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Citi's Commitment to Transparency and Accountability: The Results of Our Racial Equity Audit

December 19, 2022
Edward Skyler, Head of Enterprise Services & Public Affairs

In the aftermath of the horrific murder of George Floyd, we, like many others, tried to channel our grief into action. By September, we had marshalled resources across the firm to make a greater than $1 billion commitment to help close the racial wealth gap. While Action for Racial Equity (ARE) was ambitious in terms of our firm's footprint and resources, we also recognize how much investment and change is required across all corners of our society to address years of systemic racism.

In this context, we made delivering on our commitments a business imperative that reflects the type of company we aspire to be for our employees and the communities we serve. Measurement and transparency are critical to ensuring we're holding ourselves accountable. In October 2021, after consultation with investors, we took an important step by committing to conduct an independent third-party racial equity audit, and today, we're releasing the results.

Conducted by senior attorneys at Covington & Burling LLP (Covington), the audit assessed the design and implementation of ARE. Following almost a year of Covington engaging with internal and external stakeholders as well as outside experts, including the Financial Health Network, we are following through on our commitment to transparency by making the report public.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • ARE's design successfully leveraged Citi's expertise, network of business partners, and resources to address some of the key factors contributing to the racial wealth gap.
  • While we have exceeded our aggregate financial commitment of $1.1 billion in strategic investments and initiatives, we have not yet accomplished every commitment announced in September 2020, though we have made progress toward many of them two years into our three-year commitment.
  • The audit highlights a number of areas where Citi has increased access to key resources for communities of color. For example, as our Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason shared in September, through ARE we have deepened our collaboration with minority-owned depository institutions (MDIs) and more than tripled our initial commitment to the Citi Impact Fund, among other significant investments in affordable housing and supplier diversity.
  • Covington identified areas for improvement, noting that to keep up the momentum, it will be important for Citi to further integrate the objectives underlying ARE into our core business. This is work we already have underway with the creation of our Financial Inclusion & Racial Equity team in U.S. Personal Banking and the Diverse Financial Institutions Group in our Institutional Clients Group.

While the completion of the audit indicates that we are on the right path, it has also provided insights that will inform our efforts and reminded us how much work we have to do as a society to make meaningful progress in closing the racial wealth gap.

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