The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Marcus Mrowka, 202-730-7759
Christy Setzer 202-730-7349

SEIU to Citigroup: Shameful to Raise Interest Rates During Economic Crisis


the Service Employees International Union released a statement from
Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger on news that Citigroup is raising
interest rates on as many as 15 million credit card holders. According
to the Financial Times,
"People close to the situation said that Citi, which is about to cede a
34 percent stake to the US government as part of its latest rescue, had
upped rates on between 13 and 15 million credit cards it co-brands with
retailers such as Sears." This comes a week after the bank announced it
would raise salaries by as much as 50 percent for investment bankers
and other top executives, to accommodate for smaller annual bonuses.

Said Burger, "It's shameful that
Citigroup would raise interest rates on millions of Americans during a
time when record unemployment and home foreclosures are forcing
families to rely more and more on their credit cards just to get by.

"After three taxpayer-funded
bailout packages worth $45 billion and a new rescue plan giving the
government a 34 percent stake in the company, Citigroup continues to
hold onto the failed policies of the past that enrich the very few at
top while indebting the rest of America.

"Taxpayers and the government are
the largest stakeholders of the failed bank. We need to rebuild our
financial industry from the ground up and end these practices that
crashed our economy in the first place.

"That's why yesterday,
front-line bank workers, consumer groups, and Rep. Ellison joined
together to call for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act and other
reforms that ensure front-line bank workers can sound the alarm on
these practices, protect consumers, and help build an economy that
works for everyone again."

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.