here is a copy of the article Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES (This report was originally published late Thursday.) NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Citigroup Inc. (C, news, msgs) said Thursday it suspended 3,600 independent consumer finance brokers. The move comes during a year in which the bank has come under increased fire for alleged predatory lending practices after it acquired subprime consumer-finance giant Associates Financial last year. Consumer finance brokers originate loans for the bank's CitiFinancial unit. A Citigroup spokeswoman said that after the suspension of the brokers, the company has a total of 2,180 remaining. According to an internal memo from Citigroup Consumer Group Chief Executive Robert Willumstad, the brokers were severed for a reasons including: inadequate or suspended state licenses, failure to bring in "regular, quality" business, failure to acknowledge Citi's ethic code, and integrity concerns. CitiFinancial also cut its relationships with 300 correspondents and said it is suspending more than 1,200 pending foreclosures. Almost all of the suspensions affected loans originated by Associates, the memo said. CitiFinancial is also developing a broker review program and systems that will regularly monitor and provide information on brokers that continue to do business with the unit, the CEO's memo said. Critics have accused Associates and Citigroup of allegedly targeting poor people and minorities with high-interest loans. Citigroup notes that none of its lending practices are illegal and denies taking advantage of any population group. In June, the consumer financial services giant said it would no longer offer an expensive form of home-mortgage insurance, known as single premium credit insurance, which is designed to cover a homeowner's mortgage payments in the event of a job loss or serious injury, and pays off the mortgage if the policyholder dies. Critics have called the pricey product a form of predatory lending. Shares of Citigroup closed Thursday down 92 cents, or 2%, to $45.53, on volume of 15.9 million, compared with average daily volume of 10.7 million.