Company illegally denied credit to Armenian Americans
For a period of six years, Citi singled out consumers it suspected of being of Armenian descent for illegal discrimination, including denying them access to Citi's credit card products.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking action against Citi for the illegal activity, including fining the company $25.9 million.
"The CFPB found that Citi purposefully discriminated against applicants of Armenian descent, primarily based on the spelling of their last name,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. "Citi stereotyped Armenians as prone to crime and fraud. In reality, Citi illegally fabricated documents to cover up its discrimination.”
The CFPB investigation found that Citi not only intentionally discriminated against consumers of Armenian descent, but also took steps to cover up the discrimination. Specifically, Citi directed employees not to discuss the discriminatory practices in writing or on recorded phone calls.
According to the CFPB:
"From at least 2015 through 2021, Citi targeted retail services credit card applicants with surnames that Citi employees associated with Armenian national origin."
These actions violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.