Citi chops back consumer units in 11 countries

 
Tim Wallace
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CITIGROUP is axing a swathe of its consumer finance businesses in a bid to cut back inefficient units, which are too small to make good profits and boost overall returns, the bank said yesterday.

It came as Citi announced profits of $3.4bn (£2.1bn) for the third quarter, up seven per cent on the same period of last year.

Total revenues rose nine per cent on the year to $19.6bn.

Investment banking revenues led the way, up 32 per cent to $1.2bn, driven by a 90 per cent rise in advisory revenue to $318m and a 51 per cent jump in equity underwriting to $298m.

Debt underwriting revenues in­creased nine per cent to $632m.

The squeeze in fixed-income trading revenues also eased, rising five per cent to $3bn.

At the same time the bank controlled costs, with operating exp­enses up six per cent to $12.4bn.

Citi chopped its headcount by four per cent on the year from 252,000 to 243,000.

“I am committed to simplifying our company and allocating our finite resources to where we can generate the best returns for our shareholders,” said chief executive Michael Corbat.

“While we have made progress optimising these 11 consumer markets, we believe our global consumer bank will achieve stronger performance by foc­using on the countries where our scale and network provide a competitive advantage.”

Citi’s return on average common equity rose from 6.4 per cent to 6.5 per cent. The strong profit figure sent Citi­group’s shares up 3.15 per cent to close at $51.47.

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