Banking/Financial Institutions

Citi agrees to undergo a racial audit

Citigroup has agreed to undergo an independent racial equity audit, the bank announced Friday.

In a blog post, Citi Executive Vice President Edward Skyler said the audit 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."

The audit will be conducted by the law firm Covington & Burling LLP and will focus on the company's "Action for Racial Equity" (ARE) initiative.

The ARE was started last year to address the racial wealth gap.

It includes initiatives aimed at providing greater access to communities of color, increasing investment in Black-owned businesses, expanding affordable housing and advancing anti-racist practices in the both the company and financial industry.

Skyler said the audit will include input from a range of stakeholders, including colleagues involved in implementing the ARE and civil rights organizations that 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," Skyler said. 

Citi is the first Wall Street Bank to agree to a racial audit, according to Bloomberg News. Black employees made up 10 percent of Citigroup's workforce last year, the outlet noted.

Multiple banks introduced measures aimed at closing the racial wealth gap last year after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a nationwide conversation about race and equity. 

Earlier this year, House lawmakers debated a bill from Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) that would require financial firms to conduct racial audits every two years.