JPMorgan to build Silicon Valley fintech office

FILE PHOTO: A sign outside the headquarters of JP Morgan Chase & Co in New York, September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co JPM.N said on Friday that it was building a new "fintech campus" in Silicon Valley for more than 1,000 employees, as it pushes to keep abreast of changes in digital payments.

The building is set to open in Palo Alto, California in 2020, the bank said in a statement and interviews. Most of the employees at the site will work for JPMorgan’s Chase Merchant Services division, which is the second-biggest U.S. processor of card payments for merchants.

The division last year bought WePay, a young Silicon Valley-based firm that specializes in connecting payment software with bank networks. WePay now has about 275 employees, who will move to the new building. WePay’s co-founder Bill Clerico said the bank will also hire hundreds of people for new jobs at the site.

This year, JPMorgan made its digital products strategy a major theme of its annual February conference for investors and stock analysts.

The bank, the largest in the U.S. by assets, has said it believes that handling more payments for consumers and companies will bring it more of their deposit and loan business.

Matt Kane, chief executive of JPMorgan’s merchant services division, said the bank was prepared to pay the high costs of operating in Silicon Valley for the chance to hire local software engineers. They are intended to complement payments industry specialists that JPMorgan employs now, largely in Plano, Texas and Tampa, Florida.

Chase Merchant Services ranks second to Atlanta-based First Data Corp FDC.N in processing card transactions for merchants.

Reporting by David Henry in New York, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien