Worthwhile
Blog Podcasts The Dialogue Magazine About Us
BLOG SEARCH
ONLINE
MAGAZINE
Subscribe
GENERAL
FAQ
WORTHWHILE FOUNDERS

Sign up for Worthwhile's free weekly e-zine.


 
Home > Blog > Citigroup Values
Out of Our Minds
Saturday, October 02, 2004 2:22 PM
Citigroup Values
David Weinberger on Ethics

Citigroup CEO Charles P. Prince, according to an article in Friday's WSJ, intends to make 'values' a key focus.

This is always a cause for concern.

According to the article:


'The world's largest financial-services firm needs to 'internalize' a strong code of ethics around the globe. 'You can't think of this in terms of control,' he explained. 'You can't expect to have policemen lined up along the side of the road saying 'You can't drive here.''



Prince's solution is to internalize the policemen: 'He said yesterday that in the coming year he aimed to lecture employees about internalizing Citigroup rules 'until I'm blue in the face.'' And, he will be 'ruthless' with transgressors.

So, he's not talking about values at all. He's talking about rules. And the problem with rules is that you can't even have internal policemen lined up along the side of the road. Someone is going to drive off road, or the policemen will be confronted with an ambiguous, new situation and will choose to implement their rules foollishly. Only genuine values can handle the interesting cases where people go wrong.

So, It sounds Citigroup, with the CEO lecturing you until he's blue in the face, is going to be a heck of a fun place to work.


12 comments

DAMARI STRATFORD - 4/22/2006 9:21:13 AM
CITIBANK ETHICS PLEASE POST AND FORWARD MY STORY I NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE HELP US GET THIS STORY OUT PLEASE FORWARD TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW The letter I’ve include with this email is from a concern client of Citibank My question is will the teller be fired and if not why not? This teller left out about $10,000.00 in the unlocked front drawer 2 different times with in a two week period and had two shortages in one year, one for $100.00 and the other for $450.00. Where the cash drawer is concern two employees signed the vault book stating they witness her put the cash away, obviously not true. One of these two employees had the bank pay for her daughters overdrafts and the manage was aware, against company policy. This teller entered false referrals into the systems to make the banks numbers look better and this was done under the supervision and direction of the supervisor, when I brought this up to the manager none of the three tellers which input false referrals were written up, falsifying bank documents and no write up but I get written up for missing a Saturday, why? Unfair and unequal treatment by the manager. Where are the ethics? As I’ve stated, the unethical employees still have jobs and I get fired after the manager receives my email on 12/13/05 at about 1:45 p.m., and he acknowledges receiving it, it clearing answers his question/comment that he was calling to see if I was coming. The email states that my doctor had called in and spoke to Kathleen: as well as faxing in my doctors note which the manager returned to me with my termination letter received two days after I had been fried with no check, with no break down explanation, no vacation pay, misleading information and so on, note clearly stating my disability time off. Did he read the doctors note? Did he let upper management know that my doctor had call and faxed information? The manager called I returned his call but he was with a client. I requested to communicate via email and I emailed him, Kathleen and Human Resource, so why was I fired sometime after he received my email and the end of the day if he was just calling to see if I was coming in and if not to contact HR? Unfair and unequal treatment. It makes no sense. Why weren’t the labor codes followed? Did he get HR permission to fire me? Why then wasn’t my check included with my letter of termination? Aren’t I to be fired at the location which I work? Were my rights violated when he had Kevin send me my termination letter, did he know I was getting fired prior to me receiving my letter? March 25, 2006 Dear Ms. Deloney, I would like to take a moment and thank you for responding to my comments regarding Damari and the manager. I am sure that you are a very busy and important person and I appreciate your time. Damari is truly missed at the bank, since her unfair termination by the manger, the atmosphere at the bank is boring to say the least. Damari added life and laughter and she enjoyed serving the customers. I feel deeply, that the manager made a huge mistake in dismissing her while she was ill. What kind of a manager would dismiss an employee while they are ill? As I say this, I now have further concerns about another teller name Andrea. I was in the bank and was told that she has injured her knee and will be out of work for about six weeks. I’m sure that Andrea has a doctors note as Damari did, I hope that the manager doesn’t make the same mistake and decides to terminate her and mail her a letter before she returns as he did Damari when he terminated her instead of waiting for her to get well and return to work. Although I would understand if he were let her go as she spends most of her time at work doing her homework , reading and she isn’t available everyday. Andrea will move on, on her own to become a teacher, this is what she goes to school for two days a week. By her going to school, I feel this puts a strain on the staff. I understand that the rest of the tellers along with Kathleen are now having to work six days a week and Kathleen is running a window: she doesn’t have the charm or customer service skills which Damari offered the bank. We go into the bank often and we rarely see that manager. I feel that it would be in the best interest of the bank to find a permanent manager as soon as possible, one whom appreciates competent employees as Damari. Frankly, I don’t understand how a temporary manager was given the authority to dismiss an employee such as Damari with her wonderful skills , talents and dedication to her job. Therefore my concerns are now for Andrea whom doesn‘t compare with the kind of service Damari offered your customers. As I stated before, the other tellers spend too much time speaking to customers about personal things and shopping on the computer instead of banking conversations. I frequently witness them reading and eating while at their windows: this is very unprofessional. I feel it would be in the best interest to Citibank to launch a complete investigation on the manager, as you stated would be done and seriously consider removing him from Carmel. In my opinion since he arrived the atmosphere is tense and if I can sense it I am sure that other customers do. This manager has taken all the personal touch and charm out of the bank and I feel the employees fear for their jobs: no one should have to work under those conditions. Keeping this manager at this or any branch is sure to destroy you business. Again, thank you for your letter and taking the time to look into this situation. Sincerely, Clifford Bagwell In a letter dated 01/06/06,Citibank states, Pursuant to Section 1089 of the Ca. Unemployment insurance Code, regarding notification of changes in employment status, please be advised that your employment was terminated on 12/13/5 for failure to follow call in procedures RE Section1089 and other codes which Citibank may have violated Other codes they may have violated labor code section 208, 226, 226.3,201.25,2441, 2800,2802,2926,2927,6400,3602(6),3852,2922,civil code 47(c) I was fired on 12/13/05,it states that each employer shall notify the employee immediately, yet I didn't find out until 12/15 as I received my notice of termination via UPS on12/15 When I was fired I was not supplied with "copies of printed statements or materials relating to claims for benefits by Citibank. Citibank claims that I didn't follow the call-in procedure yet my doctor called on 12/12 & faxed in a notice which stated that I would be out from the 12th-16th. Jeff claims that he called me to see if I was coming in on 12/13 at 10:25am,almost 2hrs after my shift started, he states that if I wasn't coming in that he wanted me to contact HR to inform them of my extended absence. How does one go from calling to see if I'm coming in & ask me to call HR to Jeff stating & deciding that I should be fired yet in my email to him at 1:45pm on 12/13 it states that the doctor had spoken to Kathleen & faxed in my doctors note which he returns to me w/letter of termination. How does he justify terminating me? I was out on work related stress and my blood pressure, my doctor called for me to keep my stress & blood pressure down, as far as not calling in I had my doctor call: the call was made for me to protect my health. Why wasn't it stated in my termination letter that I failed to follow the call in procedure. Why does Citibank state to the DFEH that I called in on 11/15 & said that I would be out the rest of the week yet I worked on the that day & the supervisor approved my timecard on 11/22. What else are they not being honest about? Why are the employees which falsify bank documents & break policy still have jobs? Reply to Damari Stratford 1291 Ord Grove Ave, Seaside 93955 831-583-9077 CITIBANK IS NOT BEING HONEST WITH DFEH THIS IS A LETTER I SENT MY GOVERNOR Dear Governor, First Lady and staff, I have been awake since 1:05 a.m. I was having a difficult time sleeping again due to my conversation with Ann Lueckeman from the DFEH. Ann and I spoke on 3/08/06, Citibank apparently faxed in their reply on 3/07/06. Ann read to me some of the statements that Citibank made on their reply Citibank states: that I called in on 11/15/05 and that I stated that I would be out the rest of the week, this is a lie!!! I happen to have my time card for the week ending 11/19/05 and it clearly shows that I worked the 15th, I was off the 16th and I worked the 17th and that I was out sick on the 18th and 19th and that the manager approved my time. Citibank states that I refused to work on Saturdays but they don't mention that I, unlike them, was willing to meet them half way. Citibank is not telling the truth. To further support that I was at work on the 15th and 17th I have my journal notes with specific times of things that occurred on those two days. How does an honest and ethical person fight against unethical people who lie? How can I protect myself if I can't afford an attorney and I can't find one to work on a contingency basis? The other night, on TV, my husband and I heard that the government spends 4 million to train wasp and I can't get help from The White House or our Senators or Congress, to defend myself against a corporation which is taking advantage and lying about this situation? The only one that has offered to help is the Governors office and although I appreciate the letter and the call from the Governors office this does not get me an attorney. I have diligently search for assistance to no avail. I am now begging for help, I can't continue to loose sleep and live on anxiety medication; this situation is wearing on me. Again, please, is there anything more that you or our government can do to help my family and I, for this wrongful termination? Why is Citibank lying? I feel like I am going to have another panic attack and I had to resign to taking medication to calm down. This is totally and completely unfair, unjust, wrong and no one should have to go through what Citibank has put my family and I through. I only wonder how many other wrongful termination's Citibank has gotten away with because people are afraid to go up against them or just don't have the money to fight and protect them selves? My husband and daughter are worried about me and so am I. PLEASE HELP US. I don’t know what else to do and I don’t want to give up. Sincerely. Damari Stratford AS OF 4/21/06 SENT TO THE GOVERNOR I SPOKE WITH THE EMPLOYEE RELATIONS DIRECTOR OF CITIGROUP TODAY, IT WAS ADMITTED THAT THERE WAS SOME WRONG INFORMATION GIVEN TO THE DFEH REGARDING THE 17th OF NOVEMBER, 2005. CITIBANK WILL BE SENDING IN A "NEW' RESPONSE DUE TO NOT DOING THE INVESTIGATION THOROUGHLY THE FIRST TIME. SO WHAT ELSE ARE THEY NOT DOING THOROUGHLY OR ETHICALLY? DAMARI STRATFORD I HAVEN'T HEARD FROM YOUR OFFICE AS I WAS TOLD I WOULD BE CONTACTED PLEASE FOLLOW UP WITH ME, THANK YOU A BETTER EXPLANATION Mother fired by Citibank for no good reason I am searching for an Employment Attorney willing to work on a contingency basis. I was fired while I was out sick, the managers states in a note added to my personnel file that he had called me to see if I would be coming into work on Dec. 13th but yet with my letter of termination he returned to me the faxed in doctors note, faxed in at 3:44p.m. on 12/12/05 by my doctor, which clearly stated that I would be out from 12/12-12/16/05. He sent me my letter of termination thru UPS, which arrive on 12/15/05. The manager knew that I was out on work related stress and I had a workers comp case pending. The manager states that I was fired for not complying with my warning and I asked how I could comply if I wasn't there to comply so then I get a letter from HR stating that I was fired for failure to follow the call in process but my doctor had called in for me on the 12th due to my stress level and blood pressure. The doctor had spoken to the supervisor on the 12th so they were aware that I wouldn't be in on the 13th and my doctor has the notes on my file that she had made a call in for me. Citibank did not follow their own procedures when they fired me. The EEOC has given me the right to sue and the letter arrived on 2/17/06 so my 90 days have started. The DFEH has also launched their own investigation which Citibank received notice on 1/23/06 and should be responding to the notice any day now, (as of 3/8/06they haven’t responded). I had an outstanding performance history with the bank; I had worked there for 4 years 2 months 6 days. I was the head teller one of the notary and the only