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Citigroup hosts investors for first time since the financial crisis

Citigroup is the fourth-biggest US bank, with $1.82 trillion of assets at June-end

Reuters  |  New York 

A Citigroup office is seen at Canary Wharf in London. (Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

For the first time since receiving three government bailouts during the 2007-2009 financial crisis, Inc on Tuesday is holding a day-long conference for investors, marking another step in the of what was once the biggest

The meeting in New York, for about 250 invited stock analysts and investors, plus anyone who wants to listen over the internet, comes four weeks after the said it would allow to begin to trim back the extra capital it has built up since the crisis.

"Citi's restructuring is over and, given our latest capital plan and improving business performance, this is the right time to talk about our path to growth and higher returns," Ed Skyler, who oversees communications and government affairs, said on Monday.

is now the fourth-biggest US bank, with $1.82 trillion of assets at the end of June, down from $2.2 trillion when last held an "Investor & Analyst Day," in May 2008. In the meantime, the bank has sold and closed businesses around the world.

Earlier this month Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat said he would use the revived conference to "go into a lot more detail" on how will reach his goal of producing profits in 2019 that amount to 10% of Citigroup's tangible common equity.

The bank expects to hit about 11% in return on tangible common equity by 2020, through earnings growth from consumer and institutional businesses and capital optimisation, it said in a presentation it released ahead of the meeting. 

Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said one-third of the improvement in the return on common tangible equity would come from a lower capital ratio and two-thirds from additional profits.

Citigroup's return on tangible common equity was 8.2% during the first half of this year, compared with 14% at JPMorgan Chase & Co. That metric shows how much profit a bank generated from shareholder money. Analysts generally like to see minimum returns of 10%.

Corbat had intended to hit that level in 2015, two years after he first set a 10% goal publicly. But he failed after the Fed found fault with Citigroup's capital planning and required it to build more of a cushion against losses.

The Fed on June 28 permitted to go ahead with a plan to buy back $15.6 billion of stock and pay $3.3 billion in dividends over the next 12 months. The payouts, Corbat noted earlier this month, amount to about 130% of net income analysts expect from in the next 12 months.

What question is whether Corbat can produce enough profit from Citigroup's remaining business to reach 10% of the reduced capital base, much less the 14% that Corbat has said is ultimately attainable.

"want to see additional drivers" of revenue beyond capital returns, said Michael Cronin, an analyst with Standard Life Investments who was travelling from Boston to the conference.

Cronin also wants to hear about expense cuts and how much expects to spend in 2018 and 2019. "Revenue growth is harder to control" than expenses, said Cronin, whose firm manages $350 billion of assets.

Citi also said in the presentation that it would save $2.50 billion in costs and expects net interest revenue improvement of about $2.1 billion in a "more normal" environment by 2020.

To showcase Citigroup's earnings potential, Corbat scheduled presentations at the conference from Stephen Bird, chief executive for global consumer banking, Jud Linville, chief executive for Citi-branded cards, and Jamie Forese, chief executive over institutional client businesses, including capital markets, investment banking, corporate lending and transaction services.

seldom hear from those executives, much less at the same time and in the context of corporate strategy.

Corbat speaks publicly every quarter, and sometimes more often. Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach speaks at least twice every quarter. Corbat's last major presentation of his strategy for all of was in March 2013, when he first set the 10% return target.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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