Expanding Equitable Access to Citibank Branch ATMs

May 17, 2023
Michelle Thornhill, Head of U.S. Community Relations, Citi

At Citi, we take an all-in approach to supporting our local communities – from community solutions philanthropy to employee volunteerism to establishing financial access partnerships that create pathways to economic opportunity for underserved households and more.

A hallmark of our approach is finding opportunities to eliminate the barriers to economic inclusion while promoting financial health. So when our long-time community partner, Inclusiv, a network of Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs) whose mission is to promote financial inclusion in underserved communities, started talking to us about the challenges their members were facing, we did what we do best at Citi – we rolled up our sleeves and started talking about solutions.

The main challenge? Nationwide, out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees have increased over the past few years, and research shows that the average combined cost of an out-of-network ATM transaction is now $4.66 for customers. Inclusiv’s members, committed to bringing households into the financial mainstream, have seen first-hand how these high costs can impact the most financially vulnerable consumers genuinely. That’s why we’re excited to announce a major expansion of our Citi® ATM Community Network as we welcome the participation of 14 new Inclusiv member institutions in the initiative.

Since 2016, the Citi® ATM Community Network has allowed members of participating CDCUs, community banks, and minority-owned banks to make cash withdrawals without a surcharge fee at more than 2,300 Citibank branch ATMs in the United States, including those in the New York, Miami, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Each participating institution also waives any out-of-network fees they may charge customers for using Citibank ATMs.

With the inclusion of 14 new CDCUs, the Citi® ATM Community Network is now available to 52 participating institutions that collectively serve 1 million customers, many of which are institutions in low- to moderate-income communities and communities of color.

This latest evolution harnesses our infrastructure to help alleviate barriers and expand access to banking in these communities, further deepening our efforts to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the U.S. through our Action for Racial Equity. It also complements many of our endeavors in the U.S. that aim to expand banking and credit in communities of color, such as eliminating overdraft fees, returned item fees, and overdraft protection fees, making Citi the only top five U.S. bank (based on assets*) to remove these fees altogether.

New Credit Unions joining the Citi® ATM Community Network include: MERCO Credit Union, Members Credit Union, The Finest Federal Credit Union, 1199 SEIU Federal Credit Union, O.A.S. Federal Credit Union, New Community Federal Credit Union, New Covenant Dominion Credit Union, The Episcopal Community Federal Credit Union, Chicago Municipal Employees Credit Union, United Cities Credit Union, Great Lakes Credit Union, Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union, Maroon Financial Credit Union, and USAlliance Federal Credit Union.

I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days with my Community Relations colleagues, visiting some of the CDCUs that are part of the Inclusiv network; to say what we saw was inspiring would be an understatement. These are institutions that are serving the underserved, banking the underbanked. For many customers, these CDCUs are the only place they can go for trusted financial guidance and advice on a day-to-day basis.

When we say Citi is a human bank, we mean this. Supporting mission-driven institutions that make a tangible difference in people’s lives is not aspirational; it is imperative and core to who we are as a firm. We recognize that progress doesn’t come from a single institution. Instead, it requires a concerted effort by various stakeholders from all corners of the country working together to ensure that communities, particularly low-income communities and communities of color, can prosper.

As an old saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Our collaboration with Inclusiv proves that we go far when we go together. We thank Inclusiv for their steadfast partnership in these efforts and look forward to continuing the momentum in the coming years.

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