Spanish-speaking teller. I have at least 40 letters of support from Citibank clients and I can prove that the manager was not equal with all the employees and although he was aware of the teller cooking the books under the direction of the supervisor none of them were put on corrective action yet I was written up for missing my first Saturday and then again when I missed my 2nd Saturday although I had a doctors note to be out of work due to my blood pressure and stress brought on by the manage and the unfairness in treatment. I had been threaten with job abandonment but at that time I hadn't missed any work long enough to be accused for this. Citibank violated code 132A of the worker comp law and I do have an attorney for that but they are unable to deal with all the other issues. I have a strong feeling that the manager never told HR that my doctor had called in for me nor did he share my doctors note with them, he is to get approval from HR before firing me yet fired me by 4:30 pm or so, I had also emailed him that day at 1:45 pm and explained that my doctor had spoken to the supervisor and faxed in a note, again he was aware that I wouldn’t be in. The manager had called my cell phone and left a message at about 10:25 am, he states that he called because I hadn’t called in a half an hour prior to my shift, which started at 8:30 a.m., why did it take him 2 hours before calling me? And I would bet that the supervisor had made arrangements to have a teller there to cover my shift since my doctor called her. Please help my family and I. Sincerely, Damari Stratford Home 831-583-9077 all calls to this number are screen due to telemarketing calls and my current situation so once you hear my voice saying that all calls are screened please leave a message, once I hear who is calling I pick up the phone. Cell phone 831-236-0112 this is the best number to leave a message Again please help us Sheri, (4/22/06) The reason the conversation came to an abrupt ending is due to my frustration with this issue, yes I was upset and angry and my stomach was turning and my chest tightening, I had it get off the phone and calm down and I took some Xanax to calm the anxiety attack which I felt coming on. As I explained on the phone, I have lost 25 pounds since Jeff Ursino first threaten me with job abandonment, I don't sleep well, I grind my teeth , I have gone to the emergency room for chest pains and a heart doctor and so much more. I have nightmares. From my house I see Highway 1, a constant reminded of the unjust done to me. I have seen about 10 different doctors and I have been given about ten different medications, I have been seeing a therapist every Friday since Nov. 2005 and I have only missed 2 appointments with him. My job was very important to my family and I, I have cashed in my IRA and 401k, my pension is on the way, I have sold some stocks at a lost to insure i have funds and all this because I was fired and I don't know how long I will be ill and I have bills. I have spent hours doing paper work for things such as unemployment, disability, activating credit protection dealing with connect one, Met Life. health insurance and more. I don't know how my benefits are being paid, I am not being directly billed and no one sends me the information I requested. I have lost my employee rate on my credit card and I still have to make payments to one of them. Can you imagine arriving home and seeing a UPS envelope addressed to me from Kevin Squires only to open it and find a letter from Jeff terminating me. Every time I see a UPS truck I feel I will be getting more bad news from Citibank. I did call him, he was with a client, I called his cell phone, he didn't answer, I emailed him, he received it and didn't respond but instead fired me, he lies, he returns my doctors note which stated the time I would be off, they lie to the DFEH, why wasn't the research done thoroughly in the first place, why were both of my write ups sloppy with incorrect dates and information? I wasn't fired for my performance, Jeff just wanted to hurt me more and this was his way. I was told that the center didn't have enough employees for some one to have Saturdays off but even though the center is short staff he fires me and allows Andrea to be out every Tuesday and Thursday but yet we were short staffed. I can't believe that all of this has happened to me for being ill and yet other employees did things that were more of a risk to the center than being out ill. I am sorry for raising my voice at you, I hope you understand it isn't directed at you, it is about the situation which Jeff created. I can't deal with more paper work and I don't trust anything Jeff or Kathleen say, they are unethical and will say anything to make themselves look good. At this point I will not be reading the attached Arbitration policy which you attached to this email, I can't deal with more paper work, I will research other avenues and continue to tell my story since I can't
JAMES ARTHUR MORGAN - 1/12/2005 12:42:16 PM
having been fired by citi for being an honest customer service rep i hope MR PRINCE visist HAGERSTOWN MARYLAND were emergency roadside service is run by numbers not what is best for major customers like some of the worlds biggest corporations. where honest people are set up to be let go and management keeps hidden from the upper management how their own fundelmentalism {christian }is detrimental to good busness WE ALL REMEMBER HOW FUNATICS CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE. //// CITI HAS BEEN KICKED OUT OF JAPAN FOR LACK OF HONORABLE PRACTICES/ MR PRINCE SHOULD GET A NEW JOB CAUSE THE WHOLE CULTURE @ CITI IS TO MUCH FOR 1 MAN TO CHANGE
Missi McMorries - 10/20/2004 1:55:24 PM
Dare I return to the subject at hand? It doesn't have to be either/or. Sometimes the way to inculcate values into corporate culture is by having rules pounded into people's heads. In my profession (law) (and let's skip the oxymoronic stuff), the code of ethics used to be stated in aspirational terms followed by the 'rules', the breach of which would get you disbarred. Rules set forth the bare minimum standard of behavior, and pounding the rules into people's heads and strictly enforcing the same can be a good start in creating a corporate culture that says 'we really mean it'.

