Business

JPMorgan tests coronavirus preparations by asking thousands of employees to work from home

Posted March 3, 2020 5:38 p.m. EST

— JPMorgan Chase is bracing for the coronavirus outbreak by asking thousands of its employees to work from home for a day to test contingency plans, a person familiar with the matter told CNN Business.

The move shows how seriously the largest bank in the United States is taking the risks posed to its operations by the fast-moving health crisis.

Contingency planning at JPMorgan's consumer bank, code-named "Project Kennedy," included asking 10% of the staff to work from home for a day to test their remote access capabilities, the person told CNN Business.

JPMorgan's consumer division employed more than 127,000 people as of the end of 2019. News of the steps were first reported by Bloomberg News.

Employees at other divisions, including JPMorgan's investment bank, have also been asked to work from home, the person said.

And JPMorgan is also preparing for the risk that the coronavirus outbreak disrupts its primary trading floors in New York and London.

In recent days, the company has been testing backup trading sites and soon plans to send in parts of its trading teams to test the facilities, the source said.

JPMorgan declined to comment.

The move comes amid industry-wide concerns on how -- and how badly -- the coronavirus might affect the financial industry.

On Monday, a day when the Dow had the biggest point gain in its history, the free stock-trading app Robinhood experienced a 17-hour disruption. The company's system went down again Tuesday, but the situation was resolved by around noon.

Other major companies are responding to the outbreak by restricting travel and canceling appearances at events.

Google and Facebook have pulled the plug on major conferences, and coronavirus concerns led to the cancellation of the Geneva car show.

And the New York Stock Exchange said last week that it has robust contingency plans that enable it to maintain continuous operation of exchanges if facilities are impacted by the coronavirus.

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