Citigroup Inc. has announced that it will spend $1 billion to shrink the racial wealth gap as it works to become an antiracist institution over the next three years.
The Washington Post reports that $350 million will be allocated to “procurement opportunities for Black-owned suppliers” and that more than half of the funding is also going toward “supporting homeownership for people of color and affordable housing by minority developers.”
“We are in the midst of a national reckoning on race, and words are not enough,” said Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason in a statement. “We need awareness, education, and action that drive results.”
Through its firm study, Citigroup discovered that a $5 trillion boost to the GDP (gross domestic product) in the next five years could arise in the United States if the most severe forms of economic discrimination levied against African Americans could be instantly ended. Over the last 20 years, these kinds of race-based inequalities have taken around $16 trillion from the GDP.
“What this report underscores is that this tariff is levied on us all and, particularly in the U.S., that cost has a real and tangible impact on our country’s economic output,” said Citigroup Vice Chairman Raymond J. McGuire said in the report, according to The Washington Post. “We have a responsibility and an opportunity to confront this long-standing societal ill.”
Additionally, Citigroup says that to become an antiracist institution, it is working to find out and end the discriminatory practices and policies that exist within it. This will come from developing “standards to ensure its software eliminates biases,”making sure that more people of color are “assigned to the bank’s accounts,” and also promising to “expand its community-lending team within its U.S. consumer bank, and increase the number of correspondent lenders as part of its efforts to increase minority borrowers’ access to mortgage products.”
“Addressing racism and closing the racial wealth gap is the most critical challenge we face in creating a fair and inclusive society, and we know that more of the same won’t do,” said Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbatin in a statement. “This is a moment to stand up and be counted, and Citi is committed to leading the way.”
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