If you think it’s a bad idea for bankers to run around deciding whether they find their customers morally objectionable or not, then it might be time to switch banks.
Jason Goldberg is the CEO of a company called Fabulis, which is developing a website, iPhone app and social media application targeted at gay men. His company — which is at least his third start-up — is funded by investors including The Washington Post and the venture capitalist Allen Morgan, and they just launched their beta version this month. You would think he would be the kind of customer Citi would want — but Citi decided otherwise after a compliance officer reviewed his site and decided that a social networking application for gay men was “objectionable.”
Without notifying Goldberg or anyone at Fabulis, Citi shut down their bank accounts for objectionable content on Fabulis’ blog, though it refused to specify which content. After hours of phone calls, several articles and a threat to take their banking elsewhere, Citi finally called Goldberg to say that the three Citi employees who had decided Goldberg’s social networking site was objectionable were “wrong to have said what they said.” Note that the bank did not say they were wrong to have suspended his account without notification, or to have flagged his blog as objectionable because it talks about the gay-themed (but not pornographic) company that he is starting, but just that the three employees statements to him were wrong.
In fact, what they told Goldberg was likely right out of an employee handbook, if the phrasing is anything to go by: “Content was not in compliance with Citibank’s standard policies.”
Does Citibank make a regular habit of reading up on the content generated by all its business customers — and are its personal banking clients exempt? Do they accept business accounts from companies that produce or distribute pornography (which includes business giants such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon, as well as nearly every convenience store in the country)? Do they terminate the business accounts of freelance writers if they object to the content written by the customer — be it sexual or political? Is their compliance department monitoring the blog of each and every customer to make sure that storing your money with them is socially acceptable? It seems unlikely that Citi is going around reading all of its customer’s blogs or checking to make sure that every client meets with its employees’ standards of unobjectionable. Far more likely, Goldberg’s business was targeted because of its audience — gay men — and what some employees decide is objectionable.
But then maybe Citibank’s unspoken policy of judging the thoughts and sexual orientation of its customers is why Playboy Enterprises does its banking with Bank of America.
$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV
The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.
Army Data Shows Constraints on Troop Increase Potential
If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.
1. Brian Schweitzer
As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this
$1.3 Million for Brown
The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul
$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds
Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal
#1 in Conspiracy Theories
Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one Amazon.com category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy
1 Brigade and 1 Battalion
ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the
$1 Million for Toomey
Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the
1. Lindsey Graham
Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry
Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban
Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on
Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry
China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.