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Coronavirus layoffs? Not at RBC

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RBC CEO Dave McKay announced that there would be no job losses at the firm in 2020 due to the coronavirus. “Our strength has and will always be our people.”

The coronavirus has sparked turmoil in markets and disrupted business operations, but it won’t cost RBC employees their jobs in 2020.

“Our strength has and will always be our people. And while we’re all living in stressful and uncertain times, we don’t want RBC employees to worry about their jobs,” CEO Dave McKay wrote to employees at the Canadian bank. “That’s why our leadership team has committed there will be no job losses at RBC in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.”

RBC has approximately 85,000 employees worldwide and operates a U.S. wealth management business with approximately 2,000 financial advisors. The U.S. wealth management unit had approximately $437 million as of Jan. 31, according to the company. It generated $1.2 billion in revenue last quarter.

An RBC spokesman said the bank has also not enacted a hiring or pay freeze. McKay’s announcement comes as other industries, such as retail and hospitality, lay off workers in spades.

In mid-March, Marriott said it would furlough many of its 174,000 employees. Macy’s said this week that it would furlough the majority of its 130,000 employees. And small businesses, from hair salons to catering, are going through similarly difficult times.

More than 10 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in March.

So far banks and wealth management firms have shied away from mass layoffs even as markets have tumbled.

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman reassured his company’s employees in a recent memo that there would be no “reduction in force” at the firm in 2020. “Aside from a performance issue or a breach of the code of conduct, your jobs are secure,” Gorman said.

Still, wealth management firms have had to adapt quickly to cope with the fast-spreading pandemic by shutting branches, curtailing travel and ordering advisors to work from home.

For his part, McKay thanked RBC employees for their tireless efforts, noting how clients were grappling with uncertainty and unprecedented challenges.

“This is one of the most critical moments for RBC and our industry. Your work has never been more important,” he wrote.

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