Top 100 Brand in The World – Rank no.48- Citi – US
|Traded as||NYSE: C
S&P 500 Component
|Industry||Banking, Financial services|
|Founded||June 16, 1812|
|Headquarters||399 Park Avenue, Manhattan,
New York City, New York,U.S.
|Products||Credit cards, consumer banking, corporate banking,investment banking, global wealth management,financial analysis, private equity|
|Revenue||US$70.17 billion (2012)|
|Operating income||US$7.936 billion (2012)|
|Net income||US$7.541 billion (2012)|
|Total assets||US$1.865 trillion (2012)|
|Total equity||US$189.05 billion (2012)|
|Employees||259,000 (December 2012)|
|Subsidiaries||Citibank India, Banamex,CitiMortgage, Citibank,CitiBranded Cards, Citi Private Bank, Citi Securities & Banking, Nikko Citigroup,Railmark Holdings, Salomon BIG, Sedna Finance|
Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Citigroup was formed from one of the world’s largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorpand financial conglomerate Travelers Group in October 1998 (announced on April 7, 1998). The year 2012 marked Citi’s 200th anniversary. It is currently the third largest bank holding company in the United States by assets. Its largest shareholders include funds from the Middle East and Singapore.
Citigroup has the world’s largest financial services network, spanning 140 countries with approximately 16,000 offices worldwide. The company currently employs approximately 260,000 staff around the world, which is down from 267,150 in 2010, according to Forbes. It also holds over 200 million customer accounts in more than 140 countries. It is one of the primary dealers in US Treasury securities. According to Forbes, at its height Citigroup used to be the largest company and bank in the world by total assets with 357,000 employees until the global financial crisis of 2008. Today it is ranked 20th in size under the Fortune 500 list. In comparison, JPMorgan Chase, which is ranked 16th on the Fortune 500, is now the largest bank in U.S. as of 2012.
Citigroup suffered huge losses during the global financial crisis of 2008 and was rescued in November 2008 in a massive stimulus package by the U.S. government. On February 27, 2009, Citigroup announced that the United States government would take a 36%equity stake in the company by converting US$25 billion in emergency aid into common stock with a US Treasury credit line of $45 billion to prevent the bankruptcy of the largest bank in the world at the time. The government guaranteed losses on more than $300 billion troubled assets and injected $20 billion immediately into the company. In exchange, the salary of the CEO was $1 per year and the highest salary of employees was restricted to $500,000 in cash and any amount above $500,000 had to be paid withrestricted stock that could not be sold until the emergency government aid was repaid in full. The US government also gained control of half the seats in the Board of Directors, and the senior management was subjected to removal by the US government if there were poor performance. By December 2009, the US government stake was reduced to 27% majority stake from a 36% majority stake after Citigroup sold $21 billion of common shares and equity in the largest single share sale in US history, surpassing Bank of America’s $19 billion share sale one month prior. Eventually by December 2010, Citigroup repaid the emergency aid in full and the US government received an additional $12 billion profit in selling its shares. US Government restrictions on pay and oversight of the senior management were removed after the US government sold its remaining 27% stake as of December 2010.
Despite huge losses during the global financial crisis, Citigroup built up an enormous cash reserve in the wake of the financial crisis with $420 billion in surplus liquid cash and government securities as of June 2012. As of Q1 2012, Citi has tier 1 capital ratio of 12.4%, making one of the best-capitalized financial institutions in the world after billions of dollars in losses from the financial crisis.This was a result of selling more than $500 billion of its special assets placed in Citi Holdings, which were guaranteed from losses by the US Treasury while under federal majority ownership. Additionally, according to The Washington Post, a special IRS tax exception given to Citi to allow the US Treasury to sell its shares at a profit while it still owned Citigroup shares, which eventually netted $12 billion. According to Treasury spokeswoman Nayyera Haq, “This (IRS tax) rule was designed to stop corporate raiders from using loss corporations to evade taxes, and was never intended to address the unprecedented situation where the government owned shares in banks. And it was certainly not written to prevent the government from selling its shares for a profit.”
Citigroup was formed on October 9, 1998, following the $140 billion merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group to create the world’s largest financial services organization. The history of the company is, thus, divided into the workings of several firms that over time amalgamated into Citicorp, a multinational banking corporation operating in more than 100 countries; or Travelers Group, whose businesses covered credit services, consumer finance, brokerage, and insurance. As such, the company history dates back to the founding of: the City Bank of New York (later Citibank) in 1812; Bank Handlowy in 1870; Smith Barney in 1873, Banamex in 1884; Salomon Brothers in 1910.
City Bank of New York was chartered by New York State on June 16, 1812, with $2 million of capital. Serving a group of New Yorkmerchants, the bank opened for business on September 14 of that year, and Samuel Osgood was elected as the first President of the company. The company’s name was changed to The National City Bank of New York in 1865 after it joined the new U.S. national banking system, and it became the largest American bank by 1895. It became the first contributor to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1913, and the following year it inaugurated the first overseas branch of a U.S. bank in Buenos Aires, although the bank had, since the mid-19th century, been active in plantation economies, such as the Cuban sugar industry. The 1918 purchase of U.S. overseas bank International Banking Corporation helped it become the first American bank to surpass $1 billion in assets, and it became the largest commercial bank in the world in 1929. As it grew, the bank became a leading innovator in financial services, becoming the first major U.S. bank to offer compound interest on savings (1921); unsecured personal loans (1928); customer checking accounts (1936) and the negotiable certificate of deposit (1961).
The bank changed its name to The First National City Bank of New York in 1955, which was shortened in 1962 to First National City Bank on the 150th anniversary of the company’s foundation. The company organically entered the leasing and credit card sectors, and its introduction of U.S. dollar–denominated certificates of deposit in London marked the first new negotiable instrument in market since 1888. Later to become MasterCard, the bank introduced its First National City Charge Service credit card—popularly known as the “Everything card“—in 1967.
In 1976, under the leadership of CEO Walter B. Wriston, First National City Bank (and its holding company First National City Corporation) was renamed as Citibank, N.A. (and Citicorp, respectively). Shortly afterward, the bank launched the Citicard, which pioneered the use of 24-hour ATMs. John S. Reed was elected CEO in 1984, and Citi became a founding member of the CHAPS clearing house in London. Under his leadership, the next 14 years would see Citibank become the largest bank in the United States and the largest issuer of credit cards and charge cards in the world, and expand its global reach to over 90 countries.
Travelers Group, at the time of merger, was a diverse group of financial concerns that had been brought together under CEO Sandy Weill. Its roots came from Commercial Credit, a subsidiary of Control Data Corporation that was taken private by Weill in November 1986 after taking charge of the company earlier that year. Two years later, Weill mastered the buyout of Primerica—a conglomerate that had already bought life insurer A L Williams as well as stock broker Smith Barney. The new company took the Primerica name, and employed a “cross-selling” strategy such that each of the entities within the parent company aimed to sell each other’s services. Its non-financial businesses were spun-off.
In September 1992, Travelers Insurance, which had suffered from poor real estate investments and sustained significant losses in the aftermath ofHurricane Andrew, formed a strategic alliance with Primerica that would lead to its amalgamation into a single company in December 1993. With the acquisition, the group became Travelers Inc. Property & casualty and life & annuities underwriting capabilities were added to the business. Meanwhile, the distinctive Travelers red umbrella logo, which was also acquired in the deal, was applied to all the businesses within the newly named organization. During this period, Travelers acquiredShearson Lehman—a retail brokerage and asset management firm that was headed by Weill until 1985—and merged it with Smith Barney.
Finally, in November 1997, Travelers Group (which had been renamed again in April 1995 when they merged with Aetna Property and Casualty, Inc.), made the $9 billion deal to purchase Salomon Brothers, a major bond dealer and bulge bracket investment bank. This deal complemented Travelers/Smith Barney well as Salomon was focused on fixed-income and institutional clients whereas Smith Barney was strong in equities and retail. Salomon Brothers absorbed Smith Barney into the new securities unit termed Salomon Smith Barney; a year later, the division incorporated Citicorp’s former securities operations as well. The Salomon Smith Barney name was ultimately abandoned in October 2003 after a series of financial scandals that tarnished the bank’s reputation.
Citicorp and Travelers merger
On April 6, 1998, the merger between Citicorp and Travelers Group was announced to the world, creating a $140 billion firm with assets of almost $700 billion. The deal would enable Travelers to market mutual funds and insurance to Citicorp’s retail customers while giving the banking divisions access to an expanded client base of investors and insurance buyers.
Although presented as a merger, the deal was actually more like a stock swap, with Travelers Group purchasing the entirety of Citicorp shares for $70 billion, and issuing 2.5 new Citigroup shares for each Citicorp share. Through this mechanism, existing shareholders of each company owned about half of the new firm. While the new company maintained Citicorp’s “Citi” brand in its name, it adopted Travelers’ distinctive “red umbrella” as the new corporate logo, which was used until 2007.
The chairmen of both parent companies, John Reed and Sandy Weill respectively, were announced as co-chairmen and co-CEOs of the new company, Citigroup, Inc., although the vast difference in management styles between the two immediately presented question marks over the wisdom of such a setup.
The remaining provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act—enacted following the Great Depression—forbade banks to merge with insurance underwriters, and meant Citigroup had between two and five years to divest any prohibited assets. However, Weill stated at the time of the merger that they believed “that over that time the legislation will change…we have had enough discussions to believe this will not be a problem”. Indeed, the passing of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in November 1999 vindicated Reed and Weill’s views, opening the door to financial services conglomerates offering a mix of commercial banking, investment banking, insurance underwriting and brokerage.
Joe Plumeri headed the integration of the consumer businesses of Travelers Group and Citicorp after the merger, and was appointed CEO of Citibank North America by Weill and Reed. He oversaw its network of 450 retail branches. J. Paul Newsome, an analyst with CIBC Oppenheimer, said: “He’s not the spit-and-polish executive many people expected. He’s rough on the edges. But Citibank knows the bank as an institution is in trouble—it can’t get away anymore with passive selling—and Plumeri has all the passion to throw a glass of cold water on the bank.” It was conjectured that he might become a leading contender to run all of Citigroup when Weill and Reed stepped down, if he were to effect a big, noticeable victory at Citibank. In that position, Plumeri boosted the unit’s earnings from $108 million to $415 million in one year, an increase of nearly 300%. He unexpectedly retired from Citibank, however, in January 2000.
