Laurentian Bank Slashes Toronto Office Space, Embraces Hybrid Work Model

Laurentian Bank of Canada is making substantial changes to its Toronto office space, reducing it by two-thirds as part of its adoption of a hybrid work model and efforts to streamline operations for cost savings amidst broader strategic adjustments.

In the fiscal second quarter, the bank recorded charges totaling $13.2 million, primarily associated with the impairment of its premises, according to a statement released Friday. However, this reduction won’t impact Laurentian’s Montreal headquarters, corporate offices in Burlington, Ontario, or its network of retail bank branches.

The bank’s Toronto workforce of approximately 1,000 employees currently occupies three floors at 199 Bay St., within the Commerce Court office tower, previously occupied by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Merick Seguin, spokesperson for Laurentian Bank, explained, “We operate on a hybrid work approach. Our Bay Street offices are being used at 20 per cent, so we’ll have plenty of space to accommodate our employees who commute downtown to complete their daily tasks.”

This move diverges from the strategies of Wall Street firms, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley, which have been advocating for a return to in-office work. The decision comes amid shifting regulatory landscapes affecting remote work arrangements in the finance industry.

Laurentian Bank’s shares experienced a 5.6 per cent decline to $25.19 in Toronto trading following the announcement of a net loss of $117.5 million for the three months through April. Despite this loss, the bank’s adjusted earnings per share of 90 cents exceeded the 88-cent average forecast in a Bloomberg survey. However, the results were impacted by impairment and restructuring charges, including those related to office space adjustments.

The bank, ranked as the eighth-largest in Canada, is set to unveil its new strategic direction during an investor day. Recent measures include job cuts, including the elimination of close to 50 roles and the dissolution of its equity research team, as part of efforts to streamline operations.

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