House Representative for Bogota Simon Gaviria has condemned Citibank for unfairly deducting $2.26 from senior citizens when they withdraw money from their state benefits, Caracol Radio reported Monday.
According to Simon Gaviria, the amount may at first glance appear insignificant, but when multiplied by the 36,863 beneficiaries of the “Años Dorados” or “Golden Years” social benefits program, a fund which senior citizens may only access through Citibank, it amounts to a total of $960,000 a year.
The congressman said that when the finance minister signed an agreement with Citibank to administer the funds in 2005, it was stipulated in two separate clauses that the service must be at no cost to the elderly, but that nonetheless, the bank appears to be legally deducting the charge.
“The surprise is that they are actually legally deducting $2.26 from each senior citizen each time they go to withdraw the benefits, which fluctuate between $47 and $93. In addition to this, they are charging $1.41 for every subsequent transaction.”
“It is offensive that while on one hand, the national bank is announcing profits of $2.88 million during 2010, on the other hand they are not committing to social programs like this and instead end up turning grants to grandparents into a millionaire’s business,” said Gaviria.
The central bank, the finance minister and the social integration minister are expected to respond to the congressman’s accusations.