After intense public pressure and a threatened boycott, following a
series of WorldNetDaily reports exposing Citibank’s practice of
denying banking services to
the global financial giant has now reversed its “longstanding” policy.
Yesterday, Mark Rodgers, a public relations specialist for the New
York-based mega-banking firm told WND the corporation “went out and
looked at our policies across (all Citibank branches) and found that
(they) were inconsistent.”
After reviewing several policy “areas,” Rodgers said, “we decided we
must have uniform policies across the U.S.” Consequently, he
said, Citibank “decided that moving forward the practice of assessing a
small business account will apply uniformly in small businesses,”
including those “engaged in the manufacture or sale of small firearms.”
Rodgers said the firm would rate firearms businesses “the same as any
other small business, using the same standards such as creditworthiness,
the number of years in business, and so on.”
Rodgers faxed a confirmation copy of the new policy to WorldNetDaily.
The policy reversal comes on the heels of a controversy that began
Feb. 7, when a Las Vegas branch of Citibank closed a three-day-old
checking account opened by the Nevada Pistol Academy, a local shooting
club. At that time, local area branch managers told the academy’s
director, Chris Lorenzo, in a letter, “Due to Citibank not
maintaining accounts for businesses that deal in weapons,” the account
would have to be closed.
Lorenzo, who spoke with WorldNetDaily after the closure, said that
while the corporate banking giant was “free to do business with whomever
they choose,” he also felt it was important to let other gun-business
owners “know where they stand.”
Lorenzo could not be reached for comment Monday.
However, the Second Amendment Foundation, a
Washington state-based pro-gun group, is calling the decision a “sweet
victory for all law-abiding gun owners.” The group had called for a
nationwide boycott of
Citibank because of the policy.
Alan Gottlieb, the group’s founder, said the decision “ends more than
a decade of silent discrimination” against lawfully licensed
“I couldn’t be more pleased,” Gottlieb said.
In the early 1980s, Rodgers said, Citibank began buying a large
number of independent banks all over the country, noting, “for many
years, they operated pretty much independently, with their own policies,
services and products.”
In the past few years, he said, “we’ve been bringing those together
so that we are consistent and uniform across the business units and
geography” at all Citibank branches.
What the treatment of the Nevada Pistol Academy proved, Rodgers said,
“is that we had an inconsistency in the policy in business units, so we
moved to bring those together so that they were in agreement.”
On Feb. 24, WND reported a major inconsistency in Citibank’s
in that the firm conducts business with and has close corporate ties to
major military contractors that produce jet fighters and other defense
equipment, while refusing — until now — to offer services to small gun