Credit: Courtesy of Lucy Kennedy

SACO, Maine — JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon sat under a tent outside the local branch here on Thursday, listening to employee feedback on the bank’s operations in Maine, with temperatures in the 90s.

The employees were just as direct as the plain-speaking Dimon, who is known for walking into a branch and talking to a customer or pulling aside an employee at the office and getting feedback.

The head of the country’s largest bank learned about ways to make his business better in his first visit to the Saco branch.

“I learned a bunch of things that we don’t do particularly well,” he said. “I heard one terrible story, and we’re taking care of it now.”

Dimon stopped in Maine on an annual bus tour with other managers to visit local branches and interact with employees. Part of the trip was to announce the bank’s expansion in New England, including adding two branches to the existing four in Maine by 2025.

The first is planned in Yarmouth in 2024 and the location of the second has not been announced. It already has branches in Saco, Portland, Falmouth and Westbrook.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (center) hears feedback from Maine employees at the company’s Saco branch where he visited on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Credit: Courtesy of Lucy Kennedy

Dressed casually in jeans and a blue polo shirt, Dimon said it is important for management to visit employees and listen to them, whether it be about a check taking too long to clear or a customer being on hold too long.

“We’re going to find out what happened and then we will go fix stuff,” said Dimon, a native of New York City who spent the early morning walking around Portland’s Old Port and called it “awful cute.”

It was the type of one-on-one time you might not expect of the leader of a global company with 250,000 employees. But that type of personal interaction is where Dimon says he gets ideas to improve operations and what has given him the reputation as an influential, stellar manager.

The storied New York-based bank entered Maine four years ago, but it already has 200,000 consumer customers, nearly 7,000 business customers, four branches and eight ATMs. It also has 11 branches in Massachusetts, five in Rhode Island, four in New Hampshire and two in Vermont.

With $3.74 trillion in assets in 2021, it is magnitudes larger than the two largest Maine-based banks, with Bangor Savings Bank having $6.18 billion in assets and Camden National Bank having $5.5 billion.

The bank can compete with its digital products, credit cards already used by Mainers and its ability to support businesses expanding overseas, said Doug Petno, CEO of JPMorgan’s commercial bank.

“We have a breadth of solutions that can give customers peace of mind,” he said.

Peace of mind is important to Dimon as well. He has been described as “the toughest guy on Wall Street” and “America’s least-hated banker,” the latter by the New York Times lauding his leadership for keeping the bank profitable and continuing to offer credit during the Great Recession.

Dimon considers himself more of a Ted Lasso type of manager, referring to the Apple TV show about an American football coach hired to manage a British soccer team who uses optimism and determination to fill in for his lack of knowledge.

“I really want my legacy to be that I made the world a better place while I was here, and that’s it,” Dimon said. “That people trusted and respected me and I gave it my best and left it all on the field.”

Avatar photo

Lori Valigra

Lori Valigra, senior reporter for economy and business, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...