Action for Racial Equity – Two Years Later
By Mark Mason, Chief Financial Officer September 14, 2022 09:30 AM
Action for Racial Equity is one of the most meaningful efforts that Citi has launched during my two decades at the company because of its central focus on advancing Citi's mission of enabling economic growth and progress. The tragic events of two summers ago laid bare the systemic inequities in our country – “economic growth and progress” is simply out of reach for too many communities of color and the racial wealth gap has only grown wider during the pandemic. We made a commitment to use the talent and resources of our company to help close the gap, and that commitment is as strong as ever.
One of the hallmarks of our efforts to address any societal challenge is our commitment to transparency and accountability. So, when we launched Action for Racial Equity in September 2020, we were very clear about the goals we wanted to achieve. Two years later, there's much to be proud of – we've not only met but exceeded our financial commitment of investing $1.1 billion in strategic initiatives. But we also need to be honest about how far we still have to go to embed racial equity into everything we do at Citi. This means changes to our external engagement and how we work with clients and customers, as well as changes internally and how we work with our colleagues. While our success is dependent on our strategy, it is equally contingent on the support and commitment of our leadership and holding ourselves accountable.
The good news is that we have the wind at our backs. In addition to exceeding our financial goal ahead of schedule, we have made important progress over the past year including:
- Launching a special purpose credit program: Citi recently announced a special purpose credit program that will enhance its HomeRun and lender paid assistance programs. These enhancements will expand income eligibility and distribution of lending solutions to serve more diverse consumers within and beyond our physical footprint and increase lender paid assistance for eligible borrowers.
- Deepening our collaboration with minority-owned institutions: As part of our efforts to expand firmwide engagement with diverse financial institutions, Citi recently enlisted three minority depository institutions (MDIs) to take part in a $1.23 billion syndicated corporate loan. We also worked exclusively with five Black-owned firms to syndicate a $2.5 billion bond issuance. Proceeds will finance quality affordable housing for low- to moderate-income populations.
- Expanding our Citi Impact Fund: We recently announced our plans to scale the Citi Impact Fund to $500 million, which will expand our capacity to invest in Black-founded companies and elevate their work.
- Strengthening our commitment to transparency: Last year we committed to conducting a third-party audit of Action for Racial Equity and we plan to release a report of key findings from the audit that will help inform our future racial equity plans.
We also recognize the importance of public-private partnerships to address systemic inequities. As such, Citi is a founding member of the Biden-Harris administration's Economic Opportunity Coalition, which aims to catalyze and align public and private investments. These investments will address economic disparities and accelerate economic opportunity in underserved communities in the U.S. Citi will support the coalition at large, with a focus on how it engages and strengthens community financial institutions, including community development financial institutions and MDIs.
We know there's more work to do, and we must work collectively to take action within the firm and for the clients and communities we serve. I am honored to be part of a team that is committed to lasting change within Citi and beyond our walls, and I look forward to continuing this vital work for future generations.