Delaware County Treasurer Don Rankey has announced JPMorgan Chase Bank has been selected to begin handling the county’s money beginning with the first fiscal quarter of the year.

The four-year contract was awarded to Chase after a “rigorous selection process” that was overseen by the treasurer’s office and included the Delaware County Auditor’s Office and Prosecutor’s Office, according to a release from the treasurer’s office. In total, seven banks submitted proposals for consideration.

“We’re very pleased to be working with Delaware County,” said Zubair Ahmed, a commercial banker at JPMorgan Chase. “With our breadth of services and long history of serving citizens and governments, we intend to be a valuable partner with the county.”

Rankey said of the decision, “Chase submitted a great proposal and offered many benefits to the county. We’re no longer running this office like a traditional county department; we’re running it like a business. We’re doing our due diligence and that includes selecting the best bank for the county, and I believe that bank is Chase.”

Rankey added that he wanted to “take the politics out of (the decision),” which is why he set up the committee that included many different figures making the collective recommendation to him. “I felt it was a very fair process, probably more fair than it’s ever been before,” he said.

Asked what stood out about Chase’s proposal, Rankey said the bank “offered so many additional things that nobody else provided.”

Rick Karr, the county’s chief investment officer, said JPMorgan Chase Bank having its own internal systems and not using third parties was a key, as was its comprehensive treasury management systems.

“Obviously, they’re used to handling a very wide range of large businesses to very large government entities, so the comprehensive services that they’re offering (are important),” Karr added. “There are no fees in the first year we’re working with them. And then I would say they also come back to us and provide us with additional deposit services that we can hold temporary money in and still earn some significant interest based on and equal to that that we can do with things like STAR Ohio.”

Karr also pointed out a virtual vault program with Chase that will reduce their trips to the bank as another benefit of the change, as well as “a lot of integrated payment services that I think will be of value to the taxpayers and the treasurer’s office as we move forward.”

Previously, First Commonwealth Bank served as the county’s bank of choice and had done so for the past 52 years. However, while Rankey said they have been “very pleased” with First Commonwealth’s service, he said no interest was being earned on their dollars. The interest returns the county was losing out on also factored significantly in the move.

“We’re now collecting close to $7oo million in real estate taxes, and on any given day, there could be $100-150 million sitting down at First Commonwealth at 0% interest,” Rankey said. “I now have Rick (Karr) taking that money and moving it every day to STAR Ohio, where we get a little bit better interest on it. But last year, I think we determined that our interest yield loss by having so much money down there was, like, $1.2 million … That’s a lot of money, and over a five or six-year period, it was, like, $3.5 million.”

By Dillon Davis

[email protected]

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.