Revelations at Citigroup: Predecessor Companies Linked to Indirect Financial Benefits from Slavery


Some of the companies that merged to form Citigroup likely benefited financially from slavery in the 1800s, the financial giant acknowledged Thursday. The admission comes at a time when numerous institutions are re-examining their historical roots and roles in slavery in the United States.

Citi found through investigation conducted last year that none of its predecessor companies explicitly purchased, sold, or held slaves. However, the investigation revealed that some antecedent entities “likely indirectly profited from the institution of slavery through financial transactions and relationships with individuals and entities located or operating within the United States before 1866.”

Many of the nation’s largest banks, including Citi, are conglomerates of financial institutions that amalgamated or acquired one another over a number of decades. Citi dates back to 1812, when the City Bank of New York was established.

Moses Taylor, one of Citi’s most prominent presidents in the 19th century, conducted business in Cuba using slave labor to cultivate sugarcane.

Reckoning with History: Unraveling City Hall’s Connection to Slavery and Bank Profits

“Given that a substantial portion of Taylor’s businesses were connected to the trade of sugar and its derivatives from Cuban plantations that employed slave labor, it is likely that City Hall was built with slave labor in mind.” Bank of New York indirectly profited from enslaved labor in Cuba by engaging in transactions with Taylor and his businesses,” wrote Citi’s head of public affairs in a blog post published Thursday.

The bank also discovered that other directors or founders of Alabama-founded Lehman Brothers likely owned slaves. Citi acquired Lehman assets in the late 1990s.Citi is not the first bank to acknowledge having ties to enslavement.

JPMorgan Chase acknowledged in 2005 that two of its antecedent institutions had ties to the slave trade. In the case of JPMorgan, two banks in Louisiana received thousands of slaves as collateral.

In 2005, Wachovia, a bank based in Charlotte, North Carolina, which failed during the 2008 financial crisis and was subsequently acquired by Wells Fargo, acknowledged that its origins dated back to enslavement. Both the Bank of Charleston and the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company were discovered to be slave proprietors by Wachovia.


Read also: NYC Crane Collapse: 12 Injured, Including 3 Firefighters in Non-Life Threatening Incident

Source: ABC News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *