As JPMorgan Chase continues its expansion in New England, the global bank has also expanded its reach with multinational companies operating in the region.
A recent analysis ranked Boston as one of the top cities for foreign-based companies that have U.S. operations. Another study found that multinational companies – both U.S.- and foreign-owned – make up about 10 percent of the firms in Massachusetts compared to about 8 percent nationally.
For JPMorgan, having a global footprint gives multinational companies an opportunity to continue to work with their local banker even while operating overseas, said Morgan McGrath, head of international banking for JPMorgan’s commercial bank.
“Our objective is to take this big network that we have across the U.S. and around the world and make it very simple for our clients to navigate,” McGrath said. “Internally we call that making a big bank feel small for our clients.”
A study released last fall by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis found that about 7 percent of the firms operating in Massachusetts were U.S.-owned companies with operations in foreign countries, while about 3 percent of firms in the state were foreign-owned. These companies provided about 24 percent of the state’s employment, while nationally they provide about 22.4 percent of employment.
Another analysis released last fall by the Financial Times and Nikkei ranked Boston fourth among top U.S. cities for foreign multinational companies, behind Miami, Orlando and New York. Boston had the highest score for workforce and talent among the top 10 cities.
Attractive Region for Foreign Firms
For JPMorgan Chase’s clients, the region’s workforce has been a key driver for establishing and maintaining operations in Greater Boston, particularly through access to its universities, McGrath said. Other factors attracting foreign companies to the region include manufacturing, the local innovation economy and entrepreneurship culture, particularly in technology and healthcare.
“The trend of more companies coming tends to feed on itself, and more foreign companies follow each other,” McGrath said. “So, you get, for example, a group of German companies to come, then their suppliers come, and it starts to feed on itself.”
For both U.S.- and foreign-based multinational companies, growth is the most common reason to open operations in more than one country, McGrath said, as firms gain access to new customers and a new market.
Expanding overseas also lets firms, particularly those that are small- and medium-sized, better support their own customers that have operations overseas, McGrath said, and can also give them better access to the suppliers and materials needed to run their business. Other common reasons include opportunities to innovate through exposure to foreign markets and cost structure.
These multinational organizations include middle-market and small businesses, McGrath said, in addition to large companies.
As small and medium-sized multinational companies move into a foreign market, McGrath said, they often want to keep the banking partner that is already familiar with their business strategy. Since most banks do not have a large presence in multiple countries, companies might have different banking relationships in each country.
JPMorgan lets companies work with their regular banker, who in turn receives support from the bank’s global network, McGrath said. The bank’s customers could also work with a banker in the overseas market where they operate, he added, but most prefer to continue working through their long-time banker.
“Whether companies are coming into the United States or American companies going overseas, we make that whole process simpler for them by giving them dedicated bankers who support smaller, medium-sized multinationals, in addition to what we do with very large multinationals,” McGrath said. “And then they can really help those companies facilitate that cross-border expansion, which increasingly, is so important to company’s growth.”