Preparing for the worst, America’s largest bank is going on lock down to prepare for the coronavirus. It’s all part of JPMorgan’s “virus contingency plan” that calls on thousands of US employees to work from home and others to be relocated. The bank’s risk department said the plans are a “precautionary” measure to reduce physical contact should a case of coronavirus arise.
Not only will thousands of employees get to work from home, but the bank will also be relocating some of their sales and trading staff to backup locations. JPMorgan will shift some workers in New York and London to new locations where the coronavirus is not reportedly spreading.
“Dividing our workforce into different locations improves our ability to serve clients continuously while reducing the health risks associated with physical contact should a case arise,” says Brian Marchiony, a bank spokesman.
The bank is preparing for the worst. Should they have to close their domestic offices, at least 10 percent of the workforce will be able to work remotely and continue to serve customers in some capacity.
JPMorgan has code-named the resiliency plan “Project Kennedy.” With 127,137 employees, JPMorgan has a lot at stake. During this time of preparedness, at least 12,000 employees will be cleared to work from home. According to internal memos, the bank is having branch workers sanitize offices, equipment, elevators, and door handles, too. No one knows how long this scenario will play out. No one knows how long the fear of this virus will last.
These are not the only plans being discussed. The bank’s risk department is debating how they might quarantine staff or how far apart they might require traders to sit from one another in meetings. The bank is also testing out its telecommuting policy in case of a pandemic, utilizing digital tools such as teleconference. The bank is also restricting non-essential international travel for all employees, limiting person-to-person contact.
Even if this resiliency plan works at first, JPMorgan won’t be operational unless thousands of tellers show up to the bank’s 4,976 branches located around the country. The tellers have to show up to work in order for the bank to function. If the tellers don’t show up because of sickness, panic, travel restriction, food shortage or quarantine, it’s possible that the bank’s elite would have to leave their cozy offices and serve customers in the field. Regardless, in the event of a pandemic, the bank’s highest paid employees will get preferential treatment first, with the ability to work away from the public, in cubicles or home offices.
JPMorgan isn’t just limiting travel and contact between employees; the bank is also encouraging consumers not to come into the branches. Instead, JPMorgan is encouraging consumers to access bank services through digital channels.
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