Citibank is the consumer division of financial services multinational Citigroup. Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, and later became First National City Bank of New York. Citibank provides credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, commercial loans, and lines of credit.
The bank has 2,649 branches in 19 countries, including 723 branches in the United States and 1,494 branches in Mexico. The U.S. branches are concentrated in six metropolitan areas: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Miami. In 2016, the United States accounted for 70% of revenue and Mexico accounted for 13% of revenue. Aside from the U.S. and Mexico, most of the company's branches are in Poland, Russia,Pakistan, India and the United Arab Emirates.
Citibank's private-label credit card division, Citi Retail Services, issues store-issued credit cards for such companies as: Costco, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, The Home Depot, Staples Inc., Shell Oil and until January 2018, Hilton Hotels & Resorts.
As a result of the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and huge losses in the value of its subprime mortgage assets, Citigroup, the parent of Citibank, received a bailout in the form of an investment from the U.S. Treasury. On November 23, 2008, in addition to an initial investment of $25 billion, a further $20 billion was invested in the company along with guarantees for risky assets of $306 billion. By 2010, Citibank had repaid the loans from the Treasury in full, including interest, resulting in a net profit for the U.S. federal government.
The City Bank of New York was founded on June 16, 1812. The first president of the City Bank was the statesman and retired Colonel, Samuel Osgood. In August 1813, with Osgood's death, William Few became President of the Bank, staying until 1817, followed by Peter Stagg (1817–1825), Thomas Smith (1825–1827), Isaac Wright (1827–1832), and Thomas Bloodgood (1832–1843). Ownership and management of the bank was taken over by Moses Taylor in 1837, a protégé of John Jacob Astor and one of the giants of the business world in the 19th century. During Taylor's ascendancy, the bank functioned largely as a treasury and finance center for Taylor's own extensive business empire. Later presidents of the bank included Gorham Worth (1843–1856), Moses Taylor himself (1856–1882), Taylor's son-in-law Patrick Pyne, and James Stillman (1891–1909).
The bank also has the distinguishable history of financing war bonds for the war of 1812, serving as a founding member of the financial clearing house in New York (1853), underwriting the Union, during the American Civil War with $50 million in war bonds, opens the first foreign exchange department of any bank (1897), and received a $5 million deposit to be given to Spain for the US acquisition of the Philippines (1899). In 1865, the bank joined the national banking system of the United States under the National Bank Act and became The National City Bank of New York. By 1868, it was one of the largest banks in the United States, by 1893 it was the largest bank in New York, and following year it was the largest within the United States. In later years it would help finance the Panama Canal (1904) and Stillman, then the bank's chairman, would intervene, along with J. P. Morgan and George Fisher Baker, in the Panic of 1907.
When the Federal Reserve Act allowed it, National City Bank became the first U.S. national bank to open an overseas banking office when it opened a branch in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1914. Many of Citi's present international offices are older; offices in London, Shanghai, Calcutta, and elsewhere were opened in 1901 and 1902 by the International Banking Corporation (IBC), a company chartered to conduct banking business outside the U.S., which was forbidden to U.S. national banks. In 1918, IBC became a wholly owned subsidiary and was subsequently merged into the bank. The same year, the bank evacuated all of its employees from Moscow and Petrograd as the Russian Civil War had begun, but also established a branch in Puerto Rico. By 1919, the bank had become the first U.S. bank to have $1 billion in assets.
As of March 9, 1921, there were four national banks in New York City operating branch offices: Catham and Phoenix National, the Mechanics and Metals National, the Irving National, and National City Bank.
Charles E. Mitchell, also called "Sunshine" Charlie Mitchell, was elected president in 1921. In 1929, he was made chairman, a position he held until 1933. Under Mitchell, the bank expanded rapidly and by 1930 had 100 branches in 23 countries outside the United States. The policies pursued by the bank under Mitchell's leadership are seen by many people as one of the prime causes of the stock market crash of 1929, which led ultimately to the Great Depression.
In 1933, a Senate committee, the Pecora Commission, investigated Mitchell for his part in tens of millions of dollars in losses, excessive pay, and tax avoidance, later leading to his resignation. Senator Carter Glass said of him: "Mitchell, more than any 50 men, is responsible for this stock crash."
