JPMorgan Chase appoints a former Obama advisor to lead its burgeoning fintech strategy

Seth Wheeler, a former economic advisor to President Obama, has joined JPMorgan Chase as a managing director leading fintech and innovation strategy, multiple sources told Quartz.

Wheeler will “help lead fintech and innovation strategy at the bank’s Consumer and Community Bank,” according to an email he sent on March 6. “I’m thrilled that I’ll get to work with a talented team in helping JP Morgan Chase refine its strategy in digital banking and consumer lending, digital wealth management, payments, and small business banking,” Wheeler’s email said. He most recently was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institute.

JPMorgan Chase confirmed to Quartz that Wheeler joined the firm earlier this year.

Over the past few months, biggest US bank in total assets has announced new projects in fintech. JPMorgan recently announced a revamped website, and plans to update its mobile app. The bank will release a mobile wallet, Chase Pay, later this year. JPMorgan has partnered with alternative lender OnDeck to provide loans to small business clients. It also announced a test on money transfers between the US and Toyko utilizing blockchain and distributed ledgers, the technology behind bitcoin.

Wheeler has spent the bulk of his career in politics and worked as a senior advisor at the Treasury department during President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008. In 2010, Wheeler joined the National Economic Council as a senior advisor on housing policy to President Obama, then expanded his advisory work to include technology in financial services.

Experience in politics will be important as JPMorgan Chase—and regulators—become more interested in fintech. Regulators remain on the fence about blockchain technology. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) started accepting complaints about marketplace lenders, and cracked down on payments startup Dwolla over data security practices over the past weeks.

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