JPMorgan Chase has announced that it is temporarily shutting down around 20 percent of its bank branches due to the coronavirus outbreak. The bank, which is based out of New York, currently has 256,981 employees distributed at 4,976 branches.
JP Morgan is the largest bank in the U.S. by assets and is the first banking conglomerate to announce broad closures. In addition to the closures, the remaining branches will operate with a reduced staff.
“This will help us protect our employees as we provide essential services to our customers and the communities we serve,” an unnamed spokesman for the bank said.
Banks have restricted travel for employees in recent weeks, while also having some work from home or from backup work sites. This is the first change, however, that affects retail consumers.
The plan to shutter around 1,000 of JP Morgan’s locations started on Thursday. The ban didn’t announce which locations would be affected but stressed that the remaining open branches would be sufficient to serve its communities.
Patricia Wexler, a JP Morgan spokeswoman, said: “Our temporarily smaller footprint will allow us to provide appropriate coverage in every market we serve so we can continue to serve our clients.”
Officials with the bank also said that its non-teller employees such as its mortgage bankers and financial advisors are working from home. In this way, the bank is able to comply with distancing standards recommended by the CDC.
Employees at branches that remain open are working in drive-throughs or behind glass to protect its employees and customers. The bank has also reduced its hours of operation in branches that remain open. However, JP Morgan says employees will still be paid their full income.
The head of JPMorgan’s retail bank, Thasunda Brown Ducket, said: “Every day, I’m asking what more I can do, as a mother, as a daughter, and as a CEO.”
Ducket went on to communicate to her staff in a memo by saying, “You are my tribe and your health and safety is important to me. I am balancing that with the fact that we are essential to the communities we serve, and we need to be there to help.”