Discover Trends & Technology
These executives are helping drive tech innovation
The following article is part of "The Team Behind," a series presented by JPMorgan Chase that aims to showcase the many roles and opportunities within Chase Consumer & Community Banking.
If you were trying to understand the daily challenges that small businesses grapple with, Victor Chu would advise you to look no further than the example of Malt & Mold, a beer and cheese shop in New York City. Proprietor Kevin Heald routinely struggles with cash flow and writes paper checks for invoices that are delivered by hand. If a vendor doesn't pick up checks according to a fixed schedule, business cash flow suffers. And that challenge isn't unique to Heald. It's a common one impacting small business owners.
A passion for small business
This is where Chase Merchant Services comes in, says Elizabeth White, a vice president of the Chase business unit. As its name suggests, Merchant Services is a Chase business unit that provides banking and financial services for merchants. Its key goal? To help businesses of all sizes process and track virtually every form of payment seamlessly.
How does Chase's approach help Heald and other small business owners with cash flow problems? Through the power of technology, Chu's team is working on a mobile app that can manage invoices and payment electronically. "If merchants can schedule payments and control when the money actually leaves their account, that would solve Heald's issues," says Chu, the executive director for user experience design at JPMorgan Chase.
Coming from the tech start-up world, Chu was attracted to JPMorgan Chase because it has invested significantly in technology and the kind of work that he loves: improving the customer experience and understanding how merchants like Heald do business.
Fast, reliable and secure payment processing is another cornerstone of Chase's customer-obsessed vision, says White. She points to an additional example: "When a woman goes into store X to buy a new pair of pumps for a party that evening, Chase Merchant Services facilitates fast transfer of funds so money is transferred from the woman's account into store X's account the next day," she says.
That agility delivers peace of mind to small business customers like Heald and the shoe store because not only can they control outgoing payments, they also receive incoming payments faster. And then there's the comfort in knowing everyone in the transaction is protected by Chase's heavy investment in cybersecurity.
The future awaits
The Merchant Services team is also working on ways technology can be used to improve Chase's communications with its millions of small business customers. Chu sees a chat-bot built on artificial intelligence as a perfect example of such a tool.
"We're focused on providing a higher value of service to our customers, rather than just checking the bank balance," Chu says. "Small business owners just want to do what they love best, like making pizza or being a real estate agent. Financial transactions are usually a chore for them, so if we could help, they value that."
White agrees. Equally important, she says, is serving the needs of all kinds of business owners. Chase is "committed to helping businesses of all sizes—from the dog walker to the largest global enterprise," she says.
All this is good news for Heald so he can focus on what he loves doing best: selling beer and cheese.
Photo (Victor Chu): Car Pelleteri, (Elizabeth White): Blackwax Photography | Poornima Apte is a Chase News contributor. Her work has appeared in Venture Beat and Tech Crunch.