American Express to Freeze Hiring but Avoid Layoffs This Year

American Express will freeze hiring after setting up more than 60,000 staffers to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. But a media report also says the financial-services icon won't lay off anyone this year.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

American Express  (AXP) - Get Report will freeze hiring after setting up more than 60,000 staffers to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York financial-services company will also avoid layoffs this year Chief Executive Steve Squeri said in a video shot on his I-phone.

American Express said it was not cutting employees for now but is looking ways to reduce short-term costs.

At last check American Express shares were up 0.7% to $89.32.

Squeri said the company was "looking at all expense categories and ways we can cut back temporarily without damaging our ability to continue serving our customers well and ensuring we can be in a strong position to hit the ground running when this crisis ends."

More than two-thirds of AmEx’s customer-service teams now work remotely, Squeri said, compared with just 10% two weeks ago. 

He said that "in two weeks, we have completely transformed our global servicing operations, going from a brick-and-mortar, traditional call-center environment to a totally distributed, home-based servicing one."

Earlier this month, American Express warned that the global coronavirus pandemic would hit its revenue-growth targets in the near term, after it noted a "softness" in consumer spending near the end of last month.

American Express said first-quarter revenue growth should come in at 2% to 4%, down from around 9% over the final three months of 2019 and its earlier 2020 forecast of 8% to 10%. 

Adjusted earnings, American Express said, would likely come in between $1.90 and $2.10 per share, compared to a Refinitiv forecast of $2.17.

Companies have been forced to rapidly shift from an office environment to a work-from-home arrangement as governments have banned large gatherings in an effort to halt the spread of the deadly disease.