- Synchrony Financial will allow all of its U.S. employees to work from home permanently, the company said Tuesday, according to Bloomberg and American Banker.
- "Our site footprint changes will drive significant cost savings which, combined with all of our efforts to manage cost, are aimed at preserving as many Synchrony jobs as we can and reducing the size of any layoffs," Synchrony CEO Margaret Keane and President Brian Doubles said in a Sept. 8 memo first reported Tuesday.
- Synchrony, the U.S.'s largest private-label credit card provider, is looking to cut up to $250 million in expenses next year. But the new policy — which Keane said enabled the company to cut the size of some locations and close others — contributed to an $89 million restructuring charge the company took in the third quarter, according to earnings reported Tuesday.
The question of when to return to the office amid the coronavirus pandemic has weighed heavily on financial institutions — and varied greatly among them. While banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs pushed to boost office capacity in September — and, in some cases, had to send workers home when an employee tested positive — other companies, such as American Express and Deutsche Bank, have rolled out policies letting U.S. staff work remotely until next summer.
Synchrony now will have virtual, hoteling and hybrid offices, according to the memo. Employees assigned to the virtual group will have no physical company location nearby and will work from home permanently. Workers assigned to hoteling sites can reserve a desk at an office location nearby when they need it.
Employees at hybrid spaces, meanwhile, can continue working remotely or take an assigned seat at a nearby office at least three days a week. Executives with assigned seats will be expected to work remotely one or two days a week to "role model our work-at-home mindset," Synchrony said in the memo, according to Bloomberg.
Future job openings at the company will be posted without geographic requirements.
"These changes stem from our employees' desire to work from home," Keane said, according to Bloomberg. "Their productivity in this environment will help us drive long-term efficiency."
Synchrony's net earnings fell to $313 million in the third quarter, from $1.05 billion a year ago, the company reported Tuesday. The report offered a glimmer of hope: Monthly purchase volume jumped 5% in September, the first increase since the pandemic began. However, purchasing volume for the quarter fell 6.2%. New accounts fell 17% from 2019's third quarter.
"I think the real question mark is, really, how do the holidays play out? Consumers are saying they want to shop," Keane told analysts on the conference call Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.