Citigroup’s Michael Corbat mentioned he’s anxious about potential long-term adverse results after a lot of his workers spent the overwhelming majority of 2020 working from dwelling.

“Individuals discuss in regards to the productiveness that comes with working remotely,” Corbat mentioned in a televised interview for a Bloomberg Make investments Talks occasion that aired Friday. “Nicely, if I labored seven days every week, 15 to 16 hours a day and I don’t take any holidays, at the least for a time period I’m going to be extra productive.”

Whereas extra distant work will in all probability imply Citigroup can shrink its actual property footprint, Corbat mentioned he’s hesitant to declare a widespread shift towards the observe. The CEO said in Might that, not like a few of his opponents, he wasn’t contemplating the choice of letting employees keep at dwelling completely after the pandemic ends.

The New York-based financial institution, which has about 200,000 workers worldwide, desires to see how productiveness adjustments over longer stretches of time and whether or not creativity suffers earlier than deciding how a lot working from dwelling to permit, Corbat mentioned.

Citigroup and lots of of its opponents have stored the overwhelming majority of employees dwelling for a lot of the 12 months to assist stem the unfold of COVID-19. Now, as governments around the globe rush to obtain vaccines and promising new therapies for the virus, many corporations are creating plans for finally bringing employees again.

CEO Michael Corbat said that if Citi had succeeded in acquiring Wachovia in 2008 it "would have given us a national footprint in our branch system that would match our national footprint in our credit-card business.” Wachovia ended up selling to Wells Fargo.

CEO Michael Corbat mentioned that if Citi had succeeded in buying Wachovia in 2008 it “would have given us a nationwide footprint in our department system that might match our nationwide footprint in our credit-card enterprise.” Wachovia ended up promoting to Wells Fargo.

Bloomberg

“I don’t need to get up as an trade and have hollowed out our talent units,” Corbat mentioned. “We’ll completely proceed to speed up the transfer towards digital and, the place acceptable, extra distant. However I definitely wouldn’t need to see us transfer too shortly.”

Within the meantime, as elements of the U.S. and Europe battle a resurgence in instances, the corporate hasn’t been reluctant to maintain employees dwelling or ship them again in the event that they’ve ventured into the workplace, he mentioned.

“We completely prefer to have our folks in once we can have them in, however we’re not going to place them in danger,” Corbat mentioned. “We’ve bought to remain versatile and clearly we’re going by a little bit of resurgence in elements of the world proper now. We’ve been within the section of tapering again.”

Wachovia deal

Within the wide-ranging interview with Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein, Corbat additionally addressed the notorious four-day stretch in 2008 when Wells Fargo scooped up Wachovia out of Citigroup’s grasp.

Citigroup and Wachovia had signed an settlement on Sept. 29 to merge, however that was trumped by Wells Fargo, which formally introduced its buy of the financial institution on Oct. 3. Corbat, noting he wasn’t concerned in these negotiations, mentioned he nonetheless thinks the acquisition would have been useful to Citigroup immediately.

“In banking, and particularly in client banking, scale issues,” he mentioned. “Wachovia would have given us a nationwide footprint in our department system that might match our nationwide footprint in our credit-card enterprise.”

Citigroup is the world’s largest bank card issuer and it counts Costco Wholesale and American Airways Group as two of its greatest companions within the enterprise. The lender has been in search of to selectively increase its department footprint in states and cities the place it already has a preponderance of card prospects.

The third-largest U.S. financial institution by property, Citigroup has a comparatively small department community, with 687 outposts in six main cities. Nonetheless, the agency desires to enchantment to prospects who prefer to go in particular person for sure transactions.

Shift to digital

“We’re managing the transition of an analog financial institution to a digital financial institution, and in some ways we’re managing the 2 banks in tandem,” Corbat mentioned. “Some folks very very like the department, and in case you known as up and mentioned, ‘Hey, nice information, we’re closing the department and we’re going 100% to digital,’ you’d probably lose a few of these prospects.”

As the top of the 12 months approaches and Citigroup weighs bonus swimming pools for merchants and different workers, Corbat mentioned the agency has needed to stability its want to retain and reward workers with the broader financial surroundings and its want to enhance shareholder returns.

“Our folks have completed extraordinary work, whether or not its merchants or proper all the way down to the folks in our branches who’re coming in and placing themselves in hurt’s means to ensure our branches are open and folks have entry to their monetary lives,” he mentioned.