In 2000, Citigroup acquired Associates First Capital Corporation, which, until 1989, had been owned by Gulf+Western (now part of National Amusements). The Associates was widely criticized for predatory lending practices and Citi eventually settled with the Federal Trade Commission by agreeing to pay $240 million to customers who had been victims of a variety of predatory practices, including “flipping” mortgages, “packing” mortgages with optional credit insurance, and deceptive marketing practices.
2002 Travelers spin off
The company spun off its Travelers Property and Casualty insurance underwriting business in 2002. The spin off was prompted by the insurance unit’s drag on Citigroup stock price because Traveler’s earnings were more seasonal and vulnerable to large disasters, particularly the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in downtown New York City. It was also difficult to sell this kind of insurance directly to customers since most industrial customers are accustomed to purchasing insurance through a broker.
The Travelers Property Casualty Corporation merged with The St. Paul Companies Inc. in 2004 forming The St. Paul Travelers Companies. Citigroup retained the life insurance and annuities underwriting business; however, it sold those businesses to MetLife in 2005. Citigroup still heavily sells all forms of insurance, but it no longer underwrites insurance.
In spite of their divesting Travelers Insurance, Citigroup retained Travelers’ signature red umbrella logo as its own until February 2007, when Citigroup agreed to sell the logo back to St. Paul Travelers, which renamed itself Travelers Companies. Citigroup also decided to adopt the corporate brand “Citi” for itself and virtually all its subsidiaries, except Primerica and Banamex.
January 2008 and the years leading up to the subprime mortgage crisis
Heavy exposure to troubled mortgages in the form of collateralized debt obligation (CDOs), compounded by poor risk management led Citigroup into trouble as the subprime mortgage crisis worsened 2008. The company had used elaborate mathematical risk models which looked at mortgages in particular geographical areas, but never included the possibility of a national housing downturn, or the prospect that millions of mortgage holders would default on their mortgages. Trading head Thomas Maheras was close friends with senior risk officer David Bushnell, which undermined risk oversight. As Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was said to be influential in lifting the regulations that allowed Travelers and Citicorp to merge in 1998. Then on the board of directors of Citigroup, Rubin and Charles Prince were said to be influential in pushing the company towards MBS and CDOs in the subprime mortgage market.
Starting in June 2006, Senior Vice President Richard M. Bowen III, the chief underwriter of Citigroup’s Consumer Lending Group, began warning the board of directors about the extreme risks being taken on by the mortgage operation that could potentially result in massive losses. The group bought and sold $90 billion of residential mortgages annually. Bowen’s responsibility was essentially to serve as the quality control supervisor ensuring the unit’s creditworthiness. When Bowen first blew the whistle in 2006, 60% of the mortgages were defective. The amount of bad mortgages began increasing throughout 2007 and eventually exceeded 80% of the volume. Many of the mortgages were not only defective, but were fraudulent. Bowen attempted to rouse the board via weekly reports and other communications. On 3 November 2007, Bowen emailed Citigroup Chairman Robert Rubin and the bank’s chief financial officer, head auditor and the chief risk management officer to again expose the risk and potential losses, claiming that the group’s internal controls had broken down and requesting an outside investigation of his business unit. The subsequent investigation revealed that at the Consumer Lending Group had suffered a breakdown of internal controls since 2005. Regardless of the findings of the investigation, Bowen’s charges were ignored, despite the fact that withholding such information from shareholders violated the Sarbannes-Oxley Act (SOX), which he had pointed out. Citigroup CEO Charles Prince signed a certification that the bank was in compliance with SOX despite Bowen revealing this wasn’t so. Citigroup eventually stripped Bowen of most of his responsibilities and informing him that his physical presence was no longer required at the bank. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission asked him to testify about Citigroup’s role in the mortgage crisis, and he did so, appearing as one of the first witnesses before the Commission in April 2010.
As the crisis began to unfold, Citigroup announced on April 11, 2007, that it would eliminate 17,000 jobs, or about 5 percent of its workforce, in a broad restructuring designed to cut costs and bolster its long underperforming stock. Even after securities and brokerage firm Bear Stearns ran into serious trouble in summer 2007, Citigroup decided the possibility of trouble with its CDO’s was so tiny (less than 1/100 of 1%) that they excluded them from their risk analysis. With the crisis worsening, Citigroup announced on January 7, 2008 that it was considering cutting another 5 percent to 10 percent of its 327,000 member-workforce.
October 2008 – First funding during the Global Financial Crisis
The United States government has engineered at least one rescue of the institution now known as Citigroup.dead link By November 2008, Citigroup was insolvent, despite its receipt of $25 billion in tax-payer funded federal TARP funds.
