Church Organization Targets Citicorp, 11 Other Firms in Bid to End Apartheid: Loans Show 'Faith in the Future of a White-Ruled South Africa,' Group Says

By Sudo, Philip T. | American Banker, May 21, 1985 | Go to article overview

Church Organization Targets Citicorp, 11 Other Firms in Bid to End Apartheid: Loans Show 'Faith in the Future of a White-Ruled South Africa,' Group Says


Sudo, Philip T., American Banker


NEW YORK -- Citicorp is one of 12 "key investors in apartheid," according to a year-long study released Monday by a group of church and religious institutional investors.

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, or ICCR, a New York-based coalition of some 200 Protestant and Catholic organizations, said the group will concentrate its anti-apartheid strategy on 12 U.S. corporations in an effort to pressure the government of South Africa to end that nation's system of racial oppression.

In addition to Citicorp, the targeted corporations were:

* The oil and gas firms Chevron Corp., San Francisco; Mobil Corp., New York; Newmont Mining Corp., New York; and Texaco Inc., White Plains, N.Y.

* Computer compaies Burroughs Corp., Detroit; Control Data Corp., Minneapolis; and International Business Machines Corp., Armonk, N.Y.

* Automobile firms Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., and General Motors Corp., New York.

* Engineering firms Fluor Corp., Irvine, Calif., and General Electric Corp., Fairfield, Conn.

At a press conference announcing the company names, Audrey C. Smock, secretary for the United Church Board for World Ministries, said the group's strategy is to pressure corporate leadership into an anti-apartheid posture through private meetings and shareholder resolutions. The group's members also control between $10 billion and $12 billion in various investments, she said, and will seek to use the withdrawal and placement of those funds for economic leverage.

Wilfred Koplowitz, a spokesman for Citibank on international affairs, said, "We'll have no comment on that [list] until we've had a chance to see it and review it."

Randolph Nugent, general secretary on the board of global ministries for the United Methodist Church, said Citicorp was cited because it has "made a range of public and private sectors loans, indicating their faith in the future of a white-ruled South Africa."

In February, Citibank announced it would terminate all loans to the South African government or any of its agencies by March 31, 1985, but said it would continue lending to the private sector there. The bank has publicly stated its support for the Sullivan Principles, a code of ethics for corporations operating in South Africa. Subscribers to those principles agree to provide a nonsegregated workplace, equal pay and employment opportunities, initiation of training programs for blacks, and increasing the number of blacks in management positions.

Ms. Smock said, "Citibank has been active in the Sullivan Principles program in South Africa, but in the United States it has been one of the leading lobbyists at the federal, state, and city level opposing increased economic pressure on South Africa. …

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