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Three Big Banks Call Some Workers Back to the Office Full Time

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Banks aren’t just getting employees to the office but are keeping them there, according to new return-to-office requirements.

Three banks — specifically, Citigroup, HSBC and London-based Barclaysannounced Thursday that they would require select employees to work in-person for five days a week, Bloomberg first reported. The decision follows plans from The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to reinstate requirements that track and monitor workplace locations. FINRA’s rules will go into effect at the end of May.

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In response to the bank announcements, FINRA clarified in a statement that it isn’t requiring bankers to return to the office full time. Rather, it is implementing pre-pandemic requirements, as announced in January. 

Regardless of FINRA’s clarification, banks are taking action, though not all company employees will be affected. For Citi, the rule pertains to roughly 600 U.S. staffers.

“The majority of Citi employees will continue to work on a hybrid schedule, with at least three days per week in the office and up to two days remotely,” a spokesperson for Citi told Commercial Observer in an emailed statement.

HSBC is seeing similar numbers. The new regulations apply to roughly 530 employees, who are reportedly weighing their options. HSBC is trying to maintain a hybrid schedule for as many staffers as possible, per Bloomberg. The bank also clarified that it doesn’t want to force anyone to return to full-time in-person attendance.

Rather, HSBC plans to entice employees with The Spiral: its Hudson Yards office at 66 Hudson Boulevard East. The company’s current in-person levels are at 80 percent, Michael Roberts, CEO of HSBC in the U.S. and Americas, said in a Bloomberg interview

Thousands of Barclays employees will be affected by the rules, and the bank will require the affected staff to resume a weeklong, in-person schedule starting June 1.

Spokespeople for HSBC and Barclays did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The news marks the latest chapter in the return-to-office discourse in New York. Manhattan’s Financial District, in particular, has struggled with office vacancies to the point of owners throwing up their hands. Department of City Planning data recently cited the Financial District as the neighborhood with the highest percentage of city-led office-to-residential conversion projects. 

Meanwhile, banks like J.P. Morgan have already required select employees to return to the office for the entire workweek. 

Anna Staropoli can be reached at astaropoli@commercialobserver.com.