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Banking on a hometown talent

Commercial banker Matthew Tipple has traveled the world, but when it came to raising a family, he found there is no place like home.

The McQuaid High School graduate takes over as market executive for middle market commercial banking in Rochester for JPMorgan Chase & Co. as Malcolm “Sandy” Wolcott prepares to retire in February.

The position Wolcott holds as vice chairman of middle market for the Northeast region ends with his tenure, but the bank still wanted someone to serve as the face of the bank in the Rochester market, a region between Buffalo and Syracuse that extends into the Southern Tier and northern Pennsylvania.

“He’s perfect for the job, just perfect,” Wolcott says of the young up-and-comer. “He’s committed to the area, which is great, but also, he appreciates the quality of life in Rochester.”

JPMorgan Chase is fourth in terms of market share in the Rochester area at 10 percent, with $1.86 billion in local deposits in 2016, down from $2.2 billion in 2015. The bank has 26 offices and more than 300 employees based locally. While Tipple is not in charge of all 300, he is responsible for overseeing relationships with more than 200 middle market businesses from Rochester south into Pennsylvania.

“Matt is just a very bright guy,” said Robert McArdle, an executive director for the bank who oversees both the Rochester and Buffalo regions.  “He’s shown a lot of great energy, and he’s just done a great job developing his client base and attracting new clients to us. He was just the logical choice.”

After many experiences abroad, including time in the Netherlands and two years living in the upscale Kensington section of London, Tipple, 41, could not be happier to be back.

Return to Rochester

He and his wife, Julie, a Midwesterner, decided to return to the U.S. and settle in Rochester when she became pregnant with their first-born.

“It was helpful that we spent some time going in and out of Wegmans in the course of our travels. That sold her, I think,” he says, slightly tongue-in-cheek.

Tipple not only persuaded his wife that his hometown was the place to raise their family, but Rochester also won over her parents, who moved here from Toledo, Ohio, to be close to their grandkids—boys ages 3, 5 and 8.

“The one thing about Rochester that I think is wonderful is that we’ve got all these universities, and we’re close enough to New York City that we’re a pretty sophisticated group of people, but we have a lot of good Midwestern values,” he said.

Tipple also found himself reconnecting with old friends when he returned, many of whom were also starting families.

“I didn’t keep great contact over the years, but coming back really has been easy. A lot of my friends from school are still here, and it’s fun now that we’re all at a point in our lives where we’re raising families. We’ll see each other at the baseball fields or at the supermarket with a herd of kids. It’s been fun to come back, and the community has been very welcoming,” he says.

Attending the various sporting activities of his children keeps him busy in his free time, and when the weather is nice, he likes to take them fishing, he says.

In his new professional role, Tipple is looking to deepen the bank’s connections in the region.

“I’m excited about growing the business in Rochester,” he says. “We have this community local presence that we can leverage and we also have this global expertise, so it’s just trying to figure out how can I get the word out and make sure people understand we’re a resource. That’s what I think about a lot.”

Unlike smaller banks, JPMorgan Chase has connections to industry experts around the world and the ability to work with businesses internationally.

“What we’re seeing with globalization and the internet is that smaller companies are starting to look globally for expansion and growth. We try to leverage our resources, our network or expertise to help them with that. That’s really a trend all over the place,” he says.

For example, JPMorgan Chase can help a business that needs to borrow or operate in a foreign currency, such as the Chinese renminbi, he says. The bank also helps businesses process credit cards from abroad.

“Many regional banks outsource their credit card processing business. We’re fortunate to have our own, and it’s one of the biggest in the world,” he says. “Other banks might have to partner; they might have to call different organizations and try to point their customers in the right direction. We have internal expertise that we can leverage to help create solutions, solve problems.”

Path to banking

Tipple is a relatively new hire at the bank, recruited from M&T Bank three years ago. But he started his career working for a financial services startup in Vermont after receiving his undergraduate degree in economics.

“I just was fascinated with economics because it’s as much philosophical as it is tangible. It’s as much theory as it is practical. I think that’s what interested me when I studied it,” he says.

