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BlackRock Decides to not Reduce Staff Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Zacks Equity Research

BlackRock, Inc.’s BLK employees are likely to get a sense of relief after hearing that the bank does not plan to lay off staff. Despite the prevailing crisis, owing to the coronavirus outbreak, which has disrupted business activities globally, the company’s CEO, Larry Fink, said yesterday that the bank will not remove any of its employees during the year.

The company had nearly 16,200 employees as of Dec 31, 2019. Currently, more than 90% of the staff is working remotely.

Notably, companies are transitioning employees to work remotely in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19. Banks are taking protective measures for both employees and customers, and offering enhanced digital operations, including online or mobile banking along with fee-free ATMs.

BlackRock said that it will also pay full-time wages to its support staff like cafeteria and maintenance workers, irrespective of whether they can work or not.

Like the world’s largest asset manager, major banks, including Citigroup C and Morgan Stanley MS, have guaranteed their employees that they will not be asked to leave the organization because of the prevailing conditions.

In fact, amid the crisis, Fifth Third Bancorp FITB is on a hiring spree to cater to the demand of increased Small Business Administration-backed loans, followed by the $2-trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed this March.

Greg D. Carmichael, chairman, president and CEO of Fifth Third said, “Our Fifth Third customers and communities need us more than ever during these uncertain times, and we will continue to be here for them.”

Notably, BlackRock’s strong global presence and dominant position in the market are expected to continue to aid growth. Once the market conditions improve, the company’s revenues will likely get support from its efforts to strengthen the iShares and ETF operations, solid assets under management balance, and increased focus on active equity business.

Shares of BlackRock have gained 1.8% over the past year against a 24.7% decline recorded by the industry.

Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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