Customers Bank, former Sovereign Bank boss Jay S. Sidhu's $11 billion online-banking company, plans to open its Center City business and real estate loan office with a reception for business and political figures and developers at its new outpost in the Two Logan Square office tower Thursday evening.

"Economic conditions in Philadelphia have increased demand" for a bank focused on "emerging and midsized companies," chief executive and chairman Sidhu said in a statement. He will be joined by executive vice president and Philadelphia-area market president Timothy D. Romig and other Customers leaders.

Since 2009, Sidhu has assembled Customers from a former Phoenixville bank owned by members of the late publisher Malcolm Forbes' family and other acquisitions from New England to Chicago and Washington.

Appealing to businesses that may be turned off by big national lenders, Customers Bank has stressed remote services, such as its BankMobile division, headed by Luvleen Sidhu, Jay Sidhu's daughter.

In chasing Philadelphia-based business and developers, Customers is joining a crowded field, including second-tier national banks, such as KeyCorp, M&T, and BB&T; specialized business lenders, such as Tri-State Bank and the Bancorp; and suburban banks, such as DNB First, which have bought their way into Philadelphia through bank mergers since the last recession.

By contrast, Wells Fargo, PNC, TD, and other multi-state banks that bought branch networks around Philadelphia in the late 1900s have been shuttering some of their Philadelphia-area offices.  WSFS Financial Group, of Wilmington, plans to close 30 WSFS and Beneficial Bank offices, a quarter of the combined network, and use savings to improve online services in its planned takeover of Beneficial, the largest bank still based in Philadelphia, over the next year.

Some banks have still more ambitious growth plans. JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive Jamie Dimon said in April that his company plans to open 400 branches this year, and has targeted the Philadelphia-Wilmington area, among others, for growth.

(NEW 9/14): On its Website, the bank has posted plans to open Chase branches "soon" at 795 East Lancaster Ave., Villanova; 1636 Walnut St., Center City Philadelphia; 534 Federal St., Camden; and 201 N. Walnut St., Wilmington. The Philadelphia and Wilmington branches adjoin Chase offices focused on investments and on consumer lending, respectively. Chase employs around 9,000 in the Wilmington area.

Chemical Bank, which absorbed the former J.P. Morgan & Co. and the former Chase Manhattan Bank to form the company now known as J.P. Morgan, had offices in Camden and elsewhere in New Jersey before selling them to PNC Bank in 1995. There are now Chase branches across north and central New Jersey, including the Princeton area. (END NEW) 

Vernon Hill's Republic Bank has added branches in recent years, particularly in South Jersey. Hill, who also runs Metro Bank PLC in England, is striving to recreate the success of his previous company, Commerce Bancorp, which flourished by adding hundreds of quick-service branches in the New York-Washington corridor in pre-smartphone days.

Republic, like the former Commerce, is planning to expand to the New York area, though Hill has not announced plans to invite his friend Donald Trump as a spokesman, as he did when Commerce opened offices in Manhattan in 2001.

Customers Bank founder Sidhu previously built Sovereign Bank from a small Berks County lender to the largest bank based in Eastern Pennsylvania, before he was forced out in a 2007 power struggle by investors who ended up selling the company at a discount to Spain's Banco Santander, which has struggled to hold on to its share in recent years.