Citi is trailblazing a new path in the financial industry when it comes to being an advocate for human rights with its latest initiative to provide a sense of identity for transgender and non-binary people.
In partnership with Mastercard, Citi has created the True Name program, allowing transgender customers to use their chosen names on credit cards without having to go through the legal name-changing process. The bank's chief marketing officer, Carla Hassan, said that the program is just another step toward making the world a more inclusive place.
"The reality is, for us, anytime is the right time to be having the conversation and to be speaking up for LGBTQ+ equality and rights and we have been a longstanding advocate of the community," she told Cheddar.
Marketing for the initiative is set to launch in the coming weeks, but the program already has more than 1,000 applicants.
In a survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, nearly 70 percent of people said they did possess IDs with their preferred names. For Hassan, not being recognized as an individual is unimaginable.
"A name is kind of how you introduce yourself to the world, and so, if you can't use your chosen name the way you really see who you are, I can't imagine how that personally feels," the Citi CMO said.
True Name, according to Hassan, is the latest in a long list of efforts Citi has made on behalf of basic rights for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Other efforts include lobbying for workplace equality, "urging the Supreme Court to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," Hassan added. The bank also signed a letter to the UK Prime Minister, advocating for trans equality.
As the program takes shape with Citi, Hassan said she hopes other banking institutions will adopt similar practices, making inclusion an industry-wide effort.
"In today's society, we at Citi believe brands have a role in standing up for issues and having a voice on issues that we think matter, particularly to us in our community," she stated.