November 2008 (part of the Global Financial Crisis)
On November 17, 2008, Citigroup announced plans for about 52,000 new job cuts, on top of 23,000 cuts already made during 2008 in a huge job cull resulting from four quarters of consecutive losses and reports that it was unlikely to be in profit again before 2010. The same day on Wall Street markets responded, with shares falling and dropping the company’s market capitalization to $6 billion, down from $300 billion two years prior. Eventually staff cuts totaled over 100,000 employees. Its stock market value dropped to $20.5 billion, down from $244 billion two years earlier. Shares of Citigroup common stock traded well below $1.00 on the New York Stock Exchange.
As a result, late in the evening on November 23, 2008, Citigroup and Federal regulators approved a plan to stabilize the company and forestall a further deterioration in the company’s value. On November 24, 2008, the U.S. government announced a massive stimulus package for Citigroup designed to rescue the company from bankruptcy while giving the government a major say in its operations. A joint statement by the US Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp announced: “With these transactions, the U.S. government is taking the actions necessary to strengthen the financial system and protect U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. economy.” The arrangement calls for the government to back about $306 billion in loans and securities and directly invest about $20 billion in the company. The Treasury would provide $20 billion inTroubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds in addition to $25 billion given in October. The Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) would cover 90% of the losses on its $335 billion portfolio after Citigroup absorbed the first $29 billion in losses.The assets remain on Citigroup’s balance sheet; the technical term for this arrangement is ring fencing.
In return the bank would give Washington $27 billion of preferred shares and warrants to acquire stock. The government would obtain wide powers over banking operations. Citigroup agreed to try to modify mortgages, using standards set up by the FDIC after the collapse of IndyMac Bank, with the goal of keeping as many homeowners as possible in their houses. Executive salaries would be capped As a condition of the federal assistance, Citigroup’s dividend payment was reduced to one cent per share.
January 2009 – February 2009 (part of the Global Financial Crisis)
On January 16, 2009, Citigroup announced its intention to reorganize itself into two operating units: Citicorp for its retail and institutional client business, and Citi Holdings for its brokerage and asset management. Citigroup will continue to operate as a single company for the time being, but Citi Holdings managers will be tasked to “tak[e] advantage of value-enhancing disposition and combination opportunities as they emerge”, and eventual spin-offs or mergers involving either operating unit were not ruled out. On February 27, 2009 Citigroup announced that the United States government would be taking a 36% equity stake in the company by converting $25 billion in emergency aid into common shares. Citigroup shares dropped 40% on the news.
On June 1, 2009, it was announced that Citigroup would be removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average effective June 8, 2009, due to significant government ownership. Citigroup was replaced by Travelers Co.
2010, Return to profitability, non-governmental shareholder ownership
In 2010, Citigroup achieved its first profitable year since 2007. It reported $10.6 billion in net profit, compared with a $1.6 billion loss in 2009. Late in 2010, the government sold its remaining stock holding in the company, yielding an overall net profit to taxpayers of $12 billion.
2012, Failed Federal Reserve stress test
On Tuesday, March 13, 2012, the Federal Reserve reported Citigroup is one of the four financial institutions, out of 19 major banks, that have failed its stress tests. The tests make sure banks have enough capital to withstand huge losses in a financial crisis like one Citigroup faced in 2008 and early 2009 when it almost collapsed. The 2012 stress tests determine whether banks could withstand a financial crisis that has unemployment at 13 percent, stock prices to be cut in half, and home prices decreased by 21 percent from current levels. According to Citi and the Federal Reserve stress test report, Citi failed the Fed stress tests due to Citi’s high capital return plan and its international loans rated by the Fed to be at higher risk than its domestic American loans. Citi gets half their revenues from its international businesses. In comparison, Bank Of America, which passed the stress test and did not ask for a capital return to investors, gets 78% of its revenue in the United States.
Citi is organized into two major segments – Citicorp and Citi Holdings. Citicorp contains Consumer and Institutional Clients Group core businesses. Citi Holdings contains Citi’s Brokerage and Asset Management (includes Smith Barney), Global Consumer Finance, and Citi’s Special Asset Portfolios.
Citi’s Global Consumer Business (GCB), also called Regional Consumer Banking (RCB), is one of the largest retail banks in the world. It serves more than 100 million clients in 40 countries. Its revenues consists of 50% of the total revenue within Citicorp in 2011. Its deposits accounts for 40% of its total deposits. Citi’s GCB businesses consists of five divisions: Retail Banking (Citibank), Citi Branded Cards (CitiCards), CitiMortgage, Citi Commercial Banking and Citi Retail Services (formerly Citi Retail Partner Cards)
Citibank (retail banking)
Retail banking encompasses the Citi’s global branch network, branded Citibank. Citibank has more than 4,600 branches in the world and holds more than $300 billion deposits. Citibank is the third largest retail bank in the United States based on deposits, and it has Citibank branded branches in countries throughout the world, with the exception of Mexico which is under a separate subsidiary called Banamex. Banamex, which serves about 20 million clients, is Mexico’s largest local financial institution as measured by assets. Citibank offers Citibank/Citigold Checking and Savings accounts, Small Business and Commercial Banking and Personal Wealth Management among its services. In 2011, Citi is the first bank to introduce digitized Smart Banking branches in Washington, D.C., New York, Tokyo and Busan (South Korea) while continued renovating its entire branch network. New sales and service centers were also opened in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Citi Express modules, 24-hour service units, were introduced in Colombia. Citi recently opened new branches in three new cities in China as part of its plan to expand Citi’s presence in People’s Republic of China to 13 cities.
