(Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. agreed to conduct an audit of how its business impacts nonwhite communities, the first major Wall Street bank to agree to such a move. 

The audit will be conducted by attorneys at Covington & Burling LLP, Citigroup said Friday on its website. The bank said the audit will focus on its 2020 commitment to dedicate $1 billion toward initiatives it hoped would help close the persistent racial wealth gap in the United States, where the average net worth of a white family is nearly ten times higher than that of a Black family. 

“Measurement and transparency are important components of the work we are doing to advance diversity, equity and inclusion,” Edward Skyler, executive vice president at Citigroup, said in the post. “We’re demonstrating our ongoing support for measurement and transparency by committing to conduct a racial equity audit.

Citigroup’s plan breaks with its banking peers which have said racial audits are unnecessary after several initiatives were introduced in the past year such as investing in Black entrepreneurs and expanding credit. The calls for audits have emerged since last year’s social injustice protests in the U.S. and President Joe Biden’s signing of an executive order to advance equality. BlackRock Inc. said earlier this year it planned to undergo an audit in 2022, following a shareholder request.

Earlier this year, Citigroup investors pressed the bank during its annual shareholder meeting to conduct such an audit. The banks’ executives encouraged shareholders to vote against the proposal, arguing the firm had already enacted programs to address racial inequity, including the wealth gap. The proposal ultimately failed, but not before garnering approval from about one-third of shareholders. 

The audits are conducted by third-party groups, which analyze companies’ business models -- from policies to products and services -- to determine whether they cause, reinforce or perpetuate discrimination. 

The firm has also been vocal about its desire to increase Black representation among its management ranks. Citigroup has said it hopes to boost the number of Black employees in the assistant vice president to managing director levels to 8% in the U.S. by the end of the year, up from 6% in 2018. 

Overall, Black employees made up roughly 10% of Citigroup’s U.S. workforce in 2020. They make up about 7.6% of the top three ranks within the company, according to data compiled for regulators.

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