INVESTMENT banking revenues pushed profits up at Citi, the bank said yesterday, as the firm worked on increasing numbers of mergers in the first quarter.
Profits hit $3.81bn (£2.49bn) in the three-month period, up 30 per cent on the same period a year ago.
Revenues rose 5.7 per cent to $20.5bn, while operating costs only edged up one per cent to $12.4bn.
Tight controls dragged some costs down – credit losses fell 25 per cent on the year to $3bn.
Further improvements on costs are expected late this year as the programme to cut annual expenses, announced in December, by $900m gets underway.
The programme is expected to see 11,000 jobs lost across the world. Just over half are expected to fall in global consumer banking, while branches in markets like the US and Hong Kong will also be closed.
The securities and banking arm saw income soar 76 per cent to $2.4bn with North America earnings up from $187m in the first quarter of 2012 to $1.2bn.
Improving merger activity and increased equity issuance are in large part behind the increase, with Citi advising on increasing numbers of deals as markets recover.
Deposits rose three per cent to $933.8bn while total assets dipped three per cent to £1.88 trillion.
The strong results allowed the US’ third largest bank to hike its Basel III tier one capital ratio to 9.3 per cent.
“During the quarter, we benefited from seasonally strong results in our markets businesses, sustained momentum in investment banking, continued year-over-year growth in loans and deposits in Citicorp, and a more favourable credit environment,” said chief Michael Corbat who has headed the bank for six months.
“However, the environment remains challenging and we are sure to be tested as we go through the year.”
Citi’s share price rose 1.18 per cent on the day.