WASHINGTON - Several activist groups labeled Citibank the "Hog of the Month" on Tuesday for its lobbying efforts to kill direct student lending.
Accepting the award in behalf of a nonparticipating Citibank, the country's largest student lender, was "I.M. Greedy," a farcical banker with a top hat, cigar, a hog's nose and ears, and plenty of piggish rhetoric on the greed of corporate special interests.
The monthly hog awards are distributed by the Campaign for an America That Works, an organization whose members include the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United States Student Association, and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
"When it comes to student loans and lobbying clout in Congress, Citibank is King Hog of the Hill," said Jeanette Galanis, president of the student group.
"Citibank wants to protect its place at the taxpayer trough, and it is doing so by lobbying against direct lending," she said. "This is a classic confrontation of students and taxpayers against big, fat corporate special interests."
Asked for comment, a Citibank spokesman, Jack Morris, said banks were better equipped than the government to lend to students. "We certainly uphold the right of people to express themselves," he added.
Current law caps the amount of direct student lending at 60% of the student loan market; the Senate has proposed restricting the government's share of the market to 20%, while the House has proposed eliminating direct lending altogether.
Mr. Serb writes for the Medill News Service.