Consumer activists who have been clamoring for months for a meeting with Citigroup Inc. executive committee chairman Robert Rubin have set a Thursday deadline and are threatening to step up their protests and lobbying efforts if their request is not met.

The activists say they are frustrated and even bewildered at the deaf ear they say Citi has turned toward them - and add that their patience with the company and admiration for the former Treasury secretary are wearing thin. "I've met with Rubin several times when he was secretary of Treasury, and now, all of a sudden, I can't get a call from him," said Gale Cincotta, chairwoman of National Peoples Action, a national coalition of hundreds of consumer groups. "He could have gone anywhere, done anything. Is it worth the money to lose all that standing that he had?"

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