agency closed loopholes that made robocalls easier. But broader fixes fall into tricky gray areas: carriers don’t get to decide which calls Americans can receive, and some spoofed numbers and robocalls have valid uses (think: pharmacy notifications and calls from delivery drivers).

THE TAKEAWAY

Spam solutions might require a conference call… The goal of a lot of spam and robocalls isn't to annoy people: it’s to scam them out of $$. The success of AT&T’s branded calls service will depend on carriers and businesses opting in. Privacy experts say that targeting unwanted calls will require more input and collaboration from telecom cos, social networks, digital pay apps, and lawmakers.

Unpack

3. Snacks Unpacked: Solana’s latest outage challenges the hyped “ethereum killer” narrative

Off the chain… not in a good way. The solana blockchain went offline for nearly five hours yesterday, grinding all on-chain transactions to a halt. The outage sent the price of solana’s token down 4% before it mostly recovered. The Solana Foundation said a new software patch fixed the immediate problem, but it’s unlikely to resolve the larger one: solana has been going down.

  • Groundhog Day: A year ago, solana went offline for nearly a day. Solana also suffered a four-hour outage in June 2022, and stopped mining new blocks for seven hours earlier that year, partly because of NFT-hunting bots.

The bigger they are… Yesterday’s downtime comes as solana was making a real play for ethereum’s crypto crown. The blockchain, which some have called an “ethereum killer,” can process way more transactions per second than ethereum. Just last week it saw its decentralized exchange trading volume surpass ethereum’s. And late last year solana’s NFT trading volume and daily active users briefly passed ethereum’s. But repeated outages, which are seen as relatively rare among major blockchains, could jeopardize those gains.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Screenshot: Snap stock fell 30% in extended trading after it shared disappointing revenue and guidance. While bigger rivals like Meta saw strong ad growth, the little ghost has struggled to grow its ad biz fast enough.

  • Zeppy: Eli Lilly’s revenue shot past estimates in its first quarter selling Zepbound. The drug giant created the weight-loss injectable after high demand for similar drugs like rival Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic.

  • Fly: Bluesky, an X rival dreamt up by ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, is now available to everyone after a year+ of being invite-only. The alt-X field is getting crowded, with Meta’s Threads and startup Mastodon.

  • Wrapped: Spotify had strong subscriber growth in Q4. Now it wants to fast-forward to profit after narrowing its losses from about $290M to $75M. Cue: price hikes, layoffs, and changes to pricey deals with top podcasters like Joe Rogan.

  • Goggles: Apple’s $3.5K Vision Pro headset went on sale last week, and the dystopian memes and technical difficulties are rolling in. For instance: owners can reportedly reset their passwords in stores only.

Snack Fact of the Day

Nearly 70% of last year’s best-selling books were written by women

Wednesday

  • Earnings expected from Alibaba, Uber, CVS, Roblox, Hilton, and Yum Brands

Authors of this Snacks own ethereum and shares of: Apple, Comcast, CVS, Eli Lilly, Snap, Uber, and Yum Brands

Subscribe to Snacks