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Opinion
Elisa Martinuzzi

Citi's $900 Million Loan Error Is Still Perplexing

When a simple human lapse can cause such a problem, it suggests there may be systemic deficiencies too.

You couldn’t make it up.

You couldn’t make it up.

Photographer: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images North America
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You can understand why Citigroup Inc. is blaming human error for its $900 million mistaken payment to Revlon Inc.’s lenders. It’s a straightforward explanation for an embarrassing cock-up. Presumably the company wants to give the impression that the individuals responsible can be dealt with quickly in the hope that the fuss will die down.

Well, not so fast. When a simple human lapse like this can cause such a problem, it suggests there may be systemic deficiencies too. Where were the checks? The U.S. banking giant was also criticized not long ago by U.K. regulators for shortcomings in its governance and controls.