Citi Will Conduct a Racial Equity Audit
By Edward Skyler, Executive Vice President, Citi October 22, 2021 01:30 PM
We believe that by advancing our commitments to help close the racial wealth gap in the United States we can have a meaningful impact on our colleagues, clients and the communities we serve. Measurement and transparency are important components of the work we are doing to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, both at our bank and through our contributions to our communities and society more generally. We have shown our commitment to these principles when we set and disclosed our representation goals and shared the results of our pay equity analysis. Today, we're demonstrating our ongoing support for measurement and transparency by committing to conduct a racial equity audit.
The focus of the audit is to assess Citi's efforts to help address the racial wealth gap in the United States through the design and implementation of our Action for Racial Equity (ARE) initiative. The ARE initiative, announced by Citi and the Citi Foundation in September 2020, is a $1 billion+ commitment to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the United States. This effort is designed to (1) provide greater access to banking and credit in communities of color, (2) increase investment in Black-owned businesses, (3) expand affordable housing and homeownership among Black Americans, and (4) advance anti-racist practices in our company and the financial services industry.
Conducting an audit of our ARE initiative will help us assess the impact our work is having and will help inform how to adapt and grow our work to address the racial wealth gap. As we've considered the best way to approach this audit, we've received valuable input from SOC Investment Group. Engaging with our shareholders is an important part of how we continue to evolve and strengthen our Environmental, Social and Governance practices, and we're confident the dialog we've begun with SOC will strengthen our work to help address the racial wealth gap.
The audit will be conducted by attorneys at Covington & Burling LLP who have civil rights expertise and experience leading racial equity audits across various industries. The audit will include input from a range of stakeholders, including colleagues involved in implementing ARE as well as civil rights organizations that we anticipate will share the views of the customers and communities ARE is designed to support. We look forward to releasing the results from the audit once it is completed.
In response to Citi's announcement, Dieter Waizenegger, Executive Director of SOC Investment Group made the following statement:
By agreeing to a third-party racial equity audit, Citi is taking a critical step toward confronting centuries-old harms against marginalized communities that are still present to this day. We look forward to partnering with Citi to address these concerns to pave the way for a financial industry that understands entrenched racial inequity, changes the way it conducts business, and invests in the communities it serves to close the racial wealth gap.