In line with recent trends in the banking industry, Citigroup (NYSE:C) is temporarily closing many of its branches. The company, one of the "big four" American banks, is to close up to 15% of those outlets to help mitigate the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, it revealed to the media.
All told, around 700 branches will be shuttered. The closings will affect branches only in the company's key markets, specifically its home base of New York, as well as Washington D.C., Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. They will be enacted by the end of this week.
"As our clients and communities increasingly self-isolate, we have noticed shifts in foot traffic and market dynamics -- so to best meet our changing customer needs we have begun to temporarily close branches," a Citigroup spokesman told Reuters.
The big four banks each employee thousands of people in this country. They have taken measures, such as encouraging work-from-home situations, to defend against the rapidly advancing coronavirus and sustain the morale of their employees. Still, staffers are needed to keep at least some branches functioning, as well as many related and ancillary services.
Banks, particularly the big four, have had a rollercoaster of a time during the coronavirus crisis. On the government's likely passing of the coronavirus stimulus bill, investors are coming back to banking stocks on the reasonable assumption that these companies will benefit from an economic recovery once the crisis abates.
Citigroup's stock is part of this rally -- its shares surged by nearly 10% on Thursday. This outpaced the increases of the major stock market indexes.