U.S. banks hand out bonuses to staff as coronavirus crisis intensifies

(Reuters) - Some U.S. banks on Monday offered employees one-time bonuses to help ease the financial burden of the coronavirus pandemic and as a reward for working through the crisis.

FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Banks have largely been excluded from government-mandated shutdowns across the country because they are considered an essential industry by the federal government, meaning most bank branches, call centers, and trading floors have stayed open even as many firms send their employees home.

Citigroup Inc C.N will provide more than 75,000 employees globally with a special compensation award, Chief Executive Michael Corbat told staff in a memo seen by Reuters.

In the United States, $1,000 will be provided to eligible colleagues who make $60,000 or less in base salary, while elsewhere the special award will be based on local market compensation levels, Corbat said in the memo on Monday.

Citi aims to make a “vast majority” of these payments next month.

Employees who are sick, at high risk or unable to work as a result of the outbreak are allowed to take time off without using paid leaves, the memo added.

The bank extended the time frame for the use of carry-over vacation and was also helping with transport needs for employees who have to come in to work.

Separately, U.S. Bank USB.N said it would give some employees a temporary 20% hourly wage increase during these "unprecedented times". The move will cover more than 30,000 employees, including those working at branches, operations and contact centers.

"Our branch, contact center and operations employees continue to play an essential role in ensuring we remain able to provide essential banking services to our customers," U.S. Bank, which employs more than 70,000 people, said here.

U.S. Bank also committed $30 million to human services organizations and local non-profits.

JPMorgan JPM.N, the largest U.S. bank by assets, said in a memo on Friday it would give workers who are staffing branches and call centers through the coronavirus pandemic, a sweetener for their efforts: a one-time $1,000 bonus.

Bank of America Corp BAC.N will also pay an additional $200 per pay period to front-line workers in branches, call centers and operation centers, with enhanced overtime pay, according to a memo seen by Reuters on Friday.

Reporting by Imani Moise in New York and writing by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty