For the past few weeks we have witnesses the US Government pump billions of US Taxpayer dollars into Citibank and Citicorp, watch the CEO on cable television appear before Congress to explain what they are actually doing with all the government funds (loans/stock purchases), seen the stock drop to basically junk stock levels, and all measure of other "smart"- people with lots of degrees pontificate on what Citicorp/Citibank must do to return to a fully solvent, functioning financial institution. With such attention in the national spotlight (or is it the National doghouse?) and money thrown at their solvency problem one would think that Citibank would have figured out the critical action to take to make certain all the money, management efforts and economic advise are not wasted. That missing link is staring them in the face. Perhaps that is why they cannot, apparently, see that they must win back the confidence of not only Wall Street types, them must win back THEIR CUSTOMERS. The letter below, in my opinion, would be a good first step in that direction.
To: Valued Citibank/Citicorp Customer
From: Citicorp and Citibank Chairman of the Board
Subject: Your Business Dealings At Citibank/CitiCorp
By now you have likely heard that we have made somewhat of a mess of managing our businesses which has resulted in a loss in confidence at Wall Street investors and you, our customers-the reason we really exist. We recognize that in our desire to correct our mistakes we have mistreated those of you with various accounts at Citibank. This letter serves to advise you that we have seen the error of our ways, we really want you to continue to be a Citibank/Citicorp customer, and are taking the following actions immediately to treat you the way a valued customer should be treated, request your forgiveness for taking our eye off of the real reason we are in business and promise you that we will never see us take systematic actions that harm our customers, especially when you need us most.
Actions To Be Completed By March 15, 2009
Master Charge, Visa and Citi American Express Account Holders
Citibank recently took action to reduce your credit line just when you needed it most. In some cases we promoted using special Citibank checks to write yourself a loan (cash advance) and when you did we lowered your credit limit without advance warning, and even bounced some of those checks causing you charges at both Citibank and the financial institution or business you used the checks at. We also doubled or almost tripled your interest rate and monthly payment, for being a day or two late on your otherwise timely payment history, which has made it almost impossible for you to make your monthly payment, which we also reported to credit reporting agencies. While we were allowed to do so contractually (it was covered in detail in that microscopic text of the disclosure notice when you accepted that ZERO interest offer a year or two ago), it was another horrible management decision we made in our panic when we realized we had blown it managing our "own"- financial house.
Actions Citi Has Initiated: We will reverse ANY lowering of credit limits to the limit on any of these three types of account to the level of credit you had on July 1, 2008, and reverse any charge for cash advance checks not honored. Further, we will provide you a letter for your use to provide to any merchant or financial institution that charged you a fee when we returned your check, and pay any "bounced check"- charges you provide documentation for. Finally, and we believe this is critical to gaining back your trust and business, Citibank/Citicorp will also reduce your monthly payment and interest rate on each of these accounts, retroactively to July 1, 2008, send you a check for any resulting overpayment of an account minimum and show your account as current to all credit reporting agencies.
If you are one of our valued customers that has multiple accounts with us, we will be proactive--meaning we will not wait for you to contact us--and offer you a personal loan at an attractive interest rate (less than 9% with a 630 or lower credit score) to consolidate your multiple account balances.
Some Citibank/Citicorp customers may have other types of loans with us. If you have a home mortgage, home equity, second mortgage, auto/boat, or personal line of credit with us, you will be receiving separate correspondence concerning the customer focused efforts to keep you in your home, prevent foreclosure, or repossession of auto/boat.
To close, we at Citibank/Citicorp know just how badly we have screwed up and took our eye off the key reason we are in business, to serve the needs of our customers. With the actions outlined above, we hope that you will remain at Citibank/Citicorp for your future financial needs. Please let us know if there is anything else regarding these credit card accounts to "make things right"- with you.
I thank you in advance for allowing us to "re-earn"- your financial trust and watch the mail for how we will offer to make things "right"- concerning any other non-credit card Citi account.
CEO Citibank/Citicorp and Board of Directors