College financial planning platform acquisition helps JPMorgan Chase hook younger demographic

The news: JPMorgan Chase has acquired Frank, a college financial planning platform for students.

More on this: Frank’s various solutions, currently used by over 5 million students in the US, will become available to Chase’s clients:

  • An online portal that enables a more efficient FAFSA application process for students
  • Financial aid advice
  • Curated scholarships
  • A marketplace of college-level courses for eligible credit

Trendspotting: Several neobanks have found targeting a younger demographic is an effective strategy.

  • Current started out offering debit cards for teens, and has since tripled its user base to over 2 million after broadening its demographic focus.
  • Step, a banking service that provides teens with FDIC insured bank accounts and a fee and interest-free credit card, raised $100 million this April, and grew to more than 1.5 million users just six months after its debut.
  • Since launching a debit card for kids in 2017, Greenlight has added over 3 million parent and children accounts.

The big takeaway: By offering actionable and valuable solutions to younger consumers, JPMorgan Chase’s acquisition could engender long-term loyalty and retention.

  • Education costs or paying down student loans are one of the leading barriers to achieving retirement savings goals for self-directed active investors ages 25-34. Products aimed at alleviating such financial roadblocks would be uniquely valuable to the 17- to 24-year-old age bracket that Frank serves—and it could also help tie these customers more closely to the bank.
  • Data from Bankrate suggests that the average millennial keeps their checking account for just over nine years. With Frank’s value-add solutions, JPMorgan could make a lasting impression on a young customer and ensure they remain with the bank for years to come.

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