Coronavirus: Major American banks impose restrictions on international travel

Verdict Staff

March 3, 2020 (Last Updated March 3rd, 2020 12:52)

American banking giants have asked their employees to not undertake any international travel for nonessential business in response to the spread of the coronavirus.

Banking groups that have curbed international travel without prior approval include Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs.

Restrictions apply on all overseas business trips “until further notice”, Citigroup said.

Earlier, the travel restriction was applicable only to a few countries that had reported outbreaks, which included Italy and China, where the deadly virus originated.

According to a report published by the Telegraph, Citigroup has also barred its executives from participating in any meetings and events with more than 25 people.

Citigroup, which is headquartered in New York City, noted that only those employees who get an exemption from its executive-management team can go on a business trip.

The decision comes barely a day after the US government confirmed the first positive case of the coronavirus in New York City.

Citigroup has operations in more than 160 countries.

Citigroup spokesperson in an emailed statement to Reuters said: “We have local and regional contingency plans in place and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our operations as necessary in order to provide the safest possible work environment for our colleagues.”

Goldman Sachs has halted all international travel as well as deferred indefinitely a conference scheduled for this week in New York, a person familiar with the development told Bloomberg.

The virus, which until recently primarily affected China, has severely hit countries like Iran, South Korea and Italy.

A special team has been formed by the European Union to contain the spread of the virus in the continent.

The epidemic has so far killed more than 3,100 people and infected more than 90,000 people around the world.

Global banks including UBS Group and Bank of America are expanding their contingency plans across Asia to ensure their operations are running as the spread of the coronavirus accelerates outside China.

Last month, the Financial Services Agency in Japan started an emergency survey on the country’s banks with a China presence to gain insight into how credit costs may get affected amidst the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Recently, the Central Bank of the UAE asked banks in the country to reschedule monthly loan payments and decrease fees and commissions to minimise the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economy.