Bank of America CEO on the WFH, return to office debate

In a new interview with Yahoo Finance’s Julie Hyman, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan weighs in on the discussion over remote work and employees' return to the office.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Everyone has been having a tough 18 months. At Bank of America, you all orchestrated work from home for tens of thousands of those folks. You had a childcare reimbursement program. You had other pandemic era benefits. And so I kind of want to take a step back and say-- ask you how you view the role of a corporation right now. We sort of went from a paternalistic era for big business in the, say, '50s through '70s, then shareholder primacy. There's a lot of talk about stakeholder capitalism now. What do you think Bank of America's sort of reason for being should be at this stage in our history?

BRIAN MOYNIHAN: Well, we talk in the company about having the principle of driving responsible growth. You've got to grow, no excuses. You've got to do it in the right customer focused base or the right risk. And it has to be sustainable. And that has three elements. One is to be the best place to work for our team because at the end of the day, as I said before, we're a people company. The second is to share our success in our company with our communities. That's our philanthropic and other types of developmental work we do, and then to have operational excellence, which keeps our expenses in check.

And so, year over year, we had flat expenses and 12% revenue growth. That pays for all that good stuff. So that's what we do. So when you start with that basic idea, coming into the pandemic, we had to get our teammates safe so we pulled the high risk teammates out of the line immediately. Then we obviously had to bring all teammates home. 100,000 computers were deployed. We looked at teammates and said, what do they need to be successful? And people with kids in school got those kids dumped at home and then had to try to keep their education on course, while they were trying to work.

So we basically came up with the program. We gave our teammates the right to spend $100 a day at 100% of our cost to hire someone to come in their home. And it could be a relative, a teacher was out of work. It could be anybody, but just that they felt comfortable to get them in to help tutor their kids and help take care of that. That is $450 to $500 million we spent on that.

Then we said getting people to mask at home and getting people to just taking care of those that, unfortunately, got the disease, we had to do a great job, helping make sure they got the right medical help. And then as you've gone through the time here, now we're in a different stage, which is, how do you think about some of the benefits that we have? And we have a wonderful diversity and inclusion practice in our company and just who we are and what we do.

We then have looked at benefits even more for fairness, $21 an hour starting wage, plus full benefits for anybody, full 401(k), health care if you work more than 20 hours for us. You know, we start-- which means a high school kid gets a compensation package of $42,000, $43,000, plus full benefits if they work full-time for us. And then they get upfront tuition reimbursements. We give them the money. They take the classes so they can then further on their education, both externally and internally, with a lot of the training we have.

And so it's just a 10,000 teammates hired from low and moderate income neighborhoods over five years. Now we've recommitted another 10,000 over the next five years. You know, it's just a whole bunch of programs which are really geared to making sure our teammates know that we're in it for them because they're critical to doing a great job for our customers.

And so it completely aligns with the shareholder. Stakeholder capitalism is about all things. And the balance about it is about all things. In other words, in our case, it's about our employees, about our customers, about our shareholders and society. And if you don't think of how you get the best in front of all those cohorts, you're going to--

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