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A Citibank branch in New York City in July. Photo: Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Banking regulators on Wednesday fined Citigroup $400 million for "its long-standing failure" to improve its risk-management systems, according to statement from the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

Where it stands: A consent decree issued simultaneously from the Federal Reserve said the bank did not adequately address previous problems the Fed had identified related to "various areas of risk management and internal controls."

  • The order cited "deficiencies in Citigroup’s antimoney laundering compliance program" and its "control infrastructure relating to its foreign exchange program and designated market activities." The Fed ordered Citi to correct the issues in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
  • The fine comes less than a month after Citi's CEO Michael Corbat announced that he would retire from the the company in February 2021.

What they're saying: "The agency also issued a cease and desist order requiring the bank to take broad and comprehensive corrective actions to improve risk management, data governance, and internal controls," the OCC said.

The other side: “We are disappointed that we have fallen short of our regulators’ expectations, and we are fully committed to thoroughly addressing the issues identified in the Consent Orders," Citi said in a statement Wednesday.

  • “Citi has significant remediation projects underway to strengthen our controls, infrastructure and governance. These projects are each multi-year and have received significant investment."
  • "However, while we have made progress in each of these areas, we recognize that substantial improvement is still required to meet the standards we have set for ourselves and that our regulators expect of us."

The bottom line, via Axios' Felix Salmon: The findings from the OCC and the Federal Reserve will reinforce calls for America’s biggest banks to be broken up on the grounds that they are “too big to manage."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Citi's CEO Michael Corbat did not resign in September but instead announced that month that he would retire from the company in February 2021.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

China's digital currency aims to leave the rest of the world in the dust

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China is already test-driving the future of finance while the rest of the world is stuck trying to get its learner's permit.

What's happening: Over the past two weeks Chinese authorities in cities like Shenzhen and Chengdu have given out the country's brand new digital renminbi currency and are urging even faster rollout of the token nationwide.

55 mins ago - World

COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming

Recreated from Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

South Africa alerted the world to the Omicron variant. Now data out of South Africa may serve as a warning of what we're facing.

Driving the news: South Africa recorded 11,535 new cases Thursday with 22.4% of tests coming back positive — up from an average of about 300 new cases, with a 2% test positivity rate 10 days earlier. The country's top public health officials expect that exponential rise to continue as Omicron rapidly becomes the dominant variant.

BuzzFeed to go public, after shareholders approve SPAC deal

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is set to become publicly traded on Monday, after shareholders of a SPAC called 890 Fifth Avenue Partners voted to approve a previously-announced merger.

Yes, but: The vast majority of the money the SPAC raised in January was yanked, a signal that investors aren't very optimistic about BuzzFeed's future prospects.