Citigroup Tells Junior Bankers to Take Saturdays Off

Citigroup Inc., the third-largest U.S. lender, will require junior bankers to take Saturdays off and use all of their vacation time each year as the firm joins an industry effort to improve working conditions.

Analysts and associates in investment banking and capital markets origination must be out of the office by 10 p.m. on Friday and not return until 10 a.m. Sunday, according to two memos sent to the staff yesterday by the New York-based bank. They were signed separately by Ray McGuire, head of investment banking, and Tyler Dickson, head of capital-markets origination. The contents were confirmed by Rob Julavits, a bank spokesman, who declined to elaborate.

Citigroup joins banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. in limiting work hours to retain staff and improve productivity as the number of deals fall from pre-crisis peaks and firms limit compensation packages.

Compliance “will be tracked and reported to senior management on a regular basis,” according to the memo from Citigroup’s McGuire. “Exceptions should be rare and defensible.”

Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat said last week in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that it’s important for staff to maintain a proper work-life balance and to have interests outside of their career.

Clear Heads

“Work can’t consume every minute, every hour of your life,” Corbat, 53, said in the Jan. 23 interview with Bloomberg Television. “You see it when you come to work with a healthy attitude, when you’ve got other interests, when you maybe get the ability to get some exercise. It clears your head.”

He declined to provide a number for how many hours each week that staff should work, saying it depends on the amount of stress associated with the role.

Under the new policy, employees won’t be expected to work remotely, though they should check e-mail, according to both memos. The guidelines will become effective Feb. 7. The directive was reported earlier by

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