Picture of Citi CEO at a hearing

Citi is the second biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world. Citi lends billions of dollars to the fossil fuel industry destroying the planet. And it’s why Citi got caught out twice last week:

  • Jane Fraser (Citi CEO) got a roasting from US Congress for continuing to bankroll Putin’s fossil fuel companies.
  • It was revealed that Citi are still piling billions of dollars a year into the expansion of coal mines, even though coal is the worst polluting fossil fuel.


Here’s more about Citi’s week from hell.

Citi exposed to Putin, Citi exposed in congress

Have you cut your ties to Lukoil and Vitol?” It’s a simple question that Congressman Brad Sherman put to Citi during a hearing of the CEOs of the US’ major banks last week.

And yet Jane Fraser and Jamie Dimon, who head up Citi and JP Morgan Chase respectively, the world’s top fossil fuel bankers, could not provide a simple answer.

“…We have been working down our exposures in Russia…” fumbles Fraser.
“…So you have not cut your ties yet,” Sherman rightly interjects.

Russia has been waging a brutal and illegal war on Ukraine for seven months now. And Putin is paying for it with funds he gets from his home-grown fossil fuel sector, through companies like Lukoil, which is a major client of Citi. As the Ukrainian government points out, this means Citi’s support of Lukoil and Vitol, which trades Russian oil, directly prolongs Putin’s war in Ukraine and makes them guilty of war crimes.

Activists in Ukraine and New York have not let Citi forget it. Last month, they confronted the bank’s chief sustainability officer to challenge her on why Citi is taking so long to withdraw entirely from Russia. She claimed that Citi’s coal policy is aligned with science, which is laughable (see below on coal expansion).

Citi is the biggest US banker of coal

Two days before the grilling in Congress, Reclaim Finance revealed in a report that Citi and its peers continue to bankroll the *expansion* of the coal industry.

Coal, the deadliest fuel in terms of carbon emissions, was assigned to the bin at COP26, with governments and companies swearing of its use. But not banks like Citi. They are keeping the stuff very much alive and kicking by continuing to service coal developer clients in Asia.

You heard that right.

Citi is trying to reignite the growth of the coal sector. All while climate-related flooding is displacing millions of Pakistani people,

Citi, a founding signatory of the NZBA (Net Zero Banking Alliance), provided two loans of US$503 million each, in April and September 2021, to Mitsubishi, which is building a huge coal plant in Vietnam. They signed the deal just weeks after joining the NZBA. Currently Citi has only said that it won’t take on any new clients building new coal projects, but is still banking current clients. That’s just wrong.

It’s for this reason Citi and other banks were slammed by the UN Secretary General during his address for the UN Global Assembly in New York. He said we need to hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers to account, which includes the banks that continue to fund and underwrite carbon pollution.

Citi wants to be a leader on sustainability and sees itself as ahead of the Wall Street pack. But this is fantasy. There is so much more Citi needs to do to even catch up with peers in Europe. It can start with a proper policy to cut off financing for coal expansion. The bar couldn’t be lower.