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Banks Push 5-Day Office Mandates In Response To Regulatory Changes

388 Greenwich St. in Manhattan, which is fully owned and occupied by Citibank.

Citigroup, HSBC and Barclays are among the financial institutions planning to tell workers that a return to five days a week in the office is imminent.

Many banks introduced ways to monitor employees as they worked from home during the pandemic, while regulators relaxed rules around supervision. But the reinstatement of pre-pandemic rules and the costs of maintaining those systems are pushing some to require a return to full-time, in-person work, Bloomberg reported.

The decision comes as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the main steward of investment banking standards and ethics, is poised to reintroduce pre-pandemic rules around workplace monitoring.

Those rules are designed to ensure legal compliance and routine workplace inspections. But the cost of monitoring home offices may prove too high for some financial firms, potentially boosting office attendance in New York City and other financial hubs across the country.

Citigroup will require roughly 600 workers to commute into offices every day during the work week, although the majority of its employees will be able to remain on a hybrid schedule.

The regulatory change will affect around 530 of HSBC’s New York City-based staff. The bank is talking to them about their options and trying to let as many people remain hybrid as would like to as it seeks to avoid implementing blanket policies, an HSBC spokesperson told Bloomberg.

Barclays will also require five days in the office from thousands of staff nationally.

“Being together in the office drives innovation, collaboration and a stronger culture,” Cathal Deasy and Taylor Wright, the firm’s global co-heads of investment banking, told Bloomberg in an email. “We remain committed to flexible working and we recognize that there will be times when you will need to work from home.”

The banking firms are known as some of the most flexible in the sector when it comes to hybrid work, signaling that a change could follow for the rest of the industry.

Some expect a limited effect on policies. Deutsche Bank is among the other firms looking at regulations and weighing the cost of keeping hybrid rules in place as regulation kicks in but estimates that its rules won’t change much, Bloomberg reported.

Others have already made their decision. As of June 1, investment banking employees at Truist Financial Corp. must all be back in the office full-time, per Bloomberg. Meanwhile, some of the largest banks on Wall Street, such as JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have been requiring full-time office work for months.