Amazon Exploring Banking Partnerships
Online retail giant Amazon is exploring the possibility of expanding into the banking industry, reports the Wall Street Journal. Fresh on the heels of its acquisition of grocery retailer Whole Foods, the online retailer has reportedly been in talks with JPMorgan Chase about building a “checking-account-like” product for Amazon customers, according to those familiar with the matter.
Amazon reviewing bank partnership proposals
According to the article, the talks are in an early stage and may not come to fruition. However, Amazon reportedly requested proposals for a hybrid-type checking account last fall and is said to be reviewing proposals from both JPMorgan and Capital One Financial Corp.
Amazon seeks a collaborative approach
Amazon is unlikely to become a bank itself, according to the report. Regulations enacted after the financial crisis serve as a deterrent to industry challenges. A new Amazon banking arm would reportedly be subject to capital rules and regulations that could curtail other Amazon expansion efforts.
Amazon’s collaborative approach would instead allow banking partners to strengthen ties to the company and give consumers the potential to write checks, pay bills or access ATM networks, while Amazon may be able to reduce its bank and payment processor fees.
Retailer may eventually move into lending space
Separately, Amazon is also said to be looking to hire a leader for a newly formed mortgage lending division, according to HousingWire. The article reports that beyond exploring checking programs, the retail giant may eventually move into the debt product space. According to the report, Amazon is said to be scouting talent from top nonbank lenders.