I’m beginning to think that the recent “stress test” applied to U.S. financial institutions has stressed at least one of the institutions to the cracking point: Citibank.

How else can we explain the financial institution’s decision to intentionally hinder its customers from paying credit card bills?

Here’s the background: I use a corporate card provided by my employer for business-related expenses. It happens to be a Citibank Visa card.

When I received the corporate card some years ago, it included the URL of Citibank’s corporate customer service website. I typically access the site at work, and have the URL saved there in my browser favorites.

Today, on my mental health vacation day, MY stress level went up when I tried to pay my corporate card bill from home. I didn’t have the URL saved in my home browser favorites. “No problem,” I naively thought. “I’ll just get it off of the credit card.”

But I quickly realized that the current corporate card that I’m carrying has a customer service telephone number, but no website URL. “Weird, but I’ll just get it off of the Citibank statement,” I optimistically opined.

You guessed it: No website URL of any kind on the statement. Just line after tiny line of legal blather regarding what do if the credit card is lost, stolen, or embroiled in a billing dispute with a merchant. But if you want to actually pay Citibank on-time and conveniently through a website? Forget it!

Well, if you are a regular reader, you know that I didn’t forget it. I called the customer service telephone number, and after teasing the website URL from the friendly sounding phone representative, I asked the “elephant in the room” question as sweetly as I could.

“I was wondering…wouldn’t it be a good idea to print this URL on your credit card and statement so that customers like me could more easily pay our bill?”

“We don’t publish that information,” the representative replied in a tone that instantly turned from friendly to very guarded. “Why not?” I asked, not yet convinced that this was a problem…until she replied.

“That’s sensitive information,” the representative said, trying to sound shocked that I would even suggest such an absurd idea. “In fact, we can’t publish that information because the websites are going to be changing.”

“Umm…if you’re going to be changing the website addresses, how are customers like me going to be able to find the site to make payments?”

At that moment, the representative must have remembered that these calls can be monitored for training purposes, and she definitely was in need of training. “I wasn’t supposed to say that,” she said, quoting Hagrid from one of the Harry Potter novels. “Scratch that.”

Hmm…a financial institution that is struggling with unsecured debt from its credit card customers has made the decision to make it extremely difficult for those customers to make an online payment. Then, it apparently is embarking on a secret plan to change its online banking URLS without notifying its customers. And the response of its customer service representative is, “Scratch that”?

No Citibank. Scratch THIS!