BlackBerry handsets have been given for free to employees at J.P. Morgan, but now the investment giant has decided to discontinue this practice. The bank announced that starting next year some of those working for the bank will be required to buy a smartphone with their own money, says a report from the Wall Street Journal.

BlackBerry Phones Not Free For J.P. Morgan Employees Anymore

Cost cutting a focus

J. P. Morgan hopes to save tens of millions of dollars a year by changing its policies. The company also decided that employees who wish to continue using the Blackberry device issued to them can do so, but they will now be required to pay the monthly data invoice. J.P. Morgan is not making it compulsory for employees who are buying their own handset to buy a device running on a specific OS.

Cutting expenses is a new focus of the bank, and this latest move is just a small part of the new initiative. The financial institution aims to lower its operating expenses by 6% next year, according to the WSJ. The bank has said that along with the new smartphone policy, company email will no longer be available on BlackBerry devices.

Big U.S. banks are making a broad effort to keep costs low, especially since the Federal Reserve has set interest rates near zero. For the banks, their lending businesses tend to generate larger profits if interest rates are higher. Since rates are not rising, and trading revenue is also sluggish, bank executives are looking for other ways to tighten their belts and make sure that profits are still growing.

Will BlackBerry Priv be the savior?

With BlackBerry losing ground to iPhones and other smartphones, many other firms and government agencies are also moving beyond BlackBerry. To turn this around, BlackBerry is counting heavily on its first Android-based handset, the Priv (short for privacy).

This new slider device will provide Android users with a high level of security. The device boasts a best-in-class physical BlackBerry QWERTY, and a form factor not very common these days. To BlackBerry users, apart from high security and a QWERTY keypad, Priv offers them access to Google Play services and all of the top Android apps.