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Developers: would you rather work for a bank or a fintech?

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This video was dropped the other day by JPMorgan, encouraging young people good with technology to join the bank, instead of a fintech.

In case you can’t watch it, here’s the argument.

  • We have $12 billion to spend on tech
  • JPM offers the same challenges as a Google with scale
  • We’re the biggest bank in the world with the biggest platform
  • Don’t worry about budgets – we don’t worry about them
  • We’re not hand to mouth
  • We have $12 billion to spend on tech
  • We’re not kowtowing to a VC
  • We do all the stuff every fintech does, and more
  • Our focus is embedded payments and real-time payments
  • We have the same challenges fintechs have with tech though
  • You therefore get a lot more work exposure to everything
  • You get to work on the inner guts of the financial system
  • You don’t get to just focus on the user experience and scratch the surface of finance
  • You get to change the engines on an aircraft whilst flying (well, a bank anyways)
  • We have 50 million customers and trillions of dollars flying through our system
  • You have to replace that system and, oh, make sure no-one notices you did that
  • We have $12 billion to spend on this
  • We’re multi-cloud with the newest technologies, the newest languages and the newest hardware
  • We do blockchain
  • PayPal is just one of our millions of customers
  • We’re microservices with two-pizza teams
  • We are agile and flexible
  • We are fun!

The message overall is that we have $12 billion to spend on tech if you join JPM, the world is your lobster.

My favourite line was from Eisar Lipkovitz, CIO with their Corporate & Investment Bank, who said “we have people in our team who have been here 15, 20 years, even 35 years, which is really unbelievable in this day and age”.

In other words, join us and you get a job for life!

It’s an interesting move, where JPM is taking on fintechs head-to-head. They’ve been doing this for a while between acquisitions and, specifically, with their campus in Silicon Valley. It sits right between Alphabet (Google) and Meta (Facebook) and, when announced, is meant to be demonstrating their “commitment to technology more broadly” where around 50,000 people in the bank work in tech.

The video is presented by two CIOs in the bank. Mike Blandina, who runs their global payments technology, and Eisar, who was hired to revolutionise technology in its investment bank. Mike had previously been with PayPal and Google and Eisar with Google and Lyft.

Interesting.

It reminded me of when I was writing Doing Digital and chose JPM specifically as a leader in the space of digital transformation. I was lucky enough to be invited to their offices to interview a few folks, one of whom was Bill Wallace, Head of Digital, JPMorgan Chase. I asked him the question back then (2019): why would someone join this bank, rather than a fintech?

Here’s his answer:

“If you are a new A* engineer, you might gravitate towards a start-up. If you’ve been through that cycle, you often find you do a whole bunch of work, and no one actually got to use it because the start-up failed.

“Engineers really want to do stuff that their mother, father, siblings and buddies are going to use. That is part of that. You want to make an impact. The other part has been universally consistent in all of my career.

“When I interview people and ask: why are you interested in changing jobs? The answer is nearly always ‘I want to come to a place where I can make a difference. I love challenging problems. I'm a problem solver.’ I hear that all that time. When you are touching millions of people’s lives every day, that’s making a difference.

“When you are working in a very cool start-up, it might be fun. You might have a really good time and yes, you have the potential of changing people’s lives, depending on what the topic is, but you’ve got to have customers to have that impact. That’s one of the values that we bring.

“In addition, if you work with smart people and in an environment with cloud-based technology and all of the latest things like AI and ML, you’ve got to have data. We have that data.”

#nuffsaid

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Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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