Citi’s relationship with Northern Kentucky is strengthening as the economy in the Tristate and the nation slowly improves.

The global banking giant, which issues credit cards and provides numerous other financial services and products, has expanded its call center in Florence to about 1,900 employees.

The center now services all of Citi’s North American consumer banking businesses and products, including Citi-branded credit cards and private-label cards managed by Citi; mortgages; and retail banking, with the addition of some of Citi’s mortgage work over the past several months, according to Janis Tarter, a Citi spokeswoman.

Charitable Work

In addition to the positive impact of providing nearly all those jobs, Citi and its workers are devoting time and money to charitable and educational efforts throughout Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati, largely focusing on education.

In June, workers in Florence were among 100,000 Citi employees worldwide who participated in Global Community Day, partnering locally with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Ongoing efforts in education were boosted by a $150,000 grant from the Citi Foundation to fund Citi L.I.F.E (Leaders Investing in Financial Education), a program created by the Kentucky Council on Economic Education (KCEE). Citi employees who participate in the program will teach financial education to fourth-grade students at schools selected by the economic council and educators at Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati.

Through a two-hour class, students are taught about goods and services, buying and selling in a marketplace and giving back to the community. A test is administered to evaluate students’ understanding of the vocabulary, which links directly to the school’s curriculum. At the end of the session, teachers are recognized with a gift card to be used in the classroom, Tarter says.

“Targeting children with basic economic education is an opportunity to introduce fundamental economic concepts such as productivity, supply, demand, markets, money and investment,” says Jan Mester, president of KCEE. 

15,000 Hours Donated

In the last year, Citi has pledged or spent $700,000, half donated by Citi employees and half from the company. Employees have logged more than 15,000 hours of volunteer work, Tarter says. 

“We have a clear strategy for our charitable giving, supporting cradle-to-career learning opportunities,” she says. “We know that education is key to changing a person’s situation and paving a successful path to their future.”

Further along the education ladder, high school students are targeted by the Future Focus Program, which provides an opportunity to get a job at Citi after graduation and continue their education with the help of Citi’s tuition assistance program. 

The program helps Citi, in turn, by building a diverse business culture and a pipeline for future high-quality employees.

Future Focus sustains Citi’s education strategy by providing tuition assistance and assistance from an on-site academic adviser. 

“Future Focus was designed to provide students with a broad range of job skills training and encourage continuous education by providing resources available to assist with college tuition and employment marketability,” says Tina Shell, president of the Florence site. “We see this as our opportunity to build our future workforce and recruit loyal employees who will continue their educational tract and go on to become leaders within our organization and our community.”