LONDON - JPMorgan Chase & Co has hired former HSBC Holdings Plc executive Jeremy Balkin as head of fintech and innovation for wholesale payments, the bank said on Tuesday. In his new role, Balkin will oversee fintech and innovation initiatives for wholesale payments, and be involved in JPMorgan's decisions to invest or partner with companies that can help further its strategy in the space, the bank said. At HSBC in the United States Balkin served as head of innovation and strategic digital partnerships, leading a team whose responsibilities included improving digital customer experience and identifying new products and services. Among the team's projects was the deployment of humanoid robot Pepper in HSBC's Fifth Avenue flagship New York branch. HSBC suggested last month it was trying to sell its U.S. retail unit, a business that has long underperformed. Balkin's appointment comes as large banks continue to invest in innovation and financial technology to improve their digital offerings for both business and retail clients. There has been explosive growth in digital payments over the past few years as more commerce moves online. JPMorgan's wholesale payments division also recently appointed former BlueVine and PayPal Holdings Inc executive Brad Brodigan as global head of small and medium business for merchant services, the bank said. Brodigan's responsibilities will include sales and partnerships, according to the bank. REUTERS
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