After suspending the gay networking website’s, fabulis’s, bank account without warning last week, Citi has now officially responded to the fiasco and announced what they are going to do about it.Full announcement after the below.
What’s interesting is Citi told fabulis that their account was suspended because of a paperwork misfiling.
That seems unlikely.
From Jason at fabulis:
We learned on Friday that someone(s) at Citi had reviewed our blog and had somehow classified it as “porn” which triggered these events. Thus, citi now revising their policies to try to make sure such a crazy judgment doesn’t happen again.
The “paperwork” thing was just a smoke screen for the actual events.
Now Citi admits the incident was caused by a “miscommunication.”
So now bankers have to check with their supervisors before shutting an account down.
Citibank Message About Internet Business Accounts
At Citibank, we have learned a great deal from recent customer issues related to Internet business accounts. Mistakes were made in some instances, in which we apologized and corrected the problem. These issues made it clear to us that the language in our branch procedures was not specific enough and left too much room for interpretation from one account to the next.
We recognised that we needed clearer and less subjective guidelines with regard to opening Internet business accounts. And there were clearly gaps in training and communications around these specific branch procedures. Based on all these learnings, we’ve taken action and this week we updated and clarified our procedures for opening all Internet business accounts.
Banks are required by law to conduct due diligence and understand the nature of business accounts. For Internet business accounts, we have made it clearer to our bankers what the due diligence process entails. For example, we will continue to reserve the right to decline or suspend an account if we find illegal or discriminatory content, or if the site involves gambling or pornography. Beyond that specific due diligence, however, we do not monitor or evaluate our customers’ web content.
We are providing additional training in this area to ensure the procedures are uniformly and correctly followed. Also, our bankers are now required to have additional consultation with senior level banking executives when questions arise about these accounts before making any final decisions. This will help to avoid misunderstanding and subjective decisions, and promote greater consistency throughout the process. And we remain committed to working with our customers to try to resolve any issues.
As a global organisation, we also recognise the power and promise of diversity. In that spirit, we reiterate Citi’s commitment to serving customers, hiring talent and supporting a broad array of organisations that promote diversity. To learn more about our diversity efforts, please visit: http://www.citigroup.com/citi/citizen/diversity/index.htm.
These recent customer issues have been a useful learning experience for us. We again apologise for any misunderstandings that may have occurred. We are committed to improving every day and we’re working to better serve our customers.