NEW YORK (Reuters) – Several U.S. banks are closing branches and offices early on Friday to observe the Juneteenth holiday, which commemorates the day in 1865 when the last group of enslaved African Americans learned slavery was abolished.
JPMorgan Chase & Co and U.S. Bank will both close branches at 1 p.m. local time on June 19. Capital One Financial Corp, Fifth Third Bancorp and PNC Financial Services Group will close branches at 2 p.m. local time.
The banks will remain open part of the day because the holiday falls on a Friday, when many people get paid and need in-person banking services.
Juneteenth is an annual U.S. holiday that is receiving greater attention this year following nationwide protests over police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other African Americans.
The date marks the 155th anniversary of the de facto end of slavery, roughly two years after the end of the U.S. Civil War, and is celebrated as African Americans’ Independence Day.
Many companies and organizations, including Google and the National Football League, are closing offices or asking employees not to hold unnecessary meetings as a way to commemorate June 19th and the country’s history of racism.
JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by assets, will also allow staff at offices to take the afternoon off, in addition to closing its roughly 5,000 branches. U.S. Bank, which has 2,700 branches in 26 states, is allowing employees to do the same.
Citigroup Inc said on Tuesday its staff can use paid time off to observe Juneteenth.
Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by Nick Zieminski