Citigroup: 5% of Workers Will Return to Offices in July

Citigroup says 5% of its staff will return to offices in July. CEO Corbat says offices are essential to banking.
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Citigroup  (C) - Get Report reportedly has been notifying 5% of its 64,000 U.S. and Canadian employees that they’ll be returning to their offices on July 1 or 2 as the financial services company begins reopening after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of the New York company at last check were down 11% to $49.53 in a tough day for banking stocks.

Some of the people affected are traders who work at Citigroup’s headquarters in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. Others are operations staff in the consumer unit in Tampa and Jacksonville, Fla., Bloomberg reported.

Managers have been asking for volunteers while offering assurances that no one will be forced back to the office, Bloomberg said, citing a person with knowledge of the plan,

“We are taking a phased approach by initially inviting approximately 5% of our colleagues to return at the beginning of July,” Jennifer Lowney, a spokeswoman for Citigroup, told Bloomberg in an emailed statement. 

“We will closely monitor how the health and safety measures we are putting in place are working as well as the conditions where our sites are operating before asking more colleagues to return.”

Citigroup is planning to maintain staffing at 5% through Labor Day, seeing how things go, and then starting to ramp up toward 30%, Bloomberg said.

New York has begun the first phase of a four-phase reopening plan. Citigroup's building at 388 Greenwich Street was occupied by some 12,000 employees before the coronavirus pandemic. The company cleared out the facility in mid-March, like most employers in New York State.

While many financial-services companies have supported working from home permanently, Citigroup CEO Mike Corbat told Bloomberg offices are essential to the nature of banking.

Aside from a small number of essential workers, it has been mostly vacant for the past three months.

The bank this month started repopulating its London offices at 10% of capacity. In Hong Kong, it recently increased that level to 50%.