The Point at Otterbein University — a building that already houses the university’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) program — can now add fintech (financial technology) to its resume.
Otterbein announced on Friday a partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co. that establishes a fintech research and development arm at The Point. The partnership means Chase will use three spaces at The Point for its staff and Otterbein students to collaborate on fintech R&D, including design, robotics, system engineering, software development, testing and support, and user interface. Chase will join five other tenants at The Point: edgeThingz, ERCO (Educational Robotics of Central Ohio), Nestle, Nikola Labs, and PolymerOhio.
Also, Chase employees will teach some courses at Otterbein, as well as serve on the university’s computer science advisory board. Officials have said the partnership will generate 75 to 100 full-time jobs.
“Our partnership with JPMorgan Chase is an example of the Otterbein model for a 21st century liberal arts education,” said Otterbein President John Comerford at the announcement. “Our town-gown relationship with Westerville is now stronger with the addition of JPMorgan Chase as a leading business partner at The Point. This partnership will allow our students to have R&D experience and increase their critical thinking to new heights.
“The ‘Ivory Tower’ must fall,” Comerford continued. “We must get out in the community. We are not done innovating.”
More than 250 Otterbein alumni currently work with Chase in central Ohio.
“Our firm is incredibly focused on innovation — in the solutions we offer to our customers, the culture we create for our employees, and the focus we bring to our communities,” said Corrine Burger, Columbus location leader and chief control officer for JPMorgan Chase. “Our partnership with The Point at Otterbein and JobsOhio is a unique opportunity to think differently and work with the next generation of innovators to solve real-world challenges within our community and beyond.”
Also joining in the partnership is Westerville, since Chase is the largest employer in the city.
“Westerville set out to redefine how cities, businesses and higher learning work together, and this fintech partnership is largely the realization of that idea,” said Westerville City Manager David Collinsworth. “This was a key part of our economic development strategy and proves that cities can go a step further and start the conversation when it comes to fully integrating the power of business with workforce and students. As we pursued this strategy, JPMorgan Chase and Otterbein were collaborative and nimble. We expect this to be a new model for other town-gown communities.”
Collinsworth and Comerford each praised the university’s previous president, Kathy Krendl, for her vision in turning what was once a storage facility into a STEAM learning center.
In addition, JobsOhio has provided an R&D Center Grant to The Point at Otterbein.
“This partnership between JPMorgan Chase and Otterbein University establishes a financial technology innovation space unlike any in the world, and it is happening in Westerville, Ohio,” said Valentina Isakina, JobsOhio managing director for financial services. “JPMorgan Chase’s choice of location for this unprecedented model of R&D and learning demonstrates the world-class quality of talent, collaboration and innovation potential ready to be tapped into in Ohio.”
With the increase of online and mobile banking, tellers and brick-and-mortar locations are getting less use, which is reflected in the design of newer Chase locations, such as the one currently being built in Sunbury.