Five Questions With: Roxann Cooke

Roxann Cooke is the consumer bank and wealth management regional director for JPMorgan Chase & Co., which does business as Chase Bank. She is responsible for market expansion plans in consumer banking in the New England region. Chase is opening consumer banking branches in Greater Boston and plans to open its first Rhode Island consumer branches beginning this summer, starting in Providence.

Cooke joined Chase from Eastern Bank in Boston, where she supervised and directed 77 employees in 17 branch offices with a total deposit base of about $726 million. At Eastern, she oversaw the administration and support for branches in the Boston area to accomplish retail-banking objectives.

Cooke has a master’s degree in business administration from Suffolk University in Boston and a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

PBN: Why did you join Chase Bank?

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COOKE: JPMorgan Chase is a known leader in the financial industry with a brand reputation for delivering extraordinary customer service, building relationships, taking care of employees, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. These were important factors in my decision to join the firm, but the overarching reason for joining Chase was the firm’s commitment to making a social impact by investing in people and communities.

We just announced a $515,000 commitment to Skillworks, which is a funder collaborative operated by the Boston Foundation. JPMorgan Chase’s investment supports “Catapult,” a multiyear pilot launched by the Boston Foundation to address the region’s fragmented workforce-development system. The goal of Catapult is to create a higher rate of job placements with career pathways for low-income and long-term unemployed communities.

As we expand into Providence, we will be making more philanthropic investments, to be announced later this year. I am excited by the charge to establish and grow JPMorgan Chase in New England.

PBN: Is being in charge of establishing and growing business in a new and large retail-banking market for Chase a daunting challenge?

COOKE: I don’t consider my new role daunting, but more of an exciting opportunity to establish and grow our retail business in New England. I’ve been in the industry for 26 years and bring strong expertise and knowledge that I feel will make Chase a strong contender in this market. Together with my colleagues, we have the ability to bring the full force of the firm, which will help ensure success in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. JPMorgan Chase is not new to the region, but with the expansion of retail, it sends a clear message that we are a vested community stakeholder.

We’ve had a Providence commercial banking office since 2017; we are expanding our private-banking efforts and are actively growing our Rhode Island client base. Our current clients, along with the new customers, will have the opportunity to experience our integrated One Chase Strategy through our branch network, including business banking, which isn’t a line of business we could previously provide.

I am excited to work with my team to execute our Rhode Island strategy. Together, we’ll create pathways to prosperity for the customers and communities as we grow business in the region.

PBN: When the New England expansion is complete, how many branches, employees and ATMs do you foresee having in Rhode Island?

COOKE: In five years, we will have 12 branches and roughly 20 ATMs. By the end of 2019, we’ll have two branches, with our first one on Thayer Street and Angell Street [in Providence] opening in August. Our entry-level employees will be paid no less than $16.50 an hour, and will receive the firm’s full benefits package, which is valued at an average of $12,000 annually per employee in this pay range. It includes health care coverage and retirement savings, as well. To help ease the burden of out-of-pocket medical expenses, the firm also recently reduced medical plan deductibles by $750 per year for employees making less than $60,000.

PBN: Do you see Providence and Rhode Island as part of the Boston market or its own market?

COOKE: I see Providence as its own market. It would be a big mistake to take a one-size-fits-all business model approach because every community and every market is unique. On the leadership level, we understand and appreciate that we may be experts in banking, but we are not the experts in the nuances of the local markets.

[That] is why it’s important for us to hire local talent and rely on community stakeholders to provide us with information that will enhance and support our business model. Our regional leadership team will soon consist of a Rhode Island market director who will focus specifically on our Rhode Island market.

PBN: How might predictions of an impending recession in the next year or two influence your handling of Chase’s New England retail operations?

COOKE: I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, but we are taking a long-term approach in our commitment to Rhode Island. We are focused on how we can best support our clients to achieve their dreams and financial goals by making the most of their money. Whether that be starting a small business, saving for college, or buying a home. Everyone’s situation is different, but JPMorgan Chase has an active pulse on the economy, so we can best guide our customers to meet their needs. When our clients and our community do well, we do well.

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.