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New Survey: Black and Hispanic Consumers Say Their Money Habits Have Permanently Changed



African Americans, Hispanics Have Significantly Cut Back Everyday Expenses, Credit Card Spending; 40 Percent Working Longer Hours to Make Ends Meet



New York, NY  Thursday, September 24, 2009) – A new survey released today by Citi revealed that African Americans and Hispanics have made permanent spending and savings adjustments to adapt to the current economic situation. According to the data, 72 percent of African Americans and 61 percent of Hispanics surveyed said the way they spend and save has been forever changed as a result of the economic downturn. Only 22 percent of African Americans said spending and saving would go back to the way it was before the recession, compared with 33 percent of Hispanics.


Citi conducted this poll as part of its ongoing effort to better understand changes in the needs of the diverse communities the company serves.


Eric Eve, senior vice president, Global Community Relations at Citi, said, “This new survey points to a profound shift in the way our communities are thinking about their saving and spending.  Much like the Great Depression affected previous generations, the current economic environment is altering, perhaps permanently, the way we think about spending money. As Citi changes the way it does business to reflect the new economic realities, it’s important we continue to understand how our customers also have been affected by the economic challenges and pressures they currently face – so that we may better serve their needs.”


African Americans and Hispanics Have Made Major Adjustments; Working Longer Hours to Make Ends Meet


The Citi survey also found that African Americans and Hispanics have cut back on everyday expenses and credit card purchases and have taken money out of savings to pay for expenses.  In addition, these ethnic groups said they have been working longer hours to make ends meet and have sought additional education to increase their employment opportunities.  According to the data:


·         Eighty-two percent of African Americans and 76 percent of Hispanics have cut back on everyday expenses;

·         Sixty-eight percent of African Americans and 66 percent of Hispanics have cut down on credit card purchases;

·         Forty-seven percent of African Americans and 45 percent of Hispanics have taken money out of savings or investments to help pay expenses;

·         Forty percent of both African Americans and Hispanics are working longer hours to make ends meet; and

·         Thirty-six percent of both African Americans and Hispanics have sought additional education to increase opportunities.


Some African Americans and Hispanics Better Off Than a Year Ago


However, in a positive indication, the Citi survey revealed that 70 percent of both African Americans and Hispanics say their personal financial situation is the same or better than it was a year ago or better.  By contrast, 30 percent of both African Americans and Hispanics say their personal financial situation is worse than a year ago. 


Eve added, “It’s heartening to see that many within these communities do not see the current downturn falling hard on them and are also cutting back on their spending and increasing savings.  This points to the fact that we all must engage in responsible financial behavior.”


Survey Methodology

Peter D. Hart Research Associates conducted the telephone survey of approximately 500 African American and Hispanic adults nationally between September 1-5, 2009.  The sample has an overall statistical margin of sampling error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.  The survey included individuals who are at least 18 years of age and who range in education levels from high school or less to postgraduate degrees.  In addition, the sample included individuals who generate income ranging from less than $50,000 annually to more than $150,000 annually.


About Citi

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 140 countries. Through its two operating units, Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at or



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Eric Eve Bio

Eric Eve heads Citi’s Global Community Relations department. In this position, he advises Citi businesses on issues of importance to the community, while leveraging the corporation’s resources to address key community needs. He also oversees all federal regulatory application ofCommunity Reinvestment Act and Fair Lending obligations. In the U.S. and around the globe, his focus has been on building quality, long-term relationships with academic, community based and other nonprofit organizations. He joined Citi in March 2004. 

Prior to joining Citi, Eric served as Vice President of Government Relations for Verizon Communications, where he managed Verizon’s federal legislative efforts before the United States Senate, and coordinated efforts to establish a national broadband policy. He also managed the public policy relationship between Verizon and its labor unions. 


Prior to joining Verizon, he served as Special Assistant for Political Affairs to President William Jefferson Clinton. In that capacity, he advised the President on political matters affecting the northeastern United States and African Americans nationally. He brought to that position experience gained in his role as the Head of Intergovernmental Relations for New York State Comptroller, H. Carl McCall. In between government and corporate work, he has managed political campaigns at both the local and national level.


Eric was recently appointed to the board of directors of both the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Brooklyn Public Library. He holds degrees from Hobart College and the Graduate School of Political Management, City University of New York.  He is married to Dr. Felicia Stenhouse Eve, and they, with their three children, reside in Brooklyn, NY.


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