JPMorgan Chase team looks to advance racial equity in N.J.

As part of JPMorgan Chase’s $30 billion Racial Equity Commitment to drive inclusive economic growth among Black, Hispanic and Latino communities, the firm is hiring a team of 12 experts in New Jersey focused on the key drivers of closing the racial wealth gap.

From Newark to Roselle, these new leaders will connect the community to tools and resources focused on financial health, housing and small business.

“With nearly 11,000 employees, 200 branches, more than $3 million in philanthropic investments around the state and engaging with community leaders, New Jersey is critical to the success of JPMorgan Chase,” said Sekou Kaalund, head of consumer banking, Northeast Division, JPMorgan Chase. “We’re bringing in local leaders who know these communities inside and out and are committed to empowering everyone throughout New Jersey to take charge of their financial futures and succeed.”

Tamara Suvil, Omari Frazier, Charles Paez and Melissa Prashad, four of 150 community managers nationwide, are focusing their work in New Jersey.

Community manager is an entirely new role at Chase, created to focus on the financial health of underserved communities of color, working with local residents, businesses and the community to identify programming, resources and collaboration opportunities that address local needs.

Targeting Roselle and Union for Suvil, Paterson for Frazier, Elizabeth for Paez and Newark for Prashad, these seasoned community and banking professionals will host programming focused on budgeting and savings, building credit, homebuyer education and small business.

The team will partner with local leaders and nonprofit organizations to host workshops and connect people to opportunities that build generational wealth and economic empowerment.

“Financial health isn’t always associated with more income necessarily. Getting the right education is important to understanding how to utilize money and watch your finances grow,” said Suvil, who is working out of the Roselle branch. “That’s why it’s so important for myself, Omari, Charles and Melissa to collaborate with neighborhood leaders and organizations to break down economic barriers and support the success of our customers and our community.”

A major component of reducing the racial wealth gap is improving stability and increasing homeownership for Black and Hispanic and Latino communities. Yasmin Pena and Paula Matias are experienced home financing professionals who will serve as New Jersey’s first Community Home Lending Advisors, focusing on Newark and Dover, respectively.

The firm created the CHLA role as part of the overall Racial Equity Commitment and has already hired more than 140 around the country. CHLAs will support the mortgage products that fit needs and down payment assistance programs.

Additionally, as the backbone of every city and town’s economy, the firm has hired a new team of senior business consultants in 13 U.S. cities and areas, including New Jersey, to accelerate minority small business growth.

Through the free program, entrepreneurs are matched with Chase senior business consultants who provide three- to six-month advisory services such as mentorship, business development coaching and financial planning. Open to customers and noncustomers, the local team of six consultants will help New Jersey-area businesses that have been operating for two years and have at least $100,000 in annual revenues.

Beyond this new team of community and finance leaders focusing on New Jersey, JPMorgan Chase is investing in the state to drive inclusive economic opportunity among communities of color. Recently, the firm launched the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Newark through a $1 million investment to help business owners of color grow their ventures by increasing access to flexible capital and technical assistance. The firm also supports Braven in Newark and Camden, investing in the organization’s efforts to provide young people with career-readiness support at anchor institutions like Rutgers University.