April 15, 2021 at 03:44PM

Citigroup reported higher-than-expected profits of $7.9 billion, or $3.62 per share, for the first quarter of this year compared to last year’s $2.5 billion, or $1.05 a share.

The third-largest bank in the U.S., Citi also said in its earnings report that it is shuttering most consumer banking operations in 13 markets across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Instead, Citi will focus on wealth management “and in the businesses that work with corporate clients in Asia,” said Citi CEO Jane Fraser.

Fraser, who took over as CEO in March, said the bank is exiting consumer operations in Australia, Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

“It’s been a better than expected start to the year, and we are optimistic about the macro environment. We are committed to serving our clients through the recovery and positioning the bank for a period of sustained growth,” she said.

“We reported record net income driven by strong performance in our Institutional Clients Group and a significant release from our Allowance for Credit Losses, as a result of the improving economic outlook. While Global Consumer Banking revenues were down quarter-over-quarter as a result of the pandemic, this is the healthiest we have seen the consumer emerge from a crisis in recent history,” Fraser said.

Citigroup’s first-quarter profits beat expectations by analysts and although revenue fell 7 percent to $19.3 billion, it was still ahead of the $18.8 billion analysts had forecast. As far as profits, Wall Street analysts anticipated an increase to $2.60 per share, according to Refinitiv data, per CNBC.

The bank’s fourth-quarter 2020 earnings report released in January was also higher than forecasts. Earnings dropped 7 percent to $4.63 billion, or $2.08 per share. Analysts expected a decline to $1.34 a share. Revenues declined 10 percent to $16.7 billion, whereas economists anticipated a decline to $16.5 billion.

Manish Kohli, global head of payments and receivables at Citi, said in March that the digital demand for banking services brought about by the pandemic will continue. In a conversation with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, he said that banks the size and scope of Citi are now faced with supporting corporate clients beyond the disruption.

Citigroup Q1 Profits Up As It Plans Exit From 13 Global Markets …

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