On December 24, 1927, its headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were blown-up by the Italian anarchist Severino Di Giovanni, in the frame of the international campaign supporting Sacco and Vanzetti.
In 1940 and 1941, branches in Germany and Japan closed. In 1945, the bank handled $5.6 billion in Treasury securities for War and Victory Loan drives for the U.S. government.
In 1952, James Stillman Rockefeller was elected president and then chairman in 1959, serving until 1967. Stillman was a direct descendant of the Rockefeller family through the William Rockefeller (the brother of John D.) branch. In 1960, his second cousin, David Rockefeller, became president of Chase Manhattan Bank, National City's long-time New York rival for dominance in the banking industry in the United States.
Following its merger with the First National Bank in 1955, the bank changed its name to The First National City Bank of New York, then shortened it to First National City Bank in 1962. It is also worth noting that the bank began recruiting at Harvard Business School in 1957, arranged the financing of the 1958 Hollywood film, South Pacific, and had its branches in Cuba nationalized in 1959 by the new socialist government, and has its first African-American director in 1969, Franklin A. Thomas.
The company organically entered the leasing and credit card sectors, and its introduction of US dollar denominated certificates of deposit in London marked the first new negotiable instrument in the market since 1888. Later to become part of MasterCard, the bank introduced its First National City Charge Service credit card—popularly known as the "Everything Card"—in 1967.
In 1968, Citicorp was set-up as a holding company and in 1976, First National City Bank was renamed Citibank, N.A. The name change also helped to avoid confusion in Ohio with Cleveland-based National City Corp., though the banks never had any significant overlapping areas except for Citi credit cards issued in National City territory. In addition, at the time of the name change to Citicorp, in 1998, National City of Ohio was mostly a Cleveland-area bank and had not gone on its acquisition spree that it would occur in the 1990s and 2000s. Any possible name confusion had Citi not changed its name from National City eventually became completely moot when PNC Financial Services acquired National City in 2008 during the subprime mortgage crisis.
In 1987, the bank set aside $3 billion in reserves for loan losses in Brazil and other developing countries. In 1990, the bank established a subsidiary in Poland. In 1994, it became the world's biggest card issuer.
Shortly afterward, the bank launched the Citicard, which allowed customers to perform all transactions without a passbook. Branches also had terminals with simple one-line displays that allowed customers to get basic account information without a bank teller.
In the 1960s the bank entered into the credit card business. In 1965, First National City Bank bought Carte Blanche from Hilton Hotels. Three years later, the bank (under pressure from the U.S. government) sold this division. By 1968, the company created its own credit card. The card, known as "The Everything Card", was promoted as a kind of East Coast version of the BankAmericard. By 1969, First National City Bank decided that the Everything Card was too costly to promote as an independent brand and joined Master Charge (now MasterCard). Citibank unsuccessfully tried again from 1977 to 1987 to create a separate credit card brand, the Choice Card.
John S. Reed was selected CEO in 1984, and Citi became a founding member of the CHAPS clearing house in London. Under his leadership, the next 14 years would see Citibank become the largest bank in the United States, the largest issuer of credit cards and charge cards in the world, and expand its global reach to over 90 countries.
As the bank's expansion continued, the Narre Warren-Caroline Springs[dubious ] credit card company was purchased in 1981. In 1981, Citibank chartered a South Dakota subsidiary to take advantage of new laws that raised the state's maximum permissible interest rate on loans to 25% (then the highest in the nation). In many other states, usury laws prevented banks from charging interest that aligned with the extremely high costs of lending money in the late 1970s and early 1980s, making consumer lending unprofitable. Currently, there is no maximum interest rate or usury restriction under South Dakota law when a written agreement is formed.
In the 1970s, Citibank was one of the first U.S. banks to introduce automatic teller machines (ATMs), which gave customers 24-hour access to cash. In April 2006, Citibank signed a deal with 7-Eleven to offer Citibank customers free access to ATMs in more than 5,500 convenience stores in the United States.
The Citibank.com domain name was registered in 1991, and initially used only for email and other internet interactions. As early as 1982, Citibank pioneered online access to accounts using 300-baud dial-up only.[better source needed] At first, access was through proprietary software distributed on a 5.25-inch floppy disk. Following the creation of the World Wide Web, Citibank offered browser-based access as well.
In 1999, Citibank was sued for improperly charging late fees on its credit cards.