Additionally, Citibank offers Citigold services world-wide to mass affluent clients with at least $50,000 USD in liquid assets. In certain markets, Citigold Select is available for clients with at least $500,000 in liquid assets. Its highest tiered service, Citigold Private Client, is for high net worth individuals with at least $1–$3 million in liquid assets (depending on the market region) and offers access to investments and ideas from Citi Private Bank.
Citi Cards (Citi branded cards)
Citi Cards is one of the world’s largest credit card issuers. Citi Cards is responsible for around 40% of the profits with GCB, and represents the largest issuer of credit cards across the world as well as a 3,800-point ATM network across 45 countries. Citi Cards introduced several new products in 2011, including: Citi ThankYou, Citi Executive/AAdvantage and Citi Simplicity cards in the U.S.. It also has Latin America partnership cards with Colombia-based airline Avianca and with Banamex and AeroMexico; and a merchant loyalty program in Europe. Citibank is also the first and currently the only international bank to be approved by Chinese regulators to issue credit cards under its own brand without cooperating with Chinese state-owned domestic banks.
Citi Retail Services
Citi Retail Services (formerly Retail Partner Cards) moved from Citi Holdings to become an integral part of GCB in 2012, after expanding several existing partnerships with retail clients and re-branding to “reflect the more comprehensive suite of services it offers to partners”. It is one of the largest providers of consumer and commercial credit card products, services, and retail solutions in the U.S., with nearly 90 million accounts with brands such as The Home Depot, Macy’s, Sears, Shell, and ExxonMobil.
Citi Commercial Bank
Commercial Banking at Citi serves 100,000 small to medium-size companies in 32 countries.
Citi Institutional Clients Group
Citi Institutional Clients Group, also known as Securities and Banking, offers investment and corporate banking services and products for corporates, governments, institutions, and ultra high-net-worth investors.
Containing Citi’s most market-sensitive divisions, “ICG” is divided into four primary businesses: “Citi Markets” and “Citi Transaction Services” (CTS), “Citi Private Bank”, and “Citi Corporate & Investment Banking”.
Citi Markets, also known as Citi Global Markets, provides financial products through underwriting, sales & trading of a range of investment assets. Citi markets products offered include equities, commodities, credit, futures, foreign exchange (FX), emerging markets, G10 rates, municipals, prime finance/brokerage services, and securitized markets, such ascollateralized debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities.
Citi Research, formerly Citi Investment Research and Analysis (CIRA) division and part of Citi’s Global Wealth Management unit, provides equity and fixed income research, company, sector, economic and geographic market analysis, and product-specific analysis for Citi’s individual and institutional clients. Its flagship research reports include the following: Portfolio Strategist, Bond Market Roundup, U.S. Economics Weekly, International Market Roundup, Global Economic Outlook & Strategy and the Global Equity Strategist.
Citi Private Bank
Citi Private Bank is an advisor to ultra high net worth individuals and families throughout the world. It uses an open architecture network of more than 1,000 private bankers and investment professionals across 46 countries and jurisdictions to provide clients access to global investment opportunities. It has about $250 billion in assets under management. The minimum net worth requirement is $25 million in liquid assets and is waived for only law firm groups and other clients under special circumstances.
Formerly part of Global Wealth Management, Citi Private Bank is now merged into Citi’s Institutional Clients Group. Unlike many of its competitors, since 2009 Citi Private Bank no longer pays its bankers with commission for selling investment products. Former CEO of Citi Private Bank, Jane Fraser, said the move meant to bolster Citi Private Bank as an independent wealth management adviser, as opposed to a product pusher.
Citi Transaction Services
Citi Transaction Services (CTS), formerly known as Global Transaction Services (GTS), provides cash management, trade and securities services to companies, governments and other institutions in the U.S. and more than 140 countries. It consists of Securities & Funds Services (SFS) and Treasury & Trade Services (TTS).
CTS intermediates more than $3 trillion in global transactions daily. It has over $13 trillion assets under custody, about $377 billion in average liability balances, serves 99% of world’s Fortune 100 companies and 96% of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, and has 10 regional processing centers worldwide using global processes.
Institutions use CTS to support their treasury operations with global solutions for payments, collections, liquidity and investments by working in partnership with export credit agencies and development banks. It also sells supply chain financing products as well as medium- and long-term global financing programs across multiple industries. In 2011, clients doing business with Citi in 10 or more countries generated more than 60 percent of Transaction Services’ total revenues. According to the Wall Street Journal, the government aid provided to Citi in 2008/2009 was provided to prevent a world-wide chaos and panic by the potential collapse of its Global Transactions Services (now CTS) division. According to the article, former CEO Pandit said if Citigroup was allowed to unravel into bankruptcy, “100 governments around the world would be trying to figure out how to pay their employees”.
Citi Corporate & Investment Banking
Citi Corporate & Investment Banking provides strategic and financing products and advisory services to multinational and local corporations, financial institutions, governments, and privately held businesses in more than 160 countries. Citi Corporate & Investment Banking won several awards in 2011, including International Financing Review’s Best Americas Securitization for Ford Credit, Best Emerging Asia Bond for Pertamina, Best Latin America Bond for Petrobras, Best Emerging EMEA Bond for VimpelCom, Best Yen Bond for Panasonic, Best Senior Financial Bond for Capital One and Best Americas Structure Equity Issue for AIB/MetLife.
Citi Holdings consists of Citi businesses that Citi wants to sell and are not considered part of Citi’s core businesses. The majority of its assets are U.S. mortgages. It was created in the wake of the financial crisis as part of Citi’s restructuring plan. It consists of several business entities including remaining interests in local consumer lending such as OneMain Financial, divestitures such as Smith Barney, and a special asset pool. Citi Holdings represents $156 billion of GAAP assets, or ~8% of Citigroup; 59% represents North American mortgages, 18% operating businesses, 13% special asset pool, and 10% categorized as other. Operating businesses include OneMain Financial ($10B), PrimeRe ($7B), MSSB JV ($8B) and Spain / Greece retail ($4B), less associated loan loss reserves. While Citi Holdings is a mixed bag, its primary objective is to wind down some non-core businesses and reduce assets, and strategically “breaking even” in 2015.
Napier Park Global Capital
Citi Capital Advisors (CCA), formerly Citi Alternative Investments, was a Citi Hedge fund that offers various investment strategies across multiple asset classes, ranging from market strategies to infrastructure and private equity investing for institutional and high-net-worth investors. Due to US regulations as part of the Volcker rule to limit bank ownership in hedge funds to no more than 3%, Citi spinned off its hedge fund unit with its managers owning a significant part of the new company. The spinoff of CCA created Napier Park Global Capital, a $6.8 billion hedge fund with more than 100 employees in New York and London. The new company will be managed by Jim O’Brien and Jonathan Dorfman, who would serve as co-CEOs and were former Citi executives managing CCA. Citigroup will continue retain a sizable minority position in the new firm, but will slowly withdraw its capital over time by the July 2014 deadline stipulated by the Volcker Rule.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was previously Citi Smith Barney, Citi’s global private wealth management unit, providing brokerage, investment banking and asset management services to corporations, governments and individuals around the world. With over 800 offices worldwide, Smith Barney held 9.6 million domestic client accounts, representing $1.562 trillion in client assets worldwide.
Citi announced on January 13, 2009 that they would give Smith Barney to Morgan Stanley investment bank to combine their brokerage firms in exchange for $2.7 billion and 49% interest in the joint venture. The remaining 49% stake of Smith Barney owned by Citi was later sold for $13.5 billion following an appraisal by Perella Weinberg.
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Citigroup’s most famous office building is the Citigroup Center, a diagonal-roof skyscraper located in East Midtown, Manhattan, New York City, which despite popular belief is not the company’s headquarters building. Citigroup has its headquarters across the street in an anonymous-looking building at 399 Park Avenue (the site of the original location of the City National Bank). The headquarters is outfitted with nine luxury dining rooms, with a team of private chefs preparing a different menu each day. The management team is on the second and third floors above a Citibank branch. Citigroup also leases a building in the TriBeCa neighborhood in Manhattan at 388 Greenwich St, that serves as headquarters for its Investment and Corporate Banking operations and was the former headquarters of the Travelers Group.
All of Citigroup’s New York City real estate, excluding the company’s Smith Barney division and Wall Street trading division, lies along the New York City Subway‘s IND Queens Boulevard Line, served by the E M trains. Consequently, the company’s Midtown buildings—including 787 Seventh Avenue, 666 Fifth Avenue, 399 Park Avenue, 485 Lexington, 153 East 53rd Street (Citigroup Center), and Citigroup Building in Long Island City, Queens, are all no more than two stops away from each other. In fact, every company building lies above or right across the street from a subway station served by the E M trains.
Chicago also plays home to a building operated by Citigroup. Citicorp Center has a series of curved archways at its peak, and sits across the street from major competitor ABN AMRO‘s ABN AMRO Plaza. It has shops and restaurants serving Metra customers via theOgilvie Transportation Center.
Raul Salinas and alleged money laundering
In 1998, the General Accounting Office issued a report critical of Citibank’s handling of funds received from Raul Salinas de Gortari, the brother of Carlos Salinas, the former president of Mexico. The report, titled “Raul Salinas, Citibank and Alleged Money Laundering”, indicated that Citibank facilitated the transfer of millions of dollars through complex financial transactions to hide the paper trail of funds. The report also indicated that Citibank took on Raul Salinas as a client even though they did not make a thorough inquiry as to how he made his fortune.
Conflicts of interest on investment research
In December 2002, Citigroup paid fines totaling $400 million, with the amount split between the states and the federal government. The fines were part of a settlement involving charges that ten banks, including Citigroup, deceived investors with biased research. The total settlement with the ten banks was $1.4 billion. The settlement required that the banks separate investment banking from research, and ban any allocation of IPO shares.
Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing bankruptcies
Citigroup paid out over $3 billion in fines and legal settlements for their role in financing Enron Corporation, which collapsed amid a financial scandal in 2001. On October 22, 2001, Citigroup Inc had a lawsuit for violating federal securities laws by misrepresenting Citigroup’s potential Enron-related exposure in its 2001 Annual Report and elsewhere, and failing to disclose the true extent of Citigroup’s potential legal liability arising out of its ‘structured finance’ dealings with Enron. In 2003, Citigroup paid $145 million in fines and penalties to settle claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Manhattan district attorney’s office. In 2005, Citigroup paid $2 billion to settle a lawsuit filed by investors in Enron. In 2008, Citigroup paid $1.66 billion to the Enron Bankruptcy Estate, which represented creditors of the bankrupt company. In 2004, Citigroup paid $2.65 billion to settle a lawsuit concerning their role in selling stocks and bonds for WorldCom, the second largest telecommunications company in the world, inflating the earnings for 2001 and the first quarter of 2002, and paid $2.575 billion for settlement, which collapsed in 2002 in an accounting scandal. In 2005, Citigroup paid $75 million to settle a lawsuit from investors in Global Crossing, which filed bankruptcy in 2002. Citigroup was accused of issuing exaggerated research reports and not disclosing conflicts of interest. On February 5, 2002, Citigroup Inc had a lawsuit for violating federal securities laws and misled investors by issuing false information about Global Crossing’s and Asia Global Crossing’s revenues and financial performance, and paid $75 million for settlement.
On November 8, 2007, Citigroup Inc had a lawsuit for artificially manipulating and inflating its stock prices by misrepresentations and omissions of what amounted to more than two years of income and an entire significant line of business, and paid $590 million for settlement. Class action service companies like Chicago Clearing Corporation helped many financial institutions, like hedge funds, mutual funds, and bank trust, regain this money after holding what appeared to be a seemingly safe investment.
Citigroup proprietary government bond trading scandal of 2004
Citigroup was criticized for disrupting the European bond market by rapidly selling €11 billion worth of bonds on August 2, 2004 on the MTS Group trading platform, driving down the price, and then buying it back at cheaper prices.
November 2008 funding by the Government
In a New York Times op-ed, Michael Lewis and David Einhorn described the November 2008 $306 billion guarantee as “an undisguised gift” without any real crisis motivating it.
Regulatory, lawsuit and panel awards against the company
In 2004, Japanese regulators took action against Citibank Japan in connection with making loans to a customer involved in stock manipulation. This action included suspension of bank activities in one branch and three offices, and restrictions on their consumer banking division. In 2009, the Japanese regulators again took action against Citibank Japan, this time in regard to the bank not setting up an effective money laundering monitoring system. The regulatory agency suspended sales operations within its retail banking operations for a month.
On March 23, 2005, the NASD announced total fines of $21.25 million against Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., American Express Financial Advisors and Chase Investment Services regarding suitability and supervisory violations relating to mutual fund sales practices between January 2002 and July 2003. The case against Citigroup involved recommendations and sales of Class B and Class C shares of mutual funds.
On June 6, 2007, the NASD announced more than $15 million in fines and restitution against Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., to settle charges related to misleading documents and inadequate disclosure in retirement seminars and meetings for BellSouth Corp. employees in North Carolina and South Carolina. NASD found that Citigroup did not properly supervise a team of brokers located in Charlotte, N.C., who used misleading sales materials during dozens of seminars and meetings for hundreds of BellSouth employees.
In July 2010, Citigroup agreed to pay $75 million to settle civil charges that it misled investors over potential losses from high-risk mortgages. The Securities and Exchange Commission said that Citigroup had made misleading statements about the company’s exposure to subprime mortgages. In 2007, Citigroup indicated that their exposure was less than $13 billion, when in fact it was over $50 billion.
In April 2011, an arbitration panel ordered Citigroup Inc to pay $54.1 million for losses from municipal securities funds that cratered between 2007 and 2008.
In August 2012, Citigroup agreed to pay almost $25 million to settle an investor lawsuit alleging the bank misled investors about the nature of mortgage-backed securities. The lawsuit was on behalf of investors who purchased certificates in one of two mortgage-backed securities trusts from Citigroup Mortgage Loan Trust Inc in 2007.
On February 15, 2012, Citigroup agreed to pay $158.3 million to settle claims that it falsely certified the quality of loans issued by its CitiMortgage unit over a period of more than six years, so that they would qualify for insurance from the Federal Housing Administration. The lawsuit was initially brought by Sherry Hunt, a CitiMortgage employee.
Terra Securities scandal
In November 2007 it became public that the Citigroup is heavily involved in the Terra Securities scandal, which involved investments by eight municipalities of Norway in various hedge funds in the United States bond market. The funds were sold by Terra Securities ASA to the municipalities, while the products were delivered by Citigroup. Terra Securities ASA filed for bankruptcy November 28, 2007, the day after they received a letter from The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway announcing withdrawal of permissions to operate. The same letter also stated, “The Supervisory Authority contends that Citigroup’s presentation, as well as the presentation from Terra Securities ASA, appears insufficient and misleading because central elements like information about potential extra payments and the size of these are omitted.”
