JPMorgan Suspends Plan for Ohio Office Return Indefinitely

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is pulling back on returning employees to outposts in Columbus, Ohio -- home to the bank’s biggest U.S. office building -- after coronavirus cases in the state jumped.

Plans by the biggest U.S. bank to bring back as many as half its workers to buildings in the city between July 13 and Labor Day on Sept. 7 are on hold indefinitely, people briefed on the decision said. Infections in Ohio climbed 1.6% to 58,904 on Tuesday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

JPMorgan is moving forward with plans to return to offices in Manhattan, and Columbus was to be the second U.S. market where the bank would bring some workers back. More than 180,000 staffers worldwide started telecommuting in March. The firm employs roughly 19,000 people in Columbus, and its tower on the Polaris Parkway is JPMorgan’s largest U.S. facility, according to the bank’s website.

The company is making plans to start a first phase of returning workers in additional states including Delaware starting in mid-August, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. About 3,800 work for the company in Wilmington, Delaware, where much of the credit-card business is based.

JPMorgan has previously said it doesn’t expect more than 20% of its New York area workforce to be back before Labor Day, but has stressed that working in-person is critical to its culture.

A spokeswoman declined to comment.

JPMorgan’s varied approach depending on location comes as rising case counts have prompted some states to pause restarting their economies, even as others, such as New York, move forward.

On Tuesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, announced a new mask-wearing mandate for Franklin County, which includes Columbus, because coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have been rising.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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