JPMorgan set to temporarily close 20% of its U.S. branches

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(March 19): JPMorgan Chase & Co. plans to temporarily shut 20% of its 4,976 branches in the U.S. to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The biggest U.S. bank also told some branch workers -- including advisers and small-business bankers -- that they can work from home starting Thursday, according to a memo to staff from Thasunda Duckett, who runs the consumer branch network.

The closures are distributed across the country and aren’t necessarily concentrated in areas that have been Covid-19 hot spots, JPMorgan spokeswoman Trish Wexler said. The bank has prioritized keeping open branches that have drive-thrus or teller partition glass.

“Chase is open for business in every one of our markets, with bankers in our branches ready to help customers across our entire footprint,” Wexler said in an emailed statement. “Our temporarily smaller footprint will allow us to provide appropriate coverage in every market we serve.”

Many of JPMorgan’s worldwide employees who work from corporate offices were asked late Friday to start working from home this week. The previous directives didn’t apply to branch workers or operations staff, many of whom are in roles that can’t be done at home.

The roughly 4,000 branches that remain open will operate under shorter hours during the week. In most cases of a branch closure, another JPMorgan location is within walking distance, Wexler said.

Workers have been given two additional paid days off, according to the memo. Branch employees will be paid for their regularly scheduled shifts even if their hours are reduced or if the branch has closed, according to the memo.