It’s the biggest battle in Texas history and a state government official is threatening to block a major banking institution from opening a branch in the state.
The Texas governor’s office on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Citigroup over the bank’s proposed $3.7bn deal with Texas state government, saying it would threaten public safety.
Citigroup is seeking permission to open a $1.9bn branch in Austin, which is more than double the size of its current home in Dallas.
In his suit, Mr O’Connor said the bank would “expose Texans to the risk of criminal and other financial crimes in the absence of meaningful state regulation”.
Citigroup said in a statement it was reviewing the case.
“We look forward to the court’s consideration of this lawsuit, which challenges an unjustified and discriminatory decision to close one of our nation’s largest banks,” the bank said.
The state government is a big financial hub, and the move to close the bank in Texas comes at a time when Texas has seen a sharp slowdown in business, according to the American Bankers Association.
It has seen bank closures in California, Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania, while state officials have also attempted to force Citigroup to move operations out of the state by threatening to impose fines and legal actions.
The bank has been a top target of Republican state lawmakers who have said the banks will threaten the stability of the Texas economy.
A Citigroup spokesman said the company was “committed to Texas and the United States”.
Citrix said it was “deeply concerned” about the lawsuit and that it had “deep respect for Texas’ strong banking regulations”.
In a statement, Citigroup reiterated its commitment to its Texas operations.
“Our Texas customers depend on our operations in Texas and we have long been committed to protecting their financial privacy and safeguarding their assets.
We have committed to our Texas operations, and we look forward, as they move forward, to fully cooperate with the government in its investigation,” the statement said.
Mr O’ton said he was “shocked and saddened” by Citigroup’s move and “are deeply disappointed” that the state government had pursued the lawsuit.
Citrix is a large US-based bank that was acquired by Bank of America in 2009.
In a recent statement, Bank of American said it had no comment on the pending lawsuit.
“Citigroup’s proposed closure of a Texas bank would be detrimental to the long-term stability of our state,” Bank of Americas CEO Robert Blyth said in the statement.
Bank of Mexico is also fighting the bank, which has been operating in the country for more than a decade.
Citibank said it would “immediately cooperate” with the investigation and said it “will fully cooperate” in Texas, where it has been headquartered since 2001.
Citi is now based in Mexico City.
Citivans lawsuit has no legal effect in the US, but could affect the way the US treats other banks in the region, said Richard Tracey, a lawyer with the Washington, DC-based Center for American Progress.
Banks have been struggling in Texas since Citigroup acquired Bank of Ameritrade in 2011.
Citinestra, a subsidiary of Citigroup, had been trying to open branches in Austin and Houston, but that effort stalled last year.