Writer: Felipe Rivas
2 min read May 2021 — Though lampooned by Saturday Night Live as the “the regional banking capital of the world,” Charlotte’s long-standing reputation as the preeminent banking hub outside of New York City rings truer now as the Tar Heel state continues to pull healthy economic expansion activity in the face of a recovering national economy.
Anchored by the Queen City’s legacy as a banking and financial services powerhouse, and the Triangle’s penchant for tech-savvy talent and research and development opportunities, North Carolina continues to be a desirable location for financial sector growth, as evidenced by recent May expansion announcements.
Household-name personal finance technology company Credit Karma and multinational financial services corporation Fidelity Investments are the latest industry giants to expand their presence in the North Carolina market. Credit Karma chose Mecklenburg County as the site of its East Coast HQ while Fidelity nestled in the highly dynamic and talent-rich Research Triangle Park in the Raleigh-Durham area.
Known for providing millions of consumers free access to their credit scores, Credit Karma is looking to add 600 new jobs in the Charlotte market as part of its East Coast expansion. The company is seeking to invest north of $13 million to expand its Charlotte presence with a new high-tech engineering hub, the North Carolina governor’s office reported.
“Credit Karma has been in Charlotte for four years and with the significant incentives provided by the state of North Carolina and from the city of Charlotte, we are doubling down on the market and making this our East Coast headquarters,” Credit Karma Founder and CEO Kenneth Lin said in a press release.
North Carolina’s diverse tech talent pool is among the main tailwinds fueling economic expansion decisions, leaders say. “The intersection of technical talent and having so many financial companies concentrated in one market makes Charlotte’s talent pool unrivaled for the roles Credit Karma is recruiting for as we accelerate on building products to deliver on our mission of championing financial progress for all,” Lin said.
“North Carolina has one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the nation,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders echoing Lin’s sentiments. “Credit Karma’s expansion affirms that North Carolina’s burgeoning fintech ecosystem, with our highly-skilled and diverse workforce and world-class research institutions, is the platform for innovative companies to develop advanced technologies.”
Fidelity’s North Carolina expansion proves the state’s prowess in the financial services sector is influencing markets beyond the Charlotte MSA. Fidelity is slated to create over 500 jobs as it grows its personal investment business, according to the governor’s office.
“Fidelity Investments is excited to grow our footprint and expand our existing regional site in North Carolina,” Fidelity Investments Market Leader Rob Merdes said in a press release. “We’re increasing the number of customer-facing employees to support not only unprecedented client growth and engagement, but also our associates who work hard every day to help our customers. Expanding in North Carolina gives us access to a talented and diverse workforce in The Tar Heel State to fill these entry-level positions that are new to this market for us. North Carolina will continue to play an important role in our company’s growth.”