Allegations of theft from customer accounts
On August 26, 2008 it was announced that Citigroup agreed to pay nearly $18 million in refunds and fines to settle accusations by California Attorney General Jerry Brown that it wrongly took funds from the accounts of credit card customers. Citigroup would pay $14 million of restitution to roughly 53,000 customers nationwide. A three-year investigation found that Citigroup from 1992 to 2003 used an improper computerized “sweep” feature to move positive balances from card accounts into the bank’s general fund, without telling cardholders.
Brown said in a statement that Citigroup “knowingly stole from its customers, mostly poor people and the recently deceased, when it designed and implemented the sweeps…When a whistleblower uncovered the scam and brought it to his superiors, they buried the information and continued the illegal practice.”
According to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, after having received its $45 billion TARP funds in late 2008, Citigroup paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to more than 1,038 of its employees. This included 738 employees each receiving $1 million in bonuses, 176 employees each receiving $2 million bonuses, 124 each receiving $3 million in bonuses, and 143 each receiving bonuses of $4 million to more than $10 million. As a result of the criticism and the U.S. Government’s majority holding of Citigroup’s common shares, compensation and bonuses were restricted from February 2009 until December 2010.
Potential restructuring and liquidation by the Government
In September 2011, a book titled Confidence Men|Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President, written by former Wall Street reporter Ron Suskind, states that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ignored a 2009 order from President Barack Obama to break up Citigroup in an enormous restructuring and liquidation. According to the book, Obama wanted to consider restructuring the bank into several leaner and smaller companies while Geithner was executing stress tests of American financial institutions. Another book, A Presidency in Peril by Robert Kuttner, says that in spring 2009 Geithner and chief economic adviser Larry Summers believed that they could not seize, liquidate, and break up Citigroup because they lacked the legal authority or the tools to do so.
The Treasury Department denied the account in an e-mail to the media stating “This account is simply untrue. The directive given by the president in March 2009 was to develop a contingency plan for tough restructurings if the government ended up owning large shares of institutions at the conclusion of the stress tests that Secretary Geithner worked aggressively to put in place as part of the Administration’s Financial Stability Plan. While Treasury began work on those contingency plans, there was fortunately never a need to put them in place.”
Shareholder rejection of executive compensation plan
At Citi’s 2012 annual shareholders’ meeting on April 17, Citi’s executive compensation package was rejected, with approximately 55% of the votes being against approval. The non-binding vote was required under the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires corporations to hold advisory shareholder votes on their executive compensation plans. Many shareholders expressed concerns about Citi’s failed 2012 Fed stress test and lack of long-term performance-based metrics in its executive compensation plan. One of the largest and most activist of the shareholders voting no, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, stated Citi “has not anchored rewards to performance”. A Citigroup shareholder filed a lawsuit days after the vote, claiming Citi executives breached their fiduciary duties. In response, Richard Parsons, former chairman of Citigroup, called the vote a “serious matter”. A spokeswoman for Citi said “Citi’s Board of Directors takes the shareholder vote seriously, and along with senior management will consult with representative shareholders to understand their concerns” and that the Compensation committee of the Board “will carefully consider their (shareholder) input as we move forward”.
Public and government relations
Citigroup is the 16th largest political campaign contributor in the United States, out of all organizations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. According to Matthew Vadum, a senior editor at the conservative Capital Research Center, Citigroup is also a heavy contributor to left-of-center political causes. However, members of the firm have donated over $23,033,490 from 1989–2006, 49% of which went to Democrats and 51% of which went to Republicans.
Lobbying and political advice
In 2009, Richard Parsons hired long-time Washington, D.C. lobbyist Richard F. Hohlt to advise Parsons and the company about relations with the U.S. government, though not to lobby for the company. While some speculated anonymously that the FDIC would have been a particular focus of Hohlt’s attention, Hohlt said he’d had no contact with the government insurance corporation. Some former regulators found room to criticize, in the news report, Hohlt’s involvement with Citigroup, because of his earlier involvement with the financial-services industry during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Hohlt responded that though mistakes were made in the earlier episode, not to mention by other more recent clients of his like Fannie Mae and Washington Mutual, he’d never been investigated by any government agency and his experience gave him reason to be back in the “operating room” as parties address the more recent crisis.
Public and governmental relations
In 2010, the company named Edward Skyler, formerly in New York City government and at Bloomberg LP, to its senior public and governmental relations position. Before Skyler was named and before he began his job search, the company reportedly held discussions with three other individuals to fill the position: NY Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, MayorMichael Bloomberg‘s “political guru … [who] spearheaded … his short-lived flirtation with a presidential run …, who will soon leave City Hall for a position at the mayor’s company, Bloomberg L.P. …. After Mr. Bloomberg’s improbable victory in the 2001 mayor’s race, both Mr. Skyler and Mr. Sheekey followed him from his company to City Hall. Since then, they have been a part of an enormously influential coterie of advisers”; Howard Wolfson, the former communications director for Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s presidential campaign and Mr. Bloomberg’s re-election bid; and Gary Ginsberg, now at Time Warner and formerly at News Corporation.