JPMorgan Chase says it will close 20% of its branches because of the coronavirus pandemic

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Pedestrians pass a JPMorgan Chase & Co. bank branch near the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.

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JPMorgan Chase will temporarily close about 20% of its branches and reduce staffing in the ones remaining in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We are planning to temporarily close about 20% of our branches,” the bank told employees earlier Wednesday. “This will help us protect our employees as we provide essential services to our customers and the communities we serve.”

JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, is the first of the U.S. megabanks to announce widespread closures of branches because of the coronavirus. Banks have been restricting employee travel and sending staff home or to backup sites to work, but this is one of the first steps that impacts retail customers.

The move, which begins tomorrow, should shutter about 1,000 locations: New York-based bank JPMorgan has 4,976 branches and 256,981 employees. The bank didn’t disclose which locations would be shut down, or if it was closing locations based on proximity to coronavirus cases.

JPMorgan said that non-teller personnel including financial advisers and mortgage bankers could work from home starting tomorrow, lowering the number of people in any given site. It will also reduce the hours of operation of branches that are open, although employees will still be paid based on their regular hours, the bank said.

“Every day I’m asking what more I can do – as a mother, as a daughter and as a CEO,” Thasunda Brown Duckett, head of JPMorgan’s retail bank, said Wednesday in a staff memo. “You are my tribe and your health and safety is as important to me.  I am balancing that with the fact that we are essential to the communities we serve, and we need to be there to help.”

Earlier this week, Capital One said it was shuttering 120 locations for an indefinite period of time. 

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