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Weekly Global News Wrap: Citi cuts mortgage staff; Banks offer pingpong, free meals in back-to-office push

And UK officials classify $1.27b small business loans as suspected fraud.

From Bloomberg
Citigroup has trimmed its mortgage workforce amidst rising interest rates that continue to crimp demand in the housing market. 

Fewer than 100 positions were eliminated, according to a person familiar with the matter, who has asked not to be named.

From Reuters:
Finance bosses are offering free meals, ping pong, "contemplative spaces" and even a concierge to run day-to-day errands for staff as part of their back-to-office push amidst concerns about the cost and value of commuting to work.

"Employers have done a fair amount to make the office more attractive and purposeful," Kathryn Wylde, chief executive officer of the Partnership for New York City, told Reuters, citing a range of perks from free meals to improving social space with ping pong tables.

Steven Cooper, the chief executive of British bank Aldermore, told Reuters his bank was encouraging staff back to the office whilst not reverting to pre-pandemic norms.

The bank is considering hiring a concierge to help staff manage daily errands like dry cleaning at the office that they would otherwise have more flexibility to do at home, he said.

From Reuters:
The British government has reportedly classified $1.27b (£1.1b) in small business loans made under a COVID-emergy lending scheme as suspected fraud, a source told Reuters.

The previously unpublished data from Britain's Department for Business, Energy and Industry (BEIS) reportedly gave the first firm indication of likely fraud levels in the scheme, which has faced scrutiny over the quality of checks on borrowers.

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