JPMorgan Chase is to raise wages for 18,000 low-ranking US employees and said the private sector should do more to address income inequality. 

The biggest US bank by assets will lift over the next three years its minimum salary for US bank tellers and customer service representatives from $10.15 an hour to between $12 and $16.50, chief executive Jamie Dimon said. 

"A pay increase is the right thing to do. Wages for many Americans have gone nowhere for too long," Dimon said. 

"Above all, it enables more people to begin to share in the rewards of economic growth," he added. 

The move follows US salary increases announced over the last year and a half by several large companies, including Wal-Mart Stores, McDonald's and, just yesterday, Starbucks.

The issues of wage stagnation and the widening income gap with the rich, along with the view that big banks like JPMorgan largely escaped punishment for their role in causing the 2008 financial crisis, have been seen as factors in the rise of populist appeals by US presidential candidates. 

Dimon cited surveys showing that two-thirds of Americans believe the next generation will be worse off than the last. His article highlighted job-training initiatives supported by the bank. 

"It is true that too many people are not getting a fair opportunity to get ahead," Dimon said. 

"We must find ways to help them move up the economic ladder, and everyone - business, government and nonprofits - needs to play a role." 

Dimon said some businesses may not be able to afford wage hikes right now, but should still work to address income inequality by encouraging continuous training and identifying mentors to help employees.