By Matt Egan
NEW YORK (CNN) — Citibank illegally discriminated against Armenian Americans for years by singling them out on credit card applications based on their surnames, a federal regulator alleged on November 8.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that from at least 2015 through 2021, Citi “targeted” retail services credit card applicants whom employees associated with Armenian national origin.
“Citi treated Armenian Americans as criminals who were likely to commit fraud,” the CFPB alleged.
Citi applied more stringent criteria to suspected Armenian Americans’ applications, including “denying them outright,” placing blocks on the accounts and requiring additional information, according to the regulator.
The CFPB said Citi targeted applicants with last names ending in “-ian” and “-yan” as well as applicants in and around Glendale, which is home to a large Armenian-American population.