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Citigroup (C) Mulls to Slowly Reopen US Branches From July

Zacks Equity Research

As the restrictions regarding the coronavirus-induced lockdown are gradually easing, Citigroup C mulls to reopen doors to its New York headquarters to a limited number of employees in July. The news was reported by Bloomberg.

CEO Michael Corbat told Bloomberg that the company plans to return about 5% of the 12,000-odd staff to its main building in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood as early as July or August. Whereas, about 5,000 employees will be allowed to resume work at the Canary Wharf complex in London in June.

Notably, Citigroup recently increased staffing to 50% in Hong Kong as the pandemic has been better contained there.

“It’s going to be driven by data, it’s likely to be slow, it’s going to be granular, site-by-site and within those sites, job-by-job,” Corbat said in a Bloomberg “Front Row” interview.

However, the major hurdle for Corbat does not seem to be about maintaining social distancing at the branches but about how to bring employees to the office. The majority of people are concerned about being exposed to the virus, while commuting to offices.

As part of the post Covid-19 outbreak plans, Corbat will look to avoid business travel as much as possible, since he is satisfied with the quality of online meetings and conferences with clients during the lockdown period.

At the same time, considering the importance of face-to-face interactions between employees and clients, Citigroup seeks to tap new locations in the New York suburbs to make it easier for employees “who might be uncomfortable getting on mass transit”, the article said.

At present, none of the Wall Street biggies has come up with similar plans of reopening branches. However, with the states relaxing lockdown and allowing the opening of businesses on conditions of proper social distancing, wearing masks and maintaining personal hygiene, other banks will soon follow the suit.

Shares of Citigroup have slumped 34.6% over the past six months compared with a 31.4% decline recorded by the industry.

 

 

The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Stocks to Consider From the Sector

West Bancorporation’s WTBA ongoing-year earnings estimates have moved up in the past 60 days. Further, the company’s shares have declined 26.3% over the past six months. At present, it sports a Zacks Rank of 1.

Merchants Bancorp’s MBIN current-year earnings estimates moved north in 60 days.  Additionally, the stock has depreciated 4.4% over the past six months. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

New York Community Bancorp’s NYCB ongoing-year earnings estimates have moved up in the past 60 days. Further, the company’s shares have declined 14.5% over the past six months. At present, it carries a Zacks Rank of 2.

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