With coronavirus in mind, FDIC suspends early retirement/separation programs, imposes mandatory telework for staff

The federal bank deposit insurer on Monday announced steps it’s taking amid ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, including the cancellation of Tuesday’s open board meeting and suspension of its early retirement and separation programs announced earlier.

The agency on March 5 announced it was offering early separation and retirement to some 20% of staff as it works to “reshape the agency’s workforce for the future and to enhance preparedness.”

In Monday’s announcement, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) said all FDIC staff at all FDIC facilities are subject to mandatory telework at least through March 30. Supervisory and other FDIC activities at financial institutions also will be conducted off-site for two weeks starting Monday (March 16). “Any on-site activities that are necessary will be conducted with minimal on-site teams,” the agency said.

These steps, the FDIC said, are to “ensure the health and safety of its workforce and the continuity of its operations.” It added that “[d]espite the challenges presented by the coronavirus, the FDIC remains prepared to carry out its mission to insure deposits, promote financial stability, protect consumers, and ensure the safe and sound operation of FDIC-supervised institutions.”

The FDIC measures are consistent with guidance issued Sunday (March 15) by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to the heads of federal departments and agencies. Briefly, the OMB urged allowing telework to the maximum extent possible for agency workers. (The NCUA has also reportedly issued similar guidance.)

“If employees are not eligible for telework,,” the OMB said in its memorandum, “agency heads have the discretion to offer weather and safety leave, or the agency’s equivalent, including for employees who may not have been considered ‘at higher risk’ under 0MB M-20-13. Furthermore, agency heads should develop an operational plan that maximizes resources and functional areas to most safely and efficiently deliver these mission-critical functions and other Government services (including but not limited to staggered work schedules and other operational mitigation measures).”

FDIC Announces Steps to Protect Banks and Consumers and to Continue Operations

RR: Report: Credit union regulator moving to remote exams as coronavirus spreads (March 16, 2020)

RR: FDIC offering retirement, separation incentives to 20% of staff to make room for new (March 5, 2020)