By Jeff Blumenthal | Philadelphia Business Journal
One of the nation’s largest banks is opening an innovation center in Center City that will house 100 new technology jobs.
Capital One said it has leased space at 1735 Market St., where it plans to hire software engineers, product managers and technical roles to work on “challenging technology problems.”
Jay Michelini, head of technology strategy and business operations at Capital One, said because the company has two of its café locations in Rittenhouse Square and King of Prussia, it is familiar with the Philadelphia region and its talent pool. He said Capital One wants to deepen its ties here by hiring talent where they live to make retail banking products.
Michelini said Capital One also wants to become more closely connected with local colleges and universities, particularly those near Center City. It already has existing relationships with the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State University, but it is looking to foster new ones with other local schools to access what it termed a “rich pool of talent.”
Capital One has signed a lease to take the entire 37th floor at 1735 Market — about 22,000 square feet — and expects the site to be built out sometime in second quarter 2023. Michelini said it will be part of the company’s vision for its hybrid work strategy. There are no preset days where employees must be in the office but when they do, he said the focus will be on collaboration and innovation. Michelini said 1735 Market was selected due to its proximity to Capital One’s Rittenhouse café as well as Suburban Station.
Most of the roles for which Capital One will be hiring involve product engineering for its retail banking side, with a specific focus on enhancing digital banking. For example, the bank recently launched a feature called Early Paycheck that allows customers to access money up to two days early.
Capital One said it has already begun recruiting for a number of roles involving product engineering and design, and that will continue over the next several months. All 100 jobs are in the tech space. Michelini said there is no set timetable for reaching that hiring goal.
“As we build out the location in parallel, we're working with Capital One's existing campus recruiting programs, most notably our technology development program as well as our product development program, to specifically offer roles in this office location and build deeper partnerships with some of the great local universities,” Michelini said. “So we're really excited to not only start hiring right now, but build those sort of foundational systems that are part of Capital One’s broader footprint into the fabric of the community.”
Michelini said that the feedback Capital One has received from potential and current employees is that having a space in Center City is important for recruitment and retention — especially in the current, highly competitive job market.
“I myself live out in West Chester. I was born outside of Philly,” Michelini said. “And after moving to D.C. and Chicago for a number of years, I came back about 10 years ago. So it's something where I've been passionate about this area for a long time and working with a number of other colleagues who are as well. We just thought getting that real downtown location really would help cement ourselves longterm in the market.”
Philadelphia is the second location for such an innovation center. A few months ago, Capital One announced plans for a similar site in Atlanta.
Capital One first gained a reputation in the 1990s for its credit card and auto loan offerings before it entered the retail banking fray in 2005 by acquiring several banks. In 2011, Capital One acquired Delaware-based ING Direct for $9 billion and HSBC’s domestic credit card business, which also had significant Delaware operations, for $2.6 billion. The company received $5.6 million in Delaware state funding for agreeing to expand its presence there by adding 500 jobs by 2013.
Michelini joined Capital One from ING and still works out of Wilmington. He said the company has hundreds of employees in Wilmington and expects collaboration between employees there and the new Philadelphia site, as well as up and down Amtrak's Northeast Corridor in New York and Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.
Based in McLean, Virginia, Capital One is part of Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) and is the 10th-largest U.S. bank with $385 billion in assets as of March 31, according to Federal Reserve data. While competitors such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citicorp, U.S. Bank, PNC Financial Services Group, TD Bank and Truist Bank are trying to prune branch footprints that range from between 1,000 to 5,000 locations, Capital One has just 321 — less than a third of the more than 1,000 it had a decade ago.
Scott Gabrielsen of CBRE represented Capital One in its negotiations with Silverstein Properties, the landlord at 1735 Market.