In August 2004, Citigroup entered the Texas market with the purchase of First American Bank of Bryan, Texas. The deal established Citi's retail banking presence in Texas, giving Citibank over 100 branches, $3.5 billion in assets and approximately 120,000 customers in the state.
In 2006, Citibank entered the Philadelphia market, opening 23 branches in the metropolitan area. In 2013, Citibank closed these locations for "efficiency-driven" reasons.
In 2006, the company announced a naming rights sponsorship deal for the new stadium of New York Mets, Citi Field, which opened in 2009. The deal reportedly required payments by Citi of $20 million per year for 20 years.
On April 11, 2007, Citigroup, the parent of Citibank, announced layoffs of 17,000 employees, or 8% of its workforce.
On November 4, 2007, Charles Prince resigned as the chairman and chief executive of Citigroup, the parent of Citibank, following crisis meetings with the board in New York in the wake of billions of dollars in losses related to subprime lending. Former United States Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin took over as chairman, subsequently hiring Vikram Pandit as chief executive.
On November 5, 2007, several days after Merrill Lynch announced that it too had been losing billions from the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, Citi reported that it will lose between $8 billion and $11 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007, in addition to the $6.5 billion it lost in the third quarter of 2007.
In January 2008, Citigroup reported a $10 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2007, after an $18.1 billion write down.
In August 2008, after a three-year investigation by the California Attorney General, Citibank was ordered to repay the $14 million that was removed from 53,000 customers accounts over an 11-year period from 1992 to 2003, plus an additional $4 million in interest and penalties. The money was taken under an electronic "account sweeping program" where any positive balances from over-payments or double payments were removed without notice to the customers.
On November 23, 2008, during the financial crisis of 2007–2008, Citigroup was forced to seek federal financing to avoid a collapse similar to those suffered by its competitors Bear Stearns and AIG. The U.S. government provided $25 billion and guarantees to risky assets in exchange for Citigroup stock.
On January 16, 2009, Citigroup announced that it was separating Citi Holdings Inc., its non-core businesses such as brokerage, asset management, and local consumer finance and higher-risk assets, from Citicorp. The split was presented as allowing Citibank to concentrate on its core banking business.
On October 19, 2011, Citigroup, the parent of Citibank, agreed to a $285 million civil fraud penalty after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused the company of betting against risky mortgage-related investments that it sold to its clients.
In 2014, Citigroup announced it would exit retail banking in 11 markets, primarily in Europe and Central America.
In September 2015, Citibank announced that it would close its 17 branches in Massachusetts and end sponsorship of a theater in Boston.
In 2015, the bank was ordered to pay $770 million in relief to borrowers for illegal credit card practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that about 7 million customer accounts were affected by Citibank's "deceptive marketing" practices, which included misrepresenting costs and fees and charging customers for services they did not receive.
On March 1, 2017, an article in The Economic Times of India stated that Citibank may close its 44 branches in India, as digital transactions made them less necessary. The articles wrote that Citibank was “India’s most profitable foreign lender”.
On March 20, 2017, The Guardian reported that hundreds of banks had helped launder KGB-related funds out of Russia, as uncovered by an investigation named Russian Laundromat. Citibank was listed among the American banks that were named as having handled the laundered funds, with banks in the US processing around $63.7 million between 2010 and 2014. Citibank was listed as having processed $37 million of that amount, with others including Bank of America, which processed $14 million. as the bank “handled $113.1 million” in Laundromat cash.
Citibank is one of the lead lenders to the developers of the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota, a 1,172-mile-long (1,886 km) oil pipeline project. The pipeline has been controversial regarding its potential environmental impacts and impacts to Siouan sacred lands and water supply. According to a statement by Hugh MacMillan, a senior researcher on water, energy and climate issues, Citibank has been "running the books on this project, and that's the bank that beat the bushes and got other banks to join in."
On December 13, 2016, students of Columbia University protested outside of the Citibank location on Broadway and 112th Street, by holding cardboard signs, chanting and passing flyers. Earlier that year, the university replaced the on-campus Citibank ATMs with ATMs from Santander Bank, a bank that has no ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In the late 1970s, First National City was heavily involved in Indy Car racing, sponsoring major drivers like Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser, Sr. Unser won the 1978 Indianapolis 500 in First National City Travelers Checks livery.
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