Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered Citibank to pay $25.9 million in fines and consumer redress for discriminatory practices against Armenian American credit card applicants from 2015 to 2021. Following this, last week Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu urging him to consider additional actions against Citibank, including downgrading its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating.
Waters highlighted that Citi employees engaged in discriminatory practices based on stereotypes about Armenian criminality. This seems to contradict the bank's rating of "Outstanding" in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)'s most recent CRA performance evaluation, issued in 2021. Water called on the OCC to promptly examine the case and take appropriate measures to hold the bank accountable. "The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) is a crucial tool in promoting economic development and fair lending practices in communities across the country," Waters asserted.
"It is essential that all banks adhere to the spirit and intent of the CRA, fostering inclusivity and preventing discrimination against any ethnic or cultural group," Waters wrote. "Ensuring that financial institutions comply with the highest standards of fairness and equality is essential to maintaining the integrity of the banking system and fostering trust among the public. I trust that the OCC will handle this matter with the utmost diligence and impartiality."