Jane Fraser, chief executive officer for Latin American at Citigroup Inc., speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Monday, April 29, 2019.
Kyle Grillot | Bloomberg via Getty Images
Citigroup on Thursday posted results that beat analysts’ estimates for first-quarter profit with strong investment banking revenue and a bigger-than-expected release of loan-loss reserves.
The firm also said it was shuttering retail banking operations in 13 countries across Asia and parts of Europe to focus more on wealth management in markets outside the U.S.
The bank posted profit of $7.94 billion, or $3.62 a share, exceeding the $2.60 estimate of analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Revenue of $19.3 billion topped the $18.8 billion estimate.
Citigroup said it had released $3.9 billion in loan loss reserves in the quarter, which resulted in a $2.06 billion gain after $1.75 billion in credit losses in the period. Analysts had expected a $393.4 million provision in the quarter.
The bank said it was exiting consumer operations in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The firm will focus its non U.S. consumer banking operations on Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE and London, the bank said. Investment banking operations will continue in markets where the firm is exiting consumer operations, the bank said.
Here’s what Wall Street expected:
Earnings: $2.60 a share, 147% higher than the year earlier period, according to Refinitiv.
Revenue: $18.8 billion, 9.2% lower than a year earlier.
Net Interest Margin: 1.99%
Trading Revenue: Fixed Income $4.43 billion, Equities $1.16 billion
Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser is ready for the spotlight.
Fraser, who officially became CEO in February, is reporting results for the first quarter at the helm of the country’s third-biggest U.S. bank.
Like the rest of the industry, Citigroup is expected to release some of the money it had previously set aside for anticipated defaults tied to the coronavirus pandemic. The firm, which has sizeable fixed-income trading operations, may also report a boost from trading desks in the quarter.
Analysts will be keen to hear Fraser’s vision for the bank, as well as details on her plan to appease regulators who have criticized the firm’s risk management controls.
Shares of Citigroup have climbed 18% so far this year, compared with the 26% advance of the KBW Bank Index.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
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