Citi Becomes First U.S. Bank to Restrict Financing for Companies Expanding Coal Power

RAN says significant step forward with major loophole

Citigroup has issued today an updated Environmental and Social Policy Framework. The framework contains important new language further restricting its lending, underwriting and advisory services to coal power companies. The policy commits Citi to not take on any new clients with plans to expand coal-fired generation after the end of 2021, but fails to make an equally clear commitment to halt financing for existing clients with coal power expansion plans.

Patrick McCully, Climate and Energy Program Director at Rainforest Action Network said:

This new coal policy represents an important step forward for Citi and for the US megabanks as a whole. It sends another clear signal to utilities and other corporations involved in the coal sector that their major sources of capital are going to dry up unless they transition to clean energy. What companies once thought were coal assets are rapidly becoming coal liabilities.

“It is positive to see a major coal banker like Citi tightening its coal power financing restrictions and committing to essentially phase out its support for the sector over the coming two decades. However this new policy needs significant strengthening to match the best coal policies from global banks, which include a halt to financing of all companies that are building new coal plants. Aligning with 1.5°C requires an immediate end to all new coal infrastructure.

“It is especially encouraging to see this commitment from Citi as it is the world’s worst non-Chinese banker of the world’s largest coal utilities. We hope that this is a positive sign of the progress on climate that we may see under the leadership of Citi’s new CEO, Jane Fraser.

“While every major US bank has ruled out most coal power project finance, Citi is the first to restrict financing for the companies expanding coal power — the lion’s share of bank support for coal power expansion around the world. It is now time for the other big US banks to see and raise Citi and adopt clear no-coal-expansion policies for all their clients.”