Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America urges shareholders to vote against gender-equity audit.

The country’s three largest banks are urging shareholders to reject racial-equity resolutions after showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement last year.

Citigroup Inc. C.
+ 0.37%,
Wells Fargo & Co. WFC,
+ 1.25%
And Bank of America Corp. BAC,
+ 0.82%
It was one of several large U.S. companies offering public support in response to widespread protests following the police killings of George Floyd and Brona Taylor last summer. In recent days, they have objected, saying they have officially asked all shareholder groups to conduct and disclose ethnic-equity audits and other changes, saying they are already doing enough to address equity issues.

Shareholder proposals, urging banks to examine their practices and policies and identify ways to “avoid adverse effects on non-white stakeholders and communities of color”, say banks are unnecessary because they are committing different, related initiatives and / or money Is. Such issues internally and externally. These proposals are included in shareholders ’proxy statements, which allow companies to support or oppose shareholders’ resolutions and explain why before getting votes at annual meetings.

For more: Companies declared ‘black life objection’ last year and are now being asked to prove it

The bank has a “conflicting history” when it comes to addressing racial injustice in communities, CTW Investment Group said in a proposal to Citi shareholders. The group provides examples, including the City being fined by the Treasury Department in 2019 for failing to offer mortgage discounts and credits to all customers; Its required minimum maintenance fee and minimum daily balance; And the fact that it has only one black executive in the C-suite (Chief Financial .fisher Mark Mason).

“While we disagree with the overall approach to this proposal, we are fully committed to its stated goal of eliminating racial inequality in the financial sector,” Citi said in its proxy filed Wednesday.

The bank pointed to its billion 1 billion commitment to provide more access to banking and mortgages for color communities, as well as to invest in black businesses. It also states that “in September 2020, the City released a 104-page report on the economic value of black inequality in the United States, with the title ‘Racist Inequality Gaps’ closed.” And said his efforts on these issues are available. Public.

Citi is also recommending that shareholders vote on other ethnic equity-related resolutions, such as diversifying its board of directors and adopting policies such as the “Rooney Rule” policy and disclosing its direct and indirect lobby activities in the report.

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CTW also cited minimum requirements for deposits and fees in its Bank of America resolution, adding that the Treasury Department found in 2018 that the bank gives relatively fewer home loans to minorities than white applicants in Philadelphia, and that Buffa’s C-suite is only 8%. Is black.

Bank of America said in a proxy issued last week that it has committed પહે 3 billion to donate to minority-owned businesses, job initiatives in black and Hispanic communities, affordable housing and historically black colleges and universities. He also drew his work with “customer advocates in the design and marketing of our financial services and products” and his efforts to diversify his workplace and leadership.

His proposal at Wells Fargo cites the bank’s record of discriminatory lending by the Service Employees International Union Pension Plan Master Trust, which has led to various lawsuits and settlement with the Department of Justice, as well as settlement of employment-discrimination claims.

Wells Fargo, which released its proxy on Tuesday, said it was conducting a “human rights impact assessment”, and would release a summary of the results and the response it plans to take. The company also said it is striving for diversity, equity and inclusion in its workplace and its top positions.

Dieter Weizenager, CTW’s executive director, worked with SEIU on shareholders’ proposals. While he said he “welcomed” the banks’ promises on issues of gender equality and justice, “as investors, we believe that a crucial part of this work is an independent assessment of the effectiveness of these promises.”

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Shareholder groups also noted that the banks’ political and charitable donations contradicted their commitment to justice and equity.

The SEIU’s shareholder resolution said Wells Fargo had donated to Senator Tom Catton, who called for military airstrikes on Black Lives Matter protests, as well as other members of Congress with racist records.

CTW stated that the CAT made 2,242,000 donations to 74 members of Congress during the 2020 election cycle, rated as ‘F’ by the NAACP, and that Bank of America was involved in issuing “Judgment Liability Bonds,” part of which Used to pay. “For Police Related Settlements” in Los Angeles.

Both Wells Fargo and Bank of America have donated to police departments to “bypass common procurement processes for purchasing equipment for the police department, including surveillance technology used to target communities of color and non-violent protesters,” shareholder resolutions say.

Goldham Sachs Group Inc. G.S.,
+ 0.95%,
Morgan Stanley M.S.,
+ 1.60%
And JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM,
+ 1.03%
Are facing similar shareholder proposals, and their proxies are not yet pending. This article will be updated when they do.