(Bloomberg) — Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce are extending work-from-home plans for some employees by at least four months as coronavirus cases surge across the country.



a person standing in front of a building: Signage is displayed outside the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in the financial district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. Canadian stocks declined with global markets, as authorities struggled to keep the coronavirus from spreading more widely outside China. However, investors flocking to safe havens such as gold offset the sell-off in Canada's stock market.


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Signage is displayed outside the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in the financial district of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. Canadian stocks declined with global markets, as authorities struggled to keep the coronavirus from spreading more widely outside China. However, investors flocking to safe havens such as gold offset the sell-off in Canada’s stock market.

The majority of CIBC employees who are already working off-site will continue to do so until at least April, Sandy Sharman, head of the bank’s people, culture and brand team, said in a memo to staff Wednesday. The bank had originally advised the employees they’d be working from home until at least the end of the year.

BMO doesn’t “foresee any broad-based changes for employees who are currently working from home any sooner than April 2021, unless a specific business need exists,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. It had previously said the workers would remain out of the office through year-end.

Canada is now facing about 5,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, prompting provinces and cities including Toronto, where CIBC and BMO are based, to implement new restrictions to limit the spread.

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CIBC will give workers at least four weeks’ notice before asking them to return to the office, Sharman said in the memo. The bank has been building a new headquarters called CIBC Square, and had planned to start relocating employees to the complex by the end of the year.

“With the majority of our team members working from home seamlessly, we have the flexibility to align our decisions and timing around our long-term real estate plans, including CIBC Square, and the guidance we receive from local governments and public health authorities,” Sharman said.

BMO is Canada’s fourth-largest lender by assets, and CIBC is the fifth-largest.

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