Citi and the Citi Foundation announced this week more than $1 billion in strategic initiatives to help close the country’s racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility.

Citi’s thrust toward racial equity includes providing greater access to banking and credit in low-income communities, increasing investment in Black-owned businesses, increasing homeownership among Black Americans, advancing anti-racist practices in the financial services industry.

“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 Citi CEO Michael Corbat. “We are bringing together all the capabilities of our institution — our people, our lines of business, our balance sheet, and our philanthropy — like never before to combat the impact of racism in our economy.

“This is a moment to stand up and be counted, and Citi is committed to leading the way and investing in communities of color to build wealth and strong financial futures,” Corbat said.

Citi core businesses, along with Citi Foundation, are committing over the next three years:

– $550 million to support homeownership for people of color and affordable housing by minority developers.
– $350 million in procurement opportunities for Black-owned business suppliers.
– $50 million in additional impact investing capital for Black entrepreneurs.
– $100 million to support Minority Depository Institutions’ growth and revenue generation.
– $100 million in Citi Foundation grants to support community change agents addressing racial equity.

According to the recently published Citi GPS report, “Closing the Racial Inequality Gaps,” if the U.S. had closed key racial gaps for Black Americans in wages, housing, education and investment 20 years ago, $16 trillion could have been added to the U.S. economy. If these gaps are closed today, $5 trillion could be added to U.S. GDP over the next five years.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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