Charles Schwab says it is temporarily shutting down branches to customers in the Bay Area and is struggling with having workers telecommute, according to news reports.
The branches in the Bay Area will be closed to customers through April 7, according to Bloomberg. Schwab is also considering closing all its U.S. branches to customers, San Francisco Business Times writes.
The company had 360 offices in 48 states as of December 31, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, even as Schwab is moving more people into work-from-home situations, the company has run into problems with the arrangement, according to the news service.
More than 7,000 of Schwab’s 20,000 workers are already working from home, and the company hopes even more will do so soon, Nigel Murtagh, executive vice president of corporate risk, said in a memo to employees, according to Bloomberg.
All employees who have the ability to work remotely are allowed to do so, Schwab spokeswoman Mayura Hooper told the news service in an email. This doesn’t extend to employees carrying out “certain critical functions,” including those “in network operations, cybersecurity, trading, call centers, and other areas,” she said, according to Bloomberg.
At the same time, however, Schwab has admitted that its systems haven’t been designed for such a large proportion of staff to work remotely, the news service writes.
“Even with our plans in place, this crisis has brought forth some unpredictable issues that we are working to address now,” Murtagh wrote in the memo cited by Bloomberg. “Like many companies, we simply did not build into our plan the need to have the majority of employees work from home at the same time. So, we are in the process of building out that capability now, as quickly as possible.”
Many other financial services firms have been allowing or ordering their employees to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected close to 220,000 people around the world and more than 8,300 in the U.S., where 147 have died, according to news reports.
Earlier this week, Wells Fargo told non-client facing staff to work from home but likewise excluded some staff from the arrangement, including branch employees and staff at call centers and operations centers and their managers.
Edward Jones suspended residential visits by its financial advisor and is restricting branch access, although it’s keeping them open for now.
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