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Federal Reserve keeps people at home as big banks call staffers back to office

Yahoo Finance's Brian Cheung joins Zack Guzman to discuss why the Federal Reserve contiues to work from home as Wall Street staffers head back into the office.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: I'm still at home. We're still working from home here. The Fed also is still working from home, but some of those big Wall Street banks, not so much. And for more on that, I want to bring on Yahoo Finance's bank reporter here, Brian Cheung, back with us once again. And Brian, explain this dichotomy here. The regulators still working from home, but the banks aren't.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Absolutely, well, there's a bit of a difference between Wall Street and the Federal Reserve where Wall Street is trying to start bringing back their employees to the office. When you think about JPMorgan Chase reporting in mid-October that already 20% of its staff in New York and London had returned to the office. They hit a snag in September when one member of their trading desk did get sick with COVID-19. They had to send a number of others home.

At Citigroup, they said that they've been ramping up their efforts to bring employees back to the New York tri-state area beginning in the first week of October. But at the world's most important arguably bank, the Federal Reserve, not the case. So my own reporting shows that the Federal Reserve is on a full time telework format. They've been able to do that across the 12 regional banks, across the country in addition to the headquarters in Washington DC. The Federal Reserve telling me in a statement that quote, "They're operating in a full time telework status," and adding, "We will also consider that guidance from public health officials, availability of testing, local conditions and the status of transportation and other critical infrastructure to determine how best to continue to support the broader economy, financial system and the public."

I've been told also that at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, some staff were told that the earliest they would be called back into the office would be July 6 of 2021. Now, because of the Fed structure, each Reserve bank has a little bit of their own ability to decide when to call employees back to work, but at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, for example, Mary Daly, the Fed president and CEO there, saying just a few weeks ago about 94% of the bank has been working home since March, which shows really not much urgency to call them back into the office. The Federal Reserve, for all the things that they've done so far, appear not to me to be in the office to do any of those things. Zack.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, at least for the time being, we'll see how that continues here for the rest of 2020. But Brian Cheung, appreciate you bringing us that.