The largest bank in America opened its first branch in Greenville last week.
Chase Bank is undergoing a five-year, local-market expansion that last year brought the banking behemoth to Clemson. After that first branch opened, Chase followed with a second branch this summer in Mount Pleasant.
The Greenville branch, at 652 Haywood Road, is the bank’s third location in South Carolina, and it has plans to open another four by year’s end, according to a company spokeswoman who contacted The Post and Courier last week.
Going into 2021, three of Chase’s seven South Carolina branches will be in Greenville. The other two branches will be at 1221 Woodruff Road, site of a former Applebee’s restaurant, and 2 State Park Road, site of a former Wendy’s restaurant in the Cherrydale shopping center.
The bank already has 600,000 customers in South Carolina through credit-card accounts, mortgages and other loans, investments and existing checking/savings accounts that newcomers to the state have carried in with them.
“What we found is we had so many people moving, it’s such a desirable place to live, we have Chase customers moving to Greenville every day from California, New York, Chicago and other places,” said Mark Lucas, the Carolinas market director for wealth management.
Lucas is based in Charlotte, N.C., and Alfonso Hernandez is moving here from New Jersey to be Chase’s South Carolina market director.
“I stumbled upon the waterfall in the center of town,” Hernandez said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful city. And equally beautiful people.”
Chase already has a business banking branch in downtown Greenville, open since 2015, and previously made a $4.1 million New Market Tax Credit investment in the Highland Baking Co. project in Spartanburg.
Nationwide, Chase serves 61 million households.
“The theory here for us is when we open these locations, with that comes a litany of resources for clients and employees,” Hernandez said.
The Columbus, Ohio-based Chase had consolidated assets of $2.9 billion as of Sept. 30, according to the Federal Reserve. Bank of America has $2 billion, and Wells Fargo has $1.7 billion. Chase also has the largest number of domestic branches, at nearly 5,000.
The bank is hiring, Hernandez said. Entry-level jobs will pay $15 an hour plus benefits.
Holiday air travel update
Passenger air travel seems to have reached a plateau the past few months as erstwhile travelers wait for widespread vaccines and reduced restrictions. Even during a pandemic, though, the holiday season gets people moving.
“The week looks good when you compare it to last week,” said Greenville-Spartanburg International President and CEO Dave Edwards on Monday. “It’s all relative. We’re still probably running about 50 percent of normal traffic when we look at the loads that are projected for this Thanksgiving week.”