Profit at Wall Street giant Citigroup beat expectations to post a 15 per cent rise in fourth-quarter profit, with solid growth in both its consumer and institutional banking arms.
Citigroup shares had risen 2.9 per cent two hours into trading to $82.93 as the lender continued the strong start to US earnings season, which had earlier seen rival JPMorgan Chase post a record annual profit.
The third-largest US bank’s profit rose to $5bn (3.8bn) in the final three months of 2019, up from $4.3bn a year earlier. This took earnings per share to $2.15, well above analysts’ predictions of $1.84.
Total revenue grew seven per cent to $18.4bn, with strong growth in each of the North America, EMEA, Latin America and Asia regions.
Citi’s chief executive Michael Corbat called it a “strong finish to the year”. He added: “Due to good client engagement, we drove balanced growth across our products and geographies.”
The bank’s institutional clients group, which includes investment banking, saw revenue grow 10 per cent to $9.4bn.
Bond trading income rocketed 49 per cent year on year to $2.9bn, a figure flattered by a poor end to 2018. Yet it also reflected heightened activity in the bond market due to geopolitical uncertainty.
At Citi’s consumer arm, revenue grew by five per cent year on year to $8.5bn in the fourth quarter. Growth was particularly strong in Latin America, hitting 10 per cent.
Corbat said: “We enter 2020 in a strong competitive position, from capital and liquidity to talent and technology.”