Canada’s big banks to limit hours, reduce branches in wake of spread of coronavirus – by Mark Rendell (Globe and Mail – March 17, 2020)

Canada’s six large banks will limit operating hours and reduce the number of branches that are open to support social distancing measures amid the spread of novel coronavirus, the Canadian Bankers Association said Tuesday.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said late Monday night that it would close 206 “adviser centres,” which do not offer over-the-counter cash or banking services to clients. CIBC’s other 816 banking centres will remain open to customers, although will operate with reduced weekday hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bank of Montreal said on Tuesday that it will temporarily close around 130 bank branches, approximately 15 per cent of its branch network in Canada.

“This will take effect over the coming days with a focus on maintaining services in rural areas and small towns. We will also be adjusting our hours of operation at branches across Canada,” the bank said in a statement. BMO said that it will continue to pay employees impacted by the closures.

While other large banks have yet to announce measures, the CBA said Tuesday morning that the banks “will be working together to temporarily limit operating hours and reduce the number of branches, while maintaining critical services for customers.”

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