In an era when bank mergers are commonplace, the recent merger of Bank One Corporation and J.P. Morgan Chase made people sit up and take notice. “The merger created a world class financial services firm,” explained JPMorgan Chase Bank Regional President James Corkery. “The new JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA, is a leading global financial services firm committed to superior service and local execution.”

Prior to the merger, Chicago-based Bank One Corporation was the nation’s sixth-largest bank holding company, with assets of $320 billion, Corkery said “Bank One was a leading provider of commercial, retail, and investment management services. The bank also ranked as the third largest credit card issuer in the U.S., with more than 51 million credit cards issued. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. was a global financial services firm with assets of $801 billion and operations in more than 50 countries. It was a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and businesses, financial transaction processing, investment management, private banking, and private equity.”

The official change from Bank One to Chase took place October 24 in Peoria and throughout Illinois. Corkery said the mission for the resulting financial institution isn’t a small undertaking: to be the best financial services company in the world. “While the firm will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the marketplace, the organization’s key operating principles will remain unchanged: focus on the customer first; execute superbly with skill and urgency; think globally, execute locally; and maintain the highest integrity and reputation.”

In keeping with its goals, he said JPMorgan Chase Bank offers world-class capabilities through six main areas within the firm:

• Commercial banking—conventional fin-ancing, investment banking, asset-based lending, treasury services, leasing investment management, and international and private client services. “We’re the No. 1 middle market bank in Illinois and the Midwest and No. 2 in the U.S.,” he said.

• Investment banking—M&A advisory services, syndications, derivatives, private placements, equity, high grade and high yield bonds, municipal finance, public finance, and mezzanine. “We’re No. 1 globally in interest and credit derivatives and loan syndications; we’re the leading advisor to corporations and governments worldwide,” he said.

• Treasury management—lockbox services, controlled disbursements, online information capabilities, loan and investment sweeps, commercial cards, and merchant processing. “We’re No. 1 in U.S. dollar treasury clearing and commercial payments and the No. 1 global custodian overall,” he said.

• Credit card services—“We’re the No. 1 issuer of general-purpose credit cards in the U.S., with 87 million credit cards issued,” he said.

• Retail financial services—“We’re the No. 1 originator of automobile loans; the No. 2 home equity originator in the U.S.; and the No. 2 ATM network in the U.S., with 6,650 ATMs,” he said.

• Asset and wealth management—“We have $1 trillion in assets under management, are the No. 1 U.S.-based and No. 3 global private bank, and are the No. 2 global money market asset manager,” he said.

One significant aspect of the institution’s business is its Private Client Services business. “It initially operated as Bank One Private Client Services, with teams of local wealth management professionals in 89 offices and 14 states, including Illinois,” Corkery said. “Since the merger, Private Client Services has expanded to 104 offices in 17 states and operates under the JPMorgan name.”

He said the associates in the Private Client Services business are excited about the merger, especially due to the expanded product capability it provided. “There’s a sense of pride to be representing the JPMorgan name, due to its long history of serving high net worth clients and providing world class investments. Our Private Client Services team in Peoria continues to be located at 124 SW Adams on the second floor.”

Bank One received the highest rating for its Community Reinvestment Act performance from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Corkery said JPMorgan Chase is committed to sustaining that rating. “We’re proud of our past accomplishments in this area and our ability to work as a team to make it happen. As an update, we recently committed to an $800 billion, 10-year public commitment to provide loans and investments that will benefit the credit and capital needs of minority and lower income households and communities. In 2004, the first $68 billion of that commitment was achieved.”

Corkery said JPMorgan Chase Bank stands out in a crowded field because the firm has been built on a reputation of trust that spans more than two centuries and represents the coming together of more than 300 companies. “We’re committed to maintaining the integrity and customer service that’s long distinguished the firm. Our number one goal is to provide superior customer service, one customer at a time. This approach, together with our world class capabilities, teamwork, and local execution, sets us apart.”

He said along with the company’s focus on business, it also is very involved in the community. “We’re fortunate to maintain an 80-plus-year heritage in Peoria. In support of this heritage, our employees locally remain active in contributing their time, talent, and resources to numerous worthwhile, community-based organizations. Their activities, together with the firm’s considerable financial support to these organizations, are additional ways that allow us to make a difference.”

In addition to maintaining a strong presence in charitable undertakings, Corkery said a rewarding aspect of his industry continues to be the opportunity to partner with customers to help them achieve their individual goals. “We understand that each individual’s circumstance is unique, and you need to treat the situation accordingly. Locally, we’re fortunate to maintain customer relationships dating back 50-plus years, while understanding the need to earn their business every day.”

It’s an exciting time not only for JPMorgan Chase Bank, but also for the communities the company serves, Corkery said. “The merger has strengthened our commitment to central Illinois, and we look forward to serving the community for years to come.” IBI