September 28, 2015 02:30 PM
By Brian Hepburn, Division Manager, Northern California and Vicki Joseph, Northern California Regional Manager, Citi Community Development
Citi’s partnership with San Francisco spans more than 100 years, starting in 1900 with Citi’s support of the railway expansion in California. We went on to open our first office in San Francisco in the 1920s to help serve the city’s rapidly growing population and expanding economy. As we launch the City Profiles, dedicated to highlighting Citi’s history in some of our key U.S. markets, we speak with two San Francisco-based Citi leaders to get their perspectives on Citi’s ongoing involvement with San Francisco.
What is your favorite milestone from Citi’s history in San Francisco, and how do we continue to enable progress in the Bay Area today?
Brian: One milestone that I am very passionate about is the creation of Citi Ventures in 2010. Based in Palo Alto, Citi Ventures enables us to work hand-in-hand with the tech industry on projects and ventures that have far-reaching impacts and the ultimate potential to transform the financial services industry.
Another way that we are enabling progress for the Bay Area is through our support of affordable housing. Our work in this area began after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco and continues to this day. In 2014 alone, we provided over $392 million in loans and investments for affordable housing projects in this area.
Vicki: The launch of Kindergarten to College (K2C) in 2010 was a key milestone in San Francisco. K2C is the first universal child savings account program in the United States and has become a model that cities across the country aim to replicate. Research has shown that a child with a savings account is up to seven times more likely to enroll in college than a child without an account. So, we partnered with the City and County of San Francisco, as well as the San Francisco Unified School District, to automatically enroll every new Kindergartener in a Citi savings account with a $50 deposit from the City. Families are offered matching contributions and incentives throughout the year. So far, account holders, mostly low- and moderate-income families, have saved more than $1.3 million of their own money. I still get a kick from knowing that each and every September, 4,500 San Francisco new kindergartners are beginning to save for college thanks to our partnership with the City.