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JPMorgan (JPM) Buys College Financial Planning Platform Frank

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JPMorgan (JPM - Free Report) has acquired the college financial planning platform, Frank. The acquisition adds to the many deals entered by the bank over the past few months in a bid to compete with technology firms.

The entire business of Frank, including its Easy FAFSA, Classfinder College Course Marketplace, Scholarships & Employment tools, and Financial Education and Careers content, is being acquired by the bank.

Serving more than five million students at more than 6,000 higher education institutions, Frank’s simple online portal allows students to apply for financial aid in minutes and enroll in its catalog of affordable online college courses.

Jennifer Piepszak, co-CEO of JPMorgan, stated, “We want to build lifelong relationships with our customers. Frank offers a unique opportunity for deeper engagement with students. Together, we’ll be able to expand our capabilities for students and their families, helping them financially prepare for college and other major moments in their future.”

The founder and CEO of Frank, Charlie Javice, said, “We launched Frank to make college more accessible for students and their families, and have already helped millions across the nation. We look forward to joining the Chase family to further this mission. Together, we can multiply our impact to help more students and their families achieve their financial goals and education dreams.”

The buyout is expected to accelerate JPMorgan’s strong foundation with students, including products, content and guidance for students of all ages, with branches and ATMs on or in close proximity to more than 300 college campuses across the country.

Our Take

Of late, JPMorgan has been undertaking several strategic buyouts. The company has been on an expansion spree for a long time now. In a bid to expand into the dining business, recently, JPMorgan agreed to acquire the popular restaurant recommendation website, The Infatuation. Also, it signed a deal with Volkswagen AG’s (VWAGY - Free Report) subsidiary, Volkswagen Financial Services, in a bid to enter the automotive industry and bolster digital payment competencies.

A few other notable buyouts in recent months include that of OpenInvest, a 40% stake in Brazil's C6 Bank and 55ip. The deals are expected to help boost JPMorgan’s fee income.

Further, as part of its plan of establishing a banking presence in the U.K., JPMorgan acquired one of the largest robo advisory firms of the U.K., Nutmeg. Also, it has recently launched its long-planned digital retail bank Chase in the region.

While the bank’s expansion in the U.K. will help it in capitalizing on the acceleration of the digital banking boom, it is expected to face tough competition from the large traditional banks like HSBC Holdings (HSBC - Free Report) and Barclays (BCS - Free Report) , which are looking to expand digital offerings.

So far this year, shares of JPMorgan have gained 20.4% compared with 23.8% growth recorded by the industry.2

 

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Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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