His first job involved managing bond portfolios, a job that took him to Boston where he met his wife. That, in turn, led him to London, after one of his customers hired him to work in asset management for a division that has since been absorbed by another firm. He and his wife spent a happy two years traveling through Europe during their free time.

Favorite locales include London, Amsterdam and Paris, he said. But Vienna also holds a special place in his heart.

“At this time of year, many squares in the city become Christmas markets with beautiful lights and host stands offering strudels, warm drinks and holiday gifts,” he says.

Classical music and good food—schnitzel, goulash, pastries and pancakes—are all things he remembers fondly.

But his wife’s pregnancy led to a recalculation. It was time to settle down, to think about good school systems and putting down roots. They bought a home in Brighton.

Tipple is one of three male, fraternal triplets, and, although he started life in Albany, his family moved to Rochester before he and his brothers started elementary school at School 46. Though the family moved out of Rochester for several years for his father’s work, they returned before he started high school, enrolling at McQuaid.

“It’s nice to know that my boys will have those same experiences (that I did). They know all these folks they’re growing up with now. They’re going to have this fondness and memories of Rochester. That’s the kind of stuff you can’t really put a price on when you move home,” he says.

When he returned, Tipple set up shop as a consultant and earned his MBA at the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School in 2012. Commercial banking was a natural fit and gave him a chance to get to know the city’s business leaders. He worked briefly at M&T before JPMorgan Chase recruited him.

“We have a lot of technological resources that can be helpful to companies—whether it’s our online technology, our cybersecurity technology, (or) the things we can do with payments and receipts. Whether it helps them do business or earn a little bit more from their business, seeing that is what I enjoy,” he says.

Local advocate

In his new role, Tipple also looks forward to advocating for Rochester and the upstate region when it comes to local giving. The foundation arm of JPMorgan Chase recently invested $100,000 in the Venture Jobs Foundation for a revolving loan fund targeting minority- and women-owned businesses in Rochester.

The foundation also gave a $320,000 grant to Monroe Community College to develop an advanced manufacturing program and has also provided contributions to other upstate colleges aimed at developing the area workforce. In these two cases, the bank was responding to comments from local businesses struggling to find trained workers.

“I think that’s part of the reason why we’re focused on it. It’s helpful for the people who can get the jobs and it’s helpful for the companies that need the workers,” he says.

Tipple says his background in financial services abroad and experience leading teams made him an attractive candidate to head up the Rochester market.

“I can appreciate the depth and breadth of the JPMorgan Chase institution, so I think that was an asset I had that maybe others wouldn’t. And I’m young but I do have some good experience managing other people in prior roles, and I’ve seen a lot over my career,” he says.

He acknowledges that filling Wolcott’s shoes will be a challenge. Wolcott began his career with the company in 1979 at Lincoln First Bank in Rochester, which was later acquired by Chase.

“Sandy has been a great asset to the bank, a great advocate for Upstate New York,” he says.

For his part, Wolcott is looking forward to retirement and heading to Florida, where a new home is under construction and scheduled to be finished by May, he says.

Despite the shift in management, for customers “not a lot is changing,” Tipple says.

“We have a good banking team, a good service team and a good credit team all headquartered here. It’s a great place, a great institution. I’m really excited about what we’re doing in Rochester, so I’m absolutely committed.”

Matthew Tipple

Title: Market executive for middle market commercial banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Rochester

Age: 41

Education: B.A. in economics from University of Vermont, 1999; MBA, University of Rochester Simon Business School, 2012

Family: Wife, Julie; sons: Sean, 8; Simon, 6; Grant, 3

Home: Brighton

Hobbies: reading, spending time with family, attending the kids sporting events, taking the kids fishing.

Quote: “We have this community local presence that we can leverage, and we also have this global expertise, so it’s just trying to figure out how can I get the word out and make sure people understand we’re a resource. That’s what I think about a lot—making sure we have a dialogue with all the business leaders in the community so they know we’re here and we can be helpful.”

1/13/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

 

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