Factbox: Global Big Banks Plot Back-to-Office Plans As Vaccines Roll Out

Chase
FILE PHOTO: Chase ATM machines are seen in New York City, U.S., March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The biggest banks in the world plan to re-open their offices, emboldened by aggressive vaccination drives and falling COVID-19 cases in major financial hubs, after sending most employees home early last year to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Banks globally are adopting different methods to ensure a successful back-to-office plan including hybrid working models and vaccination drives.

Here is the state of play with back-to-office plans in various regions:

UNITED STATES

Wells Fargo & Co

The bank’s U.S. staff working from home will begin returning to office from Sept. 7 and the process will continue through October, Chief Operating Officer Scott Powell told employees in a memo seen by Reuters. Returns to office will be organized by job function and location.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc

The bank planned to bring U.S. employees back to the office by mid-June.

JPMorgan Chase & Co

The largest U.S. bank will bring its employees in the United States back to the office on a rotational basis from July and plans to maintain a 50% occupancy cap during the return-to-office phase.

The bank also plans to step up the return of all of its employees in England to working at least part of their week in its offices from June 21.

Citigroup Inc

CEO Jane Fraser said in a memo in March that post-pandemic, most of the employees would be able to work in a “hybrid” setting, allowing them to work from home for up to two days a week.

Morgan Stanley 

The bank’s chief executive officer, James Gorman, said if most employees are not back to work at the bank’s Manhattan headquarters in September, he will be “very disappointed”.

Gorman said his bank’s policy will vary by location, noting the firm’s 2,000 employees in India will not return to offices this year. 

The bank’s staff and clients will not be allowed to enter its New York offices if they are not fully vaccinated, according to a source familiar with the matter. Employees, clients, and visitors will be required to attest to being fully vaccinated to access the bank’s offices in New York and Westchester, the source said.

Bank of America Corp 

The lender expects all of its vaccinated employees to return to the office after Labor Day in early September, and will then focus on developing plans to bring back unvaccinated workers to its sites, Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan told https://bloom.bg/3gyALn3 Bloomberg News in an interview. 

UNITED KINGDOM

Barclays

CEO Jes Staley has said the bank will adopt a hybrid working model and will reduce its real estate footprint but maintain its main offices in London and New York. 

HSBC Holdings

HSBC has said it plans to cut its global office footprint by around 40% as it moves to a hybrid working model for most employees. The lender moved 1,200 call center staff in Britain to permanent home working contracts, Reuters reported in April, going further than some rivals in cementing changes to working patterns.

Lloyds Banking Group 

Britain’s biggest domestic bank is hoping to resume office-based trials and experiments with around 5,000 of its staff this summer, once government restrictions allow. The lender has said it plans to cut 20% of its office space over two years.

Standard Chartered

StanChart said it will make permanent the flexible working arrangements introduced during the pandemic, and that it could cut a third of its office space in the next three to four years.

NatWest 

CEO Alison Rose has said the bank is likely to adopt a hybrid working model, but has stressed offices will remain important as a place to bring people together to collaborate.

GERMANY

Deutsche Bank 

Deutsche Bank in London plans to bring more staff back from June 21, assuming the city’s lockdown restrictions are loosened, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Germany’s largest lender has also told its investment bankers in the U.S. that it expects them to resume working from office no later than Labor Day, according to a memo seen by Reuters. The bank earlier said it was following a regional approach to the pandemic and return to the office issues, reflecting the different situations in individual countries.

SWITZERLAND

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse in July 2020 launched a global program evaluating various work-from-home options, which are expected to shape its post-pandemic working models. It has been monitoring and adapting work arrangements since launching work-from-home globally in March 2020, taking into account local guidelines.

UBS

UBS Chairman Axel Weber in May said flexibility would remain part of work arrangements at Switzerland’s biggest bank going forward, where roles allow. Return to office plans vary from region to region, in accordance with local government guidelines.

CANADA

Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest lender, is exploring a flexible and hybrid work arrangement to bring its employees back to the office, Chief Executive Officer David McKay said. 

Source: Company statements, memo, sources

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru, Iain Withers and Lawrence White in London, Tom Sims in Frankfurt and Oliver Hirt in Zurich, and Matt Scuffham and Elizabeth Dilts Marshall in New York; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Ramakrishnan M.; Reuters

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