Black workers are now down to about one in 10 U.S. employees inside Citigroup, according to 2017 figures in a report published on its website.

The drop is the eighth straight, following a decade of gains. In 2009, black employees made up about one in six people at the bank.

But Citigroup isn't alone. Black diversity fell from 2012 to 2016 at banks including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, Bloomberg News reported last year. Wall Street is unwilling or unable to make lasting and consistent change, according to current and former black bankers and academics.

Pedestrians pass in front of a signage outside a Citigroup bank branch in Los Angeles.
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"While our commitment to diversity is strong, we realize that Citi's representation numbers for female and black talent lag behind where we want to be as a firm," said Jennifer Lowney, a spokeswoman for the New York-based bank. "This year we are setting additional representation goals for females globally and for black employees in the U.S. to help drive faster progress."

That firm and other banks are lagging behind the U.S. workforce, where about 12% of people are black. Inside Goldman Sachs, which also released 2017 data, black workers make up 5.4% of U.S. employees, and 2.9% of executives, up slightly. Black executives are even rarer at Morgan Stanley, where the proportion rose to 2.2% last year from 1.9%.

At Wells Fargo, whose 2017 numbers were sent to Bloomberg News, the picture is mixed. Black employees now make up 13% of the workforce, up from 12% over the past seven years, while executives fell to 5% from 8% a year earlier. JPMorgan and Bank of America haven't released 2017 data.

The U.S. staffs at Wells Fargo and Citigroup are majority female, yet women are underrepresented at the top. They make up 29% of the executives at Wells Fargo, down from 37% in 2016, and 32% at Citigroup, up from 24%. At Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, they remain under 22%.

The men who run the biggest banks preach the value of diversity. Michael Corbat, Citigroup's chief executive, is quoted on the bank's website saying it's "a proven catalyst of economic growth and progress" and, "The richness of our teams helps us to recognize diversity as an integral part of how — and why — we do what we do every day."

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