Major US Bank to Pay $1,400,000 for Viewing Group of Americans as Criminals Denying Services with ‘Fake Reasons’
Financial behemoth Citibank is reportedly ordered to pay out more than $1 million to prospective clients who were treated like criminals by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Citibank is accused by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of discriminating against individuals because of their ethnicity in a news release.
Using the rationale that Armenian Americans were more prone to commit fraud due to their heritage, the agency claims that Citi discriminated against them by rejecting their retail credit card applications from 2015 to 2021.
Armenian Americans were seen by Citi as potential fraudsters and criminals. Applicants in the Glendale, California area and those with surnames that Citi staff linked to Armenian national origin were targeted by Citi for retail services credit cards from at least 2015 through 2021.
Names that ended in “-ian” or “-yan” were the ones that the bank was aiming for. With a population of around 15% among Armenian Americans, Glendale is affectionately known as “Little Armenia.”
According to the CFBP, middle-level supervisors at Citi told their workers to identify candidates of Armenian heritage and reject them using any means necessary.
The bank denied the applicants outright, demanded further information, or blocked their accounts after discovering they could be of Armenian national origin, according to a statement from Citi.
Workers were told not to mention the unlawful discriminatory conduct on company time or in written communications.
Workers at Citi provided “fake reasons” for denying Armenian American applicants’ applications, including placing the blame on a specific applicant.
An employee from Citi once said that they had declined an application on the basis of an Armenian surname and were looking for advice on how to hide their prejudice. In response, the credit card application was denied on the grounds of possible credit misuse, casting the responsibility on the applicant.
Credit card applicants who were denied based on their national origin between January 1, 2015, and December 31, 2021, will get $1.4 million from Citi, and the bank will also be fined $24.5 million by the CFPB for its discriminatory conduct.