AmEx to Freeze Hiring After Sending 60,000 to Work Remotely.

American Express

American Express Co. will freeze hiring after equipping more than 60,000 employees to work from home in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company will also avoid layoffs this year, Chief Executive Officer Steve Squeri said Monday in a video message to employees that he shot on his iPhone. While it’s not cutting employees for now, AmEx is seeking ways to reduce short-term costs, Squeri said.

“We’re looking at all expense categories and ways we can cut back temporarily without damaging our ability to continue serving our customers well and ensuring we can be in a strong position to hit the ground running when this crisis ends,” the CEO said.

More than two-thirds of AmEx’s customer-service teams now work remotely, compared with just 10% two weeks ago, according to the video.

AmEx joins other card issuers, including Capital One Financial Corp. and Synchrony Financial, in rushing to equip their customer-service representatives to work from home amid the pandemic, which has killed 35,000 people worldwide.

“In two weeks, we have completely transformed our global servicing operations, going from a brick-and-mortar, traditional call-center environment to a totally distributed, home-based servicing one,” Squeri said.