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Citigroup raises minimum wage to $15 after pressure from House Democrats

(CNN) — Citigroup has quietly lifted its minimum wage in the United States to $15 an hour, becoming the last of the big banks to boost pay for frontline workers.

The pay hike occurred after House Democrats pressured Citi and other firms to compensate all employees fairly.

A Citi spokesman told CNN Business the company’s $15-an-hour minimum wage took effect on June 1 and applies only in the United States.

The change was made with little fanfare. Citi revealed the new minimum wage in a statement to the House Financial Services Committee that was made public Tuesday. Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California who chairs the committee, has been pushing banks to adopt a $20 minimum wage.

Citi’s peers in the United States have previously announced pay hikes.

Earlier this year, Bank of America committed to raising its minimum wage to $20 an hour over the next two years. An initial increase to $17 an hour took effect in May.

Wells Fargo raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour in March, up from $13.50.

Last year, JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, increased its minimum wage to between $15 and $18, depending on the location.

It’s unclear how many workers will be affected by the change at Citi, which has a larger global footprint than its peers. Although the bank employed about 204,000 people at the end of 2018, two-thirds of its workforce is located overseas, according to SEC filings.

Some US states, including New York, New Jersey and Maryland, have adopted $15 minimum wages that will take effect over the next several years.

Earlier this year, lawmakers scolded Citi CEO Michael Corbat for the large gap between his pay and that of his typical workers.

Corbat’s total compensation for 2018 was $24.2 million. That’s 486 times larger than the median pay for Citi’s workforce, which stood at $49,766 in 2018. It’s the largest CEO-to-worker pay gap of any of the big banks, according to the House Financial Services Committee.

“Megabanks are earning record-breaking profits,” Democrats on the committee wrote in a statement, “but they are spending billions on share buybacks, and rewarding their CEOs with outsized compensation packages, as many American workers have seen their wages remain stagnant.”

The lawmakers called for all large banks to raise their minimum wage to “at least” $20 per hour by the end of the year and to a “living wage” in the next two years.

Citi has been more candid than other companies about the pay gap that exists for women and minorities inside the company. Earlier this year, it released an analysis showing that the median pay for women at Citi is nearly one-third lower than it is for men. And the bank said the median pay for its minority employees in the US is 7% less than it is for non-minorities.

Citi said it is “committed” to reducing the pay gap by boosting the number of women and minorities in high-level roles.

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