Citi profit beats on investment banking boost



Citigroup Inc reported higherthan-expected earnings on Monday despite declining revenue as the New York-based lender cut costs, grew its investment-banking business and expanded netinterest margin.

Still, Citi improved its results in ways, including the expense cutting, that may be tough to replicate in future quarters. A lower tax rate also played a big role in Citi’s improvement from a year ago.

The bank’s income from continuing operations declined slightly. On a call with reporters, Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason said the decline was due in part to a divestiture last year. But net income rose because the bank’s effective tax rate declined to 21 per cent from 24 per cent a year earlier.

Citi has been investing in digital capability to try to win deposits domestically despite its light US branch network. Chief Executive Mike Corbat said in a statement its efforts are showing positive early results.

But the bank is still growing deposits faster abroad than in the United States: International consumer deposits rose 3 per cent during the quarter, while retail North American deposits edged up 1 per cent.

JPMorgan Chase & Co on Friday reported that its US consumer deposits were up 3 per cent from a year earlier. Corbat also pointed to the bank’s improved 11.9-percent return on average tangible common shareholder’s equity and the $5.1 billion it returned in capital to shareholders during the quarter.

“Both our consumer and institutional businesses performed well and we saw good momentum in those areas where we have been investing,” he said.

Investment banking revenue rose 20 per cent to $1.4 billion, as strong growth in advisory and investment-grade debt underwriting more than offset a drop in equity underwriting.

Bond trading rose 1 per cent in sharp contrast to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, both of which reported declines.

But a 24-percent drop in equities trading pressured Citi’s overall revenue, which fell 2 per cent to $18.58 billion, slightly below analysts’ estimates. Revenue from consumer banking, the bank’s largest business, was flat at $8.5 billion, due to weakness in Asia.


Written by Loknath Das