From that starting point, a corporate value system can develop because it can start the conversation when ambiguity enters the equation. At that point, cultural values develop, because the conversation will either be, 'Here's the line. You can go up to it but don't cross it' or 'Here's the line. Let's figure out a way around it (a posture that gets a lot a lawyer's in trouble)' or 'Hey, that's a little close to the line, don't you think? Do we really want to go there?' How senior management approaches the 'line' will create the values and set the tone of the corporate culture.

Michelle Monroe - 10/6/2004 2:48:59 PM
Sure can. In fact, they got in trouble over fair lending violations and trying to deceive bank examiners. That cost them $70 Million US.

Here's the link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/27/business/27CND-CITI.html?ex=1097208000&en=5da224acce08aa90&ei=5070&hp

An excerpt:

'Last month, a Citigroup spokeswoman said Citigroup was considering seeking a charter for a new bank in Saudi Arabia.

Despite the end of its direct ties in Saudi Arabia, Citigroup continues to have widespread relationships with the country and its citizens. The company's biggest individual shareholder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is a Saudi.

Citigroup has a presence in eight Arabic-speaking countries. The hub of its Middle Eastern operations is in United Arab Emirates.'

Again, note the 'biggest individual shareholder' being Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (and, of course the four Mrs. bin Talals).

Of COURSE every company has foreign investors. That's fine. But the good Prince CONTROLS Citigroup. He also owns nice big chunks of Coca-Cola, eBay and now Priceline. Just not enough to CONTROL those companies.

Need I remind that 19 SAUDIs flew airplanes into the World Trade Center, and enough direct links to the Saudi Royal family were found that the White House saw fit to censor parts of that report in order to protect them?

These are not just 'foreign investors,' nor are those who refuse to do business with Citigroup xenophobic nutscases.

My values require that I avoid doing business with those people, regardless of the fact that they employ good, hardworking Americans.
Kevin Salwen - 10/5/2004 7:34:39 PM
If we as consumers decided to boycott every company that has investors with ties to a foreign regime we don't like, our investment options would be, well, zero companies. Citi has foreign shareholders but so do Microsoft, Starbucks and every other public company. Can you document that Citi has deeper (and more influential) Saudi ownership than other companies?
Michelle Monroe - 10/5/2004 6:40:18 PM
I'm not talking about the employees of Citicorp, I'm talking about who they work for. Nor am I talking about 'foreign investors.' I'm talking about a company that is owned in great large part by a misogynistic, corrupt regime, the Saudis.

The incredible irony is, that very few women who work for Citicorp even know their labor enriches the Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Tala, nephew of King Fahd.

But it does. Enriches his 4 (at the moment) wives too.

So, let's TALK values, shall we? But whose?
anita - 10/5/2004 9:05:40 AM
I agree, Chris. Too often there's a knee-jerk tendency to judge a company as 'all bad' because we don't like some of its practices. Most businesses, like most people, are a mix of good and not-so-good. One of our missions at Worthwhile is to help nudge business toward the good.
Chris Eagen - 10/5/2004 8:08:25 AM
You are being ridiculous with your comments Michelle. There are good honest hard working people at citigroup. I understand what you are saying about the investors from foreign countries, but If everyone decided to stop doing business with them, it would result in layoffs and pay cuts not to the investors but to the average American who reports to work for Citigroup everyday.

We need values, We need to know that are company has a strong foundation built with honest core values. Just remember there are a lot of good people who work there, that have honesty & integrity as values whom would be out of a job, if we all decided to stop doing business with a company because it was owned by a group of investors from a foreign nation.
Jory Des Jardins - 10/4/2004 3:21:52 PM
I'm confused about which word is really more accurate here--rules, or values?

If we're talking values, then Prince really does need to talk until he's blue in the face to align his company. Alignment takes a lot of WORK.

If we're talking rules, then he could talk until he's blue in the face, but nobody would listen.
Troy Worman - 10/3/2004 9:25:08 AM
Being 'ruthless' about pressing values doesn't resonate with me and I would be surprised if Mr. Prince's vision is embraced by the Citigroup general public.

Also, Mr. Prince should run future external communications through Citigroup's corporate communications team.
Johnnie Moore - 10/3/2004 3:51:06 AM
I can understand people wanting to make statements about their personal values and I also think values are often better understood by studying the actions rather than the words.

I'm not convinced that organisations' values-in-action can be made to correspond to an idealised statement of what they should be. That approach smacks of a simplistic command-and-control mentality.

I also doubt that it's motivating to people to 'give' them a set of values. It might show greater respect to ask them what they personally value rather than ask for adherence to a probably mythical corporate mantra.

Also, what value does this CEO demonstrate in arguing that his staff must be 'lectured' until he is blue in the face? This does not sound like an approach that allows mature adults to participate in real conversations about what's important.

I've not read the full article, but I find myself wondering if all this very abstract talk about values is simply a way of avoiding having very direct, specific conversations with people about things perceived to be wrong. As in, 'I don't like what you've done here, here's why I want you to stop'.
Michelle Monroe - 10/2/2004 3:34:02 PM
Citigroup may be a fun place to work, but Americans shouldn't work there or do business with them. Look at the ownership of their stock. They are owned by members of one of the most repressive, elitist regimes in the world - Saudi Arabia.

'Values' at Citigroup? I'll believe that when I see 'values' coming out of that horrible Saudi regime. In otherwords, NEVER.

DON'T DO BUSINESS WITH CITIGROUP!

Name:  
Email:  
URL:
Comments:
 

Enter this
code below:
 What is this?
Code:  
Home   |   Blog   |   Blog Archive   |   Podcasts   |   The Dialogue   |   Subscribe   |   Advertise   |   Customer Service
About Us   |   Contact Us   |   Resources / Promotions   |   FAQ
Copyright © 2006 dash30, Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. 37