CitiBank Recently Ordered to Pay $26 Million Fine by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, But Members Pushing for Further Accountability

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) led a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency’s Acting Comptroller Michael J. Hsu to demand answers and further accountability from CitiBank for their recent discrimination against Armenian credit card customers.

“We write today regarding disturbing reports of Citigroup Inc. (Citi)’s discriminatory lending practices against Armenian Americans. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Citi deliberately targeted and denied Armenian American credit card applicants based on their surnames and city of residence over a six-year period. According to reports, from 2015 through 2021, Citi singled out credit card applicants with surnames that Citi employees associated with Armenian origin as well as applicants whose addresses were in or near Glendale, California, home to a large and vibrant Armenian community,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Citi is the fourth-largest bank by U.S. customer deposits, according to the Federal Reserve. As one of the largest banks in the nation, their institution plays a key role in determining which individuals and communities have access to economic opportunity. No American should fear that their access to financial services or financial stability will be impacted by their race, ethnicity, nation of origin, or any other protected trait and it is our job to continue to dismantle the ongoing patterns of discrimination in the financial sector, and across our broader society,” the lawmakers continued.

Finally, the lawmakers demanded answers to these key questions.

-Has the OCC launched its own investigation into this case and considered taking additional actions to hold Citi accountable?

-Have any other financial institutions engaged in similar discriminatory actions against the Armenian community or other ethnic communities?

-Do any of the employees responsible for participating in this discriminatory practice still hold employment with Citi and what disciplinary actions have taken place?

-What actions has Citi taken to ensure this does not happen again?

-What additional regulatory tools are necessary to make sure this does not happen again at Citi or any other institution?

-What proactive steps has or will OCC take to investigate this instance or similar instances of discrimination at other banking institutions under its jurisdiction?

Schiff’s 30th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Burbank and Glendale, is home to the largest Armenian diaspora outside of Armenia. He serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus.

This letter was signed by Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Raja Krishnamoorth (D-Ill.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Mike Levin (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Seth Magaziner (D-R.I.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), and Haley Stevens (D-Mich.).

The full letter text